I was fairly prepared to bring home our little one from the hospital, despite the fact that I hadn’t really done any reading to tell me what to expect. My plan was to go with my gut and the internet and hope for the best.
However, there were a few things that I wished I had known or been more prepared for. I know these don’t apply to everyone but I’m going to share anyway.
Our nursery was set up to go months in advance. I had a friend who had delivered a month early and she was totally unprepared. I vowed that wouldn’t happen to me. So the curtains were hung, the room was painted and everything was in its proper place. Then the baby arrived and I hardly set foot into the nursery for the first 4 months. We opted to have our little one with us (more on that later) to make life easier and the nursery became a dumping ground. Now, I’m certainly not saying don’t prepare but I am saying don’t freak out if it’s not ready. If you’re going to paint, I would definitely do that ahead of time but that baby of yours isn’t going to know if the curtains have been washed, ironed (no, I didn’t iron mine – I don’t iron) and are hanging with love.
Before our baby girl arrived, my husband didn’t understand why we needed to have the nursery all set up because our baby was going to be in our room for the first few months. I was all, “Oh nooo. She’ll only be with us for a month at the most.” Yeah, right. Baby girl was in our room for her first four months. We started out with her in the bassinet right next to my side of the bed. This way when she started crying at 3am (and 4am and 5am and 6am), I could just reach over and get her.* It made my life much easier.
Once she started sleeping better, we moved her a bit farther away but she was still in our room. It just seemed easier for those middle of the night feedings to not have to stumble down the hall. I had put a nightlight in our room that I would turn on when she woke up so I could see what was going on but not have to deal with some jarring light.
In baby girls fourth month we went on vacation and everything was out of whack. She didn’t sleep well that week, we didn’t sleep well that week, naps were all over the place – it was mayhem, I tell ya. Prior to that week though, she’d been doing much better at night so we vowed when we returned we’d move her to her own room. It didn’t make sense to put her back with us and then move her to her room at some point in the future – one change was good enough for us all. It still took a little while for her to sleep through the night but we all started sleeping better and if I did have to go down the hall to get her, it didn’t seem quite so daunting.
*Think twice about the “just reach over and get her” if you’ve had a c-section. It’s not so good on the incision…
I wasn’t in the least bit prepared for having a c-section. My pregnancy had been so normal, everything moving along as expected, the baby was head down, yada yada, it had never occurred to me that I’d end up having a c-section. Not once. As a result, I didn’t read a thing about them and didn’t know what to expect. I left the hospital with strict orders to take it easy, not to lift heavy objects, don’t use the stairs, accept all the help I could get, drink lots of water and sleep as much as I could. Ha, that’s good stuff. I live in a house with stairs and my room is upstairs. I don’t really understand the “take it easy” concept and I was TERRIBLE about accepting help from others. My husband was beside himself at all the things I was doing.
As a result of my inability to listen to instructions, I got an infection in my incision. And because of all the OB prescribed pain meds I was taking, I didn’t even really know it. It wasn’t until I got into bed one night with a temperature of 104 degrees did we realize there was a problem. Everything turned out ok with lots of antibiotics and several trips back to the doctors office but I don’t really recommend that for a new mom.
So, listen to the doctor and the nurse and your significant other. Take it easy. Accept help. Your baby won’t know if you needed help getting him out of the crib. Your husband won’t die if his boxers don’t get washed by you for a couple of weeks. Ask your friends to bring you meals. Take it easy. Really. It’s ok.
The low down on the down low – Poop
It turns out that hemorrhoids don’t just happen when you’re pregnant. They happen to a good number of women after they give birth – whether you pushed 1000 times or 0 times. Who knew? One of the things they will do in the hospital is pump you full of stool softeners – they really want you to have a bowel movement before you go. As someone who’s had a c-section, I can also tell you that you will have to fart like no one’s business – you are literally full of air. But be prepared, just because you’ve pooped once or twice in the hospital, doesn’t mean things are going to continue to run smoothly when you get home.
BUY STOOL SOFTENERS FOR THE HOUSE. I can’t express enough how vital this is for your safety. BUY THEM NOW. Ask your OB what they recommend. Once you get home, you’re not doing a lot of moving (see above for the take it easy references), you aren’t eating a great diet, those stool softeners are going to wear off and BAM! Everything S.T.O.P.S. There’s a real chance that your head will pop off your body as the veins in your ass feel like they’re going to fall into the toilet.
Consider yourself warned.
Maybe because I didn’t do any reading or perhaps because I wasn’t listening, I didn’t know a thing about the night sweats. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and it was like I’d been swimming, I was drenched, I really thought that I’d had a baby and went straight into menopause and was having hot flashes or something. I mean, the bed was wet, my clothes were wet, even my husband would be damp. It was nuts. It turns out that all of that fluid you retain while you’re pregnant needs somewhere to go because you aren’t pregnant anymore. So don’t be alarmed if you wake up and you need to change your clothes. This is NORMAL and it will pass.
These are just a few of the things that I wish I had known before hand. Don’t stress. Everything will fall into place.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on tv. These are things I learned from my own experiences. If you have specific questions, speak to a medical professional.