This summer I am preparing for childbirth and it will be my 4th time. I thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane and share with you 10 Things I wish someone had told me about childbirth. If you want the light & humorous version, just watch this video I recorded today:
Preparing for Childbirth: 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Labor and Delivery
Here are some things I wish I had known when I was preparing for Childbirth
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Breastfeeding can be really hard…but it doesn't stay that way
As much as I thought I was preparing for childbirth, nothing prepared me for breastfeeding. Every single time. And every single time I saw a lactation specialist, and I did a lot of things to try to make it easier, but it was just plain hard. And every time I cried to my husband and said, “I'm done with this!”
But I'm so glad I hung in there. And I'm so glad my husband reminded me again and again that I could do it! Because once your body adjusts and baby stops sleeping all day, it really does get so much easier. And we all know how great the benefits are. Mothers milk is freaking magic potion, and does so many miraculous things.
That being said, if you find yourself needing to formula-feed (whether for health purposes or by personal choice), don't you let anyone else shame you.
Don't buy a breast pump, you can likely get one for FREE
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, not only can you probably get a breast pump for free through your insurance, but there is a really cool company that will do all the work to get you approved, so that you don't have to worry about trying to figure out the ins and outs of health insurance claims.
You can't eat during labor
Yep, this one is a bummer. Especially since I didn't know when my doctor sent me to the hospital to be monitored, that they would be keeping me there and inducing me. I hadn't eaten all night, and then I went all day laboring without food. I was super weak and I passed out after giving birth. Not cool. Now I Gorge my freaking face on the way to the hospital.
Labor Might Take a FULL DAY
First time labors can take quite awhile, especially if you have to be induced for some reason. Mine was 19 hours. Take some movies. I ended up asking my sister to run to the store for some card games. Some will tell you that you won't use them, but I would at least be prepared with something to entertain yourself in case you are in for a long day. Try to nap of course, but if you are like me, the knowledge that I was about to give birth for the first time kind of kept me awake.
This is your birth, so don't be bashful about speaking your wishes. With my first, they took her away to wash her and weigh her before I got to hold her. I really wish that I had been more vocal about wanting immediate skin-to-skin. There may be medical emergencies that keep you from having your wishes, but otherwise speak up. It really made a difference in my breastfeeding experience with my other two, to have immediate skin-to-skin and breastfeeding.
Your “Birth Plan” Might Not Go As Planned
My First 2 births were medicated exactly as I planned. I had heard people say, “you should prepare for a natural birth just in case,” but my mind was so focused on that beautiful epidural that I didn't listen.
As luck would have it, my 3rd epidural for baby #3 only worked on one side. And I wished I was a little more prepared. Luckily, I had a little bit of background with Hypnobabies because of my sister's natural birth, so that helped me greatly with breathing through my contractions, but you better bet your bottom I'm going to take the full training this time.
Oh, and I'm totally going natural this time. Because if I had to choose between a natural birth or an epidural that only worked partially, I would have preferred the natural birth.
There's no “Wrong way” to have a baby
If things don't go exactly how you want, don't be hard on yourself and don't get anxiety over the details. The one important thing is getting baby here safely. That's all that really matters in the end.
Someone will watch you pee afterwards
Yes, this is true. A nurse will likely follow you to the bathroom to make sure you can pee after birth, but also to show you how to properly clean yourself for the next several days (hint: no wiping). Not only that, but you will also be given some sexy, mesh underwear and the biggest, thickest, longest pads you have ever seen and nurses will come in and check “down there” to make sure your bleeding is under control. Tip: Make sure you take some of those pads home with you. Postpartum bleeding is a whole new animal.
You might be bigger rather than smaller when you leave the hospital
I wasn't expecting this, because I figured after giving birth I could only get smaller in size, right? Wrong. Your hips might play a little trick on you. They loosen and widen to give birth to your baby, and it might take a while before you get back to normal. So whatever you bring to wear home, make sure it has a stretchy waist (I recommend something comfy like sweatpants).
Don't Bring Pants
Speaking of pants, ONLY bring your sweatpants for the ride home. They won't be needed in the hospital (this includes pajama bottoms). With all the checks that the nurses do, you are going to want easy access….meaning nursing gowns or robes. Save the pants for when you get home.
Preparing for childbirth: Pack Wisely
New moms often make the mistake of packing way more than they needed, and hospital rooms are exactly spacious. Make sure you read our post on what the pack in your hospital bag by the time you are in the 3rd trimester.
Take Advantage of the Nursery
Don't feel guilty about sending your baby to the nursery overnight so that you can sleep, you won't be sleeping for the next year! The next few days at home are going to be exhausting enough, start the experience off right by allowing your body to recover from giving birth. You will never have the offer again, so take advantage of the opportunity to have a team of medical professionals watching over your baby for you.
Homemade Disposable Ice Packs
Pampers diapers make for great disposable ice packs to ease the soreness after delivery. Just pull apart the end with the Velcro, fill with ice cubes, roll over the end and use the Velcro tabs to secure. The diaper’s absorbency catches the melting ice and any discharge. I loved this trick. Amazon also has some amazing postpartum ice pad options that are good to have handy when you get home.
What are your best tips for preparing for childbirth?