By Jennifer Mearns, author of the blog The Undomestic Goddess
Baby is out! You hear the first cries and breathe a sigh of relief. The hard part is over. But what’s next? What can you expect during your hospital stay after your baby is born? Here I will discuss some things to expect once you’ve done all the birthing.
Now What Did You Say is Still in There?
After the baby is born, you might think all the birthing is over; you’d be wrong! There is still the matter of the placenta, just kind of hanging out in there with nothing left to do. You’ll experience mild contractions (or not if you have an epidural) and your doctor, who is STILL hanging around down there, will work to get it delivered, this inanimate blob of tissue. You probably won’t even notice after having delivered your eight-pound bundle of screams.
You’re Going to Sew WHAT?
If you’ve torn (yes, torn. And yes, there) during labor, you’ll be needing a few stitches to get things back in working order (eventually). If you have an epidural, you won’t even notice this. If you don’t, well, I can’t tell you how it will feel because I had an epidural. It’s usually just a couple stitches to keep things together and your doctor will numb the area before she stitches. Yes, that does mean you’ll get a shot.
Why on Earth Would You Push There?
Every few hours after your baby is born, an evil nurse is going to come and press down on your belly. She does this in order to help the uterus contract since it has to shrink from watermelon sized to cantaloupe sized. It’s not pleasant. You’ll want to slap her. This area is pretty sensitive after all the birthing, so this is not a super fun experience.
Please Can’t I Get Some Sleep?
For the first four to six hours after delivery, a nurse will come in to check on you and baby every hour or two hours. You’ll want to cry because they will be checking your blood pressure and generally bothering you, when all you want to do is sleep. It’s very important, however, because of the risks of postpartum death (the rate of which is way too high in this country). They will also check your baby, his glucose, bilirubin, etc. Two of my babies had to go to NICU because of low glucose, so it’s also very important that this check is done.
After the first several hours, you’ll be able to get some sleep as long as the baby lets you. At Women’s Hospital, the baby rooms in with the mom, so there aren’t any lovely fairies to whisk the baby to the nursery so you can catch some z’s. Hopefully, baby will be tired from all the birthing (it’s hard on them too), so they will be catching up on their sleep.
My advice to you is to have your mom or husband bring you a delicious post-delivery meal and soak up all the attention because soon you’ll be at home-with a baby.
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