I’m sure this goes without saying, but my answers to the following questions are obviously derived from my personal experiences. Everyone has a totally different birth experience and everyone’s baby is so different, but this Q & A post provides a little glimpse into what I’ve gone through so far. Oh and some of this post may be a little TMI, so if you’re not into reading about lack of bladder control and epidurals, I’d skip this one!
Q & A: Birth
- I know you are scared of needles and I’m just wondering how you handled the epidural? I am terrified of needles as well but am pretty sure I want an epidural and am just curious to hear more about it from someone who shares my fears.
I actually spoke with a bunch of other needle-phobes about this beforehand and everyone told me that by the time you are ready for the epidural, you won’t even think about the pain from the needle. This could not have been more true! The pain from my contractions was so intense that by the time the anesthesiologist arrived to administer my epidural, I wasn’t even thinking about the needle. I just wanted pain relief!! I don’t remember the epidural hurting when it went in at all but again I think that’s likely because my mind was on my contractions.
- When did your water break? Did it break naturally?
I cannot believe I forgot to include this in Chase’s birth story! My water broke naturally, but it didn’t happen until after I got the epidural, so I didn’t even know it had occurred until one of the nurses went to check my cervix and told me my water had broken and that the bed was all wet. (I couldn’t feel anything below my waist post-epidural!)
- Did you end up listening to music during labor?
Nope! I thought I’d be all about listening to music during labor since music helps me relax and also seriously motivates me during a workout, but during labor I didn’t even think about music. I was in the zone! Perhaps if my labor would’ve been longer, I may have looked to music to distract and motivate me?
- Did you have a birth plan or specific things you requested during your delivery? If so, did you stick to your birth plan or did anything change?
I didn’t have a detailed birth plan other than to deliver our baby safely. I did have a few preferences before/after birth, however, and made sure to discuss these things with my doctor during my prenatal visits before delivery and also discussed everything with the nurses when I arrived at the hospital. I wanted to donate our baby’s cord blood, delay the clamping of the umbilical cord, have my placenta encapsulated and get lots of skin-to-skin time with our baby and my doctor and nurses made everything work according to my preferences.
- What was the most unexpected thing for you post-delivery?
I wasn’t prepared for a serious lack of bladder control post-delivery. (My nurses said this was, in large part, due to the epidural.) Thankfully this only lasted for two days, but I am still doing Kegels regularly to build strength in my pelvic floor muscles. I also had no idea it would take me a solid 10 minutes to go to the bathroom by the time I actually peed, rinsed myself off with the little spray bottle, changed out the biggest pads in all the land, placed Tucks medicated pads on top of the ginormous pads (Tucks = Amazing!) and pulled on the big ol’ mesh underwear. It was a process!
- Did you have an episiotomy or experience any tearing?
I did not have an episiotomy but I did tear slightly and needed two stitches.
Q & A: Baby
- How did you guys come up with the name Chase?
When it came to actually agreeing on a name for our baby boy, Ryan and I didn’t really go back and forth too much. For the most part, we liked similar names. I suggested Chase to Ryan when I was around 14 weeks pregnant, and Ryan said he liked it and that we should definitely keep it on the table. A few days later, he brought it up again and said he was really beginning to like it a lot. Eventually we just kept thinking of our baby as Chase and never really came up with a fall-back name! Chase’s middle name is Robert and we chose that name after my dad.
- Will you touch on having the spare bed in your nursery? As a soon to be mama, I’m just curious how helpful it is/if it’s something you like?
Right now, Chase, Ryan and I are all sleeping in our master bedroom. Chase is sleeping in a bassinet beside our bed and will likely stay there for a while. When we transition him into his crib, I’m not planning to stay in the nursery in the single bed with him most nights, but may stay there for the first night or two since I’m sure I’ll be a little nervous about the transition. I see the single bed being used more for nights when Chase is extra fussy or hungry when I don’t want to have to go back and forth from our bedroom to his nursery to breastfeed.
- How is breastfeeding going for you? Do you think having Chase’s frenulum clipped has made a difference?
Breastfeeding is going well! I did a lot of reading about breastfeeding before giving birth and really, really hoped it would work for us. In the first few days, my nipples were extremely sore (nipple cream helped a bit) and I felt pain when Chase would feed which often lasted past the first few suckles. After we took Chase to see his pediatrician and after we met with a lactation consultant, it became clear to us that clipping his frenulum would likely help breastfeeding significantly. This was definitely the case for us!
While Chase was still managing to feed regularly and gain weight with his tongue tie, once the frenectomy was performed, he seemed to latch much better (way less pain for me!) but it took him a while to realize how much more efficient he was and he’d often come up coughing or spit up more than he did before because he was getting more milk at once. I definitely think having Chase’s frenulum clipped made a difference (he couldn’t extend his tongue past his bottom lip before) and am grateful we had it done when we did even though I was quite nervous about it.
- What does a night usually look like for you? I am expecting my first baby in the beginning of October and am curious about what a night with a newborn might be like!
We’ve started getting into bed early because we never know whether Chase will want to feed and go to sleep or get a bit fussy. (I think the third week was the roughest for us so far in terms of sleep.) We try to get in bed around 8:30 but by the time I nurse and we get Chase swaddled and into his bassinet, it’s usually close to 9:30 or 10 p.m. before we’re actually ready to try to sleep. Chase usually has his longest stretch of sleep in the beginning of the night and often sleeps from 9:30 to midnight. From there, we’re usually up every hour and a half to two hours for feedings, but sometimes I’m up with him every hour. The 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. stretch seems to be more or less a crapshoot right now. Last night was wonderful and he slept soundly, but Chase will also often choose this time to really wake up with the desire to stay awake and kick and play. (On Monday night he was up from 2 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.) We’re usually up for the morning between 5 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., depending on Chase’s nursing needs and just how awake he is after his early-morning feeding.
- You guys have had so many visitors since Chase arrived. How are you handling that? Is is overwhelming?
We’ve definitely had our fair share of visitors (we’ve had people stay with us every weekend since Chase arrived), but since most only stay for the weekend, it hasn’t felt too overwhelming. Plus, I think that since our visitors have only been our immediate family, they’ve come with the desire to help us and spend all the time in the world on the couch with Chase, so there’s no pressure to entertain, cook amazing meals or anything like that. I wouldn’t want people here for more than a day or two right now, so the short and sweet visits have worked out well for us, with the exception of my mom who arrived right after Chase was born and has been nothing short of incredible.
- That’s great that you have been able to go on daily walks as a family. Were you able to walk immediately after you got home, or did you need to take a few days off to heal? Are you experiencing any pain?
I went on my first walk with Sadie and Chase six days after delivery. I felt good enough to walk around day four but gave myself a couple extra days just to be safe! On my first walk, I took things super slow and made sure to head out before it was too hot outside. I was amazed at just how great it felt to walk and get out of the house. I’ve walked almost every day since and am now walking about three miles every morning. I love it! As far as pain, I am not experiencing any pain right now, but things just kind of feel loose down there if that makes any sense…
- Did your hip/butt pain go away after delivery?
YES! I actually started to feel MUCH better two days before delivery and was able to walk short distances without pain again (perhaps this was due to the baby dropping?), but since I never got the chance to write a 38-week pregnancy recap, I never shared this on the blog. Post-delivery, the pain was completely gone. Phew!
- How has Ryan adjusted to being a dad?
You guys, Ryan is incredible. He is super hands-on with Chase and for the first few days, he changed every diaper while I was still sore and recovering. Ryan says that at times he can feel a little useless since I am breastfeeding and we haven’t introduced bottles yet (my pediatrician recommended pumping and introducing one bottle a day beginning this week) but he seems to love bouncing Chase on the large exercise ball, playing with him on the activity mat, watching him during tummy time, etc. Also, he’s been incredibly supportive and encouraging of me as a mother which is truly invaluable right now. Saying something like “You’re doing so well,” when I’m up breastfeeding at 2 a.m. means so much to me and I’m so grateful we’re going through this incredible experience together.
That’s awesome that you had your placenta encapsulated! I had my first in October and did the same. Best decision I ever made (even if my hubby was skeeved out!) I think it really helped with recovery and warding off any PPD.
Samantha @ThePlantedVegan says
Thanks for answering all these questions! Love hearing about your experiences with birth as well as becoming a mother!
I loved this post! As a newly married chica, I hope to be able to have children in the next few years, so it was great to read all these from a new mom’s perspective. Thank you for sharing!
Congratulations on how well everything is going!! It sounds like you are all doing amazingly.
I just want to say, you don’t HAVE to give the baby a bottle (even of pumped milk). There’s no benefit to the baby of doing this per se – the reason to do it is if you are worried that as they get older they may refuse the bottle at a time that you actually need them to take it (if that is going to happen). The age range when they’re most likely to refuse the bottle if they haven’t had one before is around 4-7 or 8 months. If that’s when you are going back to work, then getting started on it now might make sense.
The potential downside is that the pumping is a lot of work and isn’t as efficient as breastfeeding directly, but drinking from a bottle is super-efficient and sometimes babies find it easier (plus parents sometimes like it because they know exactly how much the baby drank before bed, for example). But what that means is that once you start the bottle, it can become a slippery slope to formula because it may be hard to keep up with pumping as much as the baby likes to drink from the bottle.
When I went back to work after my first baby was born, she was already almost a year old – so the fact that I had trouble keeping up with demand wasn’t too terrible, because she could transition to adding some cow’s milk gradually, once she was a year. But starting a younger baby on a bottle can be difficult because of the supply-and-demand problem – not to mention that overall your milk supply will probably reduce somewhat because the pump doesn’t stimulate milk production as well as the baby.
If you’re lucky enough not to have to go back to work too early, they may never need a bottle – my second baby never took one, and it was just one hassle we didn’t have to deal with. The trick is just not being embarrassed to breastfeed ANYWHERE – on planes, in stores, at cafes, you name it.
Anyway, best of luck with everything! You will get to sleep again eventually. 🙂
I agree with delaying the bottle. It really depends. Some babies are fine with alternating between breast/bottle. My first one was like that, but the whole ‘preparing bottles thing’ was too time consuming for us as breastfeeding became easier . The second one totally refused the bottle but as the feedings spaced out it wasn’t so bad.
In my opinion I think you should definitely wait after the winter or flu season until introducing the bottle. There’s some interaction that happens between Mom/baby around sick people. Even though bottled breast milk still has antibodies for baby, and will help fight an illness, Mom’s nipples can pick up sickness in the baby’s saliva and then instantly create antibodies for that specific illness. If Mom’s exposed to some illness around a group of people at a moments notice antibodies are created for baby during a breastfeeding session. There’s some other neat stuff that happens between Mom’s breast/baby that can’t be duplicated with anything else. I don’t want to start a discussion or anything, but just something to think about…
Also, I wanted to ask some ladies here, how do you make your picture appear by your name?? I’ve been commenting here and I don’t want to be a complete stranger 🙂
I’m not afraid of needles but I can say that I never saw or even felt the needle. I was more concerned about having a contraction as they were doing the epidural. And I did but I have to say I just knew I couldn’t move and I just took deep breaths and squeezed the nurse and it was over quickly. And the relief was soooo worth it 🙂
Great post! I am having my first in Febrzary and there are a lot of questions I need answers to 🙂 You have a lovely family!
ellie | fit for the soul says
Omgnesss he is sooooooooooooooooooooooo bayouuuuutiful, Julie!!!! I love that little nose, haha. Isn’t that so random? I can’t believe you’re a momma and I hope for many blessings and guidance as you raise this little guy for God. Also, I 100% agree with the epidural phobia. I tried to go without it but when I finally dilated about 75% I just squirmed without a peep, with tears rolling down my cheeks so yeah, the epidural was the sweetest thing ever at the time. 0_0 I still felt about 75% of the pain while pushing though! So I’m not sure if I’d want that epidural hospital bill in our next pregnancy if I can help it in the least bit, lol.
Thank you for your candor with these questions. Enjoy all the little moments with your family and make sure to take a lot of pictures. It is amazing how quickly the days will go by and the baby will grow. I treasure all the little videos and pictures I take of my baby. I put together some info to help other mothers keep good photos of their babies.
Bri @ Simple Delights says
I know this is an older post, but I am due with my first baby in February and am considering placenta encapsulation. Curious if it made you feel better after birth? (Mainly in regards to baby blues vs postpartum depression). There isnt a whole lot of research out there and I think it would be most beneficial for me to hear from a mom who has done it!