25 Things I learned during labor, delivery, and postpartum
1 – Take the labor and delivery classes. And make sure Dad goes to every one with you.
2 – Take a breastfeeding class (if available). Make sure Dad attends this one too. It’s super helpful to have extra ears, and it’ll be nice to have Dad help you get into positions for breastfeeding.
3 – Get the epidural! And get it early! You have to stay still while the procedure is being done. So you don’t want contractions too strong. You will probably shake (my body couldn’t stop shaking after the epidural) but it stopped while I was pushing.
4 – Your legs might swell after delivery. Mine swelled, even up to my thighs! All normal but make sure to tell the nurse.
5 – There will be a lot of blood! During labor, after labor, and even weeks later (I stopped bleeding, or to the point I didn’t need pads, exactly one month after delivering).
6 – After delivering, the nurses will visit and press on your tummy (to I think make sure your uterus is decreasing – again, not a doctor). This hurts. But you just gave birth so you can do anything, Mama!
7 – Immediately after baby is born, there is a ton of commotion in the room. It was like five extra people were suddenly in the room! I know society says you will fall so in love with your baby once you meet. And you do. You will. But I really felt the connection a couple hours later when all the nurses were gone, the stitching was done, and the room was cleaned. Once I was able to have some alone time with my baby and my husband, that bond grew immensely. So don’t have feelings of guilt if your feelings aren’t following “society’s”.
8 – The nurses will take you to the bathroom the first time after delivery. My nurse even did the peri bottle for me. Let them help. They have seen it all before so don’t be shy or embarrassed!
9 – Speaking of peeing, you might loose control of your bladder for a few days. I unfortunately couldn’t get seated fast enough at the hospital a couple times. (Cue in the janitor!). All normal and you will regain it back, so don’t sweat it!
10 – Have no shame in the hospital undies – I wore them up to a week postpartum. I could have worn them longer but I ran out and wanted to get back to a little normalcy. They are definitely comfy, and I enjoyed them!
11 – Once you’re allowed, take pain medication! I wasn’t initially but once my epidural wore off, I was in a world of pain! Try to stay ahead of that pain. Icing your bottom helps too.
12 – Your bottom will hurt! I had discomfort walking and sitting for about a week. Know you will get better! Just give yourself some time!
13 – Take a shower or bath at the hospital. I was terrified to get my bottom wet! It was going to burn, right?! Actually not! A shower felt absolutely wonderful! Not only on my bottom but also in general. You’ll feel like a million bucks!
14 – STOOL SOFTENERS, STOOL SOFTENERS, STOOL SOFTENERS!!!! Pooping for the first time is terrifying. And literally took me 3 days to do! It was not fun. Especially if you take any pain medications, you might get constipated. I actually took Miralax to help move things.
15 – I brought all these cute robes, PJs, etc. to wear at the hospital. I only wore a robe that went over my hospital gown! As I mentioned, there’s a lot of blood so I just didn’t want to get my new clothes dirty. This is an example of social media vs reality. Be okay with wearing the hospital gowns – there’s no shame in that. If you do bring and wear other robes/clothes, consider dark colors. Again, there is a lot of blood!
16 – Have pads ready at home before you go into labor. After a week (once I was out of the hospital undies), I was using a thinner pad, but it helps to have them ready at home so Dad isn’t out trying to find them for you.
17 – Ask the hospital for stuff before you leave (more pads, peri bottle, undies). Let them help stock you up! But also along this note, be prepped for postpartum before you get home. Have pads ordered, nipple creams, etc. at home – Amazon 2-day shipping won’t be fast enough!
18 – Have the nurses help you with the car seat. We had no idea how tight it should be so let them help! Also, we learned the car seat straps really can’t be tight enough.
19 – Your boobs and nipples are going to really hurt. Lanolin cream really helped in the beginning. You’ll also want nipple pads so your nipples don’t get stuck to your bra. The hospital can send home some disposable nipple pads so don’t be afraid to ask for those either.
20 – In the early days of breastfeeding, you might find comfort in heating before feeding and icing after. Your breasts will go through many phases, but there will come a time when your nipples won’t ache and your breasts won’t be rocks. Also, don’t be shy to call the Lactation line or your OB – they are an amazing resource! I probably called at least once a week for the first month of postpartum.
21 – Once I got home, I tried to shower at least once a day (sometimes even twice) to help with the pain on my bottom. We have a removable shower head that worked wonders on healing! I’m sure a bath would do the same.
22 – Love your body! I have never loved my body more! Delivering is a miracle! Celebrate your body for accomplishing this and be kind to it. You look great, Mama!
23 – So many things will happen that you’ll question (is that a red spot on my breast, my baby’s not burping, why am I still bleeding, etc.) so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Chances are, everything is fine and normal but for your ease of mind, ask the nurses/doctors.
24 – Things will get better! You will breastfeed better, change diapers faster, sleep longer, and get out of the house sooner. It just takes time but you will get there!
25 – Let me know if there’s anything you need! Postpartum is hard, and there seems to be more surprises than actually delivering! I am no expert but I’m a great listener and can share my experiences so please let me know if you need anything. You got this, Mama!