Hey Mommas! Our Lily girl will be SEVEN MONTHS old one week from today (I cannot believe how time literally flew by). In honor of this date coming up, I have partnered up with another amazing mommy to do another Q&A Session on preparing for birth and also some postpartum topics as well. Going into having a baby, I feel like there are so many books and videos to watch, but actually being in labor is so different from reading about it. I think one of the best things you can do is have a great birth team for support and just say your prayers and take deep breaths.
1. How did you prepare for birth physically?
Lauren: I knew from the very beginning that I wanted a natural, un-medicated birth if possible. We met with a Doula, and she mentioned that she also taught The Bradley Method class. This is a 12 week class on natural child-birth, so my husband took this class. Physically, I tried to walk every day until I got so huge I felt I couldn’t possibly anymore. I have a heart condition and because of this the cardiologist limited my cardio to about 30 minutes a day, so I had to follow that plan. The Bradley Method gives you lots of exercises to do, so I also did a lot of squatting, pelvic rocks, kegel exercises and different things like that to prepare.
Inna: Being a first-time mom, I really didn’t know what to expect. Even though I heard many stories and accepted a lot of advice, it really didn’t really change the feeling of the “unknown”. Although, I knew I wanted a natural birth. I didn’t eat dates or bounce on a yoga ball, I simply continued to stay active, and patiently awaited the baby. A woman’s body is made for this process, so Iet it work at its own pace. I did end up having a c-section because of a sudden medical concern, but during the last stages of my pregnancy, I felt my body changing to prepare for the baby.
2. What did you pack in your hospital bag and what did you actually use?
Lauren: For labor I packed: A little hand massager, a kneeling pad, rice bags to microwave, bobby pins, snacks and orange juice. Out of those items, I only used the snacks and rice bags (my doula had a lot of great items). As for the snacks, those are not a good idea to eat while in labor. For recovery, I packed a few pairs of comfy yoga pants, nursing bra and some tops, depends (yes, I know), and just my toiletries. To be honest I had a rough recovery with a tear and some bladder issues, and I didn’t wear the cute clothes I originally thought I would. Make sure you definitely bring your favorite toiletries because the shower after having a baby is probably the best shower you will ever have in your life.
Inna: I had an unexpected rush to the hospital and had to be induced, so thankfully I packed my hospital bag a month prior to my due date… which I would highly advise! I packed 4 newborn outfits (we actually went through them all), birthing/dress robe, 2 sets of clothes, husbands clothes, toiletries, flip flops (for the showers), protein bars, camera, and phone charger. I was so happy that I brought a birthing/dress robe because it was great for nursing, pictures, and easy to throw on for when we had visitors. You can find the robe here.
3. What was your first month of mommyhood like?
Lauren: Scary and very tiring. I pictured something totally different from what actually happened. We didn’t get much sleep, and since we do not live by family some days were honestly a huge struggle. With my postpartum I really struggled to take care of myself and I was unable to put Lily girl down with my anxiety. Looking back now, I giggle because it goes so fast, and it gets so much better.
Inna: It was life changing…but in a good way. I can thankfully say it was a very natural process because I believe it’s part of Gods design for women to nurture and raise children. Of course, there were (and still are) moments of anxiety and many sleepless nights, but the joy of having a child is unexplainable, and you’d be surprised how normal you can function on very little sleep. I didn’t have much help because we live far from our families, but having a supportive husband, and friends to help out with meals are a big help.
4. What is some advice you would like to give to an expectant mommy that you wish someone had told you
Lauren: Take deep breaths and breathe. Just know that you went through a HUGE life change. You brought a human into this world and life is a little bit different now, but you will adjust and adapt. Everyone handles this change differently and that is okay. Make sure you find your mom tribe for support. Lastly, accept help. Do not try to be every single thing for this baby. Accept help from others and take a break and give time to yourself to recharge.
Inna: Enjoy every moment. As hard as it is to do that- especially at the 3 am wake up call, you can still cherish every moment. Your baby is so dependent on you, so respond to his/her needs with joy and compassion knowing that you’re his/her total life support. I told myself that I would choose to be joyful even through all the fatigue, and it really helps me get through each day. And instead of always waiting for the next stage, enjoy each stage with all that it comes with…because you will never have that moment again.
5. What is your favorite clothing item/items since becoming a mom?
Lauren: Oh wow. I always used to chuckle at the moms who were always in those comfortable clothes. Now I totally get it. I am pretty much always in comfortable pants and t-shirts or nursing tops. I can admit I am not the mom who always looks picture perfect with their hair done and makeup on. I am more of a get fancied up once a week for church kind of mom, on the occasion that we get to make it to church… that we are getting better at!
Inna: I never fashioned the sporty look, and much hasn’t changed now, postpartum. I haven’t bought too many nursing clothes, instead I just wear nursing-friendly clothes which are mainly dresses. It makes me feel feminine, especially when I don’t feel like it most days. I think it’s important to stay comfortable and feel yourself.
6. How do you prepare for a c-section?
Lauren: Honestly, I did not. I wish I had done a little more research on this. We went over it a little bit in our Bradley Method class.. but I had deeply hoped for a natural birth so I sort of put the idea out of my mind because quite honestly it scared me. I am bad with surgeries and things so I just decided to ignore the possibility. I figured that if we ended up going that route, at that point there was no option and we would just go ahead and do it and trust the process.
Inna: Honestly, I don’t think you can. A c-section is not usually a desired outcome and most pregnant women expect a natural birth. I was the same… having a c-section never crossed my mind, until there was no way my baby was coming out without it. It was tough, really scary, but somehow you overcome! Looking back now, I wish I would have familiarized myself with c-section births and the recovery. You can definitely plan for that. C-sections usually have a 6-week recovery time, which is a much longer recovery time than a natural birth, so having extra help would be a great idea.
7. What was your hospital experience like?
Lauren: We had the most amazing experience. We got to birth in an amazing natural birth suite so it felt just a little more like home rather than a hospital bed. We had the most amazing doctor who was on board with our plans the entire journey. I could not have asked for better staff that day, as our delivery nurse had 2 home births all natural so she was an amazing support. Believe it or not, the food was actually really great, and every person we came in contact after the birth was incredible and kind. I would recommend our hospital and our doctor to anyone who asks.
Inna: I actually had a wonderful experience! The staff were extremely friendly, the facilities were clean and my husband was able to sleep on the couch right next to me for the whole 6 days of our stay! Packing a hospital bag is essential (as you have read in the previous answer). You don’t want to have your husband run back and forth because he may miss your labour…or birth! Ask your doctor if you can take a tour of the hospital, and find out the nearest parking lot to where you will be staying. You never know what will happen, so it’s always best to be prepared. Also, bringing cash for vending machines is a good idea if you’re staying overnight and want something to munch on, you will get hungry!
8. What are the pros/cons of being induced?
Lauren: I was not induced… again this was another scary thing for me that I tried to put out of my head.
Inna: In my personal experience, the cons of being induced are most times there is a greater risk of having a c-section outcome. Because this process isn’t completely natural, your body will respond to it differently, and not allowing the body to deliver in its normal tendency. However, a big pro of being induced is that it may be the best thing for you and your baby- in most cases, it saves lives, and has made tremendous medical breakthroughs! I was induced because of decreased fetal movement, and in that case, the safety of my baby was compromised, so being induced ensured that it was the best outcome for my baby’s safety.
9. How do you maintain your breast milk flow?
Lauren: I actually have been one of the incredibly blessed mammas who has had over-supply, which can sometimes cause problems of its own. I don’t ever really pump because I stay home with Lily, and because of that I do not really respond to a pump anymore… this is something I will do differently next time. I will want to keep up with pumping here and there to get baby more used to a bottle. I also love to make lactation cookies as well as eat lots of healthy foods that help promote milk production, oats being a favorite! Mainly, I feed Lily when she is hungry, (on demand feeding) and my body does what it needs to for her. It really is an incredible science. I do like to drink these packets from time to time as well.
Inna: This is very personal to each woman because not all women are able to breastfeed, may have a low supply or return to work early. But as for me, I simply feed my baby on demand. Meaning, I feed her whenever she is hungry. I don’t need to pump, or maintain a schedule, I just feed on demand. And I have an abundant milk supply. This may not be the standard, but it works for me. I never experienced engorgement, soreness, and rarely leak because of the frequency of my feedings. It’s very convenient, and the bond between you and your baby will only grow stronger.
10. What did you expect before delivery? Did it go as planned?
Lauren: I just really expected a lot of pain, but who doesn’t? That is all people really told me was how much it hurts. I felt really informed since taking our Bradley class, so I wasn’t really very nervous. Looking back, the room felt quite peaceful even in the chaos. It did go as planned, we had our natural birth like we wanted and we were so blessed to have a healthy mom and healthy baby.
Inna: I always imagined my labor experience as seen in the movies; water breaking, a sudden rush to the hospital, and pop comes the baby…but boy was I wrong. Instead, I was induced, had an emergency c-section, and my baby entered this world 10 days early (read my birth story here). But looking back now, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Life never seems to go as planned and everything does happen for a reason. Being prepared with the baby essentials, and the hospital/diaper bag is the best way you can ease your mind before the baby comes. Labor/delivery may not have gone as planned or expected for me, but I thank the Lord for his provision in protecting me and my baby. The moment I saw her made it all worth it, and I’m sure every mom can relate.
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“Wifey to one, homemaker, mama, fashion passion, coffee lover, curious traveller, amateur cook/baker, and striving to live a life that glorifies my Saviour!”