Motherhood

Your Labor, Delivery, and Parenthood Questions Answered

Last week, I asked what questions you had for me about labor, delivery, and having a new baby. It was my plan to share my answers on instagram but so many Qs came in that it was just easier to share them here. You all had so many questions about the pain of delivery which was probably my biggest concern, too. If you missed my birth story,I talk about the amazingness that was my epidural and what a wonderful experience it was.

I also got a lot of questions about what products I love but I plan on sharing a post on what we used the first month in a few weeks. I’m still only 2 weeks in and want to make sure I share items I really love with you.

How did you know when it was time to go to the hospital?

I had a scheduled induction at 12:30AM so my arrival time was pre-determined. I shared Margot’s birth story here.

How did you address fear and anxiety about the pain of delivery?

I was more afraid of childbirth a year ago than I was once I was pregnant, mostly because I couldn’t wait to not be pregnant and I really wanted my baby here. I called/texted basically every friend who ever had a baby and asked for every single detail. My friends who had epidurals all said that the epidural didn’t hurt and that it made delivery so much better but I was so still really nervous. Once you hit the end you’re just so ready for it to be over. I can’t believe how calm I was throughout the whole thing, and it was sort of an out of body experience. I was there but couldn’t believe it was happening, and still can’t believe it was painless.

On a scale of 1-10 what was your level of pain? (so many pain Qs)

The IV was probably a 4-5 and was the worst part of the whole experience. I did not feel any pain during the epidural, labor, and delivery. I know that sounds crazy and I still can’t believe it. The first day or two I was a 4 at most, and maybe a 2-3 once we were home. Some days I feel great and others it’s a bit sore down there, even now. It’s all manageable with pain meds, ice packs, this spray, and this spray bottle.

One of the more annoying parts after was the fact that my organs (specifically my stomach) felt like they were sort of spinning around and floating through my body. It wasn’t painful but felt generally uneasy. I talked to a few friends who said something to compress my stomach would help but the post-pregnancy stuff looked really uncomfortable so I ordered these Spanx and felt like a new person. The support was a game changer.

Is labor/delivery as gross and terrifying as it seems?

Ha. No! I mean, things probably were probably a little rough but I didn’t look. Conor said a lot of fluid came out (TMI? Oh well) and the placenta was pretty gross but I didn’t look at that, either. I was more afraid of having a baby before being pregnant than at the end of pregnancy. Once I was there I went to this really calm place (so unlike me) and just felt ready to meet my girl.

Did you have a resident for the epidural/delivery? I’ve heard horror stories and am trying not to freak out!

My doctor had a resident come in with her and asked if he could be there for delivery and I said no. It’s your body and your experience, so speak up if you’re not comfortable!

How many hours were you in labor?

Pitocin was started at 1:30AM and Margot was born at 10:11AM. It was crazy fast! My OB said my labor was what you’d expect from a 3rd time mom. Still can’t believe it.

Did you let family visit you in the hospital? If so, how soon after?

Conor’s mom headed to the hospital when we told her we were at 10CM, so she visited with us right away, but no one else came until the next day. The rest of our immediate families aren’t here so it was just his mom and stepdad, and a few close friends.

Was there anything you wish you packed or overpacked for your hospital bag?

I’ll share a post on what I packed soon but I somehow forgot pajama pants and only brought shorts. Oops.

Did you have a birth plan?

My only “plan” was to get an epidural for pain relief and to get the baby out safely, so no, I didn’t have one. I knew I wanted to avoid a C section and I was terrified of tearing (I tore and it wasn’t bad at all – didn’t feel it!). I knew whatever happened would be out of my control so making a plan and having it not work out didn’t make sense to me.

What surprised you the most?

The fact that the epidural, pushing, and tearing didn’t hurt. I also could not believe how much I instantly loved this little person I just met, since I fully expected that to take some time.

Was breastfeeding hard at first? Any tips? I have a lot of anxiety about this.

It took a while for my milk to come in and I am not producing enough at all (even now), and I was so nervous about her losing weight that we started her on formula right off the bat.

I am doing a mix of breastfeeding and formula since I don’t have enough of a supply to feed Margot and never planned to exclusively breastfeed anyway. I’ve heard from friends that it was just so much work to try and do it exclusively and I didn’t want to feel stressed when motherhood is already such a huge change. You really have to do what’s best for you! Whether you can’t breastfeed or choose not to, or if you do it for one month or a year, you’re an amazing mom. Motherhood is HARD and breastfeeding isn’t easy for everyone.

The experience was awful in the hospital. The nurses just sort of crammed my boob in Margot’s mouth which is not effective and I ended up a swollen and bruised, and then clogged. My friend recommended a lactation consultant so I had her come to the house. That was very helpful but Margot seems to be less and less interested. I don’t know how long we’ll last but for now, I feel committed to doing what I can. I can’t stress enough that you just need to do what feels right for you.

What formula are you using?

We are still using the hospital formula but bought Holle and Happy Baby so we’re trying both. I also just got the Baby Brezza bottle maker so we’re going to start using that this week!

Did you get a push present?

Throughout my pregnancy I joked that I’d like a thank you / apology gift if the baby had an “off the charts” head like my husband. Conor watched the delivery and offered to get me a gift and to let me name her after seeing what he saw (ha) but I honestly don’t want or need anything.

Have you been able to sleep?

Yes. Conor and I divide nights. We feed her before bed and then she usually wakes up once in the middle of the night and very early in the morning, so we’ll each get a decent stretch of sleep. She usually goes back to sleep but there have been a few nights where that takes a while. I’m not as tired as I thought I’d be but there have definitely been some naps here and there.

Do you have a night nurse?

I do not, but we plan on getting a part-time nanny soon.

What prenatal vitamin do you recommend?

I have been taking Rainbow Light which was recommended by my doctor.

What are you actually using now that she’s here?

I’m going to devote a whole post to this soon!

How did your dogs take to baby girl?

Buddy came back on day 2 at home and has been really sweet with her. He loves kids but keeps to himself, so no real changes there as expected. Tucker is a bit anxious and spent two weeks with my mother in law (thanks, Mimi!) and he couldn’t have cared less about the baby – just sniffed her and walked away. They’re both great with kids so I’m really not too worried, but we’ll obviously keep a close eye on them.

What was the biggest surprise you faced during the first week?

I did not expect to have to get my stitches removed since I was told they should dissolve. It wasn’t horrible but it was also not a good time. And I did not think lady diapers were a real thing but they are and you need them.

What has been the most challenging part of adjusting to live with a new baby?

We thought we had this parenthood thing figured out. Margot slept all. the. time. We went to lunch, hosted family for brunch, and we thought we just had it down. Then she woke up. Conor left for a few hours for work (he’s a realtor and had a showing) and I couldn’t really do anything since Margot wouldn’t let me put her down and she wasn’t feeling the solly wrap (which usually works like a charm). Not being able to tidy up or work on a blog post was obviously expected but it’s an adjustment not being able to do things when you want to.

With all the prep you had done did you feel prepared to bring her home?

Going into labor I would have told you I had no idea what to expect and envisioned walking into our house and being like “ummm what do we do now?” but once she was here it all felt so natural. I haven’t really read any books so my only “prep” was putting a bassinet in our room and washing all her clothes and blankets. My friends with babies made it all so much easier. I called/texted them very regularly and still do. I am very lucky.

How are you feeling?

Overall, I feel great! A little sore but not bad at all. I’ve been able to go for walks, we went to lunch, and I’m back in a few loose dresses which feels so, so nice. My indigestion and the need to pee every 5 minutes went away immediately so on one level, I feel like a new person. We’re just over two weeks in and I’ve definitely had a few stir crazy moments here and there, so I ran out to get my nails done solo and signed on to slack to chat with The Everygirl/Everymom teams. I do have something to shoot for TEG which I think will be a nice change, but overall, I’m embracing these slower days and just taking her in because I know it’ll be over in the blink of an eye.

I am so in love with this baby girl – more than I ever imagined I could be. We just feel so much like a family now, and that feels so, so good. Conor and I had a good relationship to begin with but this changed everything in the best way. Seeing him as a dad has been amazing and I think really healing for me considering my lack of a relationship with my own dad. This little girl is so loved! And he’s taken over doing as much as he possibly can around the house and is always asking what I need. I used to have to ask for help and now he’s just on top of things when I’m not. Such a good dad and husband.

What have you done to make yourself feel like a person during the first few weeks?

Visits from friends helped a lot. My husband planned two brunches, I have one of my closest friends coming to town this weekend, and luckily, my husband is really flexible so everything isn’t on me at all. I’m able to shower, wash my hair, and finally snuck out for a manicure and pedicure (my first solo outing!). I also went into the city with Conor when he met with a client and walked around my old neighborhood with Margot. I know not everyone has a partner who is this available so I’d suggest trying to make some plans with friends or family when you’re able. Connecting with others really helps!

How do you keep your house so clean and tidy while having a one week old baby?

There are currently boxes all over our kitchen island, papers all over the dining table, our bed isn’t made, and there’s clean laundry piled all over the place. I just sort of let all that go but at some point each day, we’ll do the dishes and tidy up a bit. It’s not a big house, so it’s pretty easy to get things (mostly) in order. I’ve naturally had to let that all go.

How is your Josefina backpack working out?

I love it so, so much. It’s the prettiest diaper bag I’ve seen thus far and I really like how easy it is to keep it organized. I’ll work on a post about my favorite products soon, because there are a few things I love and use every single day.

How are you liking the snoo?

I love it! Margot has to be asleep before we put her in there but I feel so good knowing she’s safe and comfortable, and she seems to really like being rocked and loves the white noise, too. I have the settings on low but the fact that it will rock her a little bit more when she’s fussy is incredible.

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