No one tells you what you’re about to read. Moms, birthing books and videos do not prepare you for what it’s like (for you) after you just had your baby. Here’s the lowdown. Don’t worry, it’ll all be fine. It’s just nice to know how you’ll heal from the most traumatic event your body may ever have gone through.
1. You will wear a giant net underwear. This is to hold up all the bandages in a relaxed fit. It’s not uncomfortable, but certainly weird. These are disposable and comes in one size – EXTRA LARGE. I don’t know whether moms who had C-sections wore these. Anyways, this point is just a heads up.
2. You will wear the biggest maxipad you’ve ever known. I didn’t even know they make them that big, but they are wonderful at absorbing all that stuff that comes out of your bum. The fishnet underwear helps you keep this giant pad in place.
3. You will be extremely sore. Once the pain medications wear off and your natural endorphins fade, you will not want to sit on your bum at all. As my best friend wheeled me from my room to the NICU, I was riding the wheelchair on my knees (which looked like good fun). While in the car, I had to brace myself for every little bump. The safest position (to avoid pain) was when I got on all fours in the back seat. I had a third degree laceration down you know where which meant that my sphincter muscle (the thing that controls the flow of poop) was torn. It took 12 weeks for me to fully recover (physically at least).
4. You will be given ice packs. These aren’t the most soothing things to place down there, but once it numbs you, you’ll ask for more. My nurses filled baby diapers with ice chips which fit nicely in my giant net underwear. They also will give you Witch hazel pads and topical numbing spray for your behind which helps with pain relief. Use them and don’t be afraid to ask for more if you run out. You can purchase these items at the pharmacy for less than $10 too.
5. Take pain medication. Don’t be afraid to ask for more anytime you begin to feel some pain. Don’t wait until you can’t bear it before you take the medication.
6. I hobbled along wherever I went. People stopped to see if I needed help because I was moving so slow. Don’t try to make it look like you took a walk in the park during delivery. I hear stories of women who throw on their jeans the day after and simply walk home like nothing out of the ordinary happened. I don’t know who these women are, but I was not one of them. For me, the recovery part was 10 times worse than the labor and delivery (which had a clear ending).
7. Get a donut cushion. I used a neck rest pillow until my in-laws bought me a blow-up donut so I could sit down. It still hurt, but the donut pillow helps relieve pressure down there when you do need to sit. I strained my back so much during the first weeks because I was compensating for sitting down (I’d only half-sit so there wasn’t that much pressure on the sore spot).
8. Take stool softeners. Your doctors will likely prescribe some for you. Take them. You will dread the first time you have to do a number two. Try to eat foods that are easy to process so you won’t have a tough time when the time comes. Take stool softeners during the first week. You’ll dofine. It’s just one of those things that must happen.
9. Place a towel on your bed. You will bleed a lot postpartum so protect your bed and bedsheets by placing an towel between your bum and your bed. No matter how big your maxi=pad is, you may still leak.
10. Don’t sit for long periods of time. You’ll be tempted to let your baby fall asleep in your arms as you nurse him. When I was learning to nurse him, I spent a lot of time in a rocking chair. Even though I used a ton of pillows to make it comfortable, I was still very sore every time I tried to get back up. You’ll have a lifetime to bond with your baby. Take care of yourself and your needs first. The sooner your recover, the sooner you’ll be able to fully enjoy and care for your little one.
11. Squirt and pat down every time you go. You’ll be given a squirt bottle to help you clean off your bottom every time you go to the restroom. Make sure you use it. Fill it with warm water and squirt yourself when you’re done. Pat yourself softly with some soft toilet paper or towel (the hospital provides these, but they’re not soft at all). Then you’re done. For the best chance of full recovery, you must clean your bum often.
12. Do not take a bath. You won’t want to take a bath for at least a week after your baby is born. This allows your stitches to heal more quickly.
13. Get as much rest as you can. I was anxious to be by my baby’s side 24/7. This meant that I visited the NICU whenever I could. I even stayed overnight in the extra room they had in the NICU so that I could nurse him through the night instead of sleep. This is the only time my baby was in professional care and I should have taken that week to recover fully and sleep. It’s been 10 months since he was born and I have yet to have a full nights rest. So take advantage of the time he’s in the hospital to take care of yourself. You’ll have plenty of time to bond. You can even ask the nurses to call you when the baby is ready to nurse if you really want to be there those first few days.
There you have it. These are the kinds of notes no one ever told me. It’s not pretty, but its information that I would have liked to have. Are there other things you wish you knew? Put it in the comments below.