As I entered through the hospital doors, walked down the short hall to maternity, and headed into the labor and delivery room, I was filled with a million different emotions ranging from fear to excitement to anticipation. Sure I had borrowed informational baby books from the library and read countless birth story experiences written by fellow bloggers online, but as a first time mom I was still scared to death of the uncertainty of what was to come.
My pregnancy had been pretty darn easy and by the books. I walked mile after mile through every trimester, and ate as many fruits and veggies that I could while still leaving room for scoops of Graeter’s Ice Cream.
However, getting my son delivered was already shaping up to be a whole other story. I suddenly found myself arriving at the hospital not in active labor or in pain like I had imagined, but instead on my own accord waiting to be induced. It was already eight days after my due date and I was showing zero signs of progression. My sweet baby boy was nice and cozy in my womb and although I hated to evict him, my placenta and umbilical cord used to nourish him wasn’t getting any younger! (Which was confirmed after his delivery…)
A whirlwind 38+ hours later after an overnight induction, Pitocin, active labor, an epidural, and inevitably an emergency c-section, my precious 7 lb. 14 oz. baby boy was born. However, a c-section was never the delivery that I had imagined. I saw women all over social media walking their neighborhood mere days after a vaginal delivery and I just assumed I would be doing the same. Besides making sure my son was healthy and well cared for in utero, this was a huge part of why I focused on a healthy pregnancy after all – so that I could bounce back quickly after delivering.
Never did I imagine though that I would be recovering from a major abdominal surgery that required for recovery no stairs, no driving, and no lifting anything heavier than my baby. My perfect ideal of being back to myself after a week flew out the window. Using my first-hand experience of having a labor and delivery that didn’t go as planned or expected, I came up with a few suggestions for all you moms-to-be out there who are anticipating your own delivery. I think it’s so important to have an overall idea of the type of delivery you’d like to have, while still being aware that things could change at the drop of a hat.
Do Your Research
When reading pregnancy books leading up to my delivery, I focused only on learning about traditional vaginal deliveries and basically didn’t read anything that revolved around less than perfect deliveries. This was because anything less than ideal frightened me, and I also just naively assumed I wouldn’t need any of that information. Looking back, I wish I would have at least had a base knowledge on complications and alternative delivery methods like c-sections so that I would have felt more prepared no matter what came into fruition during delivery.
Know Your Limits
The first week at home after delivery was pretty rough. I was on bed rest for the majority of the days as my body continued to heal. I started feeling better and much more like myself through the second week and may have pushed it a little too far and fast. This led to an unfortunate set-back for a few days. Whether you’re recovering from a c-section or a complicated vaginal delivery, it is so important to remember that your body is healing and it can take some time for it to recuperate even if you mentally and physically are feeling fine. It is so important to not compare your own pregnancy, labor and delivery to other women! Make it your mission to run your own race so to speak when it comes to postpartum recovery.
Say Yes to Help
I consider myself to be a pretty darn independent woman, but there are times when recovering from surgery, delivering a baby, and becoming a new mom requires extra help to survive. I was so thankful for a husband who immediately took on diaper changes and the majority of household duties, and a mother who did the rest while helping her own 20-something baby heal while lovingly teaching her how to care for a newborn. If you don’t have close family able to help, this is the time to rely on friends, co-workers, and neighbors for support. If family friends want to bring you a meal – let them! If you have the financial means to do so, hire a cleaning company for a couple months or sign up for a food service delivery. This is not the time to be prideful. Instead just accept that you can’t do it all on your own. Besides, one day your friends will need you as well and it will feel so great to happily repay the favor!