Below are some of the questions that others have asked in regards to labor / delivery / newborn life! I love reading these types of posts from new mamas so I thought I’d share my answers! Click here to read Fletcher’s birth story if you’re interested!
How long did it take for him to arrive?
From first contraction to final push, it was just over 17 hours.
Did you choose to have an epidural?
I really wanted to get the full experience of child birth before choosing whether or not I wanted pain meds. I opted for an epidural once I was dilated to an 8 (and 14.5 hours into my 17 hour labor) due to my body shaking uncontrollably from the pain.
Where were you when you went into labor?
Laying in bed at 3am which was a-okay with me because one of my biggest concerns was going into labor early and being at work downtown! I was so thankful that I was close to the hospital!
What does it feel like to be a momma?
I’ll cover this more in my postpartum post, but I’m so surprised at how natural this transition has been. It has been so rewarding — especially when your baby is crying and he stops as soon as you pick him up (cue the heart eyes emoji). I’m also SO excited to start taking him on little adventures — even just going to Starbucks and grabbing a sandwich from Chick-Fil-A the other day was so fun knowing that my little sidekick was in the backseat. We will start taking him out more once it warms up outside (the high for tomorrow is -16 degrees!) and once he is a little older since he is still building up his immunity right now.
What were your emotions throughout the day?
Mainly excitement that something was finally happening after waiting for so long and the thought of getting to meet our son! There was also some fear of the unknown around the whole birthing process but I feel like my mind and body adapted as I transitioned through the stages of labor.
How did the first few days at home with him go?
The day after we got home from the hospital was a little rough mainly due to lack of sleep. I also felt like I was overly concerned about everything — making sure he was breathing, eating, and pooping enough, etc. Fletcher also woke up that first morning at home looking awfully yellow from the jaundice and I was so worried about that! Luckily, our pediatrician was able to get us in that afternoon so that helped put my worries aside when she didn’t seem too concerned about the bilirubin levels. Now that he’s been with us for over two weeks, I’m feeling a lot more relaxed about a lot of things (but will admit I’m still a spazz about some things).
How do you balance being productive and having a newborn?
I’m a huge believer in routines and systems so having those established before we came home from the hospital was definitely a beneficial factor in things running smoothly. For example, we still are staying on top of laundry, dishes, groceries, etc. even with a newborn — this helps things feel less overwhelming. Clutter stresses me out so much so putting in a little effort each day in terms of tidying up has made a huge different in keeping our house feeling calm.
I also have been using his nap times to power through and get things done — even if it’s just tidying up a bit or taking some time for self care. I also use the time in the evenings when Andy is home to do something for myself — for example, we will all hang out as a family, but then when Andy is spending some time holding Fletcher, I’ll take a quick bath and paint my nails or something. It’s little things like this that honestly help me so much because it not only helps me feel refreshed, but it also taps into who I was before I became a mom, if that makes sense. I think it’s so important to continue to have hobbies, plans, an identity, etc. even after having a baby.
What surprised you most through his birth and first few days?
I was honestly surprised at how naturally labor / delivery came — I swear, your body and instincts just take over. I was not, however, expecting how challenging having your milk come in would be though. Dealing with engorgement for a few days definitely caught me off guard and honestly was one of the most uncomfortable things. It is SO much better now but I was texting my momma friends like crazy those first few days with a million questions about how to get some relief!
What did you use out of your hospital bag?
Like most first-time moms, I way overpacked! I really only used my nursing tank, makeup + shower gear, flip flops for the shower, toiletries (mouthwash, toothbrush, lip balm, dry shampoo, etc.), phone charger, Gatorade, and some fruit that I brought from home. This honestly surprised me so much because I’m definitely one of those people that enjoys the comforts of home whenever I travel but I think with all of the emotions and things going on, I really didn’t care about much other than spending time with Andy and Fletcher during our hospital stay. The only thing that Andy had to run home and grab was my breast pump which wasn’t necessary, but I wanted to do a run through with our lactation consultant before heading home and trying to figure it out on my own (while being super sleep deprived).
Can you share a day in the life as a newborn parent?
I’ll probably do a whole post about this once we get into a better routine (this is my goal for this week!) You can catch a glimpse of our first few days at home in this post along with Fletcher’s first day with just me in this recap!
How is it going with Andy back at work?
It’s going well! Fletcher is a really laid back little dude and really doesn’t cry unless we are wiping his butt (he shrieks at the top of his lungs and it sounds like he is screaming “no! no! no!” over and over again) or if he is really hungry. The key for me has been to keep enough of my hobbies and routines (self-care and household) — this has kept me feeling like myself and keeps our house running smoothly. Taking care of Fletcher is so rewarding so right now it doesn’t really feel like work at all — I just love him so much! Even things like changing his diaper or dressing him in an outfit for the day has been so fun since we have anticipated having him home with us for so long.
Do you have a routine, if so how did you develop it?
This is my goal for this week! I started using my treadmill the week after he was born (my doctor said I could continue doing whatever fitness activities I was doing at 9 month pregnant) so I really want to build in a set time for that throughout the week so that I can prioritize my healthy habits once I am totally cleared for normal workouts (strength training, etc.) next month. I also want to start utilizing some of his nap times for getting things done and also creating margins to take a nap if I need it. He almost always takes a long (3 hour) afternoon nap so I have a feeling this will be my window of opportunity each day.
What has your mental and physical recovery looked like?
This will be covered more in the postpartum post but it has honestly gone better than I could have ever anticipated. I feel like I didn’t realize how unlike myself I felt towards the last part of pregnancy until after he was born and then with that new mix of hormones, I realized how much more like myself I felt, if that makes sense. Also, getting out of the house really helps a lot too — I haven’t done a ton, but doing a Costco run, going to an appointment by myself, grabbing a smoothie, and going to my Mom’s Life (MOPS) group has made a huge difference after being cooped up inside most days.
What helped you during labor? (Breathing techniques, massage, walking, oils, epidural or other drugs, etc.)
Breathing techniques, viewing each contraction as one step closer to meeting our baby (and taking each wave of pain one at a time), squeezing Andy’s hand, and having the nurse talk me through the really hard contractions. Also, God bless the anesthesiologists of the world and the invention of the epidural because everything was a piece of cake once that was in my system. ;) Now that I have experienced the raw pains of child birth and realized that 100% natural child birth is not for me (or really a priority of mine), I will be getting an epidural much earlier on with my next labor / delivery.
How long did you push for?
Less than one hour! My doctor said this had a lot to do with my fitness levels which is something I’ll definitely prioritize again for my next pregnancy / delivery.
How did you choose his name?
When we found out we were pregnant, we had a girl name chosen within the first few months but felt stuck when it came to boy names. We started talking about names more often once we found out that we were having a boy and we both really liked the name Fletcher since it was unique but still easy to spell and pronounce (this was important to us since our last name is a tricky one). We went back and forth on whether or not Fletcher should be his first name or his middle name (but then go by his middle name, if that makes sense), but ultimately decided on it being his first name since we loved it so much.
We also submitted the paperwork for his birth certificate at the last minute before leaving the hospital because we decided to change his middle name once he was born. James is a family name on both sides and we liked that it was a strong name that seemed to suit him well. This name was also Andy’s grandpa’s name and we felt that it was fitting since he raised Andy’s dad to be such a great man — this is our special way of honoring his dad that recently passed away.
Overall, how things are going with a new baby? Feeding, sleeping, etc.
We are really lucky because Fletcher is pretty laid back (so far). He goes to sleep fairly easily, takes a nice long nap each afternoon and usually a decent one in the morning as well. He generally sleeps through the night until we wake him up to eat, which is really nice! Breastfeeding was a bit of a learning curve in the beginning but thanks to his pediatrician who is also a lactation consultant, we are making some good progress in this area and he is eating like a champ! I’m both breastfeeding and pumping to build up a freezer supply for once I go back to work but we will wait to introduce bottles (and a pacifier) to avoid nipple confusion / preference.
Let me know if you have any other questions!