I see so many posts from new mommies in my news feeds, and see how much they are struggling with NO sleep, in addition to a newborn. Reminiscing about this makes me yawn…literally.
I remember like it was yesterday, being 40 weeks pregnant, miserable, and thinking, “I just want her out already!” Like, if I would actually be able to sleep when she does come out! Oh boy, was I wrong!
I feel like no one really told me or prepared me for the “after-birth misery” you will go through for the first couple weeks, even longer for some. I mean come on Mom? Sister? & all my friends that have kids. Why oh why did you not prepare me for all of this?! or the fact that I too would be leaving the hospital with a diaper on. Ugh!
So, I decided to share my experience with you, not to scare, but to inform. I had a vaginal delivery and this was my experience:
1. The Bloody Mess
I mean, it just never stopped. I felt like all my missed periods for the past ten months were finally getting their release. Trying to go to the restroom, and sitting down like a normal person, were not happening. I wish I had just bought adult diapers instead of the HUGE hospital pads they give you, as they do not really stay in place anyway. So ladies, buy some diapers instead of ruining all your pretty panties. Also, I recommend buying a couple bottles of ‘Dermaplast Cooling Pain Relief’., as it was a lifesaver. I went through the bottle they gave me in two days at the hospital. Also, I would recommend getting a ‘Perineal Irrigation Bottle’ if your hospital doesn’t send you home with one. You will need to fill it with warm water and spray clean off all the excessive pieces and blood coming out of you…gross, I know. Every time I sprayed I gave a sigh of relief. I just rinsed, sprayed and used ‘Tucks’ every time. I didn’t even bother looking down there for about a month!
2. The Belly
It was like she never left; my stomach was still big and swollen. The worst part was the nurses kept coming in to push down on it and move it around, like a reminder that yes, my belly was still there and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. No need to worry! It will eventually go down. I used a waist trainer for the first couple months after to help boost my confidence, and to make it shrink down in size faster. There are tons of them out there now, including my favorite body hugger from Spanx. I would definitely recommend getting one that opens in the front for breastfeeding and helps keep things in place until the swelling goes down. Also, DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT try to put on any of your pre-baby clothes yet; stick to wearing your pregnancy clothes and workout clothes for about a month; you will thank me later!
3. Breastfeeding and Latching
This was probably the most difficult thing I had to encounter with her. It was very hard for her to latch on at first and this involved many, many attempts at trying. Later, I became extremely sore with swollen nipples that started to crack and bleed. It was rough but they said it would eventually heal and go away. Your boobs become “the hulks”, as I liked to call it, when they become engorged. I had no idea this was going to happen, nor did I know how to stop it at the time, until I started to pump with my ‘Medela System Pump’. It is rather pricey, so I would recommend first having your insurance company see if they will cover you for the hospital pump which is just as good. I was literally a slave to the pump, waking up every two hours to pump and feed, with many attempts at trying to latch having failed. I was just happy she was okay with taking the bottle, and so were my chapped, cracked, bleeding nipples. My boobs were like ticking time bombs, ready to go off any time she was hungry or a baby was crying nearby. It is actually kind of crazy how our bodies adapt and know when it is feeding time. Even when Daddy would take her for the night so I could get a full night’s rest, it was never a full night. Every two hours “the hulks” were always ready to go and leaking everywhere if I didn’t get up to pump.
What also helped when I was engorged was taking a long warm shower and just massaging in circular motion to relive the pressure. Also, Applying heat before feeding and cold compress after. I used these two products for help Lansinoh Thera Pearl 3-in-1 for heat/cool & Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads for extra soothing after the cooling. I can go on forever about this subject, but I will leave that for another post. lol
4. Is She Breathing?
I feel like I hear this from every mother, “Your first one is always hard.” But, I have a feeling I will still do this with the next one also. She was perfect, she would literally just eat, sleep and poop. I always knew what was wrong with her. With a little help from the Pampers Swaddlers’ “blue line detection”, I knew when she needed changing. It wasn’t she that was the issue, it was my constant need to just stare at her for hours after feeding or when I swaddled her to check if she was breathing okay. By the time I was actually okay with her sleeping fine, two hours had already passed and she was ready to wake up and be fed and changed.
5. Hormone Imbalance (PPD) & Baby Blues
Where should I even begin? I feel like this is a subject that should always be brought up and discussed among all moms, especially new moms, regularly. I feel like most women are a little scared about talking about it, but you shouldn’t be. Our bodies are changing, especially our hormones, which are trying to adjust after just giving birth. You will go through many ups and downs as you recover. The “Baby Blues”, as they like to call it, include random crying outbursts, over-exhaustion and sometimes feelings of loneliness from your significant other. It should eventually pass, as did mine, but you have to remember, it is not you, it is your hormones. I can remember thinking to myself, “He doesn’t love me anymore,” when in reality, all he did was show me how much he loved me and how proud and happy he was to be a father. I was hesitant to bring it up to him at first, but I am very thankful that he did his research about it. He brought it up right away because he felt something was wrong and I was not being myself with him. Not only did that make me feel at ease that I was able to open up, but he also reminded me that it was the hormones, not me, and there is an imbalance we go through after giving birth that is normal. Communication is very crucial at this time; opening up about it to him, friends and family helped me tremendously.
If those feelings do not go away after a month or so, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. I have seen friends deal with postpartum depression and because of this, I tend to be aware of the signs. It is okay to ask for help. Postpartum depression is not something that goes away on its own; you need to seek medical help. Here is a link with more advice ‘PPD & Baby blue’
So, between the recovery, breastfeeding obstacles, adjusting to the new mommy schedule and the hormonal imbalance that leaves you about one hour to sleep, it is tough but, we are tough and adjust, and make it work. Because, at the end of that sleepless day/night you just had, there is always that moment when you are sitting there, holding your little one in your arms. The one that YOU created. The one that you have been dying to meet for ten months. That newfound unconditional love that you never knew existed until now. It is called motherhood. The greatest gift is life, and you created it. I still to this day look at her and think, “Thank you for choosing me as your mommy.”
Nobody said motherhood was going to be easy, but now you have mom blogs to provide you some advice along the way. What were some things that helped get you through the first couple weeks?
Also, please share and tag all new mommies & moms to be. Give them a little heads up. I hope you enjoyed, thank you for reading! #PBDBirthstories #Princessbabydiary