What did you wish you knew before giving birth?

posted 3 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 2
Member
960 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015 - Historic Chapel

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kiram :  I wish I would have eaten something before heading to the hopital as they did not let me eat at all. My contractions started slowly at like 4am, started getting painfull by 8am and by 11am I was at the hospital. Hadn’t eaten anything since the night before. After they broke my water I started throwing up and then literally had nothing in my stomach. I didn’t give birth till 7pm and I was so weak when it was time to push! This time around I’m making sure I eat something before heading to the hospital!

Post # 3
Member
9430 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

if you want to bf or are having any issues, make sure the LC works with you when baby is awake before leaving the hospital.

the LC popped into my room once, but DS wasn’t awake and she was in a rush to be somewhere else.  i tried tracking her down a few times and we never connected.

Post # 4
Member
2763 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I wish I’d known…a whole bunch of stuff but I’ll try to be succinct here @kiram

1. No matter what kind of birth experience you have, you will heal from it.

I don’t know about you, but I was terrified about tearing, episiotomies, the ring of fire, vaginal prolapse, emergency C-sections, scars, internal scar tissue, postpartum sex, what will I look like afterwards… Nothing will really matter in the long run. If you tear a little, you will heal. If you tear a lot, you will heal. If they have to open you up to bring your baby into this world, you will heal. Whatever happens, you will heal. Your body will begin repairing itself immediately and anything that it needs help with later – you can find that help and finish healing.

2. Anything that you “miss out” on won’t truly matter in the long run. 

So if you wanted a vaginal delivery and ended up having a cesarean…it’ll be irrelevant to you and your baby. If you miss out on skin to skin contact immediately after delivery, you can still do that (and get the benefits) afterwards. Skin to skin during feedings, naps, tummy time on your chest (or your partner’s), etc, etc. if you miss out on getting your baby to latch on immediately and begin breastfeeding…guess what? You can still breastfeed and you’ll end up figuring it out together. If you wanted a water birth and end up not making it to the tub…it’ll be ok. If you wanted to be in the hospital and end up having a home birth, you and your baby will be ok. The list goes on and on ok?

3. Regardless of whether you went to all of the birthing classes, or none of them, if you memorized all of the phases of labor and the proper terms and and and…that baby will be born one way or another. Meaning, don’t stress out about it. 

4. Most importantly, I would’ve wanted to know I should’ve been preparing for the first YEAR postpartum. No matter how long, easy, difficult, or cool your baby’s birthing process ends up being…it’s only for a few hours and then it’s over. 

I should’ve been looking into all kinds of resources for the first year: a postpartum doula (so I’d have someone who could come to my house and help me by taking the baby off my hands while I finally went to pee, or drank water or washed my hair), a breastfeeding support group (if you’re planning on doing that), lactation consultants outside of the hospital setting, a postpartum moms therapy/playgroup/peer counseling/whatever group, parenting classes, mom groups that meet in parks or go on hikes (I.e. Hike It Baby) to have activities with other overwhelmed and sleep deprived parents, a pelvic floor specialist in my town (physiotherapists specializing in things like vaginal myofascial release, pelvic floor strength, etc), food delivery services for the early days, seeing if you can send out your laundry to be done (or a family member/friend who can help you at first), grocery delivery/curbside services, a good counselor/psychotherapist /psychologist whom you screen before you need him/her (kinda the way you’ve interviewed pediatricians by now), etc.

5. Finally, and this is my very own personal opinion that your baby is an active participant on his/her birthing day. Taking forever? Ok kid, you need more time. Coming on fast? Ok kid, I’m ready for you. 2 weeks early/late? Gotcha baby. Birthing is not something that happens TO babies, I think. I’m kinda of the opposite opinion now. We moms are along for the ride for whatever birthing experience our children need/want and they’re very much in the driver’s seat.

 Oh and, 6. You will see yourself AND your partner/spouse in a completely new and different way. 

7. Your world will tilt on its axis one day when you see your baby. It might not happen at birth. It might not even happen 6 weeks later. But ONE day you will see him/her and your entire worldview will shift. It’ll be awesome.

 

You’ve got this mama. 

 

Post # 5
Member
8980 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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MrsHarryDresden :  awesome list! I would only add that it is OK to mourn if things don’t go the way you wanted during the birth. It will be ok and you will move past those feelings but if you were hellbent on a vaginal and ended up c-section it is ok to be sad about it for a little while. Much of my labor and delivery went as I had hoped but it was 2.5 weeks early and because my daughter was in distress and I had hemorrhaged we didn’t get immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping which was very important to me. My husband didn’t get to cut the cord. We are both fine and I got over it, but I wasn’t emotionally ready for her to arrive and needed a little time to be disappointed that it didn’t all go according to plan so that I could move past it and see for myself that it really was ok. Eight weeks later and I’m learning to take things as they come a lot better, but be gentle on yourself and embrace the learning curve. 

Post # 6
Member
201 posts
Helper bee

I wish someone had told me how common jaundice is. I really had no clue. I also did not know about the different degrees of tearing when you give birth vaginally. I had a third degree tear and it was pretty painful and long to recover from. Our doctor told us that the recovery time was nearly the same as having had a C-section.

Also, do be kind to yourself after bringing home baby. Even taking a 10 minute shower is nice. Enjoy those things – being the best version of yourself will be the best thing you can do for your baby. I learned to be a lot more patient after having a child.

Post # 7
Member
47341 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

You do not need to carry your baby around with you 24 hours a day. They will survive if you put them down in the crib and go to the bathroom or take a shower.

Post # 8
Member
6887 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

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kiram : I wish I’d been consistent with kegels and perineal massage, just in case it kept me from tearing (only a 10% chance it would help and I only had 1st degree anyway but damn those tears stung).  

Someone above said they wished they’d eaten – well I had a smoothie that morning b/c I wanted to stick with liquids (I was already in labor) and I lost it all in my first really big contraction.  Yes I was starving, but eating certainly didn’t help me out!  

I wish I’d just gone straight for the epidural when I needed to – I tried an IV first and while it helped some, it wasn’t enough, might as well have skipped it.  Also apparently I started blathering about one of my students – technically a HIPAA violation though I have no recollection of it at all and I doubt it would be held against me.  I was in my right mind with the epidural.

I wish the midwife had mentioned that she wouldn’t be showing up until close to the end, say last 4-6 hours or so).  The nurses working with me were awesome but I just kept wondering where the heck she was!

My advice: don’t bother eating but definitely try for water all day long (another reason for the epidural – I couldn’t drink a thing until I had it and once I did, I chugged).  Be prepared to feel like you’re taking the world’s biggest dump and just go with it.  Work on deep breathing as much as possible – it was a lifesaver initially but by the end I couldn’t manage it, with all the bearing down I had a real problem catching my breath between contractions.  Weird one, but if you ask your husband to take some pics right after birth, be sure he lets you approve them before he sends them enthusiastically to family… he accidentally sent my mom a nipple shot and I have no idea if she forwarded to other family it without noticing.  I’m afraid to ask.  And as mentioned above, try not to let it get to you if things don’t go as planned – a happy, healthy baby is all you could desire in the long run.  My birth went well but my little guy had to spend a week in NICU on antibiotics and blue lights.  Disappointing yes and my husband thinks the antibiotics were unnecessary but better safe than sorry! I could wait a week to get him home if it meant he came home!

Mine will be 3 weeks old just before midnight tonight, so I can’t give much more advice than that… we’re still learning!

Post # 9
Member
1955 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Like a pp said- there are two participants in your labor and birth: you and your baby. If you hoped for a certain birth but didn’t get it, don’t get down on yourself. Sometimes those babies don’t get the memo! I wanted a natural birth but my baby wouldn’t turn from posterior so I ended up needed pitocin and opted for an epidural after 26 hours of back labor but nothing I was doing was making my baby turn! As my midwife said, some babies just don’t read the handbook! 

I’ve read very conflicting opinions on birth plans but I totally think they’re vital. Although I didn’t get a natural birth, the staff really appreciated having my preferences written down and handy to them. Plus I learned a TON through writing it!!!

i wish I would have told the recovery nurse to leave me alone at night. We stayed two nights and they were in and out every couple hours. (Usually when baby was asleep!!! Which meant me waking up way more then necessary) I get it the first night but the second night was overkill. 

If something doesn’t feel right, push. Every LC that saw me said baby was latching perfectly but it was still hurting me. Through multiple LC’s and pediatrician we finally had a chiropractor diagnose a tounge tie. I would have quit breastfeeding if it wasn’t for her. 

Thats all I can think of for now. Good luck!!

Post # 10
Member
162 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

These are such thoughtful and amazing lists – and @MrsHarryDresden, you sound so cool. Your baby is lucky to have you as a mama!

Post # 11
Member
2062 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

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MrsHarryDresden :  this helped me for my future self. I’m really scared to ever actually be pregnant or give birth. I have to ask, does your lady part really change after giving birth and affect sex? I know they say it goes back to normal but does it really? You can decline to share if it’s Too Much Information. Its one of my many anxieties. My sister had an episiotomy and she was in so much pain she didn’t even want to move from one spot for the first couple of days. 

Post # 12
Member
1936 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I’m definitely of the “eat something substantial” team. My water broke when I sat down to eat lunch and didn’t finish. I didn’t eat until 7:30am the next morning because my daughter was born at 2am and the cafeteria was closed. I got really weak during pushing and I couldn’t sleep at all once all the activity was over because I was so insanely hungry. Like I ran a marathon and then couldn’t eat for 5 hours. I also wish we had brought snacks for that reason, to hold me over until the cafeteria opened.

I also would have gotten the epidural earlier. I tried to ride out as much as I could without it, but then it took almost 2 hours for the anesthesiologist to arrive after I asked for one. So the awful awful back labor I was having when I asked for it was 10x worse by his arrival. I swear he had a Halo and wings on when he walked in, I was in so much pain. Labor was blissful after he left! 

Post # 14
Member
2763 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

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lookingahead :  oh wow. After a very difficult day with my 8 month old teething cranky little monster angel baby your words were like a soothing balm. Legit – thank you. 

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DoubleD :  the short answer to your questions is yes. Yes my lady bits changed (when it’s your time, oh OP this applies to you too) don’t pull a MrsHD and pull out the mirror 2 weeks postpartum. Biggest freak out moment evar. Yes, it affected my sex life. Too Much Information warnings: My vulva now looks 98% the same as it used to (8 months afterwards) and sex has become better for me. After working for months with my pre and post natal yoga teacher I realized I had a hyperactive pelvic floor before childbirth so all of my muscles there were pretty much in a contracted state before. So when the teacher would say “ok stop the flow, contract the vaginal canal, engage the anal muscles…” (for pelvic floor work) I’d be like uhhhhh I can engage my glutes? And squeeze everything? 

Now i can isolate the different muscle groups and feel them work differently. So penetration is never an issue anymore for me, orgasms happen more when I ‘release’ instead of when I ‘build tension.’ Oh and I used to be prone to UTIs (probably cuz I wasn’t voiding my bladder completely from the same hyperactive contraction) and now I haven’t had one since childbirth! Thanks DS!!

Post # 15
Member
9808 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

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DoubleD :  I had an episiotomy with my first and my second I tore naturally but also a second degree tear (I believe episiotomy is a second degree).  I have not noticed any real difference now from before or after.  Right after things are definitely different but you’re meant to give birth through there and you’d be surprised how much things return to normal.  Usually the vagina might be a bit wider after giving birth but it’s really not too significant.  I could only tell you this is true because I had to size up in my menstraul cup.  The difference in the sizes is about 0.3cm so it’s not a big difference or anything.  After my first I found that I really never had cramps anymore with AF, so that was awesome.  Pelvic floor therapy can be important for women after birth though to strengthen those muscles after birth, not any different than needing to strengthen your core again.

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