Tuesday, September 27, 2011

getting ready for baby: what to expect at the hospital post delivery

yeah! this is our last "getting ready for baby" post. we've made it to the end and by now, you'll have the nursery stocked, your baby gear ready to go and you'll know what will happen during labor and delivery. if you missed any of our "getting ready for baby" posts, don't miss reading those.

here's what you can expect in the hospital after your sweet, little wonder arrives.

after you deliver your baby, the nurses will eventually take the baby and clean him or her up slightly and then they will start working on cleaning you up as well. the big pads they placed under you for delivery (think bed covering pads) will be replaced. you'll be rinsed off a little bit and cleaned off with some towels. eventually you'll be put back onto another big bed pad. you'll stay on this for a while until your bleeding gets under control. they will keep replacing the bed pads for the rest of your stay.

i was informed after delivering my fourth baby that you tend to have more bleeding after each delivery. for my fourth, i was told that i wasn't at the point of needing a blood transfusion but that i was close. this isn't just period bleeding...this is something much more. think crime scene photos. be prepared.

eventually you'll try to get to the bathroom again on your own. each time you go to the bathroom, you'll have a little plastic bottle to fill with warm water. you'll need to rinse yourself well after each trip to the potty. they'll then give you some super attractive disposable underwear and some monster sized pads that you'll wear and replace many times in those first hours after delivery. if you need more, ask for them. don't be afraid to use the towels to clean yourself off. this is labor and delivery. they are used to a mess. don't worry about the white towels that are sitting in the bathroom. just use them.

they'll also provide some ice packs for your va-jay-jay. these don't make your feel 100% but they do help you feel better. use them and ask for more. they are a small relief after labor and delivery and you'll be glad you have them. if they don't offer them right away, ask if you can get some.

after a short time, you'll have a lactation consultant come in to visit. if you thought your privacy was invaded during labor and delivery, just wait for this fun. these lovely ladies will come in and grab your boob with a vice grip and shove it into your baby's mouth. if the baby doesn't do it right, they'll move the baby off and try again. this will happen repeatedly during your hospital stay. good times. don't forget your lanolin at this point. it will save your boobies.

your baby will be in and out of your room at this point. they'll be taken and bathed. the pediatrician will check on the baby either in your room or in another location. there will be blood tests done on your baby through a little slice on their heel. the baby will be poked and proded during their hospital stay. they will love calm moments with you so enjoy those. when the baby is away, take advantage of that time to take care of yourself.

if the baby is out of the room, this is the perfect opportunity to use the bathroom, change your clothes, if possible, take a shower. use those moments to clean up a bit and to feel a bit more refreshed. little luxuries make a huge difference during your hospital stay.

you'll be offered pain medication during this time as well. if you need something stronger, don't be afraid to ask. if you are exhausted, don't feel bad about asking a nurse to take your baby to the nursery for an hour so you can take a nap. the nurses are trained to take care of your baby. you'll be on call 24/7 as soon as you walk out of those hospital doors. if you can get an hour of sleep in a the hospital, take it. nurses will be in and out all night long, your baby will need to eat every couple of hours all night long, hospitals are never particularly quiet. if you can get a moment of rest, don't feel guilty, take advantage.

on your last day, several things will need to happen. your baby will need a final check with the pediatrician, you'll need a final check with the ob/gyn, discharge papers will need to be completed, forms signed and your iv removed. the day you leave is always packed full of activities. be prepared for a busy last several hours there. finally, your baby will be released to you and you'll be wheeled out of the labor and delivery ward. this was always my favorite part of the process...the moment when it was all over. have your camera ready. take pictures and try to savor the little moments before you head home. your life will never be the same. try to absorb as much of it all as you can.

there are so many details of each person's experience. you'll have plenty of stories of your own. each baby brings its own excitements and hilarious moments. try to see them as hilarious intead of mortifying. they will all be worth the prize...a beautiful baby of your own. do your best to enjoy.

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