I’m now 6 months postpartum with my third baby, and man, has this been a journey! Not just this round of postpartum, but the entire motherhood ride. There are so many things I have learned and experienced, and obviously I wish I’d known it all from the start– but isn’t that the nature of hindsight? My two previous births prepared me for this one like no other could, but the care of compassionate midwives and other birth workers played a pivotal role as well. There were things I was told and taught this last go around that no one had ever mentioned before in my pre- or postnatal care, and it was humbling to still have so many things to learn. It had me thanking the good Lord for directing me towards switching to the birth center so late in pregnancy. After all, it was at a 31 week check-up with a midwife at an OB’s office that the idea was planted to look into the birth center. She knew I wanted another unmedicated, no intervention birth, and she had delivered her own baby 9 months before at the birth center. Hey, if it’s good enough care for a professional nurse midwife, it’s certainly good enough for me! It helped that she mentioned it being a great cost-saving measure. I was pretty annoyed after delivering Tucker at the hospital without so much as an IV and still being out $1600. The birth center ended up being about a third of that cost, and it was upfront and itemized beforehand. I knew exactly what I was paying for, and I so appreciated that aspect of care. I even got a check for overpayment afterwards 🙂
Enough build up– here’s a few of the nuggets of wisdom I grabbed this time.
Recovery is not nearly as quick as most expect. Ok, I realize this seems like a big DUH, but let me elaborate. The midwives were all adamant that a new mother stay IN BED for TWO WEEKS after delivery (and another 2 weeks after that not leaving home). I took Tucker for a walk in the double stroller at a week old. I carried him in his carseat the day after I delivered him. I picked up 2 year old Rhett within a day or two, as well. With Blakely, they didn’t even want me driving myself to my 3 day or 2 week checkup! Now, that may not be entirely practical, but if you have the support for someone else to drive you around after delivery, let them. My mom drove me and carried Blakely in the carseat for the first week, and I was very careful about only picking her up and nothing heavier for a while.
Keeps your legs closed. Ok really, this one caught me totally by surprise. I’m someone who 100% of the time sits cross-legged or with one leg propped up. I don’t know why I’m like that, but I’m always sprawled. As soon as I’d had Blake and gotten out of the tub (with lots of steadying hands around me), I was guided to a bed to recover for a couple hours before we headed home. I started to lift one leg to climb up on the bed, and the doula stopped me. She demonstrated how I should get up there with my legs together and continued to remind me throughout the next few hours. I didn’t have stitches this time around, but I can guarantee if I’d been mindful of this after Tucker’s delivery where my stitches hurt horribly for a full 2 weeks, it would have made a huge difference. I recovered so much quicker superficially this time, and I swear that had a lot to do with it. And the fact that no nurse or OB had ever suggested that to me amazed me!
Collagen is beneficial not only for healing but also prolapse. The physical therapist taught me this one! When I went to PT around 5 weeks postpartum, the therapist asked me about taking collagen. I told her I did, but I wasn’t religious about it every day. She encouraged me to get at least 10-20 grams of a high quality supplement every single that because she had personally seen patients improve their prolapse symptoms with collagen. Collagen is a vital component of connective tissue, so it makes sense that it would be beneficial in wound healing after birth as well as strengthening the tissues that are taxed during pregnancy and delivery.
Caught red-handed sitting cross legged the day after T-money was born
That’s only 3 things, but I can’t say enough good things about Blakely’s birth. So many factors made it an incredible experience, but I’m especially grateful for the birth center. Masks were a factor in all of my appointments, but no one wore one at my birth. I didn’t ask about it ahead of time because I felt in the moment, it was one of those I’d rather ask for forgiveness than permission. Of course, if they had required me to, I would have complied, but they actually just followed our lead and comfort level. To me, that’s the beauty of a birth center– they’re so patient-focused that they’re much more comfortable watching and waiting. If I had been in the hospital, I’m convinced labor and delivery would not have been nearly as smooth and quick as it ended up being, and if you have the option to consider an out-of-hospital delivery, I’d give you a huge CHECK IT OUT! Labor is one of the most important times in your life for you to feel truly relaxed so your oxytocin can flow unchecked by stressors, so it makes sense to choose whatever option offers you the most comforts. For us, that was the happy medium between hospital birth and home birth. I’d do it 10 more times if Marcus would let me 🙂