Despite all the lovely media out there that pregnancy is a beautiful, magical time it is also very difficult for some. Everyone’s pregnancy is different and that’s hard to understand before you’ve gone through your own. The same applies for the birth story. Every mother will have a very different experience.
For me the struggle was always emotional. For most of the pregnancy I just couldn’t get my feet underneath me. I struggled with the decision to have children, to questioning whether or not we’d be good parents, to how we’d handle the costs of a child. It was only in the third trimester that I started to feel confident about being parents, only to develop anxiety around childbirth.
In those last few weeks the only I could feel better was to try to be ready. I continued prenatal yoga through 39 weeks. I forced Tyler to read The Birth Partner (he now agrees this was a good decision). I called everyone I knew for hospital bag and postpartum care tips. The consensus? You don’t need half of what you bring.
Hospital Prep Reality Check- No matter what you pack, you won’t use most of it.
- Bath robe- this is all I wore in the hospital. I rarely stood except to go to the bathroom so what more do you need?
- Toiletries- I feared my first shower. I didn’t want to stand or put hot water anywhere near my recently traumatized parts. Do not fear the shower.It will be your best shower ever.
- Warm socks/slippers
- Hairbrush/hair ties
- Comfy clothes to come home in
- 1-2 baby outfits- Haines was chilly in the hospital and the nurses wanted him dressed to help warm him up.
*I only delivered and recovered at the hospital. I didn’t labor there. Your needs may be different.
The best way to prepare to leave the hospital is to take everything. Don’t leave without all the:
- Mesh underwear
- Witch hazel pads
- Cold packs
- More witch hazel pads- I purchased Tuck’s pads rather than make my own but there’s a lot of information out there to DIY it
- Always Flex Foam pads– super thin but very absorbent
- Stool softener- just do it
- Motrin & Tylenol
- A supply of the world’s largest, comfiest granny panties
- Extra sets of hands- get help!
Hospital Reality Check- There is no recovering in Recovery.
Be aware that it is commonplace these days to keep the baby in the room with mom at all times. At our hospital Haines only left once for an hour. It felt good to be able to see him but… I also only slept about 90 minutes during our hospital stay which was about 36 hours long. My mom hearing had turned on into hyperdrive and every wiggle he made woke me up. I also just wanted to see him. It was so hard to believe he was really here. I needed to see him just to confirm his existence. This need meant I missed out on essential sleep but I couldn’t have done it differently.
At-Home Reality Check- You thought you were hormonal during pregnancy? You know nothing.
The first two weeks home I cried because I was tired. I cried because Haines had trouble breastfeeding and I didn’t know how to help him. I cried because my heart was full and everything felt perfect. I cried at sappy songs and terrible commercials. Now we’re almost 4 weeks in with 2 weeks of a healthy baby and a 2 week hospital stay under our belts. We still don’t have any since of normalcy or routine, but we’re making it all the same.
At-Home Reality Check- Even though you’re more tired than you’ve ever been, you’ve got this. At least you can have a damn beer again.