Best Tips for Childbirth That You Really SHOULD Know

Listen up, Mamas-to-Be

I have a pal at work that’s about 38 weeks prego.  Ready and willing to pop any day, bless her heart.  She and I were talking last week about my own childbirth and stuff that no one told me about and I wish someone had.  I started to ramble on and on about random stuff and she said, “Wait, wait.  I’ll never remember this.  Just shoot me an email with the most important info.”  After reading it, she told me that I needed to share this with y’all so you too could learn from my awesome wisdom.  You’re welcome.

So, whether you’re a mama-to-be for the first time or you’ve purposely blocked the previous birth(s) from your memory, here’s my list of childbirth tips that, honestly, will save your sanity and comfort.

Untitled.png

First things first, know that they won’t be giving you a damn thing to eat while you’re in the hospital until you pop that kid out.

SO.  Here are your two options:  if you’re induced, hit up Waffle House before you go in.  When we found out we were getting induced at 5 am, I asked my doc if we could grab a quick bite before coming in.  She recommended carbs and more carbs.  Pretend you’re about to run a marathon.  So, we strolled in to Waffle House at 4 am and I ate 2 waffles.  Don’t even try to sit in a booth, your belly won’t fit.  Just head straight to the bar, but good luck getting back down.  Oh, and don’t eat anything greasy.  Doc says that’s a sure fire way to poop all over the nurses when you’re pushing.  So there’s that.

If you go into labor naturally (hooray), make sure you have something substantial in your fridge/pantry that you can eat relatively quickly on the way to the hospital.  This may sound silly, but I was in labor for 23 hours and I was STARVING by the time I had Bailey.  Star.Ving.  Do yourself a favor and prep a meal.

Second, for the days following birth, you’re gonna bleed like it’s the worst period of your life.

Not so much pain wise, but the flood gates will be open.  Get ALL the mesh undies they will give you at the hospital.  Stuff them in your bag like a squirrel with nuts.  They are the furthest thing from cute, but they’re worth your baby’s weight in gold.  Trust.  I suggest going to the Walmart before hand and getting a pack of Old Lady Undies that come up above your belly button.  You won’t want anything tight on your belly after you give birth and those mesh panties can only go for so long.  Do your hubs a favor and burn the lot before the kid turns one.

Third, your hoo-hah is gonna hurt.

Fact.  Gather the stuff this girl tells you to and pre-make these padsicles before you pop.  Your hoo-hah will thank you.  To be honest, I bought everything and was totally prepared to use them, but I ended up having a c-section and they were unneeded.  Turns out, there really is a sunny side to have major abdominal surgery.  You know, besides having a squishy sweet baby,

Fourth, go to the Walmart and buy a knee length nightgown with front buttons.

It doesn’t have to button all the way down, but enough to breastfeed without sticking the kid underneath.  You will almost certainly be in the hospital for a day after birth and you are NOT going to want to hang out in those awful bedgowns.  Also, with all the bleeding (see second paragraph), you aren’t going to want to wear sleep shorts or pants while in the hospital bed.  I’d also suggest a bathrobe because they’ll make you walk around the floor before leaving.  Also, you’ll have a crap ton of visitors and you might be feeling modest.  Oh, and bring flipflops or slippers.  Something easy to slip on and off.  Those floors are frigid.

Fifth, bring 2 packages of store bought cookies and/or sweets.

DO IT.  IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE I’VE TOLD YOU, DO THIS.  These sweets are to bribe the nursing staff and make you their favorite.  They will do your bidding with a smile if you give them snacks.  Trust me, I worked in a hospital, I know this as fact.  We brought crack cookies (you know, those sugar cookies with thick icing you can find in the bakery at Harps or Walmart.  So addicting, hence: crack cookies).  Buy 2 packs, one for the day shift and one for the night.  You’re gonna be there a while.  Oh, and make sure they’re store bought.  No offense, but no one will touch home made goods once you work in a hospital for a week.  Germs=ew.

Sixth, have a spokesperson in the room with you at all times.

By that, I mean be sure you have a nurse or your husband or your mama on your team to be able to speak up on your behalf.  Too many people in the room, people eating near you, another nurse not giving you enough meds to make you happy.  You will be in an emotional and physical state where you will need such a person to be in tune with you.  Sure, you may think you’re going to be able to do that type of thing on your own, but who knows what’s going to happen during a birth.  Pick your person, set parameters, and have a code word for them to know its time to lay the smack down.  Ours was “elbow” because I just like saying that word.  Makes me smile and Lord knows you need that when you’re in labor.  Say it out loud.  Elllllbow.  Nice, right?

Seventh, have someone photograph (cell phone camera is totally fine) the baby and you and your husband and your kids throughout the process.

You don’t have to show a single person ever, but you’ll love looking back at that day.  This isn’t necessarily for Facebook posting or such, but for your own memories.  Also, be sure to get a picture like this before you leave the hospital. I mean, doesn’t that just tug at your heart?

baby

Lastly, message me when he’s 5 days old and it’s 3 in the morning and you’re having a meltdown because you’ve tried literally everything you can think of to make him happy but he won’t stop crying.

I’ll talk you down off the ledge and bring you brownies the next day and let you eat 4 while I snuggle the kid.  No judgment.  If you live outside of my bubble area of Northwest Arkansas, I’ll send it Amazon Prime and just ask for a really cute picture of your squishy newborn in return.  Gah, I love babies.

You know I’ll think of more things, but this will get you started.

signature


Obstetric Cholestasis is a Jerk

 

 

“We’re talking pulled-me-out-of-deep-sleep, crazy intense, burning itching on my hands and feet.”

For me, being pregnant with Bailey was fun. Eating all the food, taking all the naps, buying all the cute baby clothes. Loved it. After suffering a miscarriage the first go round, I figured I was due for some preggo enjoyment and, by golly, I sure soaked it up. Bless Kyle’s heart, he was a peach. Couldn’t have asked for a better Fetcher of All the Things for my beached-whale self. I sailed through my first and second trimesters without a care in the world. And then Obstetric Cholestasis decided to be a jerk.

Okay, am I crazy?

During my 32nd week, I woke up in the middle of the night with crazy itchy hands. Super bizarre, but man, did it hurt. Felt like ants had bit me all over my palms. I mean, really, whose palms actually itch?? We’re talking pulled-me-out-of-deep-sleep, crazy intense, burning itching. Everyone always says that your skin can do weird things during a pregnancy, so I just figured I was being overly dramatic, slathered some lotion on them, and tried to go back to sleep.

The next night, I woke up again to the same burning itching on my hands, but also on the bottom of my feet. At the time, I slept with an oscillating fan next to the bed, so I coated my hands and feet with lotion, pointed them towards the cool air, and eventually passed back out.

Now, I should tell you, I felt totally fine during the day. No itching, no pain, no burning. By that point, there were some nice scratch marks where I’d clawed myself in my sleep, but nothing that looked like a rash. I’d had a weird pop up of hives for about 3 hours around week 25, but there was nothing like that to make me think I was getting those hives again. Way weird, y’all.

Not crazy after all.

Around 2 AM on night three brought so much itching, burning pain that I decided to take a cold bath to try to ease my poor hands and feet. As I sat there, I started to cry from my own pitifulness and decided to google my symptoms. Yes, I know everyone always says don’t google stuff when you’re pregnant because you’ll scare the crap out of yourself. Truer words, friends. But by night three, I just didn’t care anymore. I hit on a post from the Mayo Clinic that described my exact symptoms and it was linked to something called Obstetric Cholestasis. The who?? Basically, your liver starts acting wonky and the flow of bile is screwed up and it starts dispersing within your body. Gross, right? For the mama, it’s “intensely uncomfortable, but poses no long-term risk.” Yeah, no kidding. However, it’s super dangerous for the baby and docs recommend early delivery.

Lucky me, my dad is a doctor and doesn’t mind frantic texts from his daughter at 2 AM. I told him my symptoms, sent him the Mayo Clinic link, and he told me to run, not walk, to my OB first thing in the morning. So I showed up at their door when they opened, they drew some blood, and sure enough….I was diagnosed with Obstetric Cholestasis. We had to start monitoring the kid a lot to make sure her levels were all okay and they put me on some magic pills that made the crazy itching go away (praise Jesus). Going past 36 weeks is a no-no, so we induced labor at 35 weeks and 5 days. 23 hours of labor and an emergency C-section later, Bailey was born.

Hey, you know the cure for Cholestasis?? Have your kid. Literally, that’s it.

Moral of the story: if you’re preggo and your hands and feet start to itch, you aren’t crazy. Call your doc ASAP and get that crap checked out. All kidding aside, this thing is serious for your baby and your pregnancy can be at risk. So, please, if any of this sounds familiar, get yourself to your doc and demand a blood test til they take you seriously. K, thanks. The odds of having Cholestasis with my next pregnancy is about 75%, so if we decide to pop another out, homegirl is stocking up on the itch relief from the get go. Obstetric Cholestasis is a jerk.