Postpartum Survival Checklist

Things you ACTUALLY need when preparing for baby:

Eff the onesies and the cute hooded towels… okay, they’re real cute and you will need them too- but this list is born of my experience in the last two weeks as a vaginal-birthing, milk-producing, first-time Mama. 

This is my Holy Grail of what I actually needed- what I texted my people to bring- and what I would never Not have on hand were I crazy enough to do this birthing thing again.

Without further ado- the list of things you Actually Need for postpartum:

– Two hospital-issue peri bottles. (One that stays in your main bathroom, one that goes in your diaper bag for when you dare to leave the house.)

– Four 4 kg containers of Epsom salts (Walmart, Costco, Shopper’s). (Your vagina will hurt. Your bum bum will hurt. If you’re like me with nerve pain and a giant episiotomy- Everything will hurt. You will want to Live in an Epsom salt bath. Don’t be a me, either. You aren’t sprinkling fairy dust in those 4-5 inches of water. TWO CUPS of Epsom salts in each bath. That’s what you need. It’s A Godsend.)

– Kotex brand pads; three different sizes. (One super thick pad (12 or so) for the first 3 days postpartum. One medium thick pad (20 or so) for to make frozen padsicles with. One thinner pad you’ll actually enjoy using when you get out of the hospital (40 of those). I tried other brands but I have sensitive skin and Kotex is the most friendly for angry beavers.)

– ‘Carefree’ thong panty liners (You’ll love these for past-day-10 when you’re not fully back to normal but you don’t want to ruin all your nice skivvies)

– Costco sized Advil/ibuprofen (2-4 of those every 4 hours for the first 10 days; even when you feel fine. Skip a dose and you won’t feel fine the next 8 hours. Keep a stash of these in a salad dressing container in your diaper bag too)

– Costco sized Tylenol (I only needed Tylenol for the first 4 days. But it’s good to have around the house anyhow.)

– Vitamin Water (When you start producing milk, you’ll be thirsty as all hell. Might as well get some vitamins and a few calories out of it while you’re at it.)

– Boost/Ensure/equivalent protein drinks (I woke up Raging Hungry every morning at 4- 4:30 am. Two of those mornings I made myself a full eggs and bacon meal at 4 am… ain’t nobody got time for that. Vanilla Boost or Ensures in your fridge will hold you over until it’s real wake up time.) (P.S. ‘Real wake up time’ is a thing. Your child’s feeding schedule will have you awake and dinking around on your phone and trying to make meals at 3:30 am because they’re awake so now you’re awake. Do not fall into the ‘fake wake up time’ trap and try to start being human at 3:30 am. Feed the child. Go back to bed. You can start being human in a few more hours, when it’s ‘real wake up time’.)

– Protein bars (Ever tried making a full eggs and bacon meal for yourself while simultaneously feeding a newborn? It doesn’t happen. Smash a protein bar instead, for those first few weeks.)

– Lindt milk chocolate and dark chocolate (Think of whatever food you crave when you’re pissy and get your period real bad. That’s what you’re going to want in postpartum too. Mine was and is Lindt milk chocolate. You wanna see my newborn? It’ll cost you at Least one Lindt chocolate item as an entry fee.)

– La Senza 100% cotton full bum/boy short underwear; at Least 7 pairs (You a thong-wearer now? Think anal dental floss is cute and fashionable? Vaginal birth will take care of that for you. Nobody wants floss in there postpartum. Want soft pink, floral granny pannies to make yourself feel better about your sudden loser leap to Unsexy town?! Well they’re gonna get covered in blood, and bloody flowers aren’t pretty either. So- black. 100% cotton, black, seamless as possible.)

– 3 pairs of your hubby/partner’s favourite boxers. (Try them on before birth when you’re nice and fat. Find the three pairs you like the most. They’re Yours know. They go in your underwear drawer. Tell hubby he can get them back in about three months time.)

– 5 100% cotton ridiculously soft black tank tops. (Your new ‘home outfit’ of choice will be full bum black undies or your hubby’s boxers and a black tank top, no bra. Bra if your milk has come in. You’ll want a tank top; wrestling a tit out for chest to chest or nursing when you’re wearing a t shirt is an unnecessary sport. Tank tops. Stretchy.)

– 2 housecoats; one remotely appealing, one Disgusting. (When people come to visit- the black, potentially-good-looking one goes on. When they leave- the Costco-issue, dusty rose, crushed velvet housecoat goes back on.)

– Gravol for a sleeping aid. (Got someone to do the night feeds? Need to turn your brain off? Gravol. Boom.)

– Sudafed, Vitamin B6, Earth Mama’s No More Milk Tea, Lansinoh ice boobs and two heads of green cabbage (For drying up milk/weaning)

– At least 10 super soft and big receiving blankets, and 10 burp cloths (Your baby and you will likely be naked a lot in those first couple days. Naked is Awesome- naked and covered in your baby’s regurg is Not.)

– A full fridge of Fresh food (Maybe you’re smart. Maybe you prepped a bunch of freezer food and stocked up on carbs and pantry foods beforehand. Good for you. But if you’re anything like me- you’ll have done all that food prep pre-birth. Then birthed the glorious baby. Then came home and craved Nothing but bananas, full fat yogurt, and fresh fruit. Trust me- roaming the aisles of walmart with a fresh vagina wound cuz you can’t stop craving fresh fruit is not fun. Have that shit on hand. Or beg people to bring it to you. Entrance fee to your home = one bunch of bananas. A bag of fresh green grapes. Etc.)

I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting- but that is my immediate list of things I could Not have lived without for the first 15 days of postpartum. 

If you’re 36 weeks or more pregnant- go get All these things. You can thank me later.

If you have a friend or family member who’s third trimester pregnant- go buy some or all of these things for her. She can thank me later. :)-

Xo, Em

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taint for the Faint of Heart: Sadie’s Birth Story

April 13, 2019

YOU WERE BORN TODAY!!!

We came into the hospital at 7:20 pm on your due date of Friday, April 12th.

We had my waters broken at 10:20, went into contractions reallllly frickin quick from there, got on the Oxytocin drip and went from 0-100 Reallly fast- contractions coming stacked right on top of each other like pain pancakes.

Daddy was a Hero during this phase- I was pretty awesome too.

Then I got my epidural around midnight and told Daddy to go to bed.

He slept in a big black comfy lazy boy chair from midnight-4:30 and you and I chugged through the night like a little train, just pulling each other along.

It took me from 12:00 am to 2:00 am to get from 3 cm to 4 cm, and then from 2:00 am to 4:30 am to leap straight from 4 cm to 10 cm fully dilated.

The resident OB came in at 4:30 am to check your position cuz you had a little dip in heartbeat and he announced:

“We are Fully Dilated!!!” in a really shocked voice and the whole room flew into cheers and celebration!!

Our nurse Justy was with us for the whole ride, and by 5:00 am she had us leaping into all sorts of different positions trying to push you out of there.

Baby Girl- you were a Ton of Work to get out- but in a room Full of people telling me what to do, I zeroed on in just your Daddy’s strong, clear voice reminding me what to do, and man did the three of us ever work together in perfect harmony to get you out.

My first 30 minutes of pushing were Hilarious- I looked like a Complete idiot and nearly burst every blood vessel in my head- I think I was trying to somehow push you out of my eyeballs? Maybe my ears?

Daddy corrected me, and the second half hour that I pushed you I got the hang of what I was doing, but you had your long body all tilted to the side, so all my awesome pushing just resulted in my mashing your sweet little skull plates into my pelvic bones for 30 minutes- sorry about the big ole bruise on your noggin from that!!

At 6:00 am, after an hour of pushing, the resident OB and Dr.Henning came in and both took turns getting your body turned to come straight down, and then I realllllly got to work pushing like an Olympian Gold Medal Powerlifter- there are pictures- I look like a lady on a mission and No One could break my stride.

I found lung capacities I didn’t know I had- strength and clarity of purpose I didn’t know existed until then- and I breathed you out in sets of 4 pushes, 10 seconds long each, every two minutes.

Around 6:30 am, they had to tell me to ease back on my power pushing, as I was about to blow you right through my entire vagina to anus section.

Sure glad they didn’t let me do that!!!

I rested out a few sets of contractions, stopped pushing, let us both relax for 15 minutes, and then started again.

Instead of tucking your chin in to your chest, you were trying to come out with your little face staring straight ahead out of my vagina, so they had to use the forceps to try and get your head tucked in a little better.

As soon as they said the forceps had corrected your little noggin and I could push again, I pushed with every last shred of determination that I had in me, and at 7:29 am, after two hours and 15 minutes of pushing, your head popped into this side of the world and you were staring Straight into your Daddy’s Soul.

He looked down at you, you opened your big black eyes and looked Right into his heart, blinked, and then let the rest of your body slide out.

Your Daddy lost Every Shred of composure at that point.

He said he had been holding tears back since 2:00 am, and when you blinked at him, the floodgates just poured right open.

I was smiling and laughing and crying tears of joy and your Daddy was weeping like a man who had just discovered he in fact had no bones, and was now the most Vulnerable person on the face of this earth.

Daddy looked at me and said Oh My Lord I am going to feel this way about her for the next 20 years.

He couldn’t get a word out without bursting into tears.

It was amazing to watch him become your Dad.

I’ve never loved a person so much in my life.

Then you and your Daddy went off to NICU together to figure out your bowels, which is a story for another day, but it’s 11:20 pm on the day of your birth, and I wanted to tell you how it all went down while it’s still so fresh in my mind.

We did it all together my little love, and we did a Great job.

You are here; you are ours, to have and to hold. To nurture and protect for the rest of our lives and our journey as a family has begun.

We love you so much,

Mommy and Daddy.

P.S. You are 7 pounds and 14 ounces. Just a squeak shy of an 8-pounder. You are 59 cm long, which works out to 20 inches. You’re the biggest baby by far in NICU right now and the nurses love you cuz they don’t get to see big babies like you that often.