What Happens Immediately After Delivery because first time moms can research and read all day, but they’ll never know until they experience it. Childbirth is the most beautiful thing that you can never be fully prepared for.
One second after delivery:
There’s a huge sigh of relief because you did it. You brought your baby into this world. The cord’s been cut, and you’re laying there in a deafening sea of celebration, doctor’s orders, and the sound of your baby crying. Tears fill your eyes not entirely at the sight of your child, but because your job is done. You carried your baby, you birthed your baby, and you’ve done.
Five minutes after delivery:
Doctors are gathering your placenta and insides into a bucket, sewing you up, and a nurse is lying your baby on your chest. You’re exhausted, fascinated with this little human on your chest, but mostly just hungry. Your baby is hungry too. Nurses are either urging you to breastfeed or waiting for you to get into a room so they can start formula. You think about asking for an extra minute to yourself, but decide against it. That baby has your eyes, nose, ears, smirk, or all the traits of your husband.
Ten minutes after delivery:
Nurses hand your baby to someone else in the room. The whisk you away to the bathroom to sit on the toilet. Mostly for gushing, mostly so you can pee. There main concern is to have you standing, leaking, and if you’re lucky, getting hand fed graham crackers and peanut butter. It’s the little things.
One hour after delivery:
You’re exhausted, you’re too anxious to sleep, but really you’re just wondering how in the hell you survived. By now, you’ve had women you barely know push, prod, and force your nipple into your baby’s mouth or they’ve popped a nipple on a ready-to-go formula bottle for you to feed. It’s all done while you’re still shirtless trying to enjoy all the skin-to-skin contact you can. But, you’re tired. So, if you’re able, you let your husband take over for a little while.
Two hours after delivery:
You’ve tried to sleep. Maybe for ten minutes? A nurse has been in at least once to violently press down on your stomach. She’s got to make sure your uterus is shrinking. There has to be a better way. Your baby is clicking it’s tongue. Trying to suckle, if you will. It’s time to feed again. It’ll come again every two hours. When will you find time to shower?
Eight hours after delivery:
By now visitors have swarmed your room. You try to look happy to see them as they take turns holding the baby. You’re bleeding, you’re sore, and you wonder if lack of sleep will kill you sooner or later. Your doctor has come to check on you post delivery, and you will only see him again before you leave. Maybe you’ve fit a shower in by now, but most likely the nurses are still taking you to the bathroom. You’ll somehow wonder why you aren’t more embarrassed to have a woman wipe you, clean you, then douse you in Dermaplast. Modesty is for the birds these days.
12 hours after delivery:
You’ve slept. Only a few hours, but you’ve made it. Six feeding are under you belt, and you’ve changed many diapers. Baby footprints have been made, you’ve found the energy to slip on the special hospital outfit you brought, and if you’re lucky, you’ve brushed your hair. Tests have been run, and you guys have another 12 hours of figuring each other out.
24 hours after delivery:
Even after reading the manual front-to-back, you are terrified the discharge nurse will judge how you strap your little one into the car seat. Surely, child protective services will be waiting for you at the door. They won’t. They want to be sure you’re making it home safe and that your new journey is as positive as possible. The going home outfit is a little big, but it’s always a little big. Tucking that little bundle with a blanket, mittens, and brand new hat make leaving the hospital easy. You’re about to be on your own.
Day Two after delivery:
No one has slept. The baby cries what seems like constantly. But, you’ve held each other and cried together. You’re questioning every decision you make and know that it never stops. It gets easier. Not today and not tomorrow, but eventually. Your baby will grow, smile, laugh, talk, walk, and will one day be so independent that you’ll realize that babies don’t keep.
In the first days home, you’ll wonder why you ever wanted to do this. You’ll learn that you can get by on two hours of sleep per night, and that silence should be cherished more. There’s never enough hours in the day to accomplish everything, but there’s no time table on getting it all completed. Relax. Breathe. Ask for help whenever you need it. Some women feel like milk machines, while others are able to hand off the bottle feedings just to have a moment to themselves. Every situation is different, but I will tell you the one thing that is the same is the uncertainty. Don’t ever let it get the best of you. You’re enough and you’re a good mom. Decisions you make should be for your and your baby. There is no right way to do anything. And, the first person that tells you that you’re doing something wrong can well.. let’s just say they can leave.
If you’re reading this scared about what is to come, you will make it. If you’ve been there already, share some of your insight in the comments below to help encourage other first time moms and eliminate the surprises of childbirth that no one tells you about.