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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What I Learned: Childbirth Edition

Howdy, friends!  I know what you're thinking - I can't believe she's managing to blog twice in two days.  A record as of late, I'm sure!  We have been lazy bums this morning. Hopefully I'm not jinxing it, but I have to tell you that my child slept GREAT last night - thank the Lord we're (hopefully) back to the business of being a good sleeper.  She was only up twice - 2:00 and 5:00 - and both times, she ate and went right back to sleep so we were only up for a little over an hour.  That means I got a three-hour stretch of sleep followed by a two-hour stretch and then another three-hour stretch for a combined total of 8 hours.  It is amazing how much better I feel today as a result, especially coming off of the previous two nights when she decided she didn't want to sleep.  We fed her at 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00 last night (she was an eating machine yesterday - must be a growth spurt because it was every two hours) and tried really hard to keep her awake in between those feedings.  I guess it worked, so we'll keep doing it!  Here's to hoping she keeps this up:

I always get carried away with the cuteness!  The point of this post is to tell you a few things that I learned about the birthing process that I didn't know beforehand.  As I'm sure you have all realized by now, I like to know what I'm getting into - hence all of the research, childbirth classes, books, documentaries, and badgering my friends for details among other things.  Even with all of that, there were still things I learned throughout the process that I didn't know before and thought might be helpful for others.  I guess I should disclaim that obviously all pregnancies and births are different, and these are just my experiences and observations, but here are some things I learned (also fair warning to any male readers, this will likely be on the graphic side, you've been warned):
  • Pushing feels like pooping.  I know, that sounds weird.  The one thing you hear everyone say about contractions/labor/birth is about all of the pressure that you feel "down there" - as in, your lady parts.  And it's true.  There is a lot of pressure.  What I did not expect, however, was that when it comes time to push, you feel the pressure more towards your bottom, not so much your lady parts.  Literally, it feels like you are pooping out the baby.  I know that sounds gross and weird and it is hard to wrap your head around until you go through it - it's just something I didn't expect.  The nurse even told me when she was coaching me before my first round of pushing, "when you push it will feel like you're trying really hard to go to the bathroom."  She wasn't kidding.  You learn something new every day, yes?
  • Oh, the blood.  There is A. LOT. of blood, not only during the labor but afterwards as well.  During the birth, I didn't really notice it as much (My mind was elsewhere I guess?  LOL) - they lay you on these pads and the nurses change them approximately every 30 seconds.  You may remember from my birth story post that my epidural had mostly worn off by the time my pushing started, so I felt everything there was to feel (Still totally worth it to get the epidural, though, in my opinion, as it helped me conserve my energy through the worst of the contractions so I was less tired for pushing.  Plus it is a miracle drug.).  I am not sure whether this is a result of the adrenaline having kicked in or what, but I honestly don't think the actual birth hurt as bad as afterwards when the nurses were still dealing with the blood.  They came into my room what felt like every 5 seconds to press on my stomach to get more blood out, and to say it was painful would be an understatement.  The other surprising thing about the blood is that it continues after birth - for a while.  My doctor told me to expect it for 4-6 weeks.  Invest in some good pads, ladies.  Side note: remember how I told you I ordered the hospital-grade pads like the ones we took from the hospital because I liked them better than anything else I found, but they only came in a package of 200?  Let's just say it was a good investment - although I'm hoping for closer to four (or less) total weeks of this than six.
  • Pain after birth.  My bestie warned about this in her reflections post as well, but I guess maybe it didn't really sink in because I was still surprised.  In the hospital, there are all sorts of fun things they give you so that you don't notice, but since I got home I've been trying not to take the heavy-duty drugs and boy is it unpleasant at times.  I am just now, at two weeks after the birth, able to move around semi-normally and stand up and sit down without quite as much pain down there.  I did not have to have an episiotomy, but I did tear slightly and there were a few stitches which made the discomfort all that much worse.
  • Contractions after birth.  That's right, you read it correctly...the contractions are most certainly not over after the baby is born.  I am not sure whether this is just for Moms who are breast feeding or not, but in the hospital they told me that was a good gauge of how to tell whether she was getting anything - my after-the-birth-contractions would be more painful when she was nursing (Everything is trying to get back to its normal place, and it happens more quickly I guess for nursing Moms?  This may or may not be medically correct - all I know is that there were still conractions and it had something to do with breast feeding, per the nurses.).  Now, these contractions were not nearly as bad as some of the ones leading up to birth, but quite a few times when Lilly was feeding or when I was pumping they were bad enough that I cried - as in, on a scale of 1-10, after the birth I was still having some 5s while nursing.  I never read one thing about that and was definitely not prepared for it in the least.
  • The hormones.  I didn't really think I would be terribly hormonal, because overall I wasn't that hormonal during the whole pregnancy.  Of course I had my moments - more of them during the last 6 weeks (due to my arch nemesis, bed rest) than before - but overall I wasn't too bad (right, Dan?).  So, imagine my surprise that my hormones have been seriously out of control since Lilly's arrival.  All completely normal, I've been assured by my doctor, but again, I wasn't expecting to be quite as affected.  I feel like I cry at the drop of a hat these days.  Poor Dan! 
I think that's about it for the things I didn't know about the birthing process - if I think of any more I can come back and update.  Everything seriously goes by so quickly, and is so surreal.  It was amazing to me how I checked in on a Tuesday morning with no signs of any movement or labor and had a baby around 12 hours later.  And while the birth was not pleasant, it wasn't anything so terrible to the point of "I will never do this again ever, no matter what."  And seriously, this was worth every single bit of pain and suffering (and in the scheme of things there really wasn't that much pain and suffering...):
One more piece of advice that I can give: enjoy every moment, and above all, accept help.  Dan and I went through a phase where we thought, we'll let people come visit and help out for just a few days but then we'll kick everyone out so we can develop our own routine with our baby and get the hang of being Mommy and Daddy.  I will tell you right now that we threw that out the window almost immediately, and we are both so glad we did.  It was so nice to have our parents stay with us and help us for the first two weeks.  I cried at the end of the two weeks because I was terrified of being alone with Lilly sans help.  But you know what?  It hasn't been so bad.  :-)

I guess that's it for now - hope you've had a great Wednesday!  I can't believe it's Wednesday already.  I used to love Wednesday because it meant the halfway point to the weekend.  Now, I find myself wishing the days wouldn't go by so quickly.  I better go before the water works start. ;-)



1 comment:

  1. SARAH!!! I wish I could come visit and help you. She is as sweet as can be! PS I read Casey your TMIs I was dying laughing because nothing holds you back. Hey he's gotta be ready for it some day. :) I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!


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