So I only had baby Benjamin two days ago, but already I have remembered some of the key points of having a newborn baby that I had forgotten since having Carly almost 4 years ago…
I Totally Underestimated the Blood Loss
I bought what I considered a fair amount of maternity pads (two packets of 10). This was gone within the first full day. Always overestimate rather than under estimate. You’re advised to change your pad regularly to prevent infection so it’s always best to have too many rather than too little in the house.
It’s Good to Accept Help
As I was induced, it was decided last minute that my friend would look after the children so that my mum was able to be there for the birth to support me and Ed. This help was absolutely invaluable. As was the help the following day from the same friend and my mum who went out and bought Benjamin newborn and tiny baby clothes as all of our outfits were too big for him.
Labour Doesn’t go to Plan
This being my third baby I kind of knew things wouldn’t necessarily go to plan. When I had to be induced my planned home birth went right out the window. I came to terms with the different plan for my birth but still retyped my birth plan to work around my idea of how the labour should go. Nothing on my plan happened other than watching Friends in early labour (seriously, take a laptop in with you, it’s a game changer!) and obviously coming away with a newborn baby. I had requested to be able to move around and change position during labour as much as possible. Instead I was monitored constantly during active labour and got to stand up twice, once when being moved to the delivery suite and once just before pushing, when the gravity really, really helped for that short second I was mobile… I’m disappointed in how my birth went as it was painful, scary and I felt out of control, but ultimately they were concerned about baby and what matters is that he was delivered safely.
Even the Most Prepared Person is Unprepared
Talking of things you had planned, you may find all the things you expected after having the baby are no longer relevant. I hadn’t planned to co-sleep with this baby but by the second night I just needed to for my own sanity and to ensure baby actually slept longer than ten minutes at a time. By all means have a plan in place for how you want things to pan out, but just expect that this may change once baby has arrived
Water is Your New Best Friend
I only really drink water, occasionally juice, and alcohol (obviously not for the past 9 months). Since having the baby I have been downing water like there’s no tomorrow. My thirst is insatiable. I’ve taken to having at least one litre bottle of water next to the bed at all times. I’m sure this is largely down to breastfeeding and the body needing the additional hydration, but birth is a very traumatic experience and I’m sure it’s also helping me to keep on top of my recovery.
Having a Newborn Makes you Hungry
I think this is potentially another breastfeeding related one. Since having Benjamin I have been starving 95% of the time, and I’ve wanted to eat everything in sight. I’m sat writing this post during a night feed at 4.45am and I’m lusting over a chocolate donut I want Ed to buy me from the shop in the morning. At the 1am feed I ate leftover pizza from our very healthy Dominoes dinner. Ensure snacks are available at all times
The Hormones will Hit You
The hormonal shift when you give birth is drastic. I knew to watch out for day 3 but by the end of day one I was already an emotional wreck. Make sure you have a support network around you
The Fear Will Keep you Awake
Even when you know you should be sleeping (aka the small time frames when baby sleeps), you will potentially be overcome by paranoia and not be able to relax and sleep for fear something may go wrong. The first night I slept for all of 30 minutes as I was watching Benjamin in his Moses basket to check he was ok.
It’s a Good Idea to have Clothes in a Range of Sizes
We thought Benjamin would be around 8.5 pounds at birth after growth scans leading up to his birth suggested he was already 6.6 pounds at 36 weeks… after our emergency growth scan the day before my due date (when they decided to schedule the induction) his growth had tailed off and we were aware he might not be as big as we expected, however, when he was born he shocked us by how small he was (6lb4oz). None of his clothes fitted him and my mum had to go and get us some clothes so he wasn’t totally swamped all the time in his 0-3 months outfits. I would definitely advise keeping an open mind on how big baby will be and suggest having vests and sleep suits in a range of sizes at the ready – they can always be exchanged for the correct size when baby has arrived.
The Tiredness is Unreal
I feel like a zombie and it’s only the start of day 2… I’m already dreading Ed going back to work and a time where I will have to do the school run on little to no sleep. I need to sleep during the day when I can but I find it hard to switch off and so by the night I am running on empty… not good!
Mum Knows Best
Just after I had given birth I was informed I would need to stay in hospital for a further 48 hours to be observed as I had taken antidepressants throughout pregnancy… I questioned this as I had come off the tablets at 33 weeks (7 weeks previously). They insisted that I would have had to have come in to be observed for this 48 hours even if I had of had my planned (and signed off by consultant) home birth.. I wasn’t happy with staying in so long, or the fact that this had never been discussed with me during the pregnancy, so I chose to self discharge myself and baby. This was fairly scary as they made me aware that they weren’t really happy for me to go and ran over lots of risks etc. When I spoke with my midwife afterwards she was annoyed on my behalf that this had happened as she said I definitely wouldn’t have had to have gone in for 48 hours if I had of had the home birth, and that basically they had scared me for no real reason. Remember that it’s ultimately your decision on what advise you listen to and where/how you birth etc. Don’t let people bully you into anything you aren’t happy about for you or your baby
Sometimes You Just Want to be Alone
I have always been very active and social following giving birth and expected to feel the same this time round. However, possibly due to how I felt about the birth, the struggle I had self discharging myself afterwards, or the low mood I have already been feeling, I haven’t felt like being around people. My mum, Nan and friend have so far been the only people to visit us and even that took it out of me and I needed them to leave after a short amount of time. I am looking forward to a very quiet second day and will be keeping visitors at bay for the time being
I’m sure there will be plenty more things I remember over the coming days, weeks and months from the newborn stage onwards. Until then I’m going to try and nap when he naps (and when my very active daughter decides she will let me!).