Originally Posted by Azadehhast
Tell us, please, all the details you can spare about settling in with your new little ones--the nursing, the pooing, the sleeping, dealing (or not) with visitors, how your bodies are healing...all those details we've all been speculating about all along. What has surprised you?
We spent two nights at the hospital and were home for the third day/night.
Details from a first-time-mom's perspective:
Healing / self-care:
I felt like a million bucks after the delivery. Honestly. I would've been fine if people had shown up five minutes later (provided they brought food and didn't want to hold the baby, lol). I was seriously starving and dying of thirst, but I had plenty of energy and was clear-headed. I was actually pretty surprised by that, I thought I'd be all shaky and tired and be blubbering like an idiot but... nope.
I was surprised to hear "blood clots up to the size of an egg are normal" (Really?? an EGG?! is NORMAL!???) but I only passed one clot any bigger than a fingernail (and that was a strange sensation, let me tell you) and my bleeding had slowed to "heavy maxi-pad" flow by the time we left the hospital. (As opposed to "sleeping bag hospital pad" flow, which it was the first day.) Now, by day 5, I'm wearing my regular period pads and am starting to see the color shift from red to brownish.
That squeeze bottle of warm water for post-toilet cleansing is wonderful. Squirt a bit before you pee and it will prevent any burning sensation. Sitz baths helped when I started to feel "tight". Sitting was uncomfortable for the first few days just because everything is swollen, but you'll find positions that work for you. I was terrified to have that first postpartum BM, but it wasn't as bad as I was afraid it might be.
I did have three stitches but with one exception, they've been no extra trouble and required no extra care. Special note: do not slide off the bed one cheek at a time (sideways). I did this first thing when I got home, thinking it would reduce the pressure on the sensitive bits. I think I popped a stitch. -.-
The first two days, when I'd get out of bed to go to the bathroom/walk around I would find it difficult to straighten up completely into a standing position (I felt achy/crampy and straightening up completely hurt). It would subside as I walked around and I actually felt better once I got moving.
Bring lanolin and use it right from the start. I'm convinced this has saved me much potential pain.
If you're in the hospital, take advantage of limitless hot showers. It's humanizing. ;)
Once we got home:
I have no idea what we used to do before we had a baby. We've lost so many hours just watching him sleep, or singing to him while he watched us intently. I was surprised at how hard it is to "sleep when he sleeps." I thought I'd be exhausted. I'm not. Until he decides his "usual" schedule isn't working for him today, and then it's 4:30am and I'm awake when I thought I would be sleeping and he's screaming because his tummy hurts and all I really want to do is lie down. We catch up on it later, it's just hard in that moment.
I'm also surprised at how well-rested I feel on four hours of sleep per day. =P
I'm surprised at how hard it is to remember to eat and drink if someone isn't bringing me food three times a day.
I'm surprised at how well I can doze with a baby sleeping on my chest (...he doesn't like to sleep alone). I've never been able to sleep on my back. Now I do - but lightly enough that I'm instantly awake if he so much as mews or moves his head - and find it surprisingly restful.
Keeping his eating/elimination tracked on paper has kept me from losing the details to memory haze and then blowing things out of proportion because I remember things being worse than they are.
Things that have been unexpectedly challenging:
I stopped letting down for the pump after the first day in the hospital. Hand expression was working but takes so long that it felt like all I was doing for three days was nurse and express milk. My nipples weren't necessarily sore, but my boobs were really really tired of being the focal point all the time... if that makes sense? I just wanted to put a flippin' shirt on and do something, anything else for four hours.
We had/have trouble with breastfeeding. It's still a work-in-progress. Early in this pregnancy, I promised myself that I wouldn't wait until I was an emotional trainwreck and ready to give up before getting some help. I posted looking for help only 9 hours after he was born, and the ladies in the breastfeeding forum have been absolutely wonderful about keeping me on track.
Things that have been unexpectedly easy:
DH is wonderful with him and has more than pulled his weight. Also, it's heartwarmingly beautiful to see him with his son. =')
I had enough energy to clean my kitchen 4 days postpartum (lol).
The dogs have been SO good adjusting to the change in schedule, activity, attention distribution, and noise levels in the house.
I think that's it? Just some mental notes I've been composing - in pieces - over the early morning feedings these last few days. Finally got it done enough to post. ;)
Looking forward to seeing other mom's perspectives!