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#1 of 19 Old 05-17-2011, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone!  I'm a super newbie poster, but I've stalked these forums for months. :)  I'm due to have my first baby at home somewhere around July 1st.  My question for you experienced mommas is, what are some practical things I can do to ensure I properly rest and heal during the postpartum period if I will not have adequate support?  

My husband recently started a new job and has NO paid leave, not even sick leave, available for the first 12 months.  We live on one income mostly, and can't afford for him to take more than a day or two off for the birth.  I have friends and family available to help here and there, but they all work or have their own families and would not be available so much during the daytime when my husband is at work.  Up until now, my husband and I have had a very traditional division of labor, with me taking care of 90% of the household responsibilities, cooking, cleaning, etc.  It has just worked out that way, and worked for us.  Unfortunately, I now have little confidence that even if he were able to take off work, he'd be able to keep things running smoothly on his own while I recover.  And with him working 50+ hours a week (and likely losing a lot of sleep at night), it seems near impossible.

 

I would love to have a post-partum doula, but it just cannot happen financially, unless we run in to unexpected money between now and then.  We have way too many other expenses that we're barely covering. We'd have to go into debt, and that's not an option.

 

At my last childbirth prep class, the instructor made a really big deal about mothers not overdoing it after delivery, which she says drastically increases recovery time.  Her rule of thumb is "1 week in bed, 1 week around bed, 1 week around the house."  She says for the first week, the mother should not even be making her own meals, and only getting out of bed to use the bathroom.

 

There's a chance my family/friends might bring us meals afterward, but no one has offered anything yet.  I'm thinking maybe I could make and freeze a bunch of meals myself beforehand, and create a menu/schedule for my husband to follow.  And maybe I could put a microwave and cooler next to the bed?  I'm not sure if this is realistic...

 

Any tips or ideas?  What can I do now and plan now to make recovery go more smoothly?

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Reborn

 


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#2 of 19 Old 05-17-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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I just wanted to say that I had that problem last time around after my homebirth.  My mother is the only family I have in this state and she was down south and couldn't come back for over a year because of an injury when I had my last baby.  DH got called back to work and was scheduled to start back the very day after I gave birth.  I had no one but my 8 yr old son.  My midwife stresses a 2 week rest period and babymoon for mom and doesnt even want mom out of the bed for the first 3 days, out of her room for a week.  No cooking, have a plan set up where friends and family bring over meals the first week, and all.  It sounds great but my reality didn't let this happen.  I was up the very next day taking care of things, baby ended up jaundiced to the point where medical intervention was nessesary and daily blood draws.  He was put on the biliblanket (at home phototherapy) and I didn't have a car when DH was at work so had to use public transportation for all these appointments.  It was so rough and I noticed that I wasn't healing and recovering like I should.  I bled for 8 weeks instead of 4-6.  I was so run down, and had a good deal of PPD and anxiety.  Had it not been for my 7 yr old son bless his heart, helping when he could and being my gopher, I would have lost it. 

 

I say, whatever options you have or may have, get a plan in order asap.  Don't wait until last minute.  You have not be able to do all the things suggested such as staying in bed for 3 days, not cooking for a week, etc but take whatever help you can get.  Your body will tell you when you are doing too much.  Listen.  I had a PP hemorhage after the birth and was extra wiped out anyway and a mild prolapse to the uterus.  Each day I did too much, my bleeding would increase.  It's not worth risking your health if you can help it. 

 

Start inlisting help now.  People you may not even think of as an option for help may be more than willing and even want to help even if just so they can take a peek at the new baby. 

 

Definitely freeze some meals, have some HB meat already cooked up and frozen so you or someone can just add it to hb helper or spaghetti, lasagna, whatever, have the house stocked with lots of no fuss meals such as soups that can be paired with frozen garlic bread, or sandwiches. 

 

Also, if you have no other kids to chase, sleep when baby sleeps.  It is so tempting to use that time to have a little quite time for yourself and that is important too but definitely get that sleep in, its going to make all the difference. 


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#3 of 19 Old 05-17-2011, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Sharita!  Love your profile pic, btw. haha!

 

Yes, my instructor mentioned organ prolapse as a possible result of overdoing it.  Yikes!  I'm sorry you had to go through that. :(

 

Do you feel the baby became jaundiced because you weren't breastfeeding often enough due to being busy?  Or was it just a coincidence?  

 

That's another thing I don't understand-- everyone says not to leave the house for a month, but then there are all these things you're supposed to do after the baby is born-- dr's appointments mostly, especially if you or the baby have problems postpartum.  It seems to me that any professional involved in postpartum care or newborn care should be required to do home visits! :P

 

I think I'm going to start thinking through and writing out my game plan today.  I need to give my husband a tour of the kitchen and laundry room too! LOL


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#4 of 19 Old 05-17-2011, 04:05 PM
 
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Definitely feed the freezer.  Also make sure to have some easy snack foods around, like pre cut veggies/fruit, yogurt cups etc.  I think a microwave and cooler by the bed is a good idea.  I would make sure your dh can set you up with everything you need before he goes to work, like food, lots of water bottles, diaper changing station for the baby, books or a laptop or whatever you want for entertainment.  Having all the essentials within easy reach should help a lot.  I'd also consider using disposable dishes for the first week at least so your DH can focus more time on helping you out when he's there.


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#5 of 19 Old 05-17-2011, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm, good idea on the disposable dishes, Angelorum!  I was worried about dishes piling up.  We're planning to cloth diaper, but I think I will hold off on that also until I am on my feet again. I just need disposable clothes! haha

 

I think I will make a checklist of stuff I need by the bed  and tape it to the wall so he can take inventory before he leaves for work each day. :)

 

I want my hubby to have time to bond with the baby when he's home.  I think, as much as I'd rather us all be alone, I will ask friends and family to come over and help with chores/groceries in the evenings and on weekends so DH has a little more freedom.


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#6 of 19 Old 05-17-2011, 11:22 PM
 
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I'd say that making a very detailed plan now, before hand, is a great first step.

 

A great second step, is accepting that your house is going to be a mess.  You need to let everything else outside of your bedroom just melt away.  It will get clean again one day!

 

Disposable plates/cups/forks are great!  Make a menu plan for 2 weeks of freezer foods if you can, even if they're pre-bought things, so that you don't have to think at all about what will get eaten when.  If people bring you food, you can always leave it in the freezer and use it later!

 

If a little fridge in the bedroom isn't an option, a little cooler would probably work fine.  Have your partner make you a couple of sandwiches to put in the cooler before he leaves for work, along with a few other snacky foods, like cheese, baby carrots.  Keep some utensils in there, and have your partner fill up 3 or 4 water bottles to keep in there with you too.  A thermos of tea might be nice!  Keep other snack foods right by the bed, like almonds, good high protein snack bars, or whatever else you like.  Nursing made me ravenous!

 

Basically, let your partner know what needs to get done each day.  Make him a list.  If you keep track of your normal chores for one day, pick the ones that are top priority.  Then he can do them when he gets home.

 

Keep your room set up so that you only have to get up to go to the bathroom.  Make sure you have a few books in there, a laptop if you've got one, a TV if you use one (and some movies).  Keep the phone handy, with a charger in the bedroom.  Keep tinctures and nipple salve in there.  If you're not preparing food when you're by yourself (if you've got sandwiches and snacks right beside you for the day), then that should help a lot.  Keep plenty of diapers and wipes in there, and a few changes of baby clothes too.

 

Your partner CAN take care of you for a few weeks when he's not working!  Let him know now what your expectations are (that you'll pretty much be an invalid), and make him good, detailed lists.  I know my DH likes detailed lists, at least.  And make sure he knows how much you appreciate his part in all this!  That you're so glad you can depend on him, and that you know it will be a rough time for both of you.  It really is!  Be forgiving to eachother smile.gif

 

Having a baby seat in the bathroom can be great...  That way you can set the baby down while you pee.

 

And little newborns really just want to be right on top of mama anyway.  Know that it's totally normal to nurse almost around the clock in those early weeks.  If baby is crying, check the diaper first, and then put right on the boob.  It's great for your supply to nurse so much, and will keep you off your feet and resting like you should.

 

I think waiting to do cloth until you're on your feet is a great idea.  We used disposables in the first 3 months, and I don't regret it at all.  You'll have several years to cloth diaper, and with no help, go convenience!

 

Good luck mama!

 

Edited to add:  On the pediatrician visits, I'd check with your midwife before you worry to much about those.  My midwife checked me AND baby for the first 8 weeks.  They'll send you to someone if they see something concerning, but I know a lot of homebirth mamas don't bother with a pediatrician visit until about 6-8 weeks anyhow.


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#7 of 19 Old 05-18-2011, 04:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Italiamom!!!

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#8 of 19 Old 05-18-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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Ditto on feeding the freezer, using disposable dishes, disposable diapers, snacks and other food easily accessible, water by the bed, lists.

 

I wanted to do a lot of skin-to-skin, so baby and I only got dressed when other people were around, which cut down on laundry a lot.

do make sure that you have some sort of cloth easily accessible for catching milk-drips and spit-up after your milk comes in (prefolds, flats, receiving blankets, towels)

try to stay on top of everything in your last few weeks of pregnancy. I let things slip, and spent my entire early labor (and some of my active labor) running laundry up and down the stairs and nagging DF to get the dishes done. consequently, by the time labor was in full swing I was already exhausted, and things still weren't finished.

 

and, if you don't already have at least two sets of sheets for your bed, you need at least two sets, preferably ones that you either don't care if they get stained or won't she stains. babies are messy. sheets and blankets made up a huge part of our laundry for the first several months. 

 

and stock up on non-perishables. Toilette paper, laundry detergent etc, and non-perishable foods like dried fruit, nuts, cereal, canned goods. that way grocery shopping will be minimal for the first several weeks 


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#9 of 19 Old 05-18-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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My DH is disabled and I don't have any family or friends who live close by, so I will be pretty much on my own from the start. I'm sure my midwife will be a big help, but even she lives 80 miles away, lol. I suspect I won't be spending much time in bed.

However! The birth of my first DD, by emergency c-section, didn't allow for much recovery time either. I was in the hospital for three days, and then checked myself out. DD was in the NICU for 5 weeks, so I spent my recovery time walking back and forth from the Ronald McDonald house to the hospital several times a day and sitting in the NICU. I was told that all that walking was good for my recovery, so maybe it was a good thing.

This time around, if I can just stay home for a few weeks, I'll be happy. You'll find that you can do whatever needs doing, and the rest can wait! You can do it!

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#10 of 19 Old 05-18-2011, 01:57 PM
 
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Never got my homebirth  (DH refuses to allow or consider it.  Strong feelings that the only reason his brother is alive today is because the doctors saved him at birth), but overall my experience on not lying in...You mean bleeding for 8-10 weeks is not normal???  I envy those women who get to have a "proper lying in" after the birth of their babies.  I jumped right back into my regular routine as soon as arriving home from the hospital.  DD1 was at Walmart at 2 days old because the cupboards were bare and DH did not feel confident to shop by himself (I'd planned to go grocery shopping after work a couple days earlier, but went into labor instead); DS was at some restaurant, I forget, plus DH was deployed and I had NO help (MIL and FIL came down from Oklahoma and took care of DD for a couple days, but they had to go home and then my mom and stepdad came out from California and basically, it was "their vacation" and centered around them and what they wanted to do, so I got "dragged" around Texas visiting (distant) relatives and playing hostess.  With DD2, I only had 6 weeks maternity leave and we wanted to get some stuff accomplished (moving a bunch of crap out of our house into the storage facility) in that time period.  And, we stopped at Olive Garden on the way home.  DH saw that time as a vacation for me.  Thank goodness I had uncomplicated vaginal births.  Don't want to think about how I would have done if I'd had difficult or surgical births.  However, knowing myself, if I tried to do a "proper lying in", I'd go absolutely bonkers.  But, somewhere in the middle...

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#11 of 19 Old 05-18-2011, 05:48 PM
 
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Is there a young teen around that you could hire as a helper? I know my dd would love to do that for someone.


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#12 of 19 Old 05-18-2011, 08:23 PM
 
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You've been given excellent advice!

 


Only thing I'd add - many times, doulas-in-training - both birth and postpartum doulas will offer their services free of charge.  Something to look into!


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#13 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 07:21 AM
 
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Wow, great suggestions. I am a postpartum doula so I was about to mention about doulas in training but I see that has been covered. If you can't find a doula who is willing to offer some time free of charge, you might be able to piece together a little bit of time, even on a budget. (I am on a very strict budget, I get it... but it can be worth it.) Having a low-fee doula come in for two hours at a time for three days during the first week can make a big difference- she can answer bfing questions, make you a warm meal, get you set up with everything you need for the rest of the day.

 

Also, I'm sure you could fill in the other days with friends or family. This is a time to ask for help. Many people are totally willing, but don't know what would be most helpful to you or don't want to intrude. If you have a specific request they will most likely be more than happy to grant it. ("Could you please come over for an hour on Thursday, bring a roasted chicken from the grocery store, throw the laundry in the washer, and tidy up the kitchen?") Specifics are important. Line up people beforehand. I know a lot of moms aren't keen on asking for help, but you have to set aside your pride and know that doing so will be best for you and your baby in the long run.

 

Have a list handy so that when people drop by to see you and the baby you can say, "Oh, by the way, would you mind running to the mailbox for me?" or "Could you please hold the baby while I take a shower?"

 

Also, take advantage of this website: http://mealtrain.com/. Get volunteers to bring you meals! You can set it up before the birth. You can use your freezer meals as backup.


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#14 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 07:54 AM
 
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Im also a Postpartum Doula and i belong to a group of doulas  - we have a "Families in Crisis" Fund - where we have a collection of funds to pay a doula for services on behalf of a family who needs one but cannot afford one.    Check out your local doula groups and ask.   You will probably feel great - theres never any time for housework - but that can slide for a  while!


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#15 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, thank you!  This is all SO helpful!  Ya'll are awesome.

 

@coharmony, I've been trying to think of a teenager that could help, since it will be over summer break, but I no one has come to mind yet. :(

 

I will def look into doulas in training in the area!

 

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#16 of 19 Old 05-19-2011, 08:28 PM
 
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I read a post at one time of a midwife posting a lovely note outside, on the front door of the new mothers home. It stated something like.... "....help to honor this new mother by "mothering the mother". If you see a chore that needs to be done, dont ask or hesitate, just do it....." "....it can be hard for new mothers to ask for help, so here is a list of tasks/chores that can always be done...." It then had a list of simple chores that would take maybe 15min to do but that would be a huge help, like folding laundry, wiping down the bathroom, loading the dishwasher, walking the dog, etc. Any visitor that stopped by to see the new baby, usually wants to help, but doesnt always know what to do. Something like this might be helpful in your situation?

 

 

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#17 of 19 Old 05-21-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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you may be surprised at how good you feel after the birth. I have had very easy recoveries. my last birth I hosted my 2 yr olds birthday party 2 days after the birth of his brother and had them dedicated at church the day after. granted I took naps with the babies every day but still did all the cooking and cleaning and hosted my family who was visiting from out of state. my grandma could not be live how I was getting around, not that I recommend all that activity, just know that if you can't stay in bed for a week its not the end of the world. I am thankful that I recover quickly because this new baby is due in Sept. DH can't get more than a few days off work and I have 3 boys plus new baby girl and disabled grandpa to take care of now. I know that a baby moon is ideal but just not practical for many of us. I do plan to get easy freezer meals for the first week and the kids may watch more TV than I would like, but its only for a season.

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#18 of 19 Old 05-21-2011, 04:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breachaplin View Post

you may be surprised at how good you feel after the birth. I have had very easy recoveries. my last birth I hosted my 2 yr olds birthday party 2 days after the birth of his brother and had them dedicated at church the day after. granted I took naps with the babies every day but still did all the cooking and cleaning and hosted my family who was visiting from out of state. my grandma could not be live how I was getting around, not that I recommend all that activity, just know that if you can't stay in bed for a week its not the end of the world. I am thankful that I recover quickly because this new baby is due in Sept. DH can't get more than a few days off work and I have 3 boys plus new baby girl and disabled grandpa to take care of now. I know that a baby moon is ideal but just not practical for many of us. I do plan to get easy freezer meals for the first week and the kids may watch more TV than I would like, but its only for a season.


at the same time, there are those of us who really can't do much after giving birth, and you can't know ahead of time where on the spectrum you will be. preparing so that you have to do as little as possible doesn't hurt.

 


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#19 of 19 Old 05-22-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post




at the same time, there are those of us who really can't do much after giving birth, and you can't know ahead of time where on the spectrum you will be. preparing so that you have to do as little as possible doesn't hurt.

 


I'd like to add that I have had my recovery go both ways.  After my 4th birth, I felt amazing and was back to regular duties the next day (which wasn't too much besides being a SAHM chasing my 3 other very young kiddos).  I had no problems at all and never once felt tired or that I didn't get enough rest (except the occasional needing a nap I didn't get).  I didn't have help anyway so thank goodness I didn't need it.

 

However, after my 5th, I had excessive blood loss, a moderate uteruine prolapse and though it was a very quick wonderful birth in spite of these things, I just felt horrible afterwards.  I really could have used some help but had even less than the last time. 

 

I think there is no way to know how you will feel after the birth or how much help you will need.  I strongly believe though that you can also overdo it without realizing it because you don't feel tired but your body will let you know soon enough if you are doing too much by your recovery slowing.

 

Just prepare for needing the help and if it turns out you don't need as much, you can go from there.  It beats needing it and not having it.  Just watch for bleeding increasing and feeling really tired, signs you are doing too much too soon.  Just follow your body's signals.  Even if you feel fine, having a day in bed or as much time as you can get to just relax and bond with baby will help decrease stress, risk of PPD, and breastfeeding issues and get bonding off to a great start. 
 

 


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