Saturday, June 8, 2013

Postpartum Recovery - MUST REMEMBER!

Well, our little man is 18 days old today. The past 3 weeks have been quite hectic for our family and even though we've done A LOT (threw a last minute graduation party at our home, attended 2 graduation ceremonies, completed the nursery, went into labor, had a baby, attended our newborn/family photo shoot, visited both Mommy & Daddy's work with the baby, attended 5 doctor appointments AND cared for a newborn child), we still all sure feel like we haven't accomplished much in the last 3 weeks...we are walking zombies! "Well, what did we expect?!", you ask, "a walk in he park?" No, we expected it to be difficult, but no one and nothing can really prepare you for this change, no matter how many classes you take or what experienced parents tell you - you never really understand until you have gone through it yourself. This post is mostly for my own reference down the road when we decide to have baby #2 (yes, I'm past the point of very seriously never wanting to do THAT again), but if it helps others who decide to read it to better prepare for the postpartum recovery, I am so glad I can help! First, well before delivery, you will want to stock up on the following list - most things will need to be ordered online in advance, so do this early donut all arrives and you can organize it on time:

Americaine Hemorrhoidal Ointment Maximum Strength (soothes the area down under during recovery - and you go through it quickly by just squirting a generous amount on the ice pad before pulling up your undies)
Perineal Instant Ice Pads (HUGE lifesaver! If you only get one thing on this list, it should be this!)
Disposable Mesh Undies (wash them or throw them away...it keeps your regular undies clean and saves on gross laundry to have to do. Also more breathable and not as hot as other undies)
Peri Spray Bottle (only if your hospital doesn't provide one for you - most do)
Clean, soft rags (use these to pat yourself dry, then throw in the laundry - grossness alert! You might want to do this laundry load yourself instead of having a friend or family member help out!)
Ibuprofen (if your doctor can prescribe 600 mg, it s nice!
Prescription Pain Meds (my doc gave me Vicodin - I only took it for about 6 or 7 days, but it really helped!)
Miralax (I had such a hard time going #2 after I delivered - I'm talking 7 days! I was in so much pain because I really had to go and my body was giving all the cues - gas, back aches, cramps, bloaty feeling, the works - but it was so painful to 'push' it out. I kept telling my husband I wanted another epidural just to go to the bathroom! Haha! Then, on the 7th day, I met an angel, well, a nurse really. She suggested miralax and I was willing I try anything at this point! My husband rushed out to Walgreens and picked me up some Miralax powder to dissolve in my lemonade. I took the miralax, laid down for a nap and when I woke up, I pooped! I was so relieved, I started crying and hugging my husband and my in-laws who were visiting!)
Boppy (not really for your recovery, but it is nice for breastfeeding and if you fall asleep in the recliner with the Boppy, it's a little safer than without it)
Lots of pillows of different thicknesses (you thought you needed a lot during pregnancy? We went out and bought more after the first night home - I used 1-2 behind my head/shoulders, one on either side while sleeping on the recliner, one small one behind my lower back and one under my knees, plus my husband needed a couple...)
Thermal Fabric Receiving Blanket (our hospital used these for swaddling and they were huge lifesavers! I have not found anything better to swaddle my baby in - other blankets are just too small, not stretchy enough, not soft enough, but these thermal fabric blankets are just right! Double wrap with one of these and a swaddle wrap (see below) for a good, tight swaddle that Houdini himself couldn't escape!)
SwaddleMe Swaddle Wrap (wrap this over your baby after being swaddled in a thermal blanket for a good, tight swaddle - this was the only way to get our baby to sleep more than an hour!)
Lansinoh Pure Lanolin Nipple Cream (I only used this for the first couple of weeks, then my nipples got used to it and I really didn't use it anymore, but it was nice in the beginning for bloody, sore nipples)
Breast Pads
Nursing Bras (especially the sleep ones!)
Prepared Meals - frozen (either make these in advance yourself or ask friends/family to prepare freezable, homemade meals with instructions so your husband can easily pop them in the oven for quick meals - neither of you will want to cook!)

Photo below by Melissa from Crocodile Smiles Photography!

There may be some minor things I'm forgetting, but these are the main things I remember being must-haves!
Once again, this is mainly for my future reference, but if it helps other soon-to-be moms - great!

Just remember - the first week (maybe 2) is the worst and you regret it all so many times during that time, but the pain and the depression only last a little while (not beyond 2 weeks  - if it does, tell your doctor!) I felt ready to have another baby after the first 2 weeks were over, so I promise it gets better! And in a few weeks, you'll miss this time! Hard to believe now, but it's true! :)Crocodile Smiles Photography