The First Day
Holy crap. That’s our son! He’s ours…no one else’s…when he cries…he comes to mama or dada…that’s me and you (Bryan)!!!
The short version:
Lessons for the first day:
- Find a breastfeeding support person/s who you can call/text/see immediately and at all hours
- Buy the biggest, thickest, juiciest pads to soak up what you’re unfortunately going to be putting out for the next 4-6 weeks.
- Get about 4 of those squeeze bottles and prefill them after you go pee – you’ll thank yourself when you have to go pee again and can’t reach the sink.
- Do a Sitz bath with herbs meant to heal the perineum after birth. Talk to your midwife or naturopath about which herbs should be used or call Perfect Herbs and ask for a bag of their perineal bath
- Try the padsicles. They may surprise you!
- Visitors – what you think you’ll want and what you want when your babe is born might be different
The long version:
That first day is a blur…Filled with random bouts of crying because you’re so happy, and random bouts of crying because breastfeeding isn’t as easy as you thought it’d be. Paired with a new found mom guilt that took no time at all to rear its ugly head and a bunch of visitors to soak it all in with you. The guilt I felt came from immediately feeling like I couldn’t feed my son. He was exhausted from the 28 hour labour and all he wanted to do was sleep. All I wanted to do was cry. Was I going to have to formula feed? Not that that’s terrible but that wasn’t my plan…I had my partner’s support and a wonderful lactation consultant reassure me that I was doing VERY well and to hand express just a bit so he could get some colostrum…okay…sure – no problem – but I still felt like a failure. My sister in law, Jenn, was the one I confided in other than my partner about the feelings I was having. She reassured me they were very normal to have but that I’m doing great. She helped me get a great latch and showed me some new position for feeding to help me with my sanity and back (side-lying, football, laying back, etc). It was the hardest thing ever and I constantly had to call her for help despite JUST being shown earlier that day. So, you’ll want a “Jenn” of your own who can show you the ropes. Trust me! Oh, and your milk doesn’t come in day 1…nope, we’ll get to that in my next post though!
Now the fun stuff…I could hardly take my eyes off my baby….except when I had to run to the bathroom. And trust me new moms-to-be, you WILL want to run to a bathroom because it will be like your period just came back with a vengeance. But it’ll hurt, and you may have the curiousity to look at yourself down there with a mirror…I didn’t for the first two days…but then I chose to. Not so bad just lots of swelling (ha). Oh – sitting down hurt like a B and peeing was frightening. That squeeze bottle they give you to rinse – blessing. I used coolish water or room temp water…and I refilled the bottle like 3 times per pee…felt so good. I opted not to use toilet paper (cringing at the thought of rubbing the stitches I required).
OUCH. Okay, your vagina probably won’t feel normal for a bit…or maybe you’ll just bounce right back —- I didn’t. When I got the chance, I used my Sitz bath (thank you Victoria!) and sat in it with an herbal infusion. I steeped a bunch of herbs in a pot for about 5-6 hours covered, strained it, and used it as my Sitz bath water. (My herbs were gifted to me from my best friend but she ordered them from Perfect Herbs…not available on website must call). Sat in the water for 10-15 minutes (probably 10…I’m antsy!) and after two baths, my lady bits could sit and stand and I wasn’t crying! Hallelujah! Something you may want to try is getting Thayer’s alcohol free witch hazel and spraying it on some period pads…if you can get REAL aloe vera, add some of that to a pad as well. Wrap the pad in aluminum foil and stuff in the freezer…prep a bunch of these…when you’re in pain pop one of these padsicles in your panties and AHHHhhhhhhhh, sweet sweet comfort.
Oh – and the bleeding? Yeah, that’s going to be intense. But it should ease up day by day, always talk to your midwife or doctor if it’s not getting better or if you’re soaking a pad within 2 hours. I have heard of women using cloth for this period to be less wasteful…with my next child I will try it but I can’t comment here on how that would go. Try it out and let me know or if you HAVE used cloth please leave a comment!
Visitors – throughout my entire pregnancy I reiterated to my partner that I did not want anyone for that first week. I wanted it to be just the three of us, skin to skin time, breastfeeding time, and just quiet family time. Well that changed quickly after birth. And that’s okay! Thank goodness I didn’t tell anyone that I was dead set on no visitors because I wanted people immediately. I wanted help, I wanted support, I was excited, I wanted to share my world! I still did skin to skin, was clothed partly when people came over, I didn’t change what I wanted to do during those first days but what did change was the level of support. Bryan and I were very tired and sick and having people come to visit was amazing. We had people bring us some groceries we didn’t want to go out to buy, people warmed up food for us, my mom helped clean…my sister in law Jenn helped me to FEED my son. All I’m saying is be okay with change. Be prepared to not want visitors if you wanted them and be prepared to want them if you were ready to go solo.