“Is giving birth as scary as I think it is?” Someone asked me on Instagram.
“No, but the recovery is,” I responded.
And thus here we are, I’m going to share a bit about my experience learning to navigate the first weeks of postpartum. It goes without saying that everyone’s experience is different, but here I am saying it anyway because it’s always a good reminder. I don’t recall too much about the first hours (or first days) after having Birdie. I know I was in pain, but it was manageable thanks to meds and nurses. The real pain didn’t start for me until we got home…
And with that, let’s time travel back to the day we left the hospital and brought our Birdie home. *Except for the trapped air pain, that started immediately and I won’t forget it.*
“Do we put her in the car seat in the car? Or do I bring it up here?” Chris asked after we’d finally been discharged.
He was anxious, I was anxious, even Birdie seemed anxious to be going home with us. She could smell our fear.
We’d been at Rose Medical since Monday night, it was Saturday now, so yes, we were very ready to leave. Although I won’t deny I wanted to ask a nurse to come home with us, as well. For the past four days all I had to do was press a button and a nurse was by my side in no time ready to help with whatever I needed- latching, refilling my water, pulling up my mesh underwear after going to the bathroom… going to the bathroom in general. For those that wondered if it still hurts to go the bathroom after giving birth via c-section, yes, yes it does. But more on that in a bit. (You’ve been warned, turn away now if these aren’t details you want to read.)
I also get a little chuckle when I remember me before giving birth being all worried about what to wear home from the hospital. I can assure you after giving birth I could give two shits about what I wore home. Want to know what I settled on? Whatever I could fit into, that’s what. I think it ended up being pajama pants and a baggy nursing tank top. So if you’re stressing about this, don’t. There’s plenty of other things to worry about on the going home day. 🙂 Like that damn car seat.
“You put her in the car seat in the car, we carry her down,” I said, pretending to know.
“Are you sure?”
“No, I’m not sure. I’ve never done this before either.”
After some *minor arguing* we decided to put Birdie in her car seat in the room. We’d been in post baby bliss up until this moment. Every little ting up until now had been cute and adorable. Diaper change? So cute! She’s crying? Adorable! Until the car seat.
I’ve never seen Chris so stressed as he was in the moment of first trying to get Birdie strapped in. She was crying, I was crying, Chris was swearing under his breath. It was not exactly the sweet bringing-home-baby moment I had envisioned. And yes we took the car seat class, but nothing prepares you for that first buckle in. Baby just looks so small and breakable and the car seat looks so scary and monstrous.
Eventually we got her in, the crying stopped (for her) I was still pretty shook up, and we made the trek down to our car. And thus we embarked on the longest 15 minute journey of our lives.
“Should I take the interstate home?”
“NO!” I shouted, insulted Chris even suggest such a thing. “Back streets. And go slow!” I couldn’t be certain, but I had a good feeling that we were the first people to (EVER) drive with a baby in the car. The risks were everywhere.
We hardly spoke on the drive except to mutter about how awful other drivers were.
“What does that guy think this is Nascar?” We sneered when someone zoomed by us going 15 mph.
When we finally got home and brought Birdie inside there was this weird feeling of now what? I kept waiting for someone to tell me what to do, or thinking I had to ask permission to do anything with her, forgetting that I was now the permission granter.
Can I hold her like this? Feed her like this? Change her like this? I don’t know Taylor, can you? You’re the decision maker. Chris and I like to say we aged 100 years that first week, both mentally and physically.
The first night was… well it was scary as hell. I can’t help but snicker when I remember the fact that I set my alarm every two hours, you know to make sure I got up and fed Birdie. As if she was just going to snooze the entire night away. Ha ha ha ha ha. Maybe some newborns do this right away, Birdie did not. As our pediatrician told us, “she still has her days and nights confused.”
It was on night two, or night three, when by 3 a.m. she had either spit up, blown out, or peed on every piece of bedding, bedding cover and sleep sack we owned.
“What do we do?” I asked Chris.
“I have no idea!”
Of course we could have just put her in regular pajamas and laid her in the basinet without a cover and we would have been fine, but we were sleep deprived and not thinking clearly. Anything that happens in the middle of the night seems 100 x worse than it actually is. Luckily my mom was staying with us and so I just walked Birdie downstairs to her and more or less said, “here, she’s your baby now.” And you know what? My mom didn’t blink an eye. She said no problem and took her for the rest of the night so Chris and I could actually sleep.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. I’m also realizing this may be a ten-parter. Given the pace I’m going hopefully I’ll finish it by Birdie’s first birthday. Speaking of, someone just woke up from their 20 minute cat nap so I have to wrap this up. Forgive me for any punctuation errors, I’m trying my best here.
Coming next week: The Milk Has Arrived And So Have The Night Sweats. Followed by, oh shit I’m scared to go to bed because bed is scary in the beginning. And also I want to get up and hold my baby but I can’t actually sit up on my own because everything hurts.