How preparing for labor, delivery, and postpartum has changed for me the second time around:
Labor & Delivery Prep:
~When I was researching what to bring to the hospital when I was pregnant with Lucas, I found tons of mile long lists. I am already an over-packer by nature, so the fact that I narrowed it down to three bags was pretty miraculous.
Oh, and that red bag transforms into a towel because of course, why would hospitals have towels? *Insert eye roll here.* (See those flip flops? Those didn’t get used either. I could barely stand, let alone shuffle along in flip flops into the shower. I wasn’t about to risk falling over potential foot fungus.) I had like a million changes of clothes for Lucas and myself. And do you know what he wore most of the time in the hospital?
Nothing but his hat, diaper, and mittens. We did a lot of skin to skin time both with me and with his daddy. When he wasn’t nestled in my hospital gown or under a blanket on his dad’s chest, he was in a side snap shirt and wrapped up like a burrito in a swaddle sleep sack.
This time, I’m bringing my phone charger, chapstick, a hair tie, my Pretty Pushers labor and delivery gown and my transition gown, my travel shower stuff, two nursing tanks, Bamboobies overnight pads, my new maternity robe, and some Nipple Butter. The end.
~ I discovered the benefits of myofascial release physical therapy after my son was born because he totally annihilated my back during birth- causing pain and numbness that resonated through my back for almost a year afterward until I saw a MFR therapist. It was a healing and very satisfying experience; once I was better, I didn’t have to keep going back to stay better, which is what I was looking for in a treatment!
When I started experiencing random yet weekly dizziness, vertigo, and black outs between 15 and 20 weeks with my current pregnancy, I went back for treatment, and I haven’t had any issues since. That was after seeing my OBGYN, PCP, an ENT, having balance testing done (the worst thing I have ever willingly undergone, labor included), having an EEG and EKG done by a cardiologist, and having a consult with a neurologist and having all of them shrug their shoulders, raise their eyebrows at me, and say, “We aren’t sure. You’re pregnant.” So to say I’m a fan of MFR therapy is an understatement.
~Also, I had a second degree tear thanks to my first baby being OP (that’s sunny side up- so his head was in my spine instead of his adorable squishy face). And while it wasn’t the worst thing in the world (as most first time moms originally fear it to be) and I healed normally and fairly quickly, I’m not looking forward to a repeat experience.
So, I’ve made perineum massage part of my preparation care through a myofascial release physical therapist to soften the scar tissue and allow easier stretching to prevent tearing the second go-round. It’s not a fun treatment to receive, but if it can help ease delivery while preventing tearing, I’m game for some discomfort. If you had a cesarean section with your previous child, myofascial release can also help to soften scar tissue to prevent uterine rupture if attempting a VBAC (that’s a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean).
~Last time I prepped and froze disposable pads with alcohol free witch hazel for my postpartum peri care. That was an awesome idea. (You know what else was an awesome idea? Squirrelling away as many as humanly possible: ice pack pads, mesh underwear, peri-care bottles of foam, peri bottles, and jumbo pads that they give you in the hospital so that you have plenty of extra supplies to use when you get home. Hi, you’re paying for it anyway, so squirrel away.) I didn’t make enough, though, so I’ll be stepping up my game this time. I also didn’t know then about the gloriously comfortable awesomeness that is mama cloth. I’ve been buying and stashing away postpartum sized cloth pads for such an occasion as well. Because who doesn’t deserve to feel like she’s sitting on a cloud when her undercarriage is temporarily in tatters?
~Last time, I set up nursing stations around the house complete with nursing pads and burp cloths. This time, I’ll be stashing extra shirts, nipple butter, water, and granola bars around the house too.
~I used an Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper last time (for like 6 months) and will definitely do that again, but I’ve learned to position it more towards the head of the bed this time. Where it was last time made it a pain to scoot down to get out of bed twelve times a night to pee (new mom-to-be-newsflash: unfortunately, that doesn’t go away after you have the baby).
~Also, see that rocking chair? I never used it in our room. I only used it in the nursery. Won’t be hauling that thing in again. Because who was going to get out of bed every three hours to sit in a chair to nurse the baby, when I could just sit up, use my Snoogle pillow to wrap around me like a nursing pillow and nurse the baby while sitting up in bed? Laziness won every time because no sleep happened for like the first two years…(at least for us).
~ I think I wore the same two nursing gowns and same three nursing tank tops for like 8 months. This purple one in particular was super comfy. I’ve learned I need more than just a handful of comfy pieces in my postpartum wardrobe to A. not feel frumpy and B. not have to wear previously puked upon clothing again because I’d not accomplished doing laundry yet that week. This time, I’ve stocked up on nursing tank tops, loose comfy leggings/pj shorts, nursing gowns, and a maternity sized robe that doesn’t show my butt when I bend over (heyyyy neighbors across the street while I’m getting my mail…).
~ I very naively thought that I would only be changing diapers in the nursery last time. I spent so much energy setting up the nursery that we rarely used for six months except for getting the kid dressed in the morning or after bath.What I discovered is that my energy could have been used to make supplies more accessible in other areas of the house so that my poor postpartum body didn’t have to climb up and down the stairs to get things.
This time, I’m more than halfway through my pregnancy, and I haven’t touched the nursery yet. I’ll focus on putting spare changes of clothes and setting up a diaper changing area in the lower level of our house and pre-loading the diaper bag for eventual use too.
~ The first go round, I was convinced that I needed to give every style of cloth diaper a chance. Valuable space in the nursery was taken over by all kinds of stuff I used a few times and never again.
I quickly learned I prefer AIOs or AI2s for newborns over covers and prefolds or pocket diapers. I’ve since sold everything I know I won’t reach for, and I’ve narrowed down my stash to only my favorites while still leaving some variability for different fit issues (for example, since Lucas was so tiny, he only fit in Lil Joeys for a while). I’ve also thinned out my one size cloth diaper stash to mainly my favorite brand, Lalabye Baby, because I know it will fit well from newborn to potty training (seeing as my three year old still fits in them with plenty of room).
~Most of all: this time I won’t expect my postpartum healing period to be a time for “getting things done” or “keeping up with chores.” I know it will be different with a toddler to care for too (and I’m a little terrified about that) but hopefully knowing that postpartum is all about healing and bonding and taking in those tiny, fleeting moments will allow me to actually savor them more this time around. I know now how fast it goes, how quickly we forget the pain of labor and even the smell of our newborn’s head as days race into months and morph into years. Hopefully knowing that will help me to take it slower than usual, to care less about the house or feeling “accomplished” and more about remembering moments like this, which I can honestly and ashamedly say I don’t… except through this photo.
Happy nesting and prepping, pregnant mamas! Anything else you’d add to the list?