Janel Hirstwood McKinnon
If you have made the decision to have a midwife-assisted or unassisted home birth, there are a few things you will want to consider.
If a midwife-assisted birth is what you've chosen, you will want to research the midwives in your area and possibly talk with other women who had a positive experience with them. The regulation of midwives varies in the U.S. Some insurance policies may cover midwives, and some families choose to incur the cost.
In Canada, midwifery is regulated in many of the provinces and costs covered by the province's health insurance coverage.
Once you've chosen your midwives, discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Developing a good rapport with your midwife will help you feel at ease during labour and postpartum.
Your midwife office may have a lending library of resources for you to read while pregnant. Keeping current and informed will help you make the best decisions and give you suggestions you may want to implement into your birth plan. Here is a helpful list of things to consider when planning your birth:
Gathering your support is one key step in developing your birth plan. You may want your birth to be a very intimate affair with only your partner present, or you may choose to add others. Only you can make this decision and it is important that your wishes are respected.
Visualize exactly how you want your birth to go. Find the right music, scents, or comfort items that will help set the stage for the birth you want. Trust that you are capable and let go of negative feelings or misconceptions. Imagine the way you want to greet your baby, and make it happen.
Stress can be harmful to you and your growing baby. Whatever your emotional state may be, chemicals are sent through the placenta to your baby which can affect the baby's development.
Learning how to lower your stress through relaxation, meditation, and overall health, will give you and your baby the best possible outcomes.
Gathering your birth supplies a few weeks before your baby arrives will help you feel prepared and also give you something to do during the home-stretch.
In some cases, your midwife may provide you with a homebirth kit, or you may wish to purchase your own.
With a water birth, you may buy or rent a birth pool and liner from your midwife, or online.
Here are some great instructions on how to make the birth bed.
Make or buy as much food as you can before the birth. Choose quick, healthy meals that you can grab easily and require very little effort. Postpartum is no time to think about fat free meals or meal replacements. You need calories, and you will be HUNGRY! It is important to nourish yourself so you can take care of your child.
You may also want to treat yourself to a house-cleaner just before baby arrives. It will be one less thing you have to do, so you won't feel the need to scrub the toilet during labour.
Establish Breastfeeding Before It Starts
Get into contact with your local La Leche League chapter. Talk to a leader and let them know that you may need help in the next few weeks. Getting to know them prior to birth and attending meetings while pregnant, will ease the transition after birth.
Enjoy the last few weeks!
Make a list of the things you want to accomplish before baby comes, and start crossing them off. It may be a date night with your husband, a spa day, or just some luxuriously long naps. It will give you something to look forward to, and something to look back on once baby arrives.
During pregnancy, the changes your body endures are unparalleled. Your breasts increase in size and begin to produce colostrum, your blood volume increases, and you will produce more estrogen than any other time in your life.
It goes without saying that during the postpartum period, your body must go through more extreme changes to adjust to life with an infant. If you are breastfeeding, you will adjust to the physical demands of nursing around the clock. You may have also had a difficult birth that has left you with a long recovery. Also, some mothers may experience PPD and need to seek treatment from a medical professional. You may feel overwhelmed and exhausted and wonder when things will begin to feel normal again. Sex might be the very last thing on your mind.
The thought of sex after baby can be a very real fear for some mothers. Creating an open dialogue with your partner can ease this transition. Tell your partner your concerns in an open and caring manner so they can understand what you are feeling. You may want to give your partner suggestions about what feels comfortable to you. Your hormones take a nose-dive after birth, so you will need some reminders about what sex used to be.
Here are some tips for getting back into the swing of things:
Partners are not mind-readers, and while they may have witnessed you give birth, they may not understand the physiological process that takes place afterward. Don't shut your partner out or punish them for their feelings, especially if sex was a regular occurrence before baby.
Take it slow!
Don't feel pressured to get right back in the saddle. Start small, and the feeling will grow. Most couples don't start having sex until 2 months postpartum. Get the clear from your doctor and address any other issues that might be keeping you from getting intimate.
Don't wait to get your body back.
Many partners are turned on by a woman's pregnant form, and the same is true afterward. While you may not feel the least bit desirable, your husband can't wait to get his hands on you. If you are breastfeeding, your breasts have likely grown to tremendous proportions, and who doesn't love that?
You will return to your pre-pregnancy size in time, but don't let your voluptuous body hold you back from sex.
Those wonderful pregnancy hormones are depleted now and the result is vaginal dryness. Using lubrication will make things more enjoyable for both of you and avoid any painful interactions.
After the diapers, laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, and sustaining a life with your boobs around the clock....it's gonna take more than a look to get you in the mood. Tell your partner what will help get things started in the love department. It may be more help around the house, or scheduling Grandma to come take the baby for a walk so you can shower. Whatever makes you feel sexier, make time for it. Explore new areas of your home. Sex doesn't have to stay in the bedroom!
Making sex a priority, just like grocery shopping, can help you fit it in and also give you both something to look forward too. Spontaneous sex might be on hiatus for a while, but scheduled sex can be very sexy. You and your partner can give each other some helpful reminders over the week and let the tension build a little.
Keep in mind that sex comes in many forms. If you aren't ready for penetration, use this time to come up with some creative new bedroom endeavors that work for BOTH of you. Before long, you'll feel more comfortable to move to the next step.
Sex takes two (usually), and before long, you will find a rhythm that works.
A wonderful recipe with healing properties for the postpartum period is the postpartum herbal bath. I used one similar to this after my 6th birth when bathing with my newborn and it really helped! It will feel so soothing on your very tender perineum. It heals tears and aids in healing baby's cord stump area while preventing infection.
Postpartum Herbal Bath:
½ Cup Seat Salt (antiseptic)
1/3 Cup Uva Ursi (to prevent infection)
1/3 Cup Comfrey leaf (for tissue healing)~ can also use Yarrow leaf + flower
1/3 Cup Shepherd’s Purse (for bleeding)
4-6 cloves fresh garlic
In a large pot, bring 2 quarts water to boil. Turn off heat and add the herbs, sea salt, and
chopped garlic. Stir well. Cover and let steep for a minimum of 1 hour. (Will keep 24 hours on
stove, or overnight in fridge.) Pour bath through fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth-lined colander
directly into warm, hip-deep bath for mom and baby. Hold baby under back of head, allowing for free movement of arms and legs and submersion of umbilical cord for rapid cord healing.
Here is another great postpartum healing bath recipe.
A few weeks ago, I came across a recipe I had to try...Breast-Milk Soap. You can make it yourself or even buy it on Etsy! What better way care for your baby’s skin than with your own milk? Breast-milk is the perfect moisturizer for you and your baby, and can also treat eczema and rashes. Here is a great tutorial for making your own breast-milk soap. Enjoy!
During one of my pregnancies, my midwife told me about a "groaning cake" and handed me the recipe for it. I had never heard of it before and unfortunately never tried it, but it is a great idea with a long history.
There are many wives' tales and traditions surrounding the cake, also called a kimbley. This recipe comes from the book, "The Birth House", by Ami McKay.
Bake it at the beginning of labour for extra energy for the journey ahead, or bake during active labour to shift your focus and enjoy as a healthy treat after baby is born.
2 ½ Cups Flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
½ Cup oil
1 tsp. Baking soda
½ Cup orange juice
2 tsp. Cinnamon
¼ Cup molasses
½ tsp. Ground cloves
1 1/3 Cups sugar
1 ½ cups apple (grated, no skin)
1 tsp. Almond extract
Sift dry ingredients together. Add apple. Beat eggs. Add oil, orange juice, molasses and sugar. Add to dry ingredients. Mix well. Add almond extract. Bake at 350 F. for 35-40 minutes. Makes two 9 X 5 loaves or about 18 muffins.
Additions: raisins, dates, dried fruits, or nuts.
Many of us are aware of the many benefits that breastfeeding offers, both to our nurslings and ourselves. We know that breast milk is a complete food for our babies which sets the stage for lifelong health. We also know that breastfeeding helps our bodies fight off PPD (Postpartum Depression), reduces our risk of developing feminine cancers, and forms a bond with our children that will last a lifetime.
The WHO (World Health Organization) advises breastfeeding to continue at least until the 2nd year and many studies show that breast milk continues to provide immune support, vitamins, and enzymes to the developing child. Breastfed children are also sick less often and have higher I.Q.’s than their formula-fed peers.
With all this evidence, breastfeeding sounds like something we would want to continue as long as possible to ensure the health of our children, right? After all, we wouldn’t deliberately subject them to disease, junk food, and death metal. Would it not seem natural that breastfeeding would be the obvious choice? Yet the debate rages on.
Breast milk doesn’t suddenly expire when your child turns one, and your child doesn’t automatically give up the only thing he’s ever known by his first birthday.
We may struggle with the preconceived notions regarding breastfeeding beyond the first year and may feel a huge social pressure to wean after our child’s first birthday (or even before). We may even feel ashamed when our child asks to nurse in a social situation because we feel the need to defend our actions.
In the La Leche League International book, “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding”, There is some advice for such occasions:
“If you even suspect you might end up nursing into the toddler years, start using a word for breasts or breastfeeding early on that you’ll feel comfortable hearing your two-year-old yell across the room at a family reunion or grocery store.”
Some suggestions include: “milkies,” “nummies,” and “nursies.”
Many women may be entirely comfortable nursing in public. Babies have the right to eat, like anyone else! Others, may feel the need to cover up or feed their baby in private. It completely depends on each woman’s preference and comfort level, although no one should ever feel ashamed to feed their baby.
Tips for extended breastfeeding success:
Sleeping with your baby.
Co-sleeping is a great way to keep your milk flowing and reconnect at the end of the day, especially if you are a working mom. It can also guard against painful plugged ducts which can occur after an absence from your child.
If your toddler is eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day, you may want to limit breastfeeding to times of comfort, such as nap or bedtime. Limits may be essential, especially in the case of tandem-nursing.
Go out and have some fun!
The beauty of extended breastfeeding is flexibility! Your tot is eating at regular intervals, and that gives you the time to go out and pursue your own interests.
Buy a good pump.
Women who are facing a return to work, may feel a huge pressure to wean completely and unnecessarily. Pumping at work may seem less than desirable, but if you make the commitment to keep breastfeeding, you can find a schedule that suits you best. Perhaps you could have your child’s daytime caregiver visit you on lunch hour with your baby so you can nurse while you eat. Talk to your boss and work out a spot where you can nurse or pump quietly without interruption. Your workplace may be more accommodating than you think.
Ignore the nay-sayers.
They may be family, friends, neighbours or that little old lady in the grocery store, but they are not YOU. They have no right to make a judgement call on your own personal decisions. You can either choose to ignore them, or think of something witty to say back.
Some great books on the subject include:
Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond, by Hilary Flower
And, Mothering Your Nursing Toddler, by Norma Jane Bumgarner
Enjoy it! It won’t last.
Nursing doesn’t go on forever, but your fierce love and enduring bond will stand the test of time. You’ll never regret the time you spent with your child in those quiet moments when you were all they could see, and you were the source of their comfort.
During my personal nursing journey with my 6 children, each experience was different and each shaped my perception a little more. It wasn’t until I had my last 3 children that tandem nursing occurred to me. My 3 year old daughter and I just ended our nursing relationship, but she still asks to sniff my breasts to fall asleep. My one year old son is still nursing full time.
I had many a sleepless night (still do) and more frustrating moments than I can count, but I would not trade those sweet moments of my son and daughter gazing at each other and laughing while at my breasts.
Any women who have tandem-fed their babies can relate, and I salute you! In those moments, I would sometimes step back and think of all the women who had done this before me, or who were doing the same thing in that moment. It’s all about perspective.
I hadn't planned to get pregnant again. It was barely a thought that had crossed my mind. Our first child was only 8 months old and breastfeeding around the clock. My husband and I had been going through a rough patch. Let's be honest...a really rough patch!
I began to notice those familiar signs again. I bought a test at a downtown drugstore and took it in a local cafe bathroom. Just as I thought. Two lines. Staring me in the face. Now what?
I felt so many emotions. I was sad that my first-born was still so young, sad that my husband and I were on bad terms, and afraid to tell him about another pregnancy.
I slept on it for a few days and let it sink in before approaching him. It was August 2003, and I had figured that I would be due in late March or early April 2004. My husband and I had been working opposite shifts and he was asleep before I came home most nights.
On his next day off, we took our son to the park and I decided to tell him. He was shocked, afraid and happy. We vowed to make things work.
Just after our son turned a year, we moved into a bigger apartment and began to plan for our new baby's arrival.
Even though I had the same doctor, I knew I wanted a different birth. I wasn't going to be in that hospital any longer than I needed to be.
I joined an online pregnancy/birth forum and began speaking with other mothers about their birth experiences. So many women were having such traumatic births. The women all accepted all these procedures without questioning. My first birth had very few interventions, but it left me feeling very low afterward. I felt the desire for a better birth.
I joined an Aqua-Fit class during the winter months of my pregnancy. It felt great to stay active.
I enlisted my husband into helping me create a birth plan that included mobility during labour.
We found out we were having another boy and I could tell he was going to be bigger than our first.
Our sweet toddler Dimitrius would come over to my enormous belly, lift up my shirt, and kiss my belly button. "Na na", he would say, which meant "tiny".
Around 38 weeks, we had our hospital tour. The nurse, who was our guide was very personable. She told us she had 5 kids and that the obstetrical unit had been updated over the past year. They had added a birthing tub and birth balls to use during labour. I gave her my birth plan with confidence, trusting things would be different.
My due date (April 3rd), came and went, but I had been having many braxton hicks' contractions and was starting to have some light bleeding and mucous. I had even made it to Aqua-Fit that week to try and get things moving. I was really hoping to go into labour on 04/04/04, but since when do babies cooperate with due dates?
I had been feeling exceptionally tired on April 4th, and asked my husband if he wouldn't mind letting me rest. He made breakfast for Dimitrius and I, and then took him out to the library and out for lunch.
I slept until 1 pm, woke up briefly, then slept again until 5.
I felt great! I got up, had a shower, and made dinner. We ate stir-fry and baked potatoes with garlic bread. We put Dimitrius to bed and cuddled up on the couch. We watched a bit of T.V., made love, and then retired to the bedroom to read. I was reading a great V.C. Andrews book and I noticed that my husband had drifted off around 10 pm. I was wide awake!
At 11 pm, I noticed a stronger tightening. I kept reading, but payed more attention to the clock.
11:20pm. It came again. I rolled over and continued to read. 11:30. They began to come every 10 minutes, then 7. Around 2 am, I got up and walked around for a while. Things slowed down, but I still felt crampy. At 3 am, I poured a hot bath. It was so soothing. I washed myself with olive oil soap, shaved my legs and lay in the warm water for a long time. I only felt two mild contractions during my bath.
I emerged at 4:30, dried myself off...and then it started. The sensations came in waves. They were stronger than before and much closer.
I dried my hair, put on my make-up and got on the computer. I sat on my purple exercise ball while telling the world I was in labour. I rocked back and forth, and then decided to call my mother. She was going to take Dimitrius to hang out with his Aunt and Uncle for the day.
I finally woke up my husband after getting fully dressed and putting my hospital bag at the door.
Dimitrius sensed the excitement and woke up too. My husband got him dressed while I waited at the door on my ball, rocking back and forth...
My mother arrived at 5:45 am, and we all headed to the hospital together. We checked in and I was in my room by 6. My mom and Dimitrius stayed for a few minutes before she took him to my brother's house. She wanted to be back for the birth.
The sun was coming up and it was a beautiful spring day. I was well rested and ready for the challenge. My contractions were strong, but I was mobile. I sat on the ball until I felt the need to lay back down. Things were picking up fast. Any time I would start to panic, my husband would take my hand and say, "Don't look anywhere else. Look into my eyes. Breathe with me...slowly."
The nurse who had lead us through our tour came on shift at 7 am and I was glad to see her.
Before I knew it, my mom was back, sitting on the birthing ball beside the bed. She watched intently and tried to comfort me. My teeth started chattering again, just like my first labour. I was approaching transition.
At 7:30, I was 6-7 cm dilated. I noted seeing a Michael Jackson video on the music station in the corner.
Around 8:05, my doctor poked his head in. "How are we doing?" he said.
"Ugh", I said.
"I'm just going to check you, and see how things are going. OK. It looks like you're about 8 cm. How about we break your water and speed things up a bit?"
"No. I'm comfortable with things right now and I can't handle anything stronger", I said.
Before I finished the sentence, he had broken my water. Against my permission!
The next contraction was violent.
As my doctor left, he said, "You'll probably be a little while longer. I'm going to slip out and see a patient on another floor".
Next contraction... overwhelming urge to PUSH!
The nurses came in and said, "You're not ready to push yet. Just breathe".
The baby's head started to crown.
"Page the doctor!" one said to the other. I heard it over the loud speaker.
"It feels like fire!" I said.
Out came a head, and with it, an arm, like Superman flying through the air.
The fire sensation was gone as soon as the head emerged, and I pushed out a big, wet body. The doctor had come at the last moment.
I had him on my chest, kissing him. He had black hair and a squishy, red face. I put him to my breast right away and he stayed there for 45 minutes! He was a natural pro. My mother joked that he ate like a lumberjack.
I looked at my husband a few minutes after birth and said, "Let's do it again! I feel like Super-Woman!"
I felt so invigorated and alive, like I could do anything I imagined. I called my whole family from the delivery room.
The nurses eventually took my baby to get weighed. He was 7lbs, 8oz., and 22 inches long. He was born at 8:17 am on Monday, April 5, 2004.
When my mom brought Dimitrius to the hospital, he kissed his new brother right away and said, "Na na (tiny)". It was such a beautiful moment we shared. We named our baby Gabriel Simon, our little angel.
More family visited us in the hospital and we were discharged the next day. I was eager to get home and settle in with my boys. I had no tearing whatsoever and recovery was a breeze.
My birth was an empowering experience for me. I was proud of myself for trusting my body to do the work it was made to do. I was proud to have an un-medicated, hospital birth. I believe staying active during my pregnancy and labour were the biggest factors in having the birth I planned, but also having a goal in my mind and accepting nothing less. I also had a great partner and mother by my side, keeping me focused and offering so much support during the postpartum period also.
The nickname 'Tiny', gradually evolved into 'Tin-Tin'. Even though he's 7 now, he still hasn't outgrown it, and he and his brother are still the best of friends.
At 18, I thought I knew what I was in for. I was wrong. The only real labour I had witnessed was my sister in law. I was only 14 when my neice was born. My sister-in-law was so quiet and strong during her labour. I figured that all the screaming in T.V. births were way over-exaggerated.
I had been sick for weeks with a terrible flu. I couldn't work and I couldn't sleep. My husband and I slept at opposite ends of the bed just so we wouldn't breathe on each other. Then I realized, I had a symptom that wasn't part of the flu. My breasts were so tender. Extremely tender! Under the harsh lights in my bathroom, I noticed a road-map of unsightly veins weaving their way across my chest.
As soon as I was able, I popped out to get a pregnancy test. My husband was at work. I took the test and immediately I saw two lines. The test line was faint so I called the toll free number on the box. The woman I spoke to assured me that the test was very accurate, and however faint the line,the test was positive!
The next few weeks went by in a blur. I adjusted to my changing body, by accommodating my larger- than- life breasts. I went through a mild, two day bout of nausea, but I felt great otherwise.
My only worry was telling my parents. No parent, (I can appreciate this now) wants to hear that their 18 year old daughter is going to be a mother.
My mom was extremely skeptical about my mothering capabilities. My dad was concerned. I was ecstatic.
We visited the doctor and went through all the routine tests. My due date was Oct. 20, 2002. I never questioned much. The only concern I voiced to my physician, was my absolute fear of an episiotomy. He assured me I had nothing to worry about. I put my mind to rest on the subject.
At 16 weeks, I started feeling movement, which then turned into huge waves. I spent my days napping on and off, and when my husband would come home, we would watch T.V. and watch the baby roll in my belly after I ate.
At 18 weeks, we discovered we were having a boy!
We signed up to a birthing class at the hospital, where we watched a live birth, changed some diapers, and were warned that out of the five couples, at least one would have a c-section.
I was determined not to be that one.
My due date came and went. I met with the doctor who gave me an induction date. At 8 days "past due", he had me into the office to see if he could "get things started". I was ready to have that baby, (or so I thought) and was willing to endure some pain for the end result. I undressed from the waist down, climbed up on the table and put the sheet over my thighs. I held my husband tight.
The doctor declared that I was a few centimeters dilated, and then proceeded to do a 'stretch and sweep'. I screamed. Nothing could have ever prepared me for the sensation I felt. I got dressed again and got in the car. These sensations kept coming. This happened at 3:30 pm.
When we arrived home, I made dinner, ate, and then took a bath. I knew I was going to be en-route to the hospital before long. I washed my hair and shaved my legs. I re-applied my make-up and rubbed lavender lotion all over my body. Who knew how long it would be before I had another decent shower, right?
When I emerged from the bathroom, we timed my contractions. My mom came upstairs to see me along with my sister in law. It was about 10:30 pm and I was ready to go. I grabbed my hospital bag, which had been packed for months. We hopped into my mom's car, and she drove us there, waited until we were checked in, and left.
The nurse brought us to the room, asked me to pee in a cup and then put me in a bed with a monitor strapped to my belly. The nurse checked my cervix. I was still only two centimeters. She said that the doctor had ordered an IV be started immediately. I denied it. She said I could wait a while, but it was 'doctor's orders'. I laboured for a few hours without any interruption from the staff. They seemed more annoyed with me and even asked me if I could 'keep it down', as others were trying to sleep!
By 2 am, my contractions felt unbearable, but I was only 4cm. I wanted to get up and move.
The nurse lead us down the hallway to the shower to see if the water might help. It didn't. The lukewarm water on my skin and hair made me cold and more frightened. After the shower, I put my gown on, and my husband helped me back to the room. I tried to time it perfectly so I wouldn't have any contractions in the hallway, but it happened anyway.
During one furious contraction I had, right in front of the nurse's station, I felt something warm and slippery come out of my body. I looked down to see a blood clot the size of my fist on the floor. My husband was scared. I felt sick. The nurses rolled their eyes, when we alerted them, and exasperatingly offered to clean it up.
Once back in my bed, I couldn't get warm. They brought at least 3 heated blankets, but I was shaking all over and my teeth wouldn't stop chattering. At the time, I didn't know why, and they didn't seem to either. I finally agreed to the I.V. and some morphine. They promised it would 'take the edge off'. It made my veins feel like ice. I felt drowsy between contractions.
Around 6 am, I began to beg for an epidural. It wasn't part of my birth plan, but I felt like it was my last hope. I thought I would die if I didn't have any relief, but, the nurse explained that the anesthesiologist didn't work nights, and I would have to wait until 8 am.
Somewhere after 7 am, I was checked again and informed that I was 8cm dilated. I could see the sun beginning to come up and with it, I began to muster up the last bit of strength I had. I was near the finish line. I just needed to make it to 8 am! Suddenly, my contractions changed. They were longer and stronger, but with a welcome reprieve in between. Before I knew it, my doctor was standing in front of me. It was Tuesday, October 29th, and my doctor was hoping to get my baby out so he could open his practice across the street by 9 o'clock.
All at once, I felt the most intense urge, and my whole body began to bear down. Two nurses came to hold my legs back, but I kicked free. "I can't push like that!", I said. The doctor nodded at them to let me be. I was suddenly transformed from my quiet, timid self.
Just then, a nurse came to the door accompanied by some students asking if they could take part in witnessing a live birth. Shouldn't this have been something discussed in my birth plan??? "NO",I screamed. I pushed again, while vaguely watching the clock, still thinking about the epidural.
During the third push, just as the contraction mounted, my doctor said, "You better get him out on the next push, or I'm gonna have to cut you". That was the only incentive I needed. I saw the spray of my water finally breaking, and then the head emerged. I screamed and pushed once more while a nurse stabbed me in the left thigh with a shot of oxytocin.
Out came a slippery little body and instant relief. They placed him on my chest, and I struggled with the horrible gown so I could feel my baby against my skin. I kissed him immediately and held him close. He was perfect. He was all I could see. He was born right on the stroke of 8 am.
I turned to my husband and kissed him, while smiling from ear to ear. "Look at him!" I couldn't believe what had just happened. I was intoxicatingly in love. All other sounds fell into the background as I gazed at my baby. He looked right into my eyes as if he had known me forever. In that moment, I knew that life would never be the same again and I could never imagine a life without this baby in it.
I cut the cord and the nurses finally asked to take my boy to score and weigh him. I watched intently and told my husband to follow them. He weighed 6lbs. 13oz, and 19.5 inches long.
He was handed back to me, wrapped up tight like a burrito with a hat. He was still awake and we gazed at each other while I felt the sensation of a jellyfish come out of my body with a mild contraction. I had never seen a placenta. I asked to look at it and touch it.
The doctor repaired a tear, that I wouldn't feel until I went to the bathroom for the first time. Ouch!
I put my baby to my breast with the help of some nurses, once I was put back into my room. It felt tingly and strange at first, but I kept trying. I called the nurses back when I needed help with latching and I figured I had the hang of it.
Lots of family came to visit. My husband's Aunt came to visit, along with his cousin. My brother, sister-in-law and parents came to visit. In the evening, my Aunt, Uncle and grandparents came to meet the baby. I remember smiling through pictures while having harsh after pains.
The hardest part was having my husband ushered out at 8 pm. I wanted him beside me.
I barely slept a wink. The nurses urged me to leave the baby in the 'plastic cocoon on wheels' beside my bed, but I didn't want to let him go for a second. Finally, I lied and told them that every time I put him down, he cried. I held him close all night.
I was discharged the next morning after getting the clear from my doctor. It was a crisp, blue fall morning and I couldn't wait to get home. I was confident that I would be fine on my own. WRONG! After more family visits that afternoon, I was exhausted! We settled in for the evening and ordered some pizza. After we went to bed, we were soon awakened. Our little fella was HUNGRY and my boobs were HUGE. I tried the whole night to latch the baby. Through my tears and his tears, we finally all fell asleep at 6 am.
We called the hospital that morning and got an appointment with the Lactation Consultant. She assured me that everything 'looked fine'. We went back two more times before I felt comfortable with breastfeeding.
A week or two passed and my mom came to my room. She brought me some food and asked how things were going. I told her that I was exhausted. The baby wanted to nurse all night long.
She looked at me and casually said, 'Why don't you just lay down while nursing him?' It was so simple. Why didn't I think of that? I felt as though the secret to motherhood had been unlocked. It has been my secret weapon ever since!