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 Post subject: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:27 pm 
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I thought I'd put down some notes on what I learned from having Leela. Obviously, they are individual to me and Morristown Memorial ("MMH"), but perhaps they can be of some use. Your hospital may be very different, and as always, its just my opinion:)

I'd love to hear what other people found useful/useless etc.

Hospital bag:
    Make sure your going home outfit for the baby is one of the Carter's ones or other brand that is true to size. I had a Halo NB going home outfit that ended up so big on her that it wasn't comfortable for her and made our going home pictures look like she was a micro-preemie. I think she is going to wear it to kindergarten.

    Image

    Don't pack pants or anything that impedes airflow to your ladybits. Seriously everything heals better with air on it.

    I ended up really loving the Target Gilligan & O'Malley tanks from Target. They are $16.99 and easier to get your boobs out to feed than the MMH gown, which has these two slits down the front that you have to wrestle to pull your boob through.

    Don't forget your camera means bring the USB cables for downloading, batteries etc. we didn't bring our USB cable.

    You need a lot less than you think you do, but bring something that has space for you to take home a ton of things. In particular MMH seems to give you a comfort kit to take home that includes a sitzbath (I didn't use it) that is approx the diameter of a toiletbowl. Also, get as many of the ice-packs as you can - they get chintzy with them, but all you do is crack them and they will act as a cold compress and are so good in taking down swelling. Hoard at least one for the ride home.

    They give you a prenatal vitamin, so you don't have to take your own if you don't want to.

    Brett and I took a case of coconut water and builder bars to the hospital, and I was so glad for them. They helped keep me hydrated and protein-fueled. Especially because the vegan options were okay, but not heavy on protein.

    I bought extra granny pantaloons, maxi-pads, socks and slippers and never used them. MMH has awesome mesh undies that breathe really well, and provide you with more maxis than anyone with just one vagina could use. I also brought nursing pads and receiving blankets - dumb. My milk didn't come in until day 3 so I didn't need the pads and they had a ton of receiving blankets.

    Also, don't take swaddlers - they teach you how to swaddle really nicely using the blanket. I hope I can return the ones I bought, because it really is easy.

    Take a boppy. I found trying to set up hospital pillows in the bed (have to bend them a in 2) before I could nurse using the football hold too fussy. And the longer she would go hungry the harder it was to just pop her on because she was actively crying. Plus because you'll be feeding on both breasts because your baby is just getting colostrum, you don't really want to have to move the pillow to your other side in mid-feed. Its easier just to have the boppy. when we were readmitted, I had Brett bring mine and it was great for nursing.

    Definitely take home the Peri bottle.

    I really liked having music to play in my room.

Labor:
    Mine was nothing like the videos we watched in the birthing classes - no breathing through a contraction and then having a five minute conversation. It was hard because it was kicked off by my water breaking. If that happens to you, I really think the key is to stay at home as long as you can, subject to your medical professional's advice. The hospital told me to go right in, the midwife told me to wait.

    It also helped that apparently Brett kept telling everyone who came near me that we weren't having an epidural. Even though I asked for one a couple of times. I was happy to have the freedom to just say "Can I have it PLEASE!" Also, no one at MMH offered us any drugs at any time, which I was so happy about (because I would have taken them).

    I was so happy I told no one we were going to the hospital. Brett texted some friends, and they ended up texting him throughout our labor to see how I was doing. And then we had to deal with people wanting to see her on the day she came home.

    The low moan really does help it hurt less. Honestly, it does. I ended up chanting, which helped me.

    I thought the MMH people were really respectful of all our choices - I wasn't offered a heplock or other early interventions at all. That said, I don't think anyone looked at our birthplan, though we did have 6 copies.

    I did end up having to have an internal fetal monitor put on her, because her heart rate was 120 and mine was 112, and the tech was concerned that it was too hard to tell our heart beats apart without one. The MD said it wasn't a choice because they couldn't be sure if the fetus was in distress without it. That meant that I was leashed to a machine and could only labor within 2 feet of it - ie on the bed or standing. I ended up doing all my labor standing (home and the hospital), which worked well for me anyway because I had bad backlabor and no other position was comfortable.

    Because I had no interventions, Leela emerged completely alert and even had feeding cues as she exited me! Her tongue was out before her body was. Once she was on my breast, she found my nipple and established her own latch. It was so cool. My doula said she's never seen that before because most of her clients end up taking some medications, but honestly, our breastfeeding relationship has been so great and so easy because it just started so simply. I would avoid any medications just to get that result, because seriously, breastfeeding is the most incredible thing ever. I love it so much - when we were in the hospital for her jaundice and she had to get blood drawn, I could nurse her and she felt no pain or stress even while they were digging around her veins for 10+ minutes. The one time a tech refused to let me BF during it she cried and it was awful. That experience brought my Mama Bear out in full force and after that I basically didn't let anyone do anything to her if I wasn't completely comfortable with it. Everyone understood that her sleeping and nursing came first.

    Because I didn't have an epidural, I was able to push really effectively. It took about 18 minutes ( 4 sets of 3 10 second pushes) and I had minor tearing (only because she ninjakicked me on the way out - literally no tearing from her head or shoulders emerging). I think the perineal massage helped as this is essentially what our midwife was doing to get her out. A friend of mine had the epidural had a hard time getting pinked up. I didn't need an episiotomy and as a result Leela didn't have to be suctioned - she arrived and my muscles pushed out all her mucus and she had very loud, clear lungs from the get go.

    Oh! And don't let anything the techs say scare you. when I arrived, the U/S tech was saying "That is going to be a HUGE baby!!!" I immediately thought labor was going to have to be so hard but in fact, Leela was only 7lbs 10oz. This after at least 4 U/S scans predicted she'd be over 9lbs. They were right when they said that she "was headed for my cervix like a freight train" and predicted that the minute I was fully dilated she'd be out.

    Our decision was to delay all procedures until she was done nursing and we wanted to leave. That took 2.5 hours and was amazing. Only once we were ready to move, did we get her measured etc. Partly as a result, her Apgar was 9-9 because she was perfectly pinked up and alert etc.

    Peeing after labor was awesome. Seriously, its so nice to have your bladder back. Plus you're losing so much of your fluid and the more you pee the more you see your tummy shrinking back to its original shape. I have my belly button back!

Nursery, Maternity and Breastfeeding
    Once we left the L&D floor, we headed to the nursery. I was so happy to be done, I pretty much said yes to the nursery and the bath, but Brett reminded me that we wanted to room in. I have to admit, the idea of a night without her was so tempting at the time and the nurses made it sound like the baby would be so much safer in the nursery. But what we noticed was that there were so many babies in the nursery, and while they were being cared for, it wasn't one to one attention, so basically the nurses only realized the baby needed to feed once s/he started screaming and they only got around to the baby once they were done doing whatever they were doing. So all night you'd hear the isolettes being trundled through the halls with screaming babies in them, being taken to their Mamas for breastfeeding. But because she was in our room, we picked up her cues earlier, which was great for two complete n00bs.

    Sleep if you can on the first night. I was so high on oxytocin I stayed up and looked at her sleep. That was really dumb. The nurses didn't tell me till later, but the first night babies sleep well, and the second they often start cluster-feeding as they start working to put their weight back on
    Just because you feel great after giving birth, don't change your plans. You might feel more tired after day 2.

    The baby gets taken to the nursery for evaluation even if your birthplan says everything gets done in your room. But you can ask that s/he be taken last and brought back first and that stuff be done on a schedule that works with your feeding and her sleeping.

    Don't forget to take home a receiving blanket for your dog to sniff :)

    At MMH, they have a photographer go around and take NB photos. we bought the basic package and rather liked them.

    I was really worried about what the hospital needed to see from the carseat before they would release you. Turns out, just that you have one with an infant insert and no after-market modifications. I know some hospitals want to see the manual or proof of correct installation.

Jaundice:
    I found out yesterday that perhaps part of the reason she got the jaundice diagnosis is because of the delayed cord clamping - essentially her body got an added blood infusion that most babies don't have to process, so her bilirubin numbers ended up elevated, and they went looking for a more sinister possible cause. If you have a higher bilirubin number tell them that you had the cord clamped and hopefully you can avoid some of what happened to us. Again, it still makes total sense to delay cord clamping for most people - we discovered that both our families have had jaundice diagnoses, which may have been the reason she was slower in processing out the bilirubin than other babies.

My recovery has been amazing so far. Seriously, Its day 6, and I feel so much better than I thought I would. Brett and I set about 4 weeks aside for him to be around to help me, but I can pretty much manage everything on my own, so he can go back to work :)

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:59 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Nursery, Maternity and Breastfeeding
[list]Once we left the L&D floor, we headed to the nursery. I was so happy to be done, I pretty much said yes to the nursery and the bath, but Brett reminded me that we wanted to room in. I have to admit, the idea of a night without her was so tempting at the time and the nurses made it sound like the baby would be so much safer in the nursery. But what we noticed was that there were so many babies in the nursery, and while they were being cared for, it wasn't one to one attention, so basically the nurses only realized the baby needed to feed once s/he started screaming and they only got around to the baby once they were done doing whatever they were doing. So all night you'd hear the isolettes being trundled through the halls with screaming babies in them, being taken to their Mamas for breastfeeding. But because she was in our room, we picked up her cues earlier, which was great for two complete n00bs.



I had such a completely different experience with this! :) When we were at the same hospital we didn't room in with Miles. I never heard any of the babies they were wheeling around at night for feedings crying and Miles never came to us crying. They always brought him just before they thought he would be ready to eat again.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:01 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:

I was really worried about what the hospital needed to see from the carseat before they would release you. Turns out, just that you have one with an infant insert and no after-market modifications. I know some hospitals want to see the manual or proof of correct installation. [/list]



Again...same hospital....and they never checked out our carseat situation. They only asked if we had one! How strange..I feel like you had her a at different hospital than I had Miles.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:23 pm 
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What a great list! Our midwives were big on using coconut water during labor to keep energy up (I can't stand the stuff though, so I just went with good ol' powerade).

Brett sounds like he was a GREAT birth partner! It's so smart to have someone around you at all times during labor to help advocate for you - be it partner or doula. It's really hard to remember what you do and don't want while dealing with contractions! Next time, Nate and I are going to come up with hand signals to help communicate better - there got to a point where I couldn't talk at all, and that would've been really helpful.

About birthing big/smaller babies: I've heard from some midwives (and moms who've experienced both!) that their bigger babies were quicker and easier births (of course you usually birth bigger babies each time around, so it might be an experience thing too). The bigger babes give you more to push against and can work with you more. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:51 pm 
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Cool! Reading this brought back some memories.

Hospital bag:

Newborns are tiny, even if they're "big." The Emperor weighed 9 lbs and we took him home in a (true to size) 0-3m onesie. He was swimming in it. Since it didn't have long sleeves or legs, it didn't make him look too ridiculous or cause him to get all tangled up. So it was a pretty good choice for a going home outfit. Obviously if you're having a winter baby, you may need something more substantial, but we were able to make do with the onesie + tucking him in with a blanket after he was safely secured in the carseat.

Super yes to this: Don't forget your camera means bring the USB cables for downloading, batteries etc. we didn't bring our USB cable. We forgot some part of the camera... perhaps the usb card reader, I forget... and I was crabby about it.

I thought a very lightly packed normal sized backpack was sufficient for the hospital trip. I took a bunch of stuff I didn't end up needing or wanting during my stay. Here is what I would take again (just for myself, not including like an outfit for the baby):

- something to wear home. I seriously forgot this and had to wear my dirty clothes from three days earlier. Yuck.
- my own soap & toiletries. The hospital I had the Emperor at provides these things but it was so, so, SO nice to take a shower after labor with my own things.
- camera & whatnot.
- some sort of internet capable device. Last time I ended up using my husband's laptop constantly in the couple of days we were there after birth because there are long stretches of doing nothing and wonderful free wireless. He did not really want to share with me though. This time I will bring my iphone probably.

That's it!

I also didn't need nursing pads til I was already home. The hospital provided diapers (cloth too! cool, huh? I love living in hippie land) & blankets while we were there but they were NOT to go home with you. (This probably varies from place to place.) We did end up paying for a hospital blanket (the one with the little feet) because we thought it was super cute and at $3 or whatever, it was kind of a nice memento of our trip.

Definitely take home the Peri bottle. Yup. That thing is magic. The hospital I had the Emperor at also gave me some sort of parts numbing spray, and I cherished that.

Labor:

I too never had the widely spaced contractions thing. Actually, even before my contractions turned into "real" contractions (when my water was broken), they were < 2 minutes apart. During real labor, they were literally one on top of another. Sometimes 30-60 seconds apart but usually back to back. I was glad to already be in the hospital when I reached that part-- we lived about 45 minutes away by car and the ride was bad enough in early labor.

My biggest piece of advice about labor is to go in with a lot of ideas for what you might want to try... but don't be wedded to any one idea. There are so many things that I thought for sure I was going to want to do/have done while I was in labor. But all I really wanted to do was lie on my side in the bath tub and moan. That's what worked so that's what I went with and I don't regret that even if it's not what I'd pictured.

+1 to the low moan. There were points in my labor where I let the low moan turn into an actual shriek/scream and I swear everything hurt 100x more then. And I felt totally out of control which made me TERRIFIED. Gotta stick with that low moan.

The Emperor was also super alert from birth and latched onto the boob as soon as he came in chomping distance. That was really neat. That may have been the easiest latch on we had in the first few weeks.

Pushing time is variable and not necessarily dependent on having an epidural. I had a short labor (3.5 hrs before pushing) and no epidural-- and pushed for an hour and a half.

About eating and drinking: I thought for sure that I would want to be eating during labor. The idea of ingesting anything was totally repulsive to me though and I didn't have so much as a sip of water. Fortunately, short labor meant this was not an energy sapper.

Nursery, Maternity and Breastfeeding

We roomed in and I liked it. The hospital we had the Emperor at provided the little wheely baby cart thing for the baby to sleep in, but also encourages you just to co-sleep while you're there. (Like I said, we live in hippieville.) They don't have a nursery at all so that wasn't really an option. I think they said at the tour that if you really don't want to room in, they'll take your baby to the nurses' station overnight or something. Yeah no, we roomed in.

One of the only things that annoyed me at all about our hospital stay in hindsight was that the LC (who I later came to know very well-- she ran the PPD support group that I started attending many many months later) told me that because of my huge boobs, the only way I'd ever be able to nurse was in the football hold. Frankly not true and not helpful. I found the football hold really hard to master for whatever reason and as soon as I figured out another way to do it, I dropped the football hold entirely.

Carseats: the hospital I had the Emperor escorts you off the premises with your baby strapped into the carseat. Really, they walk you out of the building. You can't leave if your baby is not in a carseat. They never check that it is actually in your car though. (Obviously ours was.)

There were times in the 6 weeks that my husband had leave that I felt like I just wanted him to go back to work so we could get into some semblance of a normal routine. Looking back, though, I am really glad he spent almost all of that time (he went back for half days at 5 weeks, I think) with us after all. I went pretty hardcore back and forth between "this is so easy, we don't need two people to do this" and "oh man, so glad I am not the only person here for this" for the first several weeks.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:16 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:

Sleep if you can on the first night. I was so high on oxytocin I stayed up and looked at her sleep. That was really dumb. The nurses didn't tell me till later, but the first night babies sleep well, and the second they often start cluster-feeding as they start working to put their weight back on
Just because you feel great after giving birth, don't change your plans. You might feel more tired after day 2.


Hell to the forking yes. With Zola, my water broke at like 2 am and we went to the hospital. I didn't sleep all that night, and I labored the rest of the next day, and she was born a bit before midnight. I stayed up all night watching her, making sure she was still breathing and all that. She slept pretty much the whole night. Then the next night she was up all night crying and nursing, and I still hadn't had any sleep since my water broke. I started crying and the night nurse came in and offered formula. I almost took it, but I toughed it out.
So, yes, sleep on the first night. Sleep at any and every opportunity, pretty much.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:32 pm 
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Quote:
the hospital ... also encourages you just to co-sleep while you're there. (Like I said, we live in hippieville.)


Mind. Blown.

I love co-sleeping so much, but I was too scared to try it until the PPK said its not crazy. The MD in Pediatrics I asked said that they see bad cases of people crushing their kids. Brett is really not happy that she and I co-slept last night, but it was so great to not have to get out of bed or wrangle her and to then wake up with her smiling at me this morning.

And JENNA, re the car seat, I think they have different people on security. Brett cut his bracelet off by accident (they gave him one with the baby and one for the pertussis shot/dtap and he cut the baby one off instead of the shot one) and he got a HUGE lecture from the nurse about how it was going to make it hard for us to leave because the security guy checks both parents' bands and the baby's band. Apparently he was making people partially undress their babies to show the tag on the way out. we managed to get a note that absolved us from showing our bands, but then no one checked them. Go figure.

Re the very busy nursery - I was in on 11/02/2011, and there were so many babies in from 1/11/11. we were told that there had been so many births the night before that patients had been stacked in the halls waiting for rooms to free up. Maybe that explains the noise?

Did Mr. JENNA get a big enough cot to sleep on? Brett couldn't even get a blanket because they were out of them. That said I loved MMH, and would happily go there again.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:57 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Quote:

I love co-sleeping so much, but I was too scared to try it until the PPK said its not crazy. The MD in Pediatrics I asked said that they see bad cases of people crushing their kids.


Of course this isn't all cases, but a lot of cases of co-sleeping deaths and injuries occurs with parents under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They also lump co-sleeping deaths in with items other than beds (so a parent could be relaxing in the Lazy Boy with the bub and a beer, and if the baby slipped into the cushions or something when the parent drifted off, that would be considered a co-sleeping fatality.)

Just use common sense: give her space, don't cover her with blankets until she can move them well on her own, keep pillows away, and make sure there aren't any spots where she can slip between the mattress/wall/co-sleeper. And of course, don't co-sleep when you're peas asparagus drunk. Problem solved!


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:38 pm 
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I was surprised by how little the epidural interfered with the nursing. With my second, there were no delays or problems at all.

Also, I don't know if it's because my son has a truly massive noggin or what, but it took me about two months to really start feeling comfortable in my nethers. I was pretty surprised since everyone said it would be SO much easier than my c-section. I'm not so sure it was, but, again, I think my kids humongous skull destroyed my bits.

Because I had an unplanned c-section with my first, I ended up in the hospital for days longer than I expected. My milk came in while I was there, and I had NOT packed breastpads. AWKWARD.

Getting an epidural is not a guaranteed way to fork up a VBAC (despite what basically everyone told me). I am proof.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:10 pm 
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I learned there was such a thing as back labor! I totally went in expecting the pattern I'd read about everywhere: contraction, little break, contraction, little break. Nope! I had pain-pain-pain-PAIN-PAIN-PAIN-pain-pain-pain-PAIN-PAIN-PAIN... And no one explained to me that this was a perfectly normal, OK way to labor. As in, "Noelle, you're not going to die. Your baby's head is pushing up against your bones."

I learned that I'm way tougher than I give myself credit for, but also much wussier, too. Had I not been at home, I'm sure I would've asked to be drugged up to my eyeballs.

I also learned that when I am scared and in pain, my partner is not in a position to help me. He gets too caught up in, "My girl is scared and hurting!" This was always true, I've just noticed it more since Westley's birth. I SO should have had a doula.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:34 am 
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ismloveyoubobbybrown wrote:
Also, I don't know if it's because my son has a truly massive noggin or what, but it took me about two months to really start feeling comfortable in my nethers. I was pretty surprised since everyone said it would be SO much easier than my c-section.



This is the thing that really worries me about a VBAC. Yeah, the first two days after surgery were the worst days of my life pain-wise, but after that the recovery time was amazing (and I've heard that healing after a scheduled c/s is much better than emergency c/s). I felt physically healed by day three. A homebirth buddy of mine who had her girl a month after our birth had a great birth at home, but says that she didn't feel well until the third MONTH. Of course we all have different births (she had a first degree tear) and different pain thresholds, but this is the one thing that makes me hesistate.


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:27 am 
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These tips are really great!

The only thing that I didn't bring to the hospital that I really really wished I'd had were toiletries. After labor, I soo wanted a nice hot shower, but I didn't bring my own shampoo or soap, so I had to use the disgusting hospital stuff. I had some useful hospital bag packing guides from my bradley birth class and from the hospital, but neither of them suggested toiletries.


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:10 pm 
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flavabean wrote:
ismloveyoubobbybrown wrote:
Also, I don't know if it's because my son has a truly massive noggin or what, but it took me about two months to really start feeling comfortable in my nethers. I was pretty surprised since everyone said it would be SO much easier than my c-section.



This is the thing that really worries me about a VBAC. Yeah, the first two days after surgery were the worst days of my life pain-wise, but after that the recovery time was amazing (and I've heard that healing after a scheduled c/s is much better than emergency c/s). I felt physically healed by day three. A homebirth buddy of mine who had her girl a month after our birth had a great birth at home, but says that she didn't feel well until the third MONTH. Of course we all have different births (she had a first degree tear) and different pain thresholds, but this is the one thing that makes me hesistate.


I have a friend who gave birth to twins vaginally, had 3rd degree tearing (doc had to pull out second twin, emergency.. thing) and tore her urethra, and pee would just fall out of her body when she was verticle. She was running again a few weeks later. I think a lot of it depends on the person.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:09 pm 
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flavabean wrote:
ismloveyoubobbybrown wrote:
Also, I don't know if it's because my son has a truly massive noggin or what, but it took me about two months to really start feeling comfortable in my nethers. I was pretty surprised since everyone said it would be SO much easier than my c-section.



This is the thing that really worries me about a VBAC. Yeah, the first two days after surgery were the worst days of my life pain-wise, but after that the recovery time was amazing (and I've heard that healing after a scheduled c/s is much better than emergency c/s). I felt physically healed by day three. A homebirth buddy of mine who had her girl a month after our birth had a great birth at home, but says that she didn't feel well until the third MONTH. Of course we all have different births (she had a first degree tear) and different pain thresholds, but this is the one thing that makes me hesistate.


I am so nervous about the VBAC thing too. I wasn't in AWFUL pain after my unplanned C-section; my biggest issue was freaking out about being in the hospital that long - I damn near lost it when Day 3 came and I had to track down someone to discharge me. And I too felt pretty damn good once I got home - my milk came in like the second I laid down in my own bed, and a couple days later I was itching to go out for a walk. The VBAC just represents this whole uncharted territory for me, and though I'm excited about the prospect of at least getting to go into labor naturally instead of strapped to machines at the hospital with a Cervidil suppository, the rest of it has me scared shiitake-less.


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:25 pm 
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I know we're talking about practicalities, but when I read the thread title it made me think of life-lesson type of learning, so here's my two cents. I had both my kids by c-section (one unplanned, one scheduled) and I was super, super afraid of having problems bonding and nursing but it worked out fine. I guess one of the big things I learned is that regardless of how they got here I love them so much it still just about takes my breath away every single day. The biggest thing I learned both times is that I can't control every eventuality and that there are good lessons in the surprises too. With my son, I had to make the shift from home birth to emergency transfer/c-section and I totally changed from a woman living for myself to a mother living for my child in those moments of decision. It was almost a physical sensation. I never could have foreseen how having him would change me to the core, way for the better.

With my daughter, I was still too shaken from the what-ifs of my son's birth to attempt a VBAC, but even in trying to plan for every eventuality, things went wrong - my toddler got a virus that week so childcare was all jacked up, the epidural didn't work so I felt the surgery and got walloped with amnesia drugs so I only remember bits and pieces of her birth - but it's still ok. I survived something I would have previously thought I couldn't, and now I have the most perfect, milky-face, cooing, smiling, chunky monkey baby girl. I know not everyone feels this way, but for me a healthy baby is the ultimate best outcome, so I feel like I hit the jackpot twice.


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:55 pm 
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Axel, are we twins??? i think what i learned is exactly what you said, twofold:
- the things i worried about so much were not even issues. Formula was given, but Sprog learned to latch just fine. (this was one of 1000 things i obsessed about).
- Decisions had to be made on the spur of the moment, really really horrible life and death ones, and it really was the point where i changed from a sort of timid party girl to a frigging amazon.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:16 pm 
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I hear you torque. I feel like I had two births - the first was actually giving birth and the second was becoming an incredibly fierce advocate for my child when she was admitted to the hospital. I know it wasn't serious, like your stuff was, but for the first time I really was committed to fighting for another person and their comfort, and I didn't care what I had to do to get her what she needed.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:23 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
I know it wasn't serious

don't underestimate yourself!! it is ALL serious in this situation, and it is all relative to our experiences, and I think it is all equally valid. I met a woman in a parent's waiting room in a surgical suite, and she was hysterical. Her kid was having an ingrown toenail removed, but for her the possiblities were just as terrifying as if she were having brain surgery. Her love for her kid was just as strong as mine, and her need to protect her just as strong. As parents, I swear, we are IMPRESSIVE.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:18 am 
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http://thesagemama.wordpress.com/2011/0 ... hat-we-don’t-say/

This piece was linked on my parents group website and it really struck home


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:53 am 
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wow, that was amazing, littlebear. it sure does hit the nail square on the head.

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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:58 pm 
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Leela is freaking adorable in her giant outfit!

I second the Gillian O'Malley nursing tanks from Target. I bought 3 just before Remy was born and wore them pretty much exclusively the first several weeks, under cardigans so it was easy to whip out a boob. One of them was so worn-out by the end of breastfeeding that I kept it as a trophy.

Hospital food advice: order BIG from the hospital menu (our hospital had like, a room service-type menu). Then feed that food to your omnivorous partner/parents/visitors. Then make them go out and pick up whatever food your heart desires.

And Re: the hospital nursery--we roomed in, but after 30 hours of active labor and an emergency c-section, I needed a little bit of rest or I was just going to fall completely the fork apart. So Remy spent a few hours around breakfast time (he was born at 2:35am) being snuggled by his grandma and the nurses while I passed out cold. Those few hours did not affect our bonding/breastfeeding in the least, and helped me actually be alert and present for my son's first day of life.

Oh, and possibly I am the only one hard-headed enough to do crepe like this, but when the recovery nurses say you shouldn't try to walk around just yet? Listen to them. I pulled a "whatever, I'm DOING AWESOME" 12 hours after my c-section and decided I was going to take a stroll around the maternity ward with my husband and baby. And then proceeded to bleed all over the hallway and almost pass out. Just from being stubborn. Don't be like me!


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:50 pm 
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littlebear wrote:
http://thesagemama.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/rebirth-what-we-don’t-say/

This piece was linked on my parents group website and it really struck home


this made me cry. what an amazing article.


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:39 pm 
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I had a pretty abnormal birth since my labor was so fast, so all the stuff they teach you in birthing classes didn't really apply to me. I didn't need or have time to eat during labor, nor did I sleep.

We roomed in with grey, I think 99% of people at that hospital do, the nursery was tiny and I think they may have asked if we wanted him taken away, but made it pretty clear that he would stay with us besides when they washed him and whatnot.

I wish I had brought my own toiletries, I had them on my list to out in my birth bag, but thought I would throw then once I was in labor I forgot all about that plan.

I wish I would have thought about what I should eat after birth too, I had no appetite and only really ate crackers because nothing sounded good.

Grey slept pretty well the whole time we were at the hospital, once we got home that was a different story. I slept when I could which I would recommend no matter how enamored you are with your baby.


OK, now the things I really learned. I am so much more humble now, guess what, I don't know everything! And no matter how many books you read, classes you go to, people who give you advice, stories you hear, your experience will be your own and you will learn to deal with it. I am also not nearly as judgmental. Especially about breastfeeding. Once I started having supply issues and had to supplement I felt so bad, and then felt worse that I have judged people who formula feed. You never know their situation. In the end having a happy, healthy baby is the most important thing.

Join a mothers group, meeting other moms has been invaluable to me. I love them. Find one that works for you, if you go to one and the women aren't your type, go to another one.

I never knew I would love being a mother. I know it sounds cliche but my life before grey was mediocre compared to my life now and I loved my single life! Yes, it is hard that I dont get to grab my keys and run out of the house or drink beers all night, but when that baby smiles, it is better than anything this world has ever had to offer.

I think the hardest part for me is that someone always needs me. When I ut grey to sleep, the cats want attention or Nate does. I love the few times I am in the car alone, it is the only time no one is asking for my attention.


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:55 pm 
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littlebear wrote:
http://thesagemama.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/rebirth-what-we-don’t-say/

This piece was linked on my parents group website and it really struck home


Wow, so true. I did not know that I would spend the first few months with my new baby letting go of (and mourning) my old self. It was sad and I resisted quite a bit. But after a year I feel pretty settled and comfortable being Mom. Most days I feel pretty darn good at it. Sometimes I feel like other people don't realize how much I've changed and that I can't, and don't want to be all of the things I was before having Walter. I guess it will come with time.


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 Post subject: Re: Share what you learned from giving birth!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:56 pm 
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I learned: Get the drugs, PRONTO! At least for me anyway. I was in such unbelievable agony. So this is what I learned. I wanted to go natural before I actually experienced how bad it was. I think I was traumatized by the pain. I ha a huge fear of having pain like that or worse for a few months after.

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