Saturday, January 9, 2010
GOING HOME AFTER THE BABY IS BORN
You've made it through the hospital stay and you finally get to home after your baby has been born. You have been waiting for this moment for 9+ months. You get to show the baby the wonderful decorating you've done in his or her room, introduce them to the family dog, lay her on your bed and take her picture and try out that rocking chair that wasn't in your budget but you bought it anyway and you're glad you did. By the way...rocking chairs are easy to find at garage sales for a couple dollars and can always be re-finished, painted etc and make great gifts for yourself or someone else having a bundle of joy! I took up garage sailing this past summer and I can't believe the treasures that can be found! Hopefully you have already stocked up on things as diapers, sanitary pads, bottle water, toiled paper, juice, etc because you are not going to want to leave the house now for a few days.
Going home with your baby is like entering another planet and life on earth you won't quite feel a part of for awhile. It's rhythm or concerns won't be yours. If you don't feel like having visitors during this period it is your right. Some women can't wait to have people over and others just want to be alone in baby land. You want to devote all your attention to getting to know this new human being who has settled in your midst without having to worry about making yourself presentable to offering a little something to eat to your guests. You need to rest, recover and adjust for the next couple weeks
Leaving the hospital isn't just a blink of an eye event. It takes a bit of time. First things first, you want to take a shower! If you haven't taken one yet since the baby was born this will feel like a huge gift. If you feel like putting on makeup and styling your hair, go right ahead but you are in know obligation. Something people may not tell you is that a new mother's thermostat is out of whack for a few weeks after the baby is born and may lead to a lot of perspiration. It may be a good idea to wear a soft cotton knit fabric home from the hospital because even the smallest tasks will work up a sweat.
After you have yourself ready you need to get the baby ready. The baby doesn't care if he or she stays in their hospital outfit but we all know you have an outfit picked out to take them in so slip them into their perfect little onesie and have fun.
No matter how great you may feel, you will not be allowed to walk out of the hospital. You have to be paraded out in a wheelchair. You can try to argue but it's just like talking a meter maid out of giving you a ticket..it won't work so suck it up, stop complaining and enjoy your ride out. The hospital's insurance policy requires that they make every effort to keep you from falling down or dropping the baby while you are on their property and that job is given to a orderly or nurse's aide so the fast you can find one, the faster you can go home. There seems to be 10 other mothers waiting for this person at the same time so factor in about an hour for this task.
You may only live five minutes from the hospital but believe me, time stands still and it may be the longest five minutes of your life if you have a crying, hungry baby in your car. I advice, even if baby is sleeping, wake baby up and insist on a meal prior to leaving the hospital. If baby is full upon entering the car you may get lucky and he or she may sleep all the way home and don't forget you will need a car seat! It is of the utmost importance to put your baby in a car seat and to position the car seat correctly. No hospital should allow a baby out of its care without first making sure the parents have a suitable car seat and that it is fastened properly. If you're not sure if you positioned it correctly, ask someone, they are happy to help. Also, by car seat I don't mean just any car seat, I mean one that is designed for newborns. Tiny little babies cannot sit upright and they cannot support the weight of their own heads. They need seats that help them in a semi-reclining position. Read the manual that comes with the seat, they are more complicated than you'd think. Infants must always sit facing the back of the car no matter how much you think they would prefer seeing the scenery as it approaches. If your car has passenger side air bags, DO NOT PUT YOUR CHILD IN THE PASSENGER SEAT. No matter how frantic of a mother you are and think you'd prefer to have your baby up in the front seat with you...just don't do it. The explosion of an inflating air bag can seriously injure a baby or small child.
Have a barf towel or blanket ready. If you took my advice and fed the baby before leaving the hospital and a burp is inevitable you will need this. Spitting up does not generally mean that the baby is carsick. It is fairly normal. You will also need a pacifier. Hysterical crying can have a significant influence on the mommy Richter scale. No parent, especially a brand new one is humanly capable of continuing to drive a car in a focused and calm manner with wailing little creature piercing their eardrums. Please remember, use a pacifier when needed and don't feel bad. Just because you use when doesn't mean you will have a four year old with a pacifier you may have gossiped about before at the park. No matter what happens on your drive home do not take the baby out of the car seat while it is moving. This may seem like common sense to most of you but it still happens. If you feel the baby needs to be held, pull the car over in a parking lot. The baby could be hungry again, need to be changed...could be anything and you may try everything but remember and keep in your head 'crying never killed anyone' and it won't. Babies cry, that's what they do. Sometimes music can help. They say babies hear while in the womb so if you traditionally listed to certain music or songs, this could be soothing to the baby to hear something familiar. Babies also have what is known as the traditional 'shutdown mechanism' and instinctively react to sounds like loud music, hair dryers and vacuum cleaners and go right to sleep.
Lastly, on the drive home, stay calm and be confident. You may suddenly start to sweat and feel that you are overwhelmed and what were you thinking. Don't worry, you know everything you need to know for the moment. You will learn to go with your gut and ask for advice when needed and make the rest up as go. This is why grandmothers are often better mothers to our children than we are, they have already gone through the trial and error phase. Take a drink of your water, I know you're dehydrated and know that you are going to be magnificent. You baby is going to think you are the world and a hero. YOU are some one's mother! Your precious memories about to begin. Welcome home!