I have a few reflections that I would like to share in light of the fact that I have had a lot of time (six months) to think about the experience of labor and birthing a baby. Some people have told me that my labor was easy and short and that i should be grateful and to those people i usually try to keep my mouth closed because what i want to say starts with an F and ends with a U. Others have said that it sounds horrible and let me tell you that at the time it wasn’t a bed of roses. It hurts. The one good thing I can say about natural birth is that I was up and out of that bed within hours and my recovery as far as being able to care for the baby was much easier than some of my friends who have had to have csections or who had time to have an epidural.
Birth is not necessarily beautiful, but the results are wonderful. I know so many women who want to paint the experience as beautiful (they actually use that word for an experience where you bleed and poop on yourself) like a Monet or a classical piano concert and its not. Its scary and wonderful and a very unique experience but beautiful isn’t the word I would use. Awe inspiring maybe. The only way you can truly understand it is to do it. Much like i imagine landing on the moon can only be understood fully by astronauts, giving birth can only be fully understood by someone who has given birth.
In light of all that I have a few post labor tips for all you about to be moms;
- Post labor you are tired, and fuzzy headed and their are a million people or in my case about 30 who really really want to see you and the baby in the hospital as soon as humanly possible. my advice is to limit who you allow to see you in that first 24 hours and what is posted on social media.
- Pack a gown or something you can nurse in that is flattering because someone will take your picture that day and you will be bloated and feel gross and that will most likely translate on camera. See below:
- Be prepared to be inspected…roughly every three hours. A nurse will be asking to see your stitches, giving you vitamins, checking your blood pressure, or “checking on you” constantly.
- Get a baby app for your phone to record feedings, changings, etc. Not only do you have a nurse but so does baby who will constantly be checking in.
- Bring your own snacks! Unless you like hospital cornflakes. If you are breastfeeding you will be hungry…all the time.
- if you want your baby in the room with you keep him there but there is no shame in keeping him in the hospital nursery. I kept Carl with me except for one night when Steven hadn’t returned yet and I needed a shower. I called the nursery and took him down there for about twenty minutes and then went and got him and brought him back to our room. All new moms could benefit from the occasional break.
- Enjoy it. enjoy every uncomfortable, sleep deprived, insane second of it and write about it. Write your thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams.
And now for some cute baby Carl pictures;
Having a baby is great. Having a baby is messy. Having a baby is exhausting and terrible and wonderful and draining.The first month is a testament to how much a woman can go through and survive and help a new life to thrive. The first week is hard, but also great because for me at least there was someone there all the time. My mom, or Steven, or Faith was always there to help out. They grow pretty fast though. The best part of the first month is that once you find rhythm, If you are lucky enough to have time off, it is a wonderful bonding experience.
I decided to breastfeed. It was a decision I made pretty early in my pregnancy and while I worried a little (a lot) after he was born about my milk coming in, I just kept on feeding him whenever he would open his mouth. That’s the secret in my opinion. Keep on keeping on until you get the hang of it. Breastfeeding is a commitment, like a job or a marriage or anything else. If you can hang on past the first few weeks where it hurts and is uncomfortable then you can definitely manage it when it is more of a routine.
Babies grow so freaking fast. The weirdest thing for me to get used to at the beginning was being solely responsible for a tiny human. Sure there are other people around, and you get help, but in the middle of the night most of the time you are the only one that little screaming human wants for comfort and food and to get him to sleep. Its crazy and overwhelming for a little while. It gets better though.
Do you know what a preventable tragedy is? It is a terrible event that could easily have been avoided. We all are responsible for, or have been on the receiving end of such an event. If I hadn’t gone parasailing I wouldn’t have crashed and broken my ankle. If I had locked my windows that intruder would not have been able to enter my home and steel my things and ruin my sense of security. Sadly most tragic events are preventable but hindsight is what it usually takes to realize that,
Imagine for a moment that there was a man accused of a heinous crime. The man was old, weathered and seemingly homeless though he looked like he had recently had a good meal and a hot bath. The police brought him in and he seemed friendly enough but you never know what people are capable of. The jail was crowded. The other prisoners were loud and almost unmanageable. Some prisoners had been there a long time, but many came in just that morning. Because the jail was full, and the officers were busy they decided to take the old man out behind the jail and shoot him.
….This would never, ever happen. If it did happen people would be fired and heads would roll. Protesters would line the streets for days in unity against such a horrible and senseless act. This man, without time for an investigation, trial, or due process of any kind was murdered. Now imagine that instead of a person this was a dog. An older dog was picked up by our local Animal control, he was taken to the shelter, and before he was even allowed time to get comfortable and wait on his owner who would have gladly come to get him, he was euthanized. This dogs name was Lucky. Lucky was a retired bird dog who had dug out of his fence, as dog sometimes do, in the night and before his owners could tracks him down the next morning he was put down. There is no excuse. There is no apology that would make it right, but nevertheless an apology should be made. The Florence Lauderdale Animal Shelter and made a mistake. A grave mistake that cost the life of a beloved pet for no other reason than they had a busy morning and a lot of animals to deal with. Own it. I will never forget this and I will never support our local shelter until the leadership is actually held accountable for something.