Going along with Missy's Newbies post, I've been wanting to do a what I wish I knew [about labor and delivery and recovery] post. It's a personal subject/experience, so I'm not asking for a tell all, but don't you think that there are some things all of those pre-baby books should have mentioned? [I hope this doesn't sound negative, because it was an amazing experience. But, I could have been a bit more prepared!] Maybe, for a lot of women, labor is what they expected; what they read and were ready for (?).
I wish I knew:
1. That labor could be really long. I was in no way prepared for being in labor for 3 days. And that I was in so much pain for so long. I was basically in the dark about labor in general: my contractions where a minute long and a couple of minutes apart for days, but...my body wasn't progressing. I didn't know that was possible. And I wasn't prepared for back labor.
2. That the epidural isn't extremely painful. It was a pleasant experience for me. I think that a good anesthesiologist=a good experience.
3. That the aftermath of an epidural (days/weeks later) could mean extreme back pain. I had no idea. And back pain (intense!) was the hardest part about my recovery.
4. About split stomach muscles that don't heal. It's a bit scary when you can fit 4 fingers (across) in the hole between your stomach muscles. And the exercises I was given didn't join them. It's just the way my body handled carrying Cole. (Including no more belly button. I have an innie and an outie.)
5. That I would bleed SO much. I had never worn pads in my life until...after the delivery. Good thing I was stocked up. And good thing I had no reason to go in public for a while. [No tampons until 6 weeks postpartum, right?]
6. That birthing the placenta can be painful. It was for me...the kneading it out of my stomach while I was holding my new baby and trying to love the new experience of a newborn.
7. Tucks witch hazel pads. They were lifesavers!
8. That it's almost impossible to get sleep in the hospital. Nurses come in every...too often.
But, now I know. And it helps me look forward to my second experience. [I get emotional every time I watch the baby delivery shows: vaginal or Cesarean. They are amazing. The experience is amazing. It reminds you of your strength and of the value of a life.]