The first 48 hours
A woman in my Third Trimester Thrive Facebook group recently asked a great question:
“What’s something you wish someone had told you about the first 48 hours after birth?”
What a great question! And boy, do I personally wish I had asked it when I was 38 weeks pregnant. Since I did nothing to prepare for having a baby, the first 48 hours were a shocking reality for me. I could probably write a list a mile long, but here’s my top eight things that I wish someone had told me about the first 48 hours after birth.
1. I wish someone had told me about the physical pain in those first 48 hours. I was basing everything off of movies where moms give birth and then hold the baby in full make up and done up hair while a room of adoring family members look at her. After 14 hours of labor (three of those spent pushing) and then a c-section, I felt like I had been run over by a truck.
2. I wish someone had told me that I’d have ALL the feelings. For me, the first 48 hours were a rush of all the emotions that exist in the universe happening AT THE SAME TIME. I was overwhelmed by LOVE. Love for my baby, my husband, my own parents, my nurses…everyone. I loved everyone. Yet, I was simultaneously mad that I had to have surgery, shamed that I didn’t “give birth the normal way”, grateful that we both survived and that she was healthy, sad that my grandparents weren’t alive to meet her, proud at this amazing human that I made, angry that I was in pain and couldn’t get out of bed without help, the list went on and on. I was laughing, crying sad tears, hugging and crying happy tears all at once.
3. I wish someone had told me to not have any visitors. Instead, while I was in all this pain and experiencing every emotion known to man, our hospital room was a revolving door of well meaning visitors. I didn’t sleep, I didn’t focus on breastfeeding, I didn’t take time to process all the emotions. Instead, I made small talk and showed off my baby. And then I crashed in exhaustion the next day.
4. I wish someone had told me to research all the post-birth decisions. I did do a lot of reading and research on birth. But then once my daughter was born and they started talking about shots and tests and breastfeeding (and circumcision for boys) I was wishing I had done my homework on all those things.
5. I wish someone had told me I could hold her constantly if I wanted. After recovery, the nurse swaddled her up and put her in the bassinet. For some reason, I thought I had to ask permission every time I wanted to hold her. I eventually caught on, but I wish I had known right away that what’s best for baby and mom is for them to be together constantly.
6. I wish someone had told me to be in more of the pictures. I felt like crap and looked like crap, so I avoided being in any of those raw photos of our first hours and days together. I really regret it.
7. I wish someone had told me to pack slippers. I didn’t and regretted it.
8. I wish someone had told me that my first 48 hours were kind of awful (NOT EVERYONE’S ARE) but that, sitting here 14 years later, I’d want to go back and do it all again.
What would you add to this list?
Darcy Sauers is a postpartum doula at Dover Doula and the moderator of the Third Trimester Thrive Facebook Group where pregnant women can connect and share ideas about how to prepare for the reality of bringing home a baby. Join today!