*Warning: This post is about giving birth, I use the word vagina, and I talk about boobs. If you can’t handle it, don’t read it.*
No, I’m not having a baby any time soon, BUT…I have several friends who have recently had one or who are going to have one in the next few months and I have been asked many a time, “tell me about what happens.” So, I’m now writing it down formally.
I had some helpful hints when I was getting ready for that big delivery day, but no one really ever broke it down for me until after I asked questions postpartum. It was nice to know I wasn’t the only one who felt like my va-jay-jay was going to bottom out and fall down after giving birth, but it would have been nice to know beforehand so I didn’t think I was totally destroyed. TMI, told you this post wasn’t for the faint of heart!
First things first: Every birth is different. Every baby is different. Every recovery is different. I’m simply telling the things that I felt or what helped me, but as I always say, you have to do what’s best for you, your new family, and most importantly, that new babe.
Alright, now that we have that out of the way…labor…if it’s your first time, you won’t know what to expect, no one can describe it correctly, but you’ll know when it’s time. Trust me. And, do whatever the heck birth you are excited about. If you want to go au natural, do it. Know you can, because you’re strong, and that intense pain is fleeting. If you want an epidural, do it. Yes, people are “no, it’s bad for the baby…” or “you’re a wuss,” but if you don’t think you can go without it and enjoy the experience, get one. Enjoy the experience. If you have to be induced (I did!) don’t worry about it. You’re not a failure because of it. And if you’re like me and have to be induced and then get an epidural, know you’re just as strong. Fist bump to myself, I lasted six hours on pitocin…six hours. SIX HOURS. My contractions for that whole time were the same level as the transition phase of labor. So yeah, I got an epidural. And yes, I’m still quite proud of my strength in spite of it. And, if you need a c-section, who cares. You’re having a baby for crying out loud, who cares how you get to meet it!
Let’s move on to breastfeeding. Can we talk about how difficult it is to dress as a nursing mom? Holy cow. I have no idea how you’re supposed to remain clothed while whipping your boob out and holding a flailing baby. Nursing clothes are ugly, but non-nursing clothes are just inconvenient. However, I did find some luck at Target and H&M, but keep in mind, my girls are little, so if you’re a bit more blessed in the chest, you may want to consider spending some more money for a better nursing bra. Also, DO NOT wear underwire for the first few weeks. Your boobs will be doing crazy things and that darn wire will just get in the way of their ebb and flow. Also, I didn’t get any stretch marks with Judah, but my boobs, definitely. Watch out for that when your milk arrives.
If you’re breastfeeding, it hurts. It hurts terribly for quite a while. But stick it out, you can do it. And, if you decide formula is your way to go, there is nothing wrong with that, and don’t let people tell you otherwise. Your child won’t be any less because of it. Yes, I loved breastfeeding (most of the time) and I think it’s great for the kiddos, but sometimes, it’s not practical, you don’t have milk, etc., etc. The most important thing is to feed that baby.
Okay, lets talk postpartum care for moms. If you don’t take anything else away from this blog post, please heed this warning: WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T LOOK AT YOUR VAG. Just don’t do it. Spare yourself. You just had a tiny human come out of there, it’s not going to look normal.
Take it all from the hospital. Stuff the diapers, wipes, A&D ointment, booger suckers in that diaper bag and take it all. If you don’t end up using it, donate it to someone who will.
Get a sitz bath. They can be found at any drug store (CVS, Walgreens, Target, etc.) and are tiny toilet-shaped miracle workers.
Use tux pads. Don’t use regular TP for a while. Tux pads are the way to go. Take tons from the hospital and then buy yourself some more at the store. They can be found by the hemorrhoid cream–and you might want to pick up some of that while you’re at it.
Wear loose pants. I don’t care what celebrity mom you saw last week who was running around in skinny jeans two days after having a baby. Guaranteed she paid a pretty penny to have someone design sweatpants to look like denim replicas for her public appearance. And don’t you feel bad if you need to wear yoga pants, leggings, or your husbands basketball shorts for several weeks postpartum. There is no pressure to return to “your old body” in a matter of days. And anyone who thinks so has clearly never had a baby.
Give yourself time. You carried a baby for nine months. For nine months your body grew. You’re not going to bounce back the next day. It took me a good two weeks to feel decently normal and not wince every time I walked somewhere. And, to not feel like my vagina was going to fall to the floor. Some people bounce back faster, others it takes months. Don’t get down on yourself. You will get there.
Your belly is crazy. Your stomach is pretty nuts feeling after you have a baby. It’s like loose jello. It’s a strange feeling. Kinda grossed me out, but was also really funny, especially when something made you belly laugh, or cry. I wore my belly band around mine to help it contract, and I also needed to wear the belly band to fit into pants that weren’t sweats once I was okay enough to put those on.
It’s complicated. So most people say you’re supposed to have this euphoric connection with your little baby as soon as they are laid on your chest. It happens for lots of moms, but for others, it takes a while. Yes, they love their child, but it takes a few days or even weeks for that indescribable connection to occur. That’s okay. If you begin to have ill feelings about your child, talk to your doctor. And, if you do, you’re not a monster. Child birth is a hard thing and it does all kinds of weirdness to your body. This too shall pass.
On that same note, sometimes it takes the dads a bit of time to bond too. Don’t get down on him for it, just remember you’ve had nine months to physically connect with your little bean, he’s just now getting that.
Hormones are nuts. I cried once peeling potatoes in my kitchen. Balled my eyes out. I cannot tell you why, but boy did I weep. And then I started laughing like a crazy person because I was crying about potatoes. Poor Kyle. If this happens to you, don’t worry, you will get back to normal.
Think for your family. Everyone is going to come at you and say, “oh do this.” Or, “they need to eat.” Or, “she’s been sleeping too long.” YOU know whats best for your baby. Ask for suggestions if you need them, but at the end of the day, trust that parental instinct.
Don’t compare. Everyone is different, and every baby is different. I think the worst thing Kyle and I did when we had Judah was to compare him and ourselves to other babies and parents in similar stages. Just don’t do it. It’s a nasty game, and it doesn’t bring any good.
It’s okay to not know what’s going on. Sometimes you just have to take it moment by moment, and that’s perfectly fine.
Happy birthing, friends! Can’t wait to meet your little babies 😉