Thursday, November 29, 2012

Labor, Delivery, and Newborn Surprises

As I've reflected on the birth of my baby and our first month together, there are a lot of things that have happened that I didn't expect. Here's my list of things I learned about labor, delivery, and those early days with a newborn that no one really warned me about....

1. If you have a c-section, be prepared to be covered in tape and sticky tape residue. I think I was about 3 weeks postpartum when I finally realized that I wasn't scrubbing tape residue off in the shower anymore. It didn't matter how hard I scrubbed, I kept finding more sticky stuff all over me.

2. It's normal to be REALLY hot after the baby is born. And there's a good chance that will continue for weeks after the baby is here. I am constantly sweating these days. Hormones + pain drugs can do some crazy things to you.

3. Those pain drugs they send you home with after a c-section aren't just for a c-section incision; you may end up taking them to relieve back and neck pain. The pain in my neck and back those first 3 weeks of nursing was awful. You may also need that heating pad that become so handy in the third trimester.

4. If you nurse, you might feel like you live in a swamp. I am always covered in milk. On more than one occasion, I've woken up just soaked. And disposable breast pads work way better than the reusable ones.

5. If you do any pushing at all in labor, even if you end up having a c-section, ask for ice when you're in recovery. Trust me on this one. No one offered me ice since my chart said "c-section," so I didn't get any until 48 hours after her birth when a friend told me I needed to ask for it. What a difference that made. It would have been nice if I had gotten it earlier.

6. The hospital is a funny place. So many people come in to see and check on you, and they all represent a different "camp." The OB is looking out for you and your health. The pediatrician is there for baby. The lactation consultant only cares about successful breast feeding. The nurses all vary. This makes it hard because you can ask them all the same question and get completely different answers from each person. I guess what I learned was I need to go with my gut.


  1. Thiis makes me sooo happy I am through with all the early on postpartum stuff. It sucks! And I remember for at least a couple weeks waking up drenched from night sweats. Yuck! I feel getting back to your "normal" semi-healed self was harder than the delivery in the end, but it does happen :)

  2. I sleep with a burp cloth tucked in my nursing bra.

  3. I totally forgot about those night sweats! I would wake up almost drenched!
    And the heating pad was amazing for me through that first couple of months. I took awhile to heal from tearing since I opted out of stitches (since I had no epidural, once I was done with the birth and was asked if I would rather have stitches or just take a little longer to heal, I was like, "DON'T TOUCH ME")
    :) So many new things! Hope you're feeling like an awesome mom, because you ARE, I'm sure of it!

  4. Oh man, I'd already forgotten about the tape. I finally just gave up. I think I still had some left on me at my 8 week PP checkup.

  5. haha I remember scribbing the sticky tape reside off of my back from my epidural. It took days and was a pain in the butt!

    Omg I do not miss the excessive sweating! I'd wake up soaked in sweat (and breastmilk) all the time. Disgusting. I'm 18 months postpartum and I still feel like I run warmer than I did before I had a baby, but I don't wake up drenched in sweat anymore.

    Have you tried Lily Padz for nursing? I freakin loved those and will use them with the next baby. They stick to your chest and are reusable. Even when they didn't feel sticky anymore, they still stuck to my girls. I did have to stuff a burp cloth down the other side while I was nursing because I'd let down on both sides and leak, but otherwise they were great. They were the only nursing pads that didn't irritate my already sensitive girls.

  6. totally agree with you on the 35621 different opinions that you will get, and going with your gut

  7. Those reusable pads are useless....ive never been covered in so much milk as i was the night i wore those to bed, lets be real and call it what it is....a nap.

  8. Thanks for the post. So.. one question when it comes to c-sections.
    Is it true that it's probably best to get a brazilian wax beforehand if you think you might have to have one? I heard unpleasant things...

  9. I'm so glad you've shared all of this. I want to have a baby but I'm scared!!! Hearing real stories always helps!

  10. I still had sticky crap on me for seriously like 3 months after Manning was born. Since D was a planned c-section, my MIL (a nurse) thought to bring me some stuff they use in hospitals and it came off in my first shower. WHY DON'T THEY SEND THAT HOME WITH US!?

    Also, have you tried the rubbery things that you can use instead of breastpads? They helped me not leak AT ALL over night. LOVED them.

  11. I remember being being covered in breastmilk for months. Jack was a messy eater and I felt like it would get everywhere. Luckily, my supply isn't as crazy as it was in the beginning and Jack has adjusted to nursing. Although, I still have to clean milk and spit up off of our leather chair quite frequently.