oh man that mesh underwear is awesome and by the way it is totally washable!! I have 2 pairs left from last time and hope to score some more this birth!
Can we discuss post partum.... self care? - Page 2
I forgot about the numbing spray!! I had a small labial tear (that the on-call ob and nurses said I didn't have) and I couldn't have done anything without the numbing spray!
Disposable stuff--At my last birth (a hospital) they had these mesh disposable underwear that were great for the first two days. I took bunches. Less bloody underwear to wash, yay! And it was a good thing because we ended up away from home for 3 weeks with DD in the NICU. I also took bunches of those disposable waterproof pad things to avoid leaking on the bed. I don't love disposable in general, but birth is one of those things that I don't want interrupted by bloody laundry. Disposable pads or Depends.
Stool softeners--definitely. Can't stress it enough. Wish I had started it sooner.
Big pad for nursing--I like to lay on a cotton pad until my milk gets under control. A towel would work too. You can get something with an organic cotton surface and PUL underside that will keep your sheets dry, and feel okay to lay on with babe. Mine is like 2 x 3 feet.
Stool softeners were great too!! I had a friend who didn't want to use them when she had her daughter. She had a horrible experience in her hospital with post-partum care and thought that the stool softeners would give her diarrhea. She ended up pretty constipated and it ended up worse than if she had just taken them in the first place. She was only 19 at the time and had really no idea about what would happen after the baby came. The nurses weren't helpful in telling her what to expect immediately after the baby came and I don't know if she took a birth class or anything, because she had no idea that you have significant post-partum bleeding for a while.
When we left the hospital with DD, we basically took everything that wasn't nailed down, since we were being charged for it anyways!! I grabbed as many pairs of the disposable panties as were left in my room, as well as those disposable pads for putting under you. I used one under my bottom for a while until I was sure I wasn't going to bleed through at night, one under my chest until my milk was more under control, and used another to change DD on the bed in the middle of the night so that I didn't have to get out of bed. They are wonderful!! We'll probably do the same this time around.
So, I have no idea what it'll be like, but I did want to mention what seems like a nifty trick my MWs suggested. Mix 1/2 and 1/2 water and rubbing alcohol and put in a condom, tie off the condom, and freeze. They say it's a perfectly shaped and sized ice pack similar to the ones they have in a hospital.
I never use pad in real life and actually don't own more than two pair of non-thong underwear. I'm in denial about postpartum bleeding and pad necessities. The mesh things are in my homebirth kit...I'm hoping those will be me by?
So my midwife has yet to mention stool softeners in any way, either this time or last time. Since I wound up at the hospital with a c-sectoin, it was a non-issue. They gave me some senna on day 1 and 4 days later I had a totally non-traumatic poop; I figure it took so long cuz Ipretty much didn't eat at all 2ish days I was in labor.
Anyways, how much should i take? When?
I needed the stool softeners after my c/s because of all the morphine and such. I did not need them after my last homebirth-everything came out fine the next day. However, since I had done most of my pushing on the toilet, it was crazy to be back on the toilet pushing. It was a very strange experience.
If you do buy something-make sure it is just a stool softener and not a stimulent laxative. Generic Colace is a good one to look for. I would say take it BEFORE you really need it so it will make things easier.
I was thinking of using cloth this time. I've only used a cloth pad once for periods. I just had started trying that and a diva a little while before getting pregnant, so I'm not really that used to it, but I thought I'd make some large ones for postpartum. I made my own pattern fashioned after a disposable pad. I'd love if anyone could share an online pattern.
With DS, I actually used disposable diapers (*dies of embarrassment*) because that was what the midwives listed on the suggested "pack list" for the birth center. Of course, after delivery they told me, "Oh, you can just use maxi pads..." like "Why would you get adult diapers?!" when that was what they'd listed. O.o The midwives did give me a pad with a cold pack in it (it was one you break to activate the cold) and I asked to take one home with me because boy did it help. (I only stayed a few hours after birth before going home.)
I didn't use any ice packs at home, but I might try that water and alcohol trick this time. I did use tucks pads at the recommendation of a friend, and they had a cooling effect. I didn't think of using cloth and witchhazel, but that would work the same, especially if you keep the witchhazel in a cool place. I don't know if those pads go bad, but I didn't use them all and I still have the jar, so if they're "OK", I won't buy anything new for that.
So... logistics on using pads for lochia.... I was thinking I'd keep a bucket of water (maybe a soapy soak) in the bathroom to toss them in during the day and then just toss the whole thing in the washer each night. Does that sounds like a good idea? How do you handle your pads normally for menstruation?
Oh one other thing - I had a small 1st degree tear and a small graze when I delivered, so I had a few stitches. If you end up needing stitches, you'll want a water bottle with a spout on it to squirt on your lady bits whenever you go to pee. It will burn otherwise. Well, it will probably burn anyway, but the water will help. Warm water is better, the cold water would give me a bit of a jolt, but not too warm.
As for stool softeners... I didn't use any or even think to. Normally I'd drink senna tea if I need to for that, but when breastfeeding it is inadvisable since it can pass through to baby. I'm not sure about what stool softeners are safe for breastfeeding, but do consider that baby may be affected by anything you might take.
I did end up needing some gas-x type medicine. I had really bad cramps just a night or two after delivery. When we contacted the midwives, they recommended I stop taking my prenatal vitamin, which I'd continued up until then. The iron was thought to cause my discomfort, so I took something my mom had, I think it was Gas-X, but I don't remember.
Just note you might want to switch back to a complete woman's vitamin from your prenatal or a vitamin with low or no iron. :)
I actually didn't need any stool softeners and had heard from a ton of people about how horrible the first poop was. I was scared but my body evidently does not have a problem staying regular. Maybe the probiotics? I don't know but either way, first poop was fine and didn't hurt at all and I had a perineal tear with stitches. Hoping that it will be just as easy this time around too!
Re: probiotics...Ideally, I try to eat (or drink) some form of food-based probiotic with each meal...doesn't always happen but at least a couple times a day. Plus I take a probiotic capsule each morning. Food based probiotics I consume include: yogurt, juice kefir (I make mine with water kefir grains or buy some Kevita beverage occasionally), Bubbies sauerkraut (most of their pickles are lacto-fermented as well), other lacto-fermented foods (I made some kim-chee type green onions a while back and they're really good! plus lacto-fermented dilly green beans and ginger carrots are yummy to me). Miso (if you don't put it in broth that's hot enough to kill all the little creatures) is a fermented food with probiotics...in general, I think most people don't eat any foods with naturally occurring beneficial bacteria still in it in our culture, unless they're really trying to, but I think it's such an important and healthful part of good nutrition (and I have been trying to heal a messed up digestive system this way for a while). In our family, we've seen better blood glucose control when we consume probiotic foods along with sugars/starches. Some people really like Kombucha, another item rich with probiotics, but I've been wary to try it because of some of my food sensitivities. I saw something recently about bacterial vaginosis (some study was looking at it's relevance to pre-term labor) being thwarted by consuming lacto-fermented foods...I know there are other benefits as well (establishing good flora in the newborn) and I think consuming probiotics during pregnancy is a great idea! I'm going to try and focus more on this in the coming weeks ;-)
I wanted to add something I haven't seen mentioned yet-- just so any first-timers who experience it might not be as shocked as I was! Directly following the birth of my dd, my legs and feet swelled TREMENDOUSLY-- like tree trunks. It went down after a couple days, and the nurses didn't seem concerned at all (I've since discovered that one or two other friends had the same experience). It wasn't painful, but just really surprised me and kind of scared me, since I wasn't expecting it.
My legs swelled like crazy after DS, I thought it might have been how much fluid they pumped into me via IV while I was in labor, not sure. I was much more swollen after then birth than I was ever during pregnancy. I didn't swell at all with DD (no IV).
I'm pretty sure I took stool softeners after both babies, and I didn't have trouble going after either of them, which is remarkable in its own right since I'm always so constipated. I did use tucks pads and prep h for hemis, and the squirt bottle for a week or so after.
Postpartum stuff I love:
- Chux pads. These are the big blue (mine are blue anyway) disposable plastic-backed pads you can lay on your bed to catch bleeding and breastmilk from leaky breasts and any other stuff. I love these. I get a ton of them in my homebirth kit, but if I were having a hospital birth I would still buy some for at home. The less laundry needing to be done, the better!
- Freezable reusable pads. Then you don't have to worry about freezing a bunch of disposable/1-use pads beforehand. My midwife also has a 1-use instant ice pad in the birthkit - I might order one extra. I haven't torn with my 2 homebirths, but there's still "trauma" down there, and immediate and frequent icing during that first 24 hours GREATLY reduces swelling/bruising/pain, imo. Then heat in the 2nd 24 hours.
- Peri bottle with witch hazel. I try to find alcohol-free WH and get a couple bottles. That stuff is magic.
- AfterEase Tincture. After the first 2 babies, I started having *terrible* afterbirth pains. I guess that's just the way it goes, the more kids you have. I like this stuff.
- Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm. Worth it's weight in GOLD. This stuff is absolutely amazing, I will not give birth without it. ;) Their Bottom Spray is also very nice, but witch hazel is about as good.
- Postpartum Bath Herbs. Doesn't matter what kind (I'm thinking about making my own this time...) but this is another *must* in my book. I use them in my bath, but also in a muslin bag right on my perineum after they've soaked in the bath. Lovely.
- Stool softener. Yes. No more pushing, please.
- Mesh panties. Someone else mentioned these, and I agree. They're cheap, you can toss them or wash them, and again it's nice not to have extra laundry to do immediately postpartum. I wear them for a couple weeks.
- Natural disposable pads for immediately postpartum. Because I won't ask hubs to wash my bloody pads. ;) I've bought my cloth pads from Etsy (this shop is great) and made a bunch of my own as well, but I won't be using them until I feel ready to wash them.
- Postpartum Tea. I like it.
There's maybe one or two things I'm not remembering off hand, but I think those are the biggies. For me, making sure I have all the comfort/healing/convenience possible postpartum is a must! I'll have 5 kids to take care of, and I need to be really, really healed and rested. (We *all* do, no matter how many kids, of course. I'm just thinking from my perspective). But I don't feel bad getting a ton of things to help me recover!
Ooh, peri bottles. Love them.
One note about the first pp poo ... You can eat a handful of prunes a couple times a day or drink a glass of prune juice and get good results. Also, if you are having trouble, don't push! Put a container in the bathtub and squat over it. Squatting is the natural position that our bodies need to be in to poo. You will get much better results without pushing that way.
The first pee and first poo can be very scary. Drink lots of water immediately pp to help with the first pee. Be proactive about the first poo and you may not suffer (lots of water, prunes (or a stool softener), squat or use a stool for your feet). Don't let up after the first poo - you may need help the first few times.
I use disposables for babe until the meconium is gone. I use disposables for myself, too. I'd hate to ask DH to clean those!
Also, really try to stay in bed for 1-3 days and if possible make it a week!! It helps to keep your bum from feeling heavy and helps with your PP flow. 6 weeks of rest is what is recommended by most midwives...it doesn't mean lay in bed for 6 weeks...just try to relax, nurse often and let the house become messy