Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Post Birth. Ten Things You Need To Know

I considered myself pretty read up on birth. I had done antenatal classes, a hypnobirthing course (don't get me started on that). I spent my pregnancy working for a baby magazine for goodness sake but I still had it largely in my mind that birth, however long it takes, ends when the baby exits your body in one way or another at which point you pack up your bags and take your baby home to work on the next challenge; Sleeping Through The Night. There may have been a vague notion that there would be something resembling a heavy period so to pack
some pads and a few pairs of big knickers, but nothing more. So the realities of the days in hospital (and weeks at home) that followed her arrival earth side came as quite a surprise. It's all a distant memory now and it passes so quickly but I'm throwing my dignity aside and honestly sharing some of the things that I learnt because although not everything happens to everyone, if just one of these tips helps someone I've done my (self-appointed) job. 

1. It might help to know that you may need to pop your dignity in a box with that wedding ring that your fingers are far too puffy for. You'll get both back but it might take a little time.


2. You still have a tum. A pretty big one, so you'll need loose clothing to go home in, at the same time you'll want to support your abdomen for fear of all of your organs falling out (they didn't). I favoured my loose maternity yoga pants which had a big band to gently hug what was left of the bump. 

3. Your belly has a really unusual texture, almost as if there is a layer of jelly under the skin. I couldn't touch it for ages. And that's ok. When you can, keep lathering on that stretch mark cream, the skin has been through a lot, mine was really dry, it needs some love. 

4. There will be blood. It's called Lochia, you've probably heard about it, it's like a heavy period that flows for a few weeks (up to six weeks) post birth. It's heavier at the start and if you're anything like me, a maternity pad in some oversized knickers is not going to cut it. Jump aboard the adult nappy wagon and be done with it. See what I mean about your dignity? I didn't take any with me but by the second day I had sent Tom out for Tena pull-ups (and more chocolate). 

5. There might be clots, especially if you're bed bound in hospital for the first few days, when you stand up the blobs that fall out can be alarming. Check with the midwife if you're worried, they  have seen it ALL before and would rather you got them to check. 

6. There may be stitches. G came out of the standard route but the docs had to cut to get their salad servers in. They heal very quickly but until they do, pouring warm water over while you wee stops the sting. Oh, and keep the stitches dry, a hairdryer on a cool setting after you shower or use the loo does the trick. If you're still in hospital take a mini fan into the loo to get some air around the area before you pull up your pull-ups! And dab with kitchen roll or hand tissues not loo roll, the thicker stuff doesn't stick! 

7. Feed the baby. It might seem obvious but nobody came around to tell us it's time to feed or how long for, the midwives respect for our privacy led to a bit of a malnourished baby. Do your research first and if you're breastfeeding don't be embarrassed to ask the midwife to check your latch. There's no reason why you should know how a successfully feeding baby should feel (I did not)!

8. The first number two (sorry guys, but nobody told me) seems terrifying. In reality its not too bad but if you have any tendency towards constipation a good few swigs of Lactulose may help soften the blow (sorry, sorry, sorry). And go! As soon as you feel the urge, don't stock them up. Ahh the benefits of hindsight. 

9. Shower. As soon as you feel ready, actually, before you feel ready. You'll feel so much better, even if it does take every ounce of energy and you need to take someone in with you to help wash your hair! 

10. Eat! Now is not the time to start dieting, you'll need the energy to recover, your body has been through a lot and needs a good ol' re-fuel...and even more if you choose to breastfeed, so it's worth packing lots of snacks in your hospital bag, and having (moderately healthy) easy portions ready at home. 

I hope that's been helpful and not at all terrifying if you're pregnant (it's meant to prepare, not scare). If you're reading this as a mama, I'd love to know how many of these had you nodding? 

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2 comments

  1. All of this is so incredibly true. I am still surprised with all the antenatal classes that we went to, none of the above 'post birth' moments were even mentioned.

    I think I rang the midwife every day for the first 7 days... some days several times! It got to the point that the person at the end of the phone who initially answers got to know my name!!

    http://www.youmeandoui.co.uk

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  2. This is brilliantly written... I only wish someone had done this before I had my first baby!

    At least second time around I knew what was coming but nobody had mentioned the 'aftermath' to me as a first time Mum and my goodness, what a shock! And even though I did know what was coming second time round, the reality is also quite different to the rose tinted memory too(!)

    I try to share with my 'soon to be a mama' friends as I feel like it's always good to be in the know so that you can keep all bases... well, covered so to speak 🙊.

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