Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pregnancy, Labor, and a newborn: Surprises, lessons learned, and favorites

Pregnancy

My pregnancy was pretty mild, but there are a few things that either I read and didnt really grasp the fully or no one told me.  Everyone mentions the heartburn (which I only had a couple of days) and the cravings, and the waddling, but no one warned me I would swell up like a balloon, be unable to go to the bathroom for week(s) at a time, or be so exhausted that getting through the day was a chore. Everyone said that I would feel pregnant forever and it actually seemed to go by really fast with the exception of the last month. No one warned me that I would miss being pregnant when it was actually over though.

The Hospital, Labor, and Delivery

I over packed for the hospital, but I dont regret packing anything.  The items I packed and didnt use were: make-up (powder, eye shadow, and blush), extra clothes, and books.  I think if my labor hadnt been so intense I might have used these things.  I could not get out of bed on my own (without excruciating pain) until the day I left, which was 4 days post-postpartum.  Because of this I never changed clothes or put on makeup.  I also spent most of my time napping when I wasnt nursing, since I was taking pain medication that made me drowsy.  If I hadnt been so sleepy, I would have read the books I brought with me.

I regret that I didnt brush my hair after delivery for the few pictures our family took of us.  I feel like I would like the pictures so much better if someone would have brushed my hair (I did labor for 20 hours!).  I also wish we would have taken more photos.  I feel like I was in shock most of my labor and so I was distant from much of the experience with the exception of the pain.  I wish we had learned more about how our hospital handled labor, because we were surprised (and a bit dismayed) that my husband had to do so much of the work.


I had read mixed comments about the mesh panties and pads that the hospital would give me for postpartum bleeding.  They were fine at the hospital because I stayed in bed the whole time.  However, once I was home I started using Depends and I would 100% recommend them over the hospital pads or regular pads.  Had I been more mobile in the hospital, I would have preferred using the Depends there too.

The First Month as a Mom and Life with a Newborn

Sleep, Nurse, Sleep, Nurse, Sleep, Nurse.

During the first two weeks I wanted to be alone with my husband and baby.  While most people complied with my wishes, there were some who didnt.  Being alone during the first week was ideal.  I felt horrible and we didnt have a routine.  I was still in a lot of pain and taking pain medication for the first week or so we were home.  Also during the couple of weeks it really hurt to sit, walk, and use the bathroom.  In fact, going to the bathroom normally involved screaming from pain.  In hindsight, I came home from the hospital with a bladder infection that was probably the cause of a portion of the pain, but I know a lot of it was a result of my 2nd degree tear.  In fact, I am now 6 weeks postpartum and going to the bathroom is still uncomfortable, although rarely painful now.  Why did no one warn me that post birth pain would last so long?

Breastfeeding really hurt for the first 2 or 3 weeks, but after that the pain was mostly gone.  The gel soothe pads were a must have for the first few weeks!  I tried Lanolish, Medela, and Motherlove nipple creams.  Beware, nipple creams do NOT help with the pain (which I was mislead on).  They do help with keeping them from being dry and cracked.  Lanolish was my least favorite and Motherlove was my favorite, although I wish it came in a squeeze tube instead of a pot.  FYI: nipple cream stains!  No one warned me about this and my nursing tanks are ruined!  I am so glad I bought my nursing bras and tanks early!  They have been a lifesaver and I cant imagine nursing without them.

Sleep when you can!  Some days I feel like I sleep all day, but its in 1 hour incriments (at best).  You never feel rested an nursing takes a lot of energy!  Dont feel bad!  If your baby is taken care of and happy, sleep when she sleeps!  Dont worry about chores!  If I manage a load of dishes or laundry a day, then I feel accomplished!

1st Month Favorites

Diapers: Pampers Swaddlers for Newborn and Huggies Snugglers for Size 1 (I like the Pampers diapers, but right now Pampers size 1 are too big in the legs).  I tried Honest Company diapers and I liked the way they fit and they are super cute, but the lack of wetness indicator is a huge detractor.

Wipes: Water Wipes, Lanolish Wipes, and Burts Bees Wipes.  (We tried Huggies Pure and Natural and hate them.  My husband says the are too dry and while I dont think thats the case, I think they stink terribly!)

Pacifiers: Mam and Soothie (Mam pacifiers were the only ones I found that came in a Newborn size, in addition to the 0-3 month size that is the standard starter size in most pacifier brands.  Soothies really didnt start working for us until 4 or 5 weeks).  We also love the Paciplushies!  I prefer them to the Wubbanub because I can change out the pacifier and wash them easier.



Bassinet: I didnt think we would really use one, but it has come in handy, especially since it has wheels and can be moved around the house.



Mittens: Luvable Friends (these are the only ones we found that had a tight enough wrist band to stay on infant hands)

Sleepers: Faded Glory, Children's Place, and Kissy Kissy ( Faded Glory and Children's Place brands zip instead of button and I prefer the zippers because they seem to fit slimmer and they are quicker to get on and off)



Gowns: I hated the Carters gowns, but all other gowns I found worked well for us.  The Carters brand gowns were to narrow (and we have a skinny baby). Gowns that button up the front are hands down better than the ones that pull over the head!

Swaddlers: Woombies are hands down my favorites.  I love the Aden and Anis swaddle blankets, because they are soft and versatile, but I Genevieve seems to wiggle out of a blanket swaddle at night.  I have tried a few velcro swaddles and havent found one I like yet.

Blankets: Carters and Aden + Anis

Soothing Toy: Fisher Price Snugapuppy Bouncer

Lotion: Shea Moisture Baby Unsented and Honest Company

Diaper Bag: Jujube BFF (although I am finding that I over pack and I think I would like to try the Jujube Be Prepared).  I also love the Jujube accessories: Be Quick and Pacipod. I love the Initials Inc Stash and Dash as an overnight/travel bag/diaper bag/car bag.

Nursing Bras/Tanks: Bravado Simple Embrace Nursing Bra, Anita 5051 Nursing Bra, and Cantaloop Nursing Tank (This tank is long like a tunic.  I wish it was shorter, but it is the only nursing tank that goes up to a J cup), and Simple Wishes Hands-free Pumping Bra (I have a very large cup size and these are the only ones I found that worked for me)

Car Seat Cover: I wasnt originally going to buy one of these, but the first time I tried to go to the grocery store it rained and my decision changed fast!  There are lots of cheap versions of these, but the cheap ones dont fasten.  I love the one I ordered from SooShabbyChic on Etsy.

Apps and Websites: ThisLife (for photos) and Baby Connect for tracking feedings, diapers, and meds.

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