I’m not going to begin to tell you I’m a baby expert, because after only two months of having a little one, I’m definitely not. However, I do have a few bits of wisdom that I’ve learned so far, that I wish people had told me before I had Torin. Had I known these things, labor, and those first few weeks of caring for him at home would’ve been way less stressful. So here you go (you’re welcome.)
disclaimer- This post may have a few things in it that are personal and borderline TMI (I mean childbirth is gross), so if things like that weird you out, you might want to skip this one. 😉
Having a breech baby is not the end of the world. I’m an over-researcher when it comes to most things in my life, so naturally when I became pregnant I read lots of books on pregnancy…seriously all the books. Each one, made it sound like having a breech diagnosis was almost always going to end in a C-section. Sure there were ways to try and get baby to flip down, but the success rate was terrible, and no guarantees were given that the baby would stay head down if it did work, blah, blah, blah.
So, when I went in for my 36 week appointment and I was told that Torin was breech (not a big surprise to me, since I was pretty sure I could feel his head under my rib cage,) I panicked thinking I was going to have to have a C-section. My OB then told me I had three options: 1) I could do nothing and we could see if baby moved down on his own, with the knowledge that if he didn’t I would probably need a c-section. 2) I could have an External Cephalic Version (ECV) and hope for the best. An ECV is where you’re given a dose of terbutaline to relax the uterus and then the baby is manually moved inside you. 3) I could proactively schedule a C-section date.
I was pretty firm about wanting to have a natural childbirth, so naturally options 1 and 3 were out. At 37 weeks I had an ECV that was successful in flipping Torin, and he stayed down until delivery! ECVs do work and you can have a natural childbirth even if baby doesn’t flip on his/her own. Don’t let your Dr. persuade you to have a C-section if you’re adamant about doing things naturally.
Labor is like being in a dream. You know it happened, but you really can’t recall all of the specifics. Adrenaline and oxytocin make you forget a lot of what goes on up until you have your sweet baby in your arms. With an epidural-free childbirth you’ll also go really primal, and kind of retreat into your thoughts. I don’t know of another way to describe that feeling. My experience was that I knew there were other people in the room, but I felt totally alone. It felt good though, and empowering, as if I didn’t need them. They were just there as support in case things went wrong.
You don’t need to take a childbirth class. I mean if that kind of thing makes you feel better prepared, then go for it, but you really don’t need it. Just breathe. Breathe through the contractions, the pain, the pushing, everything, and you’ll be just fine. I’d like to say it’s more complicated than that, but it really wasn’t.
I was a little nervous going into labor because I hadn’t taken a class, but now I see there was absolutely no need to worry.
You do have non-epidural pain medication options. This is one of those areas I wish I had done more research on. I was so set on not taking anything for pain, that I hadn’t researched any of my options. When the nurse asked me if I wanted Stadol or Fentanyl, I had to defer to my mom (a former L&D nurse) for an answer. I ended up going with Stadol which was a lifesaver, but unfortunately it can only be used during the first stage of labor. I also ended up using Nitrous for a little bit in second stage labor (it was a waste, and I wouldn’t do it again.) With Nitrous there’s a risk of falling so you can’t walk around or be on a birth ball, which can inhibit the natural progression of labor.
Delivery of the Placenta hurts. As if pushing an 8lb bowling ball out of your vajayjay isn’t enough, the lovely L&D nurse will very forcefully push your insides around until the placenta comes out. She’ll also continue to squish your very sore uterus every 20 min or so to continue getting the blood out, and it hurts…bad. At one point, soon after delivery my nurse had to tell me to stop pushing her hands away because I was instinctively trying to keep her from touching my belly. Seriously, no one told me this part was so painful.
Tearing is not as bad as you would think. I’m not gonna lie, the one thing about labor that terrified me going into it was the possibility of tearing or having an episiotomy. I can now tell you first hand that second degree tears are not terrible. Honestly, having them stitched up was more painful than the tears themselves. They do make postpartum recovery a little longer, but they seriously were not as bad as everyone makes them out to be. Ladies, for those of you that had third degree tears, I’m sorry. They might actually be that bad, hopefully I’ll never know.
Breastfeeding is not for everyone. From the time I began reading up on breast and bottle feeding I was hell-bent on breastfeeding only. Yes, I had heard that it was challenging, but I felt I was up to it. It never occurred to me that I might not be able to. The Women’s Hospital here in Greensboro has great lactation consultants that meet with you every few hours during your stay. I was so dismayed when after my second visit with one of them, they said, “you know Mama, you might need to prepare yourself for having no milk supply or a very low supply based on the amount of glandular tissue you have.” What? I’m sorry. No I hadn’t even considered that. I didn’t even know that was a thing. Sure enough, Insufficient Glandular Tissue (IGT) is a real diagnosis, even though it’s pretty rare. I’m one of those lucky few that have it, which means I had to work very, very hard to establish a milk supply and still had to supplement with formula during those first few weeks. This more so than almost anything else, was something I wish I had known about during pregnancy so I could prepare myself. That first week I was home, I cried so much because I felt like I was a bad mom for not being able to breastfeed. I’ve since come to the realization, that formula feeding is ok, and it’s way more important for Torin to have a happy, well-balanced mom than to be breastfed. So, if you find yourself on the breastfeeding struggle bus, just know I’ve been there, and I know it sucks. The good news is there are great formulas out there for your baby.
Baby Probiotic Supplements Are a Necessity. Especially if your baby is going to be using formula during those first few weeks. Seriously these were a game changer for us. Torin is a little colicky and that combined with him having very irregular poopies and constant constipation during those first few weeks made for an unhappy baby and a sleep deprived, twitchy mama.
I did some research online about colic and learned that a pretty good number of colic babies have different microflora in their bellies than non-colic babies. Introducing the probiotic lactobacillus Reuteri or lactobacillus rhamnosus to a colic baby’s digestive has been shown to significantly improve colic symptoms.
At about 5 weeks, we started adding the Mommy’s Bliss Daily Probiotic to Torin’s morning bottle, and the changes were almost instantaneous. His digestive system is now completely normal, and even though we still have the daily colic crying, the length of the episodes has been greatly reduced. These drops really are a lifesaver.
Baby Acne Can Be Cleared With Micellar Water. I knew baby acne was a thing but surely it wasn’t going to happen to my baby, right? Wrong. 2-3 weeks after Torin was born his poor little face looked like a Proactive commercial.
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it was still a huge departure from his smooth, soft baby face that I was used to. In a desperate attempt to clear it in a gentle way, I started wiping it 2-3 times a day with my all-natural micellar water and it cleared within days. Seriously this was his face two days later:
So there you have it, just a few things I wish I had known before my baby boo arrived. Nothing revolutionary, but still, advice that would have made me less stressed throughout labor and that first month of having baby home. 😊