10 Things You Should Know About the First Few Hours After Birth

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 by from Blog from the Belly

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    Image adapted via Flickr/ MIKI Yoshihito (´・ω・)

    When I had my first baby over eight years ago, I had never even seen a newborn, let alone held one before. I asked my mom all kinds of questions about what labor and delivery was going to be like and what to expect when I had a baby in my arms. She was a great help, and I was thankful she was in the room with me the entire time for support because I didn't realize just how many more questions I was going to have about my body and my newborn right after birth.

    If you haven't given birth before, there are some things that may surprise you immediately after your baby is born. I was surprised by more than a few things that happened, so here are 10 things you should know about the first few hours after you give birth:

    { MORE: Hospital Threatens Pregnant Mom: Have C-Section or We’ll Call Social Services! }

    {Continued: What You Should Know #1}

What do you think? 10 Things You Should Know About the First Few Hours After Birth

Devan McGuinnessAuthor

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award ... More

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23 comments

  1. Avatar of Johanna Johanna says:

    I was surprised how inconsistent all the information I got was, and how many people claimed to be authoritative,but offered completely contradictory information about nearly every topic in childbirth and rearing! Translation: do what works for you! As long as you love your baby, keep baby clean and fed and protected, you are doing what you need to. I was surprised how much I missed my mom. Nuf said. I was floored by how bad my highly rated hospital experience was! Neither my Dr. nor any of my 5 (sequential, not all at once) nurses apparently read my birth plan, (what was the point of the class I took at their hospital??). They wouldn’t let me push until I was dilated, even though I couldn’t stop my body from doing it. My nurse tried to force me into the bed because ‘it was dangerous for me to be standing during labor’, as if pushing hard on a laboring woman isn’t?! I was surprised that after the epidural, it didn’t really ease the pain until hours later, and it completely blocked my ability to feel myself push- not like I’d heard at all. What’s so great about something that eases the pain that you Need to feel, just to create more pain when you need to be feeling better? Help me out here!? I was surprised how far I tore, and how hard it was to go to the bathroom without feeling like I was tearing more. I could not believe that in our exhausted state after 15 hours of labor that started at 2 a.m., we were required to watch a bunch of horrifying videos about abuse to infants before they’d let us leave. I was emotional already. I had nightmares from those for weeks and still have not had the courage to let anyone babysit, 9 months later. They never let us or the baby sleep. Every hour they came in with some new annoying requirement. I was surprised how long my normally rock like abs were worthless and sore. I actually gave myself a hernia doing mild ab exercises over 2 months later, because my muscles just weren’t ready, despite what the doctor said. I was surprised I didn’t have any stretch marks on my stomach. I was amazed how kind and helpful the over-worked nurses were in the post-delivery area, and how great the baby was at nursing, despite my having no idea what to do. Leave it to a boy to find boobs with his eyes closed! My experience basically told me that no one’s experience is like any other, and the reason nobody answers your thousands of questions is because there are no real, correct answers for everyone. Nothing works for every person or every baby. You will make it anyway, no matter how clueless. Preparing for birth was largely unnecessary, because I couldn’t wear the clothes I brought since the dr needed to access the nethers, and the baby needed to access the uppers! Just prepare your mind to be unprepared, have the car seat installed wayyyy early, and find out before you can’t fit into the back seat that 90 some percent of all car seats are installed incorrectly, down to the tiniest details that aren’t in the instruction booklet. If you’ve never had a baby, and the last thing you want is other people around when you’re tired and can’t get dressed easily, do these things anyway!!!!! I would now have a house cleaner hired and ready, have a person to help with the baby, even if your husband will be home a while, and sign up for grocery delivery. You will both be so tired that you can’t be trusted to not walk into walls. And make sure you don’t have a tall or short bed. Getting in and out made me cry. So did how much I loved my kid! Holy cow! And so did the prayers I made for my husband and son to find a woman that loved them both at least as much as I did, because I was sure I wasn’t going to make it! Sigh, I wish I was joking. It sounds so over-dramatic now. I can’t figure out what everyone means by free time. WHAT FREE TIME!? I was also very surprised that You Do Not forget the pain!!! I will not give birth to another child if i can help it!! There are kids that need homes. That’s dumb. Kids should have homes, and if I want another lil Sweety, I will give them one, issues and all. Oh, and ‘sleeping like a baby’ means not sleeping. It means teeny little catnaps able to be interrupted by the smallest sounds, and the inability to sleep without being held. Good luck. You may or may not be about to be pushed past every limit you know. This is my contribution to your life, small as it is. Depend on Jesus, and try to believe you will make it. And don’t get mad. There’s no point. You’ll just feel bad about it, and the attention you need will be less forthcoming.

  2. Avatar of Lolita Lolita says:

    I believe after-birth pain is not present with a very “first” baby.

  3. Avatar of Angela Angela says:

    The amount I bled after having my baby shocked me. I felt so bad that I kept leaking. I also was surprised at how little my son slept that first night. I think it was just the two of us getting to know each other and the fact that the bassinet he was in was uncomfortable for him.

  4. Avatar of Maria Maria says:

    I was surprised with how much I saw my body change after birth. I guess I wasn’t ready for what my body would look like. After my c-section, when they took the bandage off and I was able to shower, I looked at my body in the mirror and cried. I REALLY cried. I never thought about body after birth, I never had body issues, but looking in the mirror was such a shock I was not ready for.

  5. Avatar of Ashleigh Ashleigh says:

    It freaked me out with my first child that she didn’t immediately cry when she was born. I had always thought that they pretty much come out screaming. lol.

  6. Avatar of Rhonda Rhonda says:

    After my c-section with my twins, I got to see them, but after I was all stitched up, I had to sit in recovery for an hour. It was the longest hour of my life. I had my Husband take pictures of all that I missed while in recovery. Things like There first footprints, my Daughter had to get a bottle and oxygen as her blood sugar was low, and them getting all washed u, Getting warmed up under the lights and weighed and measured. The new hospital is supposed to have in room recovery, so I look forward to getting to be with my baby for the first hour of life this time.
    Also, on checkout they filled several circles with babies blood for testing before we could leave. This was something I was not aware of, and ended up being traumatic for us as my baby girls foot wouldn’t bleed and not wanting to keep poking her she squeezed her foot until she was crying very hard and we had to ask her too please stop and try again. Was later informed that if anything like that is done we can ask them to stop and find someone else to do it.

  7. Avatar of sheena sheena says:

    i remember each and every birth of my children my first 1 was vaginal 2nd 3rd 4th 5th all cesection i swear dont let anyone ever tell you that a cesection is the easy way out cause thats a BIG DAM LIE after having my first 1 my hips popped out of place and i wouldnt diliet for my 2nd kid i laid in labor 3 days water done broke with bad contractions but i wouldnt diliet and my hips wouldnt spread for the baby to come down so since my 2nd birth i have to have cesections cause my body want do what it sopost to when i had my first baby vaginal i was up and walking around after 4 days in labor in the first hour after my birth of my 2nd and so on with cesction your not aloud to get up for 12 hours are more and when your ready to get up and walk you dont want to cause for one it hurts like hell and 2nd every part of your body is sore and hurts and you walk like a old women it even hurts to pee poo cough everything but what kept me going even when i didnt want to was looking at the tiny little life i just brought in this world that is what kept me going cause i new all my kids needed me es the new baby i just had so labor is painful but ce section is the worst but some of us have no choose but to have a cesection

  8. Avatar of Tabitha Tabitha says:

    I remember every moment of my daughters birth. Except the pain. Thank Goodness! but the major thing that i DEFINITELY remember is that when she arrived… she was PURPLE! PLUS her umbilical cord was around her neck so of course my husband and i panicked when she didn’t cry in the first 5mins (actually 3seconds but thats how it feels when you panic during labor!) But apparently the purple color… totally natural! i really wish someone would have warned us! lol

    • Avatar of diana diana says:

      i don’t think so… my fourth baby was also born BRIGHT purple, almost like barney, and he too had the cord wrapped around his neck, so I think that is what causes the coloring, because that is NOT normal…

      • Avatar of meggan meggan says:

        Newborns are purplish when born, they don’t pink up until they breath and get oxygen to their tissues.

        • Avatar of Marissa Marissa says:

          I was told by my midwife it’s also normal for the cord to wrap around the baby’s neck. Sometimes several times around. Just depends on the length of the cord. It’s usually totally harmless.

  9. Avatar of Wendy Wendy says:

    I had a c-section and ended up with excruciating pain in my neck and shoulder. I thought I had pulled a muscle or something. A friend of mine said she had the same problem and a nurse said it was from the surgery and touching or irritating your diaphragm or something. That was something I never expected. What is with that c-section picture, how odd that not all the people are wearing masks, that is usually mandatory for everyone in an operating room.

  10. Avatar of Amanda Amanda says:

    I don’t remember seeing my daughter right after birth. I was listening for her to cry. My husband said I held her for awhile but I just remember falling asleep for a few hours.

    • Avatar of Leslie Leslie says:

      Mother Nature helps you out by letting you forget a lot about the birth, like pain. It takes a lot out of you having a baby and you were tired, so don’t stress about not remembering everything.

  11. Avatar of Kristina Kristina says:

    Peeing hurts! This shocked me and I cried out the first time I had to tinkle after giving birth. Yeah, they give you that Peri-bottle thing for a reason. Be sure to use it because it does really help!

  12. Avatar of Elaine Elaine says:

    I am surprised that the author was surprised to experience bleeding after a c-section. The doctor did not remove her uterus, I assume. That is where the bleeding was coming from.

    • Avatar of Cara Cara says:

      Elaine,
      A lot of people might think that soon after giving birth you would stop bleeding. SImply because it isn’t always discussed and not really what a lot of people are thinking about as they approach labor. If you aren’t thinking about it, it can be surprising.
      I have heard a lot of women mention they were surprised to be bleeding after natural birth too – in the immediate you expect to be bleeding, but many people don;t know that 5 – 6 – 7 weeks later you can still be bleeding!

      • Avatar of Leslie Leslie says:

        Normal is about a month. If you’re still bleeding that long after giving birth (6-7 wks. or more) you need to consult your doctor! Something could be wrong!

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