Thursday, 10 March 2016

What Happens After The Birth....

So you just had a baby! Congratulations and welcome to motherhood, its a bumpy brilliant funny stressful hard and amazing journey but there are always smile to be found and hug to be had.

That said you may feel a little shell shocked at the parts no one talks about, well never one to keep my gob shut here is a rough guide to early days survival... 

**If you have not yet had a baby do not be put off, most of us go back and do it again so nothing can be that bad**

Please note I polled my Parent pals and my Parent Page members for responses and lots of answers were toilet related, you will understand why I'm sure

Just like that, as soon as baby and placenta are born the cotractions and the ache just stop, and there is peace and a baby and love and new life right there!

You have carefully placed your bundle of joy into your meticulously researched and  chosen car seat, if you went isofix then the car fitting will have been easy, if not you may have already cried in frustration but I promise it gets easier with practice. You have brought your bundle home and  you are looking at each other wondering what the heck you are supposed to do now! 
This is normal, almost all first time mums feel like that and soon enough the routine will come but for now... Build a nest! Snuggle in with each other, bolt the door and only accept visitors bearing food and a willingness to clean!

You feel like there's a tennis ball in your pants and every time you sit down it feels like you are pressing a bruise. I promise this will pass, give it some time and also buy the biggest fattest maternity pads you can find, its like having a cushion in your pants! Your body has just pushed out a human and this will have created some swelling but I swear to you THINGS WILL GO BACK TO NORMAL


A bit like a mini contractions, afterpains don't last long and are just your womb going back to is pre baby shape and position, so they are good and for a reason. They do however get worse with consecutive babies. NO ONE TOLD ME THAT! Pain killers help and these pains are really short lived 


I'm afraid there is no sugar coating it, peeing can sting afterwards, no surprise when you think of what your poor lady area has just gone through, having a jug handy in the bathroom helps a lot, fill it with warm water before you go to the loo, then pour it on your lady garden while you pee, it takes the edge of the sting and also helps with the swelling. 


Having just pushed said human from your body, the idea of pushing out a poo may well fill you with dread, especially if you have had stitches, but holding onto it will only make the job harder. So drink plenty of fluid and try to eat lots of fibre to make your poo a bit softer. The area down there is probably still a bit numb from the stretching and bruising so the first poo probably wont hurt and tearing your stitches is a remarkably rare occurrence your insides won't fall out despite how it feels so try not to worry. Put your feet on a small stool (no pun intended) or box once you've sat down on the toilet to help get you in the right position to ease any strain. Try to relax or things will freeze up, and if you really can't make yourself go ask for a laxative when you next see your midwife.


I'm pleased, I wasn't the only one surprised by the post birth blood loss, don't get me wrong its not really painful but its a bit of a surprise, I was thankful for my M and S finest 'wagons' or Nana Pants if you prefer to call them that but very quickly regretted my innocent bravado of 'I am not wearing those huuuuuge maternity pads, I'm wearing always ultra and that is that!' 5 minutes on the ward and the husband was promptly sent away to boots for a tonne of the biggest pads he could find, they are miraculous because not only are they huge and hugely absorbent but they are like a little cushion in your pants to soften the blow of sitting!


At some point whether you breastfeed or not your milk will come in (this is true for almost everyone) you will wake up one day. and your D cups will look like GG cups! They may hurt too, and you may sit up in bed and say lord alive look at these I'm like Dolly Parton, just as you shoot milk across the room (true story) this is a good thing if you are breast feeding it will make you more confident that baby is getting something and it will soon settle into a steady fill/empty routine. If you aren't breast feeding the hugeness and discomfort will pass, in around a week, the milk will be re-absorbed into your body soon enough and you wont keep producing, this stage can be uncomfortable but you can help matters by not expressing (unless you are terribly uncomfortable and then only a small amount and not regularly) as this just encourages more milk production, use warm or cold compress for comfort, a soothing bath and a supportive bra. Do not bind your breasts as this can cause problems including mastitis and that my friends is a pain not worth inviting!


This one is a surprise and one most don't discuss but its perfectly logical, totally temporary and again THIS TOO SHALL PASS. 
OK so basically when you are pregnant your body increases its fluid volume and after birth this fluid is basically wee'd and sweated out. I used to wake up soaking in the night. Some practical things can help, keep spare pyjamas close by so you don't have to stumble about in the dark if you are uncomfortably damp. Place a spare flat sheet or large towel on top of your usual sheet so you can just whip that off if its damp without changing the whole bed. The sweating should pass in a week or two but if its ever accompanied by a fever you should speak to a midwife.


Baby blues is a real thing, mine started before I had even left the hospital literally i felt wetness on my face and realised I had tears streaming out of my eyes and I couldn't explain it. My doctor smiled nodded and said yep sounds normal. It is, I promise. Crying in the early days for no reason is normal. Talking about it makes it feel more normal, crying when you've just had a baby does not mean you are necessarily depressed. Don't stress about it, don't feel guilty about it. If you are worried tell your midwife, if it doesn't settle tell you midwife, and if you think you have post natal depression, tell anyone you can. Talking about it helps, it is not shameful or embarrassing and it happens a lot. It is something you can make feel better so don't hide it away


Yes, you will, I promise you will I can't tell you when and I can tell you how to speed this up.  But  after having an angel of a sleeper, a nightmare of a sleeper and one somewhere in the middle I can tell you all babies are different but sleep IS on your horizon. Until then you should sleep whenever you can grab the chance and sod the house work.

Is his/her poo normal? Should s/he look so cross eyed, am I feeding enough/too much/not at all, why is s/he crying am I doing it all wrong. The doubt you feel with your first (and to be fair all the rest too) is sometimes overwhelming but its normal. We all felt or feel like that sometimes,  if you have a question don't be afraid to ask, if you think something isn't right use your instincts, doctors , nurses and midwives are happy to speak to you I promise. But over all please remember we all doubt that we are doing enough that we are doing it right, but in most part we normally are.


One response I got on facebook  was this ...
That overwhelming love actually feels EXACTLY like total, all-consuming terror that something might happen to this baby. I was utterly paralysed with fear! 

And I'm afraid its true, reading this brought back a host of memories of all the things I was irrationally scared of like dropping peanut down the stairs, or out of bed or off the chair, accidentally leaving her somewhere, that she wasn't getting any milk and would suffer from awful dehydration despite rapidly gaining weight and being a happy chubby baby. The list could go on and I'm sure you can ask any 5 mums and they will each tell you a different all consuming fear! I'd like to tell you wise words to make this better but I fear I have none, my fears of droppage dwindled but today I have different fears for each of them, is Peanut already feeling the bitchiness of girls groups, Is the Golden Child being pushed about because he won't hit back, is Termite going to be the first to break a bone because she has third child invincibility syndrome. Should we be going on holiday what about mosquitos, and slipping, and drowning and falling and and and and ...... But  we learn to swallow these fears and hopefully hide them well so our children grow to be independent and fearless yet sensible and strong! 


OK in the movies its always an instant unflinching bolt from the blue kind of love that you see shining from a new mums face but that isn't always the case. For quite a few days I felt like Peanut was just on loan, like we were just looking after her. My first though upon seeing her freshly born lying on my chest was 'well you're hear then' My first thought with the Golden Child was 'oh my god he is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen' (in reality he was a funny colour, covred in vernix and looked like an alien)

If you did get hit by the bolt then you know the ache of love that babies bring and it makes points 1-13 pale into insignificance.

But please don't beat yourself up if you didn't get hit by a bolt, it will come. Very soon I was overwhelmed with an animal like instinct to love and protect this funny faced old man looking child from anyone who came near, and we were rarely separated. 

So if mother nature has been slow in sprinkling her love struck potion on you, it will come I promise, Babies bring with them joy like nothing else and I and you will smile about something every day, there is so much joy and wonder to a baby that the days whilst feeling long and exhausting pass by so quickly and are so filled with love. 

And lastly, never forget you are amazing and babies really don't need anything more than to be safe clean fed and loved. You can do this you are awesome and amazing and you just created a human HI FIVE MAMA YOU ROCK

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