Justine from The Unbecoming Mama blog is a new mum to a beautiful 3-month old baby girl. I stumbled across her blog, which is absolutely hilarious where she writes about her motherhood journey. I am so excited that she wanted to write a guest blog for us on this topic that no-one really talks about, the first few things that happen after you give birth before you bring your baby home from hospital.
Pregnancy is one of the most amazing/scary times in your life. You've spent the last 9 months worrying about every little ache and pain, some of my more notable Google searches were 'pregnant and can't poop' and 'weird stuff coming out of me third trimester' so you'd think once you finally bring that baby into the world your fears and worries would just disappear! Nope, I'm afraid they've only just begun! And the hours shortly after your baby's birth are some of the most terrifying for new parents. These were the five scariest (but totally normal) things that had me hitting the nurses buzzer at all hours:
1. All that amniotic fluid your baby was cooking in has to come out
You and your baby are staring lovingly into each other's eyes, she's absolutely, in every way even more perfect than you'd imagined but wait... "What's that in the corner of her mouth? Jesus, is she frothing?! NURSE!" The midwife runs in, laughs and says something along the lines of "I love first timers" and explains that baby is just bringing up amniotic fluid that she swallowed in utero and she may do this for a few days.
Your beautiful new baby isn't rabid, everything is ok.
2. Hibernation sleep
You've done so much research on what your newborn's habits are likely to be like, you've read about that tiny little stomach that's going to need to be filled every two hours or so. So why is she still asleep?! No, seriously, it's almost been five hours!
But my midwife assured me that this is normal in the first 24 hours after delivery, it's hard work being born apparently and your baby doesn't care that you're also exhausted but you can't sleep because you're afraid of taking your eyes off them for one second!
As long as baby is having plenty of wet/dirty nappies and feeding well while he's awake your midwives aren't likely to be concerned. That baby is going to wake up pretty hungry eventually which leads me to the next thing that had me questioning my ability to sustain my new human.
3. Night two is a feeding frenzy
No joke, at 4 am when you're up feeding for the eighth time or you've been continuously feeding for three hours you'll be cursing yourself for not taking advantage of all of that valuable nap time you had the day before. Your baby wakes up with an insatiable hunger. I thought there was something wrong, that I was starving her or something but this is just how baby works to bring your milk in and being close to you gives them that 'womb like' feeling because being born is a bit of an ordeal.
But far out what a night... Between the screaming from not wanting to be put down, the latching and unlatching because babies need to learn the whole feeding thing too to the sleep deprivation it's enough to bring a new mum undone! Just know that it's completely normal and like everything else, it will pass.
4. Projectile vomiting like a scene from 'The Exorcist'
My precious little angel seemed peaceful and settled so I put her in her bassinet and snuck off to use the toilet.
When I walked back into the room she was awake but happy enough so I just stared at her, almost drinking her in. I couldn't believe how beautiful this baby was and I couldn't believe she was all mine, I watched her doing her little smile reflex thing (I discovered shortly after she was pooping, who makes that face when they poop anyway?!) And reached in to pick her up, just as my hands touched her body it happened! I staggered back, completely horrified by what I'd just witnessed. It was everywhere! All over the side of the see-through bassinet, somehow up my left arm, somehow on the bed! Surely a baby can't expel that much liquid and be ok? I was straight on the buzzer, I moved extremely fast for someone whose lady parts were held together by stitches.
The midwife came in and seemed a little confused, "what's wrong?" she asked, "it's everywhere! The vomit! It went EVERYWHERE!" I yelled, she looked at me like I was a cute baby animal trying something for the first time and failing,
"She probably just had a big feed, did you give her a big burp and keep her upright for a while? That usually helps" she said in the calmest voice imaginable given the scene in front of her.
Oh man, I was shit at this whole parenting thing. I got a lesson on burping my baby and everything was fine, it turns out babies CAN forcibly expell that much liquid and still be ok, who knew!
I knew labour was going to be painful, but once I pushed that baby out it was done right? Wrong.
I'd learned about afterpains, I knew that breastfeeding helped your uterus return to regular size. You'd think the name 'after-pain' would be a dead give away but I wasn't prepared for just HOW painful it was, it felt like I was going into labour all over again! The morning after my daughter was born one of the nurses came in to see how we were getting on and I told her about the pain, she looked me dead in the face and said "maybe it's twins!"
I gasped "NO!" as I felt all the colour in my face drain away and then she burst into laughter.
"It's just your uterus contracting, honey, it hurts huh? I'll get you a nurofen." WOW. She got me!
Some people get them worse than others, I wasn't a fan of it but they only lasted a few days thankfully and I guess it helped take the focus away from my stinging nipples for a while.
So those were my experiences, I felt like an idiot most of the time for hitting the buzzer but knowledge is power right? I'd much prefer to be safe than sorry and I felt like I was giving the midwives purpose since I was the only new mum on the labour ward.
I've chilled out a bit now but I still worry if we get a weird coloured poop or she makes a weird noise or something, I don't think I'll ever stop worrying about her but at least as she gets older the territory might become more familiar. I'm definitely more confident in my ability to keep her alive, just trust your instincts mama but know that newborns are strange creatures, they do a whole array of horrifying stinky, wet, gross things, just looking at them sideways seems to give them a rash but you know your baby best, hassle your doctor if you're unsure, that's what they're there for. No question is too silly as I found out.
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