So following up with my pervious post… what can you expect after giving birth? Well, you get to take home an adorable baby, that’s something. But lets back up to the few nights you will be in the hospital.
If you choose to have a birth at a hospital and not a birthing center or at home, you have required to stay there for 2 nights. If you have a c-section, 3 nights. For the few hours after your birth, you will stay in the birthing room while you regain feeling in your legs as the epidural wears off (if you had one) and you will have skin-to-skin bonding time with your little bundle. They will wash them, measure them, weigh them and do a few other tests on them in front of you also. This is also when you will be waiting for your placenta to come out. Usually happens pretty quickly, but sometimes not to much. The doctor will also push on your stomach, or more precisely your uterus. This will cause a gush of blood to come out of you. Yes, a gush. They will do this continually as they check you during your stay at the hospital. They are making sure your uterus is contracting and heading back to it’s normal size after birth.
Let me pause on this ‘gush of blood’ thing. This will continue for weeks after you leave the hospital. You basically will be having a never ending period for us to 6 weeks or longer after giving birth. It gradually becomes less and less, but it’s what happens while your uterus is going back to normal. It will also cramp every time you breastfeed, which happens a lot with a newborn. It’s your uterus contracting. So while it is extremely helpful, it will hurt. But a nurse or doctor will push on your uterus every time they come to check on you in the hospital and this will cause a gush of blood to come out, which is why you have to wear the diapers and have towels under you on the bed and on your bed at home.
Now lets head back to the hospital. As soon as you able to, the nurses will want you to use the bathroom. The reason I’m talking about this is because they will show you everything you have to do while you are recovering every time you go to the bathroom. EVERY TIME. This is important. You will be given the Hospital Victoria’s Secret collection. That’s what my nurse called it and I found it funny. This includes several pairs of gauze panties. Yep, gauze. That don’t have to be changed every time unless you get blood on them. You will be given ice packs, which will be your vaginas best friend, you will also be given a spray that numbs the area a little so dealing with the pain from child birth isn’t unbearable and you will also be given a squirt bottle to fill with warm water to wash yourself off with after using the bathroom because you will not be allowed to wipe yourself for weeks after giving birth. Especially if you have stitches because you don’t want anything to pull on them. You are basically wearing a diaper full of a very large pad, ice pack and numbing spray. All day, every day, that you need to change every time you use the bathroom. Here are some pictures I grabbed off the internet to give you a good idea of what it will look like:
Sexy right? Yeah, it’s fun stuff. Also don’t expect to get much sleep at the hospital. They will tell you to rest up, but someone will be in there every 4 hours to check on you and your baby. If your baby is sleeping when they come in, they will wake up the baby which will make it cry, do their tests and then hand you back a screaming child that you have to comfort. So no sleep for you. Also your boobs will hurt. A lot. Nursing for the first time… your nipples will be swollen, sometimes they will crack and bleed. And they will be like that for weeks until you get use to it.
You won’t really be able to sit on anything but your bed for a few weeks because of the pain your downstairs region will be in. I tried sitting on a wooden chair two weeks out…. oh man, that was a no no. Walking will be hard too, so don’t over do anything. Because of the sleep deprivation you will be experiencing from either being in pain or your little one waking you up, postpartum depression can really kick in. Sometimes it’s only a little, but sometimes it can be intense. I would break down crying every other day from sheer frustration because my baby wouldn’t sleep or let me sleep. I hurt every where. I never wanted to hurt myself or my baby, which can happen because of postpartum, but I did yell at her once. I screamed at her to go to sleep and to stop crying… not proud of that, and as you can guess it did the exact opposite and only made her cry more because she was scared. Took me about a minute to realize what I had done and had her in my arms, cuddling her and crying on her saying I was sorry I was such a terrible mother. Yeah… That happens. You will feel horrible for the first few weeks. Your babies uncontrollable crying and never ending appetite will make you feel like you are the worst parent in the world. But you aren’t. It’s just stuff that happens and it happens differently for everyone.
Now you will most likely have a sibling or parent, or even a grandparent, offer to come stay with you for a few weeks. TAKE THEM UP ON THIS OFFER. They will help you keep the house in order. They will cook for you and do grocery shopping. They will watch the baby so you can sleep. It is a huge blessing if you have family who offers to do that. I had my mother in for the birth and the first few days home from the hospital and then my husbands mother came in for two weeks after that. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do once they left.
One more thing I need to talk about is bathroom habits during this time. No one likes to talk about it, but it’s something that you need to be aware of. Now, some hospitals require you to poop before leaving. Some don’t. Mine didn’t. I will say this. Because of childbirth, because of the drugs, your body will be sluggish and you may be blocked up and the first time you poop after child birth…. It is the most uncomfortable experience you will ever have. And if you have hemorrhoids, that will add to the unpleasantness. It will be like a ‘pop’, or at least that’s how the nurses described it to me. And it will continue like that for a few weeks.
Also because everything gets squished while you are pregnant, your organs will feel…. funny as they move back in to place. Your feet will swell a lot more during the first week home and then will finally go back to normal. You may experience headaches in the weeks after giving birth. I had about 4 migraines. You may feel nauseous and you may get upset stomachs easier.
Basically… take everything at a slow pace. You will get frustrated with that. You will. But just remember that you are recovering, you are healing. Your doctor will tell you that a natural child birth means 6 weeks of recovery. It could be longer or it could be shorter. If you had to get stitches like I did, those take about 2 weeks to heal and it will be very painful. Especially is anything pulls them, including yourself (meaning if you stretch too much or something) You will feel useless. But everyone is there for you and doesn’t expect you do to anything except rest and heal and look after your baby. You are allowed to ask for help.
So yeah, that’s another long post from me. Enjoy!