A little over a week ago I had my second baby, my first totally natural birth (to a 9-pounder, no less). It has been a beautiful experience. I am about 1,000 times less stressed this time around than I was with my first. So in celebration of this beautiful new baby, I thought I'd throw together a list of the things that have helped me the most throughout my pregnancy, labor & delivery, and recovery with a newborn.
I hope you enjoy (and that you'll add your own tips in the comments section)! By the way, if you haven't already liked our Facebook Page, please do so now!
|My new little sweetie @ 5 days old. As you can imagine, I am completely smitten|
1. The Waiting GameI know due dates are
just a guideline. But there's something so demoralizing about watching that day come and go, especially when the skin on your stomach is down to one layer in places and rips every time you turn or bend. Yeah, I was ready for this little guy to come.
|Me @ 38 Weeks|
2. Bradley method--Husband Coached Childbirth ($15 from Amazon)this quick reference guide for my husband to review while I was in labor). I didn't take the Bradley classes, but I took another labor class that had a natural birth emphasis. Long story short, although pushing was horrible (my son was born posterior), it was only twenty minutes (I pushed 3.5 hours with my first) and everything else was awesome. Immediate bonding, great nursing, and an amazing recovery. I'm not against epidurals, but the Bradley Method worked for me.
p.s. I also used some breathing techniques from Hypnobirthing. I found the "breathe in slowly to the count of 20, breathe out slowly to the count of 20" to be especially helpful.
3. Read Birth Stories (Free) - http://
addition to The Bradley Method, reading and hearing other
people's birth stories was the most helpful thing I did to prepare for childbirth. On this site, you can search birth stories by type (home, hospital,
particular methods--Bradley, hypnobirthig, etc.). I wasn't about to have
a home birth, so I read all the hospital births instead. I played
sports in high school and was a big fan of mental preparation. Reading
birth stories was my mental preparation so when Game Time rolled
around (and I was really in labor), I'd be ready.
-------LABOR AND DELIVERY-------
4. "Full Term" App (Free) - For Timing ContrationsThis is the app I used to time contractions. I love how it shows the length of the last contraction and the averages for both the last hour and the last six hours. Although I hate timing contractions (I'd rather just breathe through them), I see it as my tool to get the labor and delivery staff to believe I need to be admitted.
5. Take NotesHuge fan of note taking. And now with smart phones, it's so much easier. No pen required and you can do it one handed.
Labor & Delivery - When I wrote up the birth story for my first son, I had a hard time recounting all the details. So this time I took a few brief notes in between contractions with the time and description of what was going on. My husband took over once I was in transition. It may seem silly but it's fun to have it all documented and it makes writing up the narrative so much easier.
Questions for Doctor - Anyone who is able to remember all their questions with little to no sleep, hats off to you. I like to jot down my questions as I think of them and pull out the list when I go to appointments. And there's something about writing things down that helps take that worry off my mind.
6. Bring Earplugs to the Hospital ($2 from Amazon)When I had my first, I didn't sleep a wink in the hospital. Not a great way to start a postpartum recovery. A month or so ago, my sister-in-law mentioned bringing earplugs to the hospital. Brilliant. I prefer the Hearos or something similar (cheap and effective). They take some getting used to (I got used to them back when I was studying for and taking the CPA exam), but once you're comfortable with them, they're lifesavers. They were especially necessary this time around, as our mother/baby room was right next to a set of large doors that opened and closed constantly. My husband was staying in the hospital room with me, so whenever I really needed to rest, I'd ask him to wake me if the baby needed me, put in my earplugs and didn't wake up until the nurses came over and physically shook me awake. Yay for sleep!
7. "Nursing Timer" App (Free)There are probably a million nursing apps out there, but "Nursing Timer" by Creaplay is great and it's (currently) free. It takes a bit to figure out how to use it, but once you do, it's simple and takes all of ten extra seconds per feeding session. If you ever mess something up, it's easy to manually edit. Eventually, I won't need this, but it's great for when they're little and you need to know how long it's been since their last feeding.
8. Swaddle Wraps (Sleep Sack Swaddle - $17 from Amazon, Summer Infant Kiddopotomus SwaddleMe - $10 from Amazon)
|Sleep Sack Swaddle|
|Summer Infant Kiddopotomus SwaddleMe|
9. Do Not Disturb Mode
|Smiley at 3 Days Old|