Join Date: May 2003
Location: In the mountains of madness
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This is one of the best threads I've seen in a long time. So interesting!
I have to say that none of the things anyone has posted thus far were surprising to me. I guess I did a hell of a lot of reading while I was pregnant, maybe 30+ books, and also had a great childbirth class (based loosely on "Birthing From Within") with the woman who was both my doula and my massage therapist during pregnancy. The only things that came as a shocker were related to what Mamid said - hospital stuff. I had had no experience with hospitals before (and did NOT expect to be in one - but rather in my lights-dimmed, newly-blue-painted, lavendar-scented bedroom - and did NOT expect to be recovering from surgery).
So, here are mine (take note that these are also post c-section):
1. Your best friend is now named STOOL SOFTENER. However. If you don't drink as much water as you possibly can, you will still spend about an hour in the shower attempting to remove impacted stools without any medical (or other) assistance and without even knowing what the hell is going on. (This happened to me on day 5, the day after I got out of the hospital.) And of course, the mushy, non-fiber, non-nutritious hospital food will not help in the least. No one talked to me about this possibility (which I guess can be common after surgery), and the pains in my abdomen were actually worse than the labor pains. I could not walk across the room without crumpling up. It didn't help that the surgical incision was already making it a challenge to walk straight.
Next time - if there ever were to be a next time - I would ask for more /a stronger stool softener and get someone to bring me lots of fresh fruit, salad, dried fruit, etc. into the hospital. And bottled water - I like the fizzy European waters, esp. Pellegrino - anything to motivate me to drink even more than I already was.
2. Your milk can come in without engorgement. I kept waiting for my breasts to get as hard as rocks. I kept waiting for the pain. Didn't happen. Then I noticed that thin white stuff, not yellow stuff, was leaking from my son's mouth.
3. You can have weird effects from an epidural (I was NOT going to get one so I was pretty ignorant about them). I had a strange tingly pain all down one thigh, which later turned into numbness. My thigh was numb for about 10 months, then it went away. Sometimes I still feel a slight, very localized numbness around my incision. Nothing too bad.
4. My milk came in on day 5 or day 6. And that was OK. Luckily (if you want to look at it that way), I was too drugged up to worry needlessly about my milk. In fact, nothing anyone in the hospital did could really phase me. My DP and I did just what we wanted. We could not keep the nurses from opening the door and turning on bright (bright! cross-examination-worthy-bright) overhead lights in the middle of the night, however. I don't know that anyone can.
As a result, after my 43-hour labor and homebirth-that-was-not-to-be, I actually spent four quite happy, peaceful days in the hospital. So I would call this #
5. The hospital is not necessarily going to be horrific. I thought it would be. I did not want to be there. I was not mentally prepared to be there. But once I was, once it was all over, did not go as expected, and yet here was my fantastically beautiful baby, it was just fine. The nurses, the doctors, everyone - they were great (OK, there was one asshole doctor and one asshole nurse, and the lactation counsellors were pretty much useless, but whatever). My midwife and my doula and my midwife's partner all came to visit every day. My only job was to walk up and down the hall once a day and try to feed my baby. I loved my hospital bed and was sad to leave it. We spent all our time gazing in admiration at our son, who slept nestled next to me on the bed. We never let anyone take him anywhere without us.
It wasn't my beautiful, peaceful homebirth, but I have really fond memories of it all nevertheless.
P.S One more thing: Nobody prepared us for just how GREAT it is after the baby was born. All I really thought and worried about was the work involved and the sleep deprivation. Actually, it was wonderful. It was FUN.