So, now that I have been officially a mom for…oh…10 days, I wanted to reflect on the things that surprised me the most about labor and those first few days home with a baby. People tell you so many different things, heck there is even a book about “what to expect” but I guess there are always things to learn from your own experience. So, here they are in no particular order:
- Your labor and delivery nurse is a very important person. I didn’t realize that she was going to be with us the WHOLE time. If you are fortunate enough to not cross over a shift change, that person will take you from the beginning to the end. I feel grateful that ours was so supportive and positive. She had a very calm nature and answered all our questions about the process. When we started pushing, it was just Joe, me, and the nurse. The doctor really doesn’t come in until the last part of the event.
- I didn’t realize how difficult the postpartum recovery period would be. Especially those first few days at the hospital. I’m sure it may be different for other women, but I just didn’t realize how sore I would be and how painful my episiotomy site would be, especially when changing position, sitting, walking, or standing. I always thought the labor was the hard part, but I didn’t realize how my body really needed to “recover.”
- Having a baby can actually be peaceful. Sure, there are moments of excitement and anxiety. But, we had some moments of serrenity as we went through the different stages. Movies paint birth as frantic, scary, and hectic, and at times it is those things, but not all those things all the time. I just remember watching the rainstorm through our room window and thinking what a neat moment that was…a summer rain in July on the day my son was to be born.
- Wow…hormones! Pregnancy hormones have nothing on postpartum hormones. Crazy sweating at night, crying because you are happy, crying because you are tired, crying because you hurt, crying because you love that baby so much.
- If I thought pregnancy boobs were an upgrade, breastfeeding boobs are a deluxe upgrade. I was really looking forward to sleeping on my stomach again, but the boobs have complicated that.
- I didn’t realize how much you would NEED your partner. That first night we tried to breastfeed without the nurse, it took both my hands and Joe’s hands plus 5 or 6 attempts to get the baby latched on. I told Joe I felt bad that he had to take care of two patients…Jude and me. I don’t know how people do this solo. Joe has been amazing, taking care of my needs and Jude’s needs. I want to give him a thousand gold stars for being such an awesome dad and husband.
- Accept the help! I normally want to do everything on my own, but I quickly realized that mentally and physically I can’t. I am thankful to all the people who have done even the smallest of things, and especially grateful to Joe and Mom who have done the bulk.