I'm probably repeating a lot because my eyeballs are starting to hurt from reading all the responses.
Here are mine:
1: I was afraid, no TERRIFIED, of the first few postpartum BMs! I don't know why I could push out an 8 pound baby but was afraid to sit on the toilet.
I drank prune juice like it was going out of existence and that helped a lot.
2: The peri bottle is wonderful. It was my best friend. Because, besides being afraid of going to the bathroom, I was afraid of toilet paper.
3: Not everyone has horrible breastfeeding problems. With my first pregnancy, I read every book I could get my hands on, and it seemed like they all assumed women will have a horrible breastfeeding relationship: flat nipples, poor latch, mastitis, thrush, the works. I was terrified and really anxious about nursing. It was fine! It was a great quiet time. I wasn't comfortable with NIP for a few weeks, so I got to sit alone in my room with no one bothering me while I nursed. It was a good excuse to get a break when I was tired of visitors, too.
4: One of the things I said after DS was born: "Am I still supposed to hurt
?" I was so sore...I guess all that perineal (sp) stretching did me in. It didn't last long, but it definitely didn't just stop hurting right after I finished pushing.
5: Olive Oil + Perineum = Ahhhhhh
DH did perineal massage with olive oil from about 36 weeks on in my first pregnancy. He could tell the stretch was improving and I had not a single tear when DS was born. We didn't do it with my second pregnancy and I did tear...I know that wasn't the only reason (she was born quickly) but it made me wish we had at least tried to do massages.
6: Let me reiterate...prune juice is your friend.
7: Don't ask the nurses if you can take a bath after the baby is born. Wait til they're gone and just do it. With my first, we were in an apartment with no tub (just a standing shower) and I was dying for a bath. I asked them if I could and they said no because of the "risk of infection".
: 2nd baby, same hospital - I told my husband to lock the door to my room and I hopped into the whirlpool. It was so nice and relaxing after the intensity of the birth.
8: Textbook labors happen in textbooks.
I don't know anyone who had a regular "textbook" labor, they are all so different.
9: If your first labor is long and tough, it doesn't mean your second will be long and tough (and vice versa). My first and second were very different, except for the fact that htey both started in active labor (cntx 3 minutes apart & 60 seconds long from the beginning).
10: If you are paying for the birth yourself (or even if your insurance is paying but you want to be sure about the bill), REQUEST AN ITEMIZED BILL FROM THE HOSPITAL
. When DS was born, I was insured but he was not (long story
). We got an itemized bill and found that they put on some things that we didn't get and services we didn't use. We made them take off a couple tests that we waived, pacifiers and diapers, etc. and dramatically reduced our bill. I don't think they liked us very much but it was no sweat off our backs.