It’s so exciting! Your long awaited baby is almost here - the most anticipated, thrilling event of your life! Who would’ve thought that carrying a baby was so much work, and well, such a long waiting game? But the wait was half the fun wasn’t it? And now it’s time. Time to recheck the hospital bag you packed a few weeks ago and sit tight in anticipation of those first contractions.
So have you got it all sorted out? Do you know exactly when you should head to the hospital after the first sign of labor appears - the first evidence that your journey as a mom is about to begin? Of course, everyone is different and no two labors are the same; It goes without saying then, that the steps to labor will vary for everyone, too. For a fact, labor signs are kind of vague at first, and knowing when to leave for the hospital can be a conundrum for us moms-to-be.
Without a textbook scenario to follow, making the decision to leave for the hospital can be tough. But you know your body - even if you are not sure , if you feel the need to get in the car, don’t second guess yourself. Once you are there, you will find that a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You are in good hands and I think, there is a sense of relief. After all, these pros deal with deliveries every day.
If you have chosen a hospital delivery as your place to bring your precious bundle into this great big world, then we have 7 ways to help you cope with your hospital stay. After all, delivering a baby is a pretty miraculous event - and we know you want to do everything just right. So let’s start with getting admitted into the birthing ward and go from there. It’s all about you, here. And your comfort, and baby and daddy too. Read on to find out how to make the most of your stay (even though it may be pretty short).
7 Breeze Through Your Admittance Procedure
Well first off, I personally felt it was a bonus to my peace of mind to have gone through a quick hospital tour before my big day arrived. You know, where to park the car and which door to go in, and all of that?
Chances are this delivery odyssey may begin in the middle of the night, and you don’t want to be trying to figure out which door to go in at the hospital, that is for sure. Some hospitals offer a virtual tour on their website making it super easy to check things out beforehand.
Get to Know the Hospital Where You're Giving Birth
Once you have arrived at the hospital, there are a few steps that will need to take place. I think I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest doing a pre-registration visit during the hospital tour if possible. It’s always a cool thing to get to the hospital on birthing day - or night - and have some of the admission information already in the hospital computer system. Just in case you are in a bit of a rush, if you get the picture!
There definitely is a fair amount of paperwork to fill out, so if you have a head start on it then your admission procedure should go off without a hitch. Be sure to have your own birth certificate with you and any insurance documentation necessary for your hospital stay.
6 Be in Charge
Once you have been admitted to the birthing ward, without a doubt you will be ready to get things rolling. What can you expect from the nurses as you are getting set up in the delivery room?
First off, I would present my birthing plan to the nurse in charge. Do you want an epidural? Can any medical students be present during the birth? We all know that birthing plans do not always go as you may wish, but hey, there is nothing wrong with putting your thoughts and needs down on paper so the nurses know exactly what you have in mind. It is your baby’s birth after all, so you have every right to give some direction to the care team.
The nurse, after all will be a crucial part of the delivery team. She is your right hand man, right after your husband of course, and will be assisting in this most important event, coaching you to go places you have never been. Rely on her knowledge - to a certain extent, since you do know your body best.
Make the Attending Nurse Your Friend
But remember she does this on a daily basis and will have some pretty great advice to give. Your nurse will start off your journey in the delivery room by taking your pulse, blood pressure, and breathing rate, as well as ask you for information such as your due date, contraction timing and pain level. Baby’s heart rate and your dilation will be monitored at regular intervals, too.
You may find it hard to cope with the poking and prodding and barrage of questions if your pain level is getting intense, but remember your nurse is there to work with you and for you.
5 The First Hour After Your Baby Is Born
Talk about a whirlwind! You have had your baby, she is finally here, and in a flash you are whisked off to your recovery room, the room where you will spend the next day or two or perhaps the next few days, depending on your delivery and if there were complications. Also in the mix is the health of your baby at time of delivery and the hours following birth.
You know - this statement basically gives you the heads up thatin the first hour and the subsequent stretch after the miraculous event you will be interrupted continuously by the follow up team, which of course is a very important part of your postpartum recovery.
Your little sweetheart will be weighed and measured again, her heart and lungs will be checked and at some point she will have blood drawn from her heel for routine screening tests such as phenylketonuria.
Be Prepared for More Prodding
The follow nurses won’t forget about mom’s care either. Nurses will take a look see at your episiotomy, and medication delivered. Your abdomen will be massaged to insure that the shrinkage of the uterus is taking place.
All of these tests may seem a bit of a pain when you and babe just want to sleep, but now that you are aware that these interruptions are inevitable and necessary, you will cope better with the constant interruption. Take note, it will pass, and you will get the much needed time that you are so looking forward to, the skin to skin bonding that you are craving. No doubt about it, it won’t be too long until you can enjoy a bit of shut eye with your babe on your chest, while dad snoozes in the corner. After all, this wonderful, whirlwind event has been tiring for daddy, too.
4 Accept the Breastfeeding Bombardment
To be perfectly honest, I think the part of my hospital stay that I found the hardest to cope with was the constant - and I seriously mean constant - bombardment of breastfeeding advice and pressure to get started right away.
The follow up nurse kept coming in to the room and literally forcing babe to breast. I kind of felt like hey, I just had a baby here and I need some alone time. I need rest and quiet and just a few moments relish what I had been through. Not happening in my hospital room - but I realize now that the importance of my munchkin latching on properly was the key to breastfeeding success for both me and my sweet babe.
These pros deal with breastfeeding moms everyday. But sometimes I felt like I was no more than a breastfeeding machine that they had to get running to max capacity. How’s the latch? How much did he eat? How is the colostrum? Make sure you are feeding your son eight to twelve times in the first 24 hours.
Get Ready to Feel Like a Travelling Cafeteria
So you see, it may seem like a lot of interruption and intrusion, and for a fact, your baby may not feel like eating just yet which can double the frustration that you are feeling.
But tell yourself what I told myself: millions of women have gotten the hang of this breastfeeding thing, and you will, too.
3 You'll Never Sleep Well Again
As moms-to-be, we’ve all been preparing for this most wonderful stage of our lives, where a full night’s sleep becomes just a memory.
And it all starts in the hospital. Your baby may be wanting lot’s of rest after her birthing ordeal, and that’s great. But sleep for mom is just a fantasy at this point. You will be facing constant disruption of shut - eye, from nurses who will want to wake you for one of those nursing sessions every couple of hours or so.
On the other hand, if you are first time mom, having the nurse swing by your room can give you a sense of calm and you can ask all of the questions you may need to.
The Hospital Isn't Like a Hotel
And baby needs to be weighed and measured again, and have blood tests such as bilirubin, to be sure jaundice is not an issue.
Hospital wards are not the easiest places to sleep either, since you can hear other happy moms with crying babies, and people talking at all hours of the night - not to mention the lights from the hallway shining in your eyes.
If you have insurance which will cover the expense of a private room, this is a great option to ensure you get forty more winks than you would have otherwise. At least while in the hospital, you are free to sleep day or night and don’t have the duties of home on your shoulders. Enjoy the few extra z’s you may get.
2 You Will Need Some Help
We love our independence, too though and may find it bothersome to have so many interruptions and to be given perpetual advice, no matter how good it is or how much we may really need it. However, at times during your hospital stay, you really should take advantage of the presence of the pros.
They are used to looking out for the needs of us newbies, or even experienced moms who really shouldn’t try doing everything themselves, due to exhaustion or injury.
For example, a lot of us experience some pretty heavy duty shaking after the birth and believe me, if dad happens to be down at the coffee shop and you are alone with your wee one when an episode of shaking occurs, you may find it hard to cope for a bit.
Relax, You Just Had a Baby
This is all a result of hormones reacting after the stress of the birth. Don’t worry - it doesn’t last too long but take some assistance from your nurse. She has seen it all before.
If you feel as though you may want to go for a short walk, push your baby in his bassinet; don’t attempt to carry him.
If your significant other has gone home to look after the rest of the family, and you really need a shower, do not attempt this alone. Fainting after birth is a common reality due to the loss of blood during delivery. Make sure someone is nearby as you shower - play it safe. And of course, if you are in the shower you should have the nurse take your baby to the nursery. Don’t leave him unattended, not even for a few minutes.
1 You Can Kick Your Visitors Out
It’s a given that all of your friends, and of course the extended family will want to rush to the hospital as soon news breaks that your wee one has arrived, to shower you with balloons and best wishes.
While this is thoughtful and all that, you may find that your hospital room becomes a circus and not a safe haven like it should to be.
Put hubby in charge from the start, have him explain what everyone should know - you need rest and quiet while you have the chance. Limit visits from family and friends to 5 minutes. To be honest here, you may get visits from long lost aunts and cousins who really could wait until baby has been home a few weeks before demanding an introduction.
The Hospital Might Be the Only Time You Find Rest
Truthfully though, I know just how you feel. You’ve been waiting for this precious babe for nine months now and just want some one on one, skin to skin snuggle time. No need for sharing and passing around. A few pics on Instagram will do for now.
And how can you get the breastfeeding going with a steady stream of visitors?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with turning your cell phone off so you can’t be reached. After all, no one would just barge in without calling first would they?
To put another spin on it though, to accept visitors while at the hospital, when you feel perfectly fine limiting stays to five minutes, may be preferable over having company at home day after day, with no polite way to give them an order to leave so you can rest, breastfeed or just enjoy baby and hubby on your own.
The Drive Home Will Be the Longest of Your Life
Congratulations! You have delivered a beautiful bundle of joy and are now ready to leave the hospital. Just fill out the birth certificate and you are on your way. Like me, you may have mixed emotions about leaving the safety of the hospital and taking your wee one out into the great big world. Maybe having the constant care and overseeing of the knowledgeable nurses was not too much to cope with after all.
I remember putting my little one in her car seat for the first time and as my husband drive home, I turned to look at her every few seconds until we pulled in the driveway. But once in the safe haven of our home, the next stage began - and there was no looking back - just a joyful journey forward.