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.
Loved this post! Can you do a post on the placenta encapsulation? Did they come to your house to do it and how much was it? Would love to hear more about it.
They came to our house a few days after delivery and were amazing! It was $175 and I’m so glad I did it. Here is the service (local to Charlotte) that I used: http://www.wombmart.com/ Their website has a TON of information all about it!
Katie @ Live Half Full says
Yes, I agree! I have been looking into doing it as well and I want to hear all about it!
Rose Herczeg says
Julie, this brought back so many memories (my first born will be 34 this year!).. you are going to help lots of women with the transition to mommyhood (and daddyhood for the men out there reading this!). God bless you all, Chase is so sweet. I see your dad at the gym here in PVB all the time, he beams about you and his new grandbaby! Look forward to more of your posts! 🙂
Thank you so much, Rose!! This comment made me smile!
Heather @Fitncookies says
As I’m expecting in October, I’m definitely glad I read this post! Thanks so much for sharing!!
Linz @ Itz Linz says
LOVE everything about this post! 🙂 you go, momma! xo
Gretchen | Gretchruns says
Thanks for sharing all of this! I love how these are questions that people don’t really discuss, but must be really good to know for new moms.
I’m so glad you shared your experience with us. I pretty much had the exact experience you did with the epidural. I was absolutely terrified of it, but then when the time came I was begging for it. I don’t remember it hurting going in, other than maybe a little pinch. I just wanted the contractions gone! The weird part was not being able to move my legs and feeling like they weighed 100 pounds each!
Chase is absolutely beautiful and I’m glad things are going well for you. I hope they continue to go well and you enjoy motherhood and everything it brings along!
Yes!! The leg thing was absolutely crazy! I also was a little freaked out when it was time to push and all of the sudden I was able to move my legs and feel my contractions again… I thought the epidural was wearing off but apparently that is how it is supposed to go and how I knew when to push. Definitely did not expect that!
Thank you for sharing all of this! You might have posted this before but what type of bassinet did you get? And how do you like it?
Thanks so much for this post Julie! I’m expecting in December and have loved following your journey and posts like these are super helpful. So thrilled for you and your family! Feeling more excited and nervous as the weeks go by 🙂
Heather Kuennen says
It sounds like motherhood suits you and I’m so happy to read you are able to enjoy every little part! As a mom of two girls, and a baby boy coming in October, I know how quickly babies grow and change! Having a supportive partner makes all the difference in the world, too!!
PS: I swear by Halo swaddling sleepsacks (have used them for all of my babies), but I took your advice and purchased the Himalayan salt lamp for new baby’s nursery. What a great idea for those late night nursing sessions and diaper changes.
that salt lamp has seriously been amazing for us. I hope you love it too!
I love all the sweet pictures! I encapsulated my placenta too. I really feel like it helped me during the rough post-partum transition. I am so glad to hear that things are going so well.
Good for you for donating Chase’s cord blood! My niece had leukemia and her life was saved by a bone marrow transplant using donated cord blood from an anonymous donor.
I am so glad your niece was able to benefit from donated cord blood! I hope she is doing well! 🙂
Laurel @blondeandabrit.com says
I had no idea about the umbilical cord clamping! Good thing I’ve got my girls to ask 1000 questions to when it’s my turn. So proud of you mama. You look like a natural!
Oh believe me I didn’t know about ANY of this stuff before I got pregnant! 🙂 And thanks so much for always being so supportive!
Carol T. says
Julie – what a wonderful post. I just love the picture of Ryan and Chase sleeping. It brought tears to my eyes…
You and Ryan are such wonderful parents. How lucky for Chase to have the both of you to love him with all your hearts…
Great Q&A! Glad everything is going so well – Ryan’s encouraging words are so sweet 🙂
Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood says
Some of this I was like, yesss! from remembering it when my son (15 months! HOW?!) was a newborn. Go you!
Thank you for sharing your experiences thus far! I am going to do some research on the delay of clamping…never heard of this! And your last answer about Ryan made me tear up. How sweet is he??!! You are so blessed, what a beautiful family! =)
I’m having such a hard time reading your blog lately. It’s all rainbows and butterflies and that’s just not real life. I find it hard to relate to you when everything always seems perfect. Stepping away for a bit….
I’m sorry you feel this way but appreciate the feedback. It is not my intention to sugarcoat anything and I am doing my best to share my honest experiences. I think having a baby has made me happier than I could’ve imagined and while there are of course challenges, I try my best to focus on the positive things both in my life and on the blog. Thank you for reading in the past and I’m sorry to see you go.
Julie, it is your positive outlook on life that I love the most about you and your blog. You have a way of sharing your experiences truthfully while maintaining an optimistic attitude. Thank you!
Mia @ MakeMeUpMia says
Your blog is such a breath of fresh air for me Julie. Everyone has different experiences with becoming a mother, we know that it’s not all rainbows all the time, that is just a given, but you choose to focus on the positive. My friend and I have commented to each other about how GOOD motherhood looks on you <3
Babies are a happy thing! As a person who is going though her first pregnancy I have turned to your blog numerous times for ideas, tips, tricks and things to research because of how positive and informative you have been in this process. Thank you for being so open and so positive and letting us go on this journey with you! Yay for babies!
What part of this is all rainbows and butterflies? The contraction pain, the nursing pain, the sleepless nights, etc…?
I find this comment really interesting – I have been thinking how awesome it is that Julie was fortunate enough to have a healthy pregnancy, what sounded like a pretty straightforward labour, a healthy baby, breastfeeding successes, and is thriving. I read lots of blogs where people have tough pregnancies or struggle with infertility, or they’re struggling after the baby is born (because babies are intense, often hard work, especially if it’s your first time and you’ve no idea what to expect). I was a mess after my first baby! I don’t find that Julie’s happiness is taking anything away from her blog. It’s not like she was a Debbie Downer beforehand and now is all “Wheeeee, life is amazing!” She has always seemed very positive and cheerful. This…this is not new.
Chase’s face is sooo cute with that smile!
I know that the smiles right now are typically just gas related, but I can’t wait for the real thing!
This post was incredibly sweet! I’m so happy for your little family. You’re doing a great job!
Natalie @ The Ravenous Mommy says
You guys are doing awesome! Totally right about the epidural… when the pain hits, you don’t even care about the needle anymore, you just want all the pain to disappear. I think when the time came, I was actually excited to get the needle. My husband on the other hand had to leave the room, haha.
Oh man, I was so, so ready for the epidural, too! Waiting for the IV of fluids to drain before I could get it felt like FOR-EV-ERRRR.
What a fun post! Loved hearing more about your experience, and really happy things have gone well for you for the most part. Your baby is beautiful and I’m glad you are enjoying motherhood!
Loved this post and love reading about your new life with a baby! I have more of a pregnancy related question… I know in a previous post you said you had no clue you were pregnant initially until you took a test because you didn’t notice any symptoms/changes. Looking back, was there anything that felt off to you or that you would now say seemed like an early pregnancy sign? I feel like the waiting period between trying and being able to take a test is so hard and your mind goes crazy thinking everything is a symptom!
Aww, great Q&A! I haven’t been around babies much in my life so I’m looking forward to reading your journey with Chase!
LOVING the pictures of Chase! I don’t think you can share too many…. he’s such a handsome little guy… so happy for you!
Thanks for sharing Julie! I must say, that picture of Ryan and Chase is one of my favorites!! I hope you get it framed 🙂 It is so darn sweet. Wishing you guys the best!
It’s the background on my phone. I am way too obsessed with it! 🙂
This post made my day! I love hearing about life with little Chase – my little one is 5 weeks and it’s reassuring to hear that I’m not alone in some of the harder aspects of new mom life (like nights – so tough to stay awake so much in the middle of the night!)
days are nights and nights are days right now! 🙂 i feel for you!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries says
Love reading about your experience a little more. 🙂 I’m so happy to hear things are going well. What a blessing! Chase is just too adorable for words!
Thanks, Ashley! I am still absolutely loving following your pregnancy. 🙂
Thanks for sharing! I can’t get enough of this kind of info right now. Everyone’s experience is different but hearing as many perspectives as I can makes me feel slightly more comforted about the whole birth and first few weeks process. Chase is so so cute and you guys seem to be adjusting just fine to parenthood! 🙂 Love it!
Emily R says
Great post Julie!
I hope Chase is able to take the bottle for you. I started pumping my second day after having my son to help bring in my milk. My son was born at 38 wks via C-Section. I started giving my son the bottle my the second week and my husband was able to give it to my son with no problems. It helped quite immensely as I would sometimes need to top up my son with extra breast milk if he was going thru a growth spurt. My husband from there would do bath and bedtime with the bottle every night. My son is now 2 and he still has the same bedtime routine. It melts my heart to see the bond that my son and husband have. It will never get old ;0)
Sarah @ Sweet Miles says
Oh this made me feel so much better about several things!! I’m getting so so excited about the birth of our little one in Oct! Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge and experience thus far!
I am so looking forward to reading about your experience, too!! You’re getting so close!
My husband used to call me and our new born daughter “team nipple” when we nursed. Always good to have spousal support 🙂
Haha!!! I love that! I’ve actually been calling Ryan and Chase “Team Pickle” LOL 🙂
This brings me back to those first few weeks. So special and yet so so tiring! Breastfeeding is so much harder than labor. It’s like running an ultra marathon, compared to the sprint that was delivery, haha! When he has that first bottle you need to sleep. It’s amazing what more than 4 hours of sleep at a time does for the body. Thanks for being so real!
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am 27 weeks right now and really appreciate hearing about others experiences. I have been looking into delayed cord clamping and was wondering how many minutes the cord clamping was delayed?
Honestly, I’m not sure. Everything was so crazy after Chase was born and placed on my chest that I feel like I have no concept of time. I just know it didn’t happen immediately!
Courtney! @ Redefining Athlete says
Love posts like this! We’re starting to think about trying to start a family, but to be honest I have NO idea what to expect. I would be really interested in a day-in-the-life post to get an idea of what it is like with Chase all day.
I love this post! 🙂 There’s just something about a good Q&A. That picture of your boys is just TOO sweet!
How much time off did Ryan get to take after Chase was born?
Kristen @ Glitter and Dust says
Julie, this post was so helpful! Thank you for answering my question about returning to walking and whether there is much pain. It sounds like getting outside and breathing the fresh air is a really nice break from home. I bet Chase finds it soothing being in the stroller too!
Our little guy is set to arrive any day now! The anticipation and excitement is crazy. I don’t know what to do with myself, haha! Good to know about the epidural… I am deathly afraid of needles, but I’m hoping the pain will trump any worries I have. My friend’s husband fainted when he saw the needle, so if I don’t look I should be fine?
Thank you for opening up and sharing your experiences. It really IS helpful to those who have no idea what to expect. So much of it has to do with your mindset – you have a great one! XO
What a great post! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m so happy for your cute family as you adjust into this new life. This makes me look forward to one day experiencing this with my husband and our families.
Great Post! I just gave birth to my daughter a week and a half ago and it’s nice to read other’s experiences who are going through the same thing. I also could not get over how long it took to go to the bathroom! What a process! Chase is adorable! I’m so jealous you are walking 3 miles a day. Have you walked Sadie and Chase alone yet or is someone else always with you? My husband is going back to work next week and I’m nervous about walking with the stroller and the baby by myself!
Alyssa @ Life of bLyss says
The REAL question is…. have you used all the diapers we decorated at the shower yet? 😉
Because Chase was so small, we had to buy smaller diapers! I’ll definitely use the shower diapers the minute he grows into them!
Let me start by saying I have loved your baby posts since Chase arrived way more than I expected! However, as soon as I opened this I was worried I was going to be bored. Wrong! Loved the info and as an MPH grad who focused all of my internship work on breastfeeding I loved hearing about your experience! P.S. glad to hear its going well- I love moms who stick with it and kick butt! I gotta say though, reading the last section about Ryan helping got me all sorts of choked up. He sounds so great and I’m so happy for you two and your new family!
Well Chace Crawford did love the character palyed by Blake Lively, your twin.
WOULD LOVE FOR YOU to do a post on “what our mothers did differently from us” so we could share our crazy old wives’ tales and how we were raised vs today (and what would get us arrested!)
Great post! I know before I had my kids (2.5 & 14 months) I loved reading other women’s experiences and all of the details people don’t typically tell you (hello mesh undies and giant pads!!).
I had the same issue with feeling loose after delivery and a support belt really helped! A little annoying/uncomfortable with breastfeeding but worth it and it made my hips shrink back to normal size.
Good luck with the pumping/bottle feeding! Don’t give up if he won’t take it at first, just keep trying different nipples until you find one he likes. I also had the most success pumping after the morning feeding.
*look into the book 12 hours sleep by 12 weeks – I swear it really worked! Even if I didn’t follow it exactly – I refuse to wake a sleeping baby!
Im expecting in October, too, so this post was great! We’re also using WombArt for the placenta encapsulation, so I cant wait to hear about your post natal experience with that. The picture of your husband and Chase is just so cute – love reading about your experiences, and cant wait for my own little boy to get here in 6 weeks or so 🙂 All the best!
Molly Rose says
great post Julie!
man, so much to think about when having a baby! <– I feel like that sounds naive, as I'm almost 28 and have quite a few friends with kids and I've heard all their birthing stories BUT there really are so many individual/couple decisions to make, and everyone's is different… I love it. I had never heard of delaying the clamp of the umbilical cord (thanks for sharing!) and I didn't realize ingesting the placenta can be taken in pill form (I can sleep at night now, ha!)
congrats again to you and Ryan… embrace this time!
Kim from MN says
Loved the Q&A post, always so good and informative! I have wondered about all these things and how you’re healing and how Ryan is feeling about being a dad, along with all the rest. So glad to hear the update, and happy you’re doing well. 🙂
I’ve really enjoyed following you along, as my baby was born just two weeks ago. Just curious who recomended clipping the frenulum, was it the pediatrician or lactation consultant? I am experiencing a lot of pain when breast feeding to the point that I started wearing shields. The pediatrician noted that the baby was “mildly” tongue tide but said it shouldn’t affect latching on or speech. He pretty much dismissed it even after I mentioned latching issues. I have an appointment with a lactation consultant next week, so I’m curious if she would agree with the pediatrician.
I have been reading your blog for years and love it!! Although I’m no where near thinking about having children yet, I loved reading this post!! Your family is BEAUTIFUL. Your blog always makes me smile. One of my favorite things about it is your positivity and optimism — so keep it coming! Chase and Ryan are lucky guys to have you!
Thank you for your honesty in your posts, especially about your insecurities in being a first time mom! I just got married last month, but my husband & I are already talking about kids in a few years because we are 29 & 30. I already have so many anxieties about whether or not I will be “good” enough & having never babysat when I was younger, I have had limited exposure to infants especially. It is so good to read that you felt like you knew nothing going into it, but it seems like motherhood DID come naturally! Can’t wait to read more 🙂