Friday, March 25, 2011

The Things They Don't Tell You, the FINAL part

As I've written these posts, I just keep thinking of more and more things to include. I never imagined this would take five segments. But here we are at number five! These final ten will be specifically related to after labor & delivery and through the postpartum period.

41) Standing may be difficult for the first time, particularly if you've had an epidural or C-section. Ask for help! You definitely don't want to end up on the floor. You've had enough trauma for one day.

42) Going to the bathroom may be difficult for the first few times, even just urinating.

43) Take any and all stool softeners the hospital gives you. If they don't give you any, find some. Take as many as you can, drink plenty of water and juice and eat lot of fiber. It's important to do as much of this as possible to avoid hemorrhoids, if you don't already have them, and anal fissures. Trust me, you don't want to go there.

44) You will have period-like bleeding for several weeks (up to 6!) after the baby is born. Believe it or not, everyone doesn't realize this in advance.

45) Use the pads and panties the hospital provides you. They are much more absorbent than ones at home and when you're done with the panties, you throw them away. You don't want to ruin anything nice of your own if you leak.

46) If you tore and now have stitches, the hospital should provide you with ice packs and/or a numbing lidocaine spray to help ease the pain and swelling. My hospital had pads with ice packs built into them and they were amazing. Using the two in combination was very relieving.

47) Standing for extended periods of time after you've given birth may lead to pain in the vaginal/perineum area. In my experience, this lasted for nearly a year. It's a rather dull pain, but it's there.

48) Your bladder control will take a while to return. You've probably heard your mom say that she still pees every time she sneezes. You may have this problem and you may not. It got better with time for me, but returned again about as soon as I found out I was pregnant again. This may be a problem during vomiting, as well.

49) You're going to have the "baby blues" for a few days, at least. With all the rush of hormones and the time it takes for them to level out, you're probably going to feel emotionally unstable for a while. For some people, it's a few days. If you have any of the following symptoms, you need to contact your doctor:
  • Your depressed feelings haven't gone away after two weeks.
  • Your depression symptoms are getting worse.
  • You've developed strong feelings of anger or sadness.
  • It's hard for you to perform daily tasks.
  • You are having trouble caring for yourself or your baby.
  • You are having thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby.
  • You are seeing or hearing things that aren't there, or you are feeling confused.
  • You are having rapid mood swings.
Remember, these feelings are normal, but you may still need help.

50) Breastfeeding is not easy. If you're planning to breastfeed, take advantage of the lactation consultants or knowledgeable nurses at the hospital to make sure things are going well. This is the best opportunity you're going to get for help, so make the most of it.

51) It's okay to not allow a thousand people to come visit you at the hospital or at home. You need this time to adjust and get the hang of things. People can wait. Sometimes, this means not answering the door when someone knocks or not picking up every phone call. I've read others suggest changing your voicemail/answering machine to a message that reflects your need for some privacy right now. That's okay!

52) If you have visitors but it's time to nurse your baby, it's okay to ask them to leave or wait in the waiting room until your done. You're new at this. You don't need to feel like you have to nurse in a room full of people and you certainly don't want to miss a feeding time. It's important to keep nursing regularly, even before your milk comes in, to help establish your supply.

And one last piece of "knowledge": Everyone has different experiences when it comes to pregnancy, labor & delivery and the recovery period. If you have questions about what's going on, ask someone! Sometimes it seems embarrassing to discuss things related to this, but you need to get the right information to help you in the process. Don't be afraid to ask!

And with that, I think we're done!! I'm sure there's plenty more that could be said, but this will have to suffice. I hope you've enjoyed reading them.

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