Such a great article by Gloria Lemay. Please read and consider this!
After the Birth, what a family needs
Posted on October 28, 2008 by gloria lemay
“Let me know if I can help you in any way when the baby is born.” … “Just let me know if you need a hand.” … “Anything I can do, just give me a call.”
Most pregnant women get these statements from friends and family but shy away from making requests when they are up to their ears in dirty laundry, unmade beds, dust bunnies and countertops crowded with dirty dishes. The myth of “I’m fine, I’m doing great, new motherhood is wonderful, I can cope and my husband is the Rock of Gibraltar” is pervasive in postpartum land. If you’re too shy to ask for help and make straight requests of people, I suggest sending the following list out to your friends and family. These are the things I have found to be missing in every house with a new baby. It’s actually easy and fun for outsiders to remedy these problems for the new parents but there seems to be a lot of confusion about what’s wanted and needed…
1. Buy us toilet paper, milk and beautiful whole grain bread.
2. Buy us a new garbage can with a swing top lid and 6 pairs of black cotton underpants (women’s size____).
3. Make us a big supper salad with feta cheese, black Kalamata olives, toasted almonds, organic green crispy things and a nice homemade dressing on the side. Drop it off and leave right away. Or, buy us frozen lasagna, garlic bread, a bag of salad, a big jug of juice, and maybe some cookies to have for dessert. Drop it off and leave right away.
4. Come over about 2 in the afternoon, hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then fold all the piles of laundry that have been dumped on the couch, beds or in the room corners. If there’s no laundry to fold yet, do some.
5. Come over at l0 a.m., make me eggs, toast and a 1/2 grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw out everything you are in doubt about. Don’t ask me about anything; just use your best judgment.
6. Put a sign on my door saying “Dear Friends and Family, Mom and baby need extra rest right now. Please come back in 7 days but phone first. All donations of casserole dinners would be most welcome. Thank you for caring about this family.”
7. Come over in your work clothes and vacuum and dust my house and then leave quietly. It’s tiring for me to chat and have tea with visitors but it will renew my soul to get some rest knowing I will wake up to clean, organized space.
8. Take my older kids for a really fun-filled afternoon to a park, zoo or Science World and feed them healthy food.
9. Come over and give my husband a two hour break so he can go to a coffee shop, pub, hockey rink or some other r & r that will delight him. Fold more laundry.
10. Make me a giant pot of vegetable soup and clean the kitchen completely afterwards. Take a big garbage bag and empty every trash basket in the house and reline with fresh bags.
These are the kindnesses that new families remember and appreciate forever. It’s easy to spend money on gifts but the things that really make a difference are the services for the body and soul described above. Most of your friends and family members don’t know what they can do that won’t be an intrusion. They also can’t devote 40 hours to supporting you but they would be thrilled to devote 4 hours. If you let 10 people help you out for 4 hours, you will have the 40 hours of rested, adult support you really need with a newborn in the house. There’s magic in the little prayer “I need help.”
The following birth story was written by one of my clients. I have been granted permission to put it on my blog to share with you.
The Birth of Abigail Jean
by Sara Dearden on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 10:38am ·
This is Abby’s birth story except told through the eyes of my Husband, Scott. About an hour or 2 after she was born he decided to write it all down because we were afraid that we would forget something later on.
“Labor began at 7 am with strong, low contractions and Sara’s bag of water leaking. She got a shower, ate breakfast, and had contractions until around 8am. We started timing them and they were 8 minutes apart and lasting 45seconds to 1 min 15sec. Sara knew “this was it.” At close to 9am I (Scott) finished packing the car. We call our Doctors office, Doula and Doula-in-training to let them all know that we were headed to the hospital. Sara contractions were now 5 minutes apart.
We left for Central Valley Hospital around 9:15ish and arrived around 9:40 am. On the way, Sara’s contractions got down to 2-3mins apart. With no space in the parking lot, we had to drive around the corner to turn around and park on the street. With ever stronger contractions, Sara said, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” What I heard was ” I AM IN TRANSITION!!!” From the car to the hospital door Sara had four more contractions. On the last one, on the sidewalk in front of hospital, she said “I feel like I have to push.” I encouraged her not to push, but instead to grunt through it and to wait until we were checked in.
Sara was very concerned with timing contractions. She would apologize every time she forgot to hack the stopwatch when another one started. When we got to labor and delivery the nurse took our info and asked us to wait while they got us checked in. Sara felt like she couldn’t sit down without pushing, and had several contractions leaning against me. She felt like she had to pee and maybe that would take some of the pressure off, so I asked where the bathroom was that she could use. They took her to the room where they bathe and evaluate newborns after birth and let her use the bathroom in there. I followed her in to be supportive and to my surprise another one was just starting. Sara threw the plastic pee cup that she had be given and she held herself above the toilet with her hands and screamed that she needed to push and really started screaming. The nurses came in quickly. One threw a towel on the floor and the other looked between Sara’s legs and yelled, “The Baby’s crowning!!!” We got her off the toilet and the nurses wanted her to lay down but I(and she) wanted to squat. We came to a compromise of sitting with me behind her. Sara was screaming like a banshee (in my ear of course, and the tile-covered bathroom did not help muffle the sound at all!!!) but the midwife on duty told her to stop screaming and focus that energy into pushing (Sara would later tell me that, that was the best piece of advice that anyone gave her). As Sara leaned back into me with chin on chest and four good pushes, Abigail was born.
As Sara picked up and held a screaming Abby for the first time, the nurses clamped and cut the cord, took her to the warming table, and helped Sara onto the bed that had been rolled into the room. Abby measured in a 7lbs 8oz and 20inches long. She scored perfect on the apgar test. Sara was almost given pitocin to help deliver the placenta, but I covered where they were about to inject her and stated “No Meds,” and the nurse thanked me. The nurses never had the chance or time to look at the birth-plan and I found the one that I was going to hand them crumpled and a little blood splattered in the corner of the bathroom. Sara only had a small tear that needed two stitches. Abby was born at 10am 10/12/12. Forty mins later we were in a room on the Maternity ward.”
Abby’s birth was a huge surprise. If you would have told me that labor was only going to 3 hours and I would have my baby in the bathroom before the Doctor could make it I would have laughed:) But when my Doctor did make it in to see us he said that we made history that day because NO ONE had ever delivered in that bathroom or that quickly in that hospital. I also have a better understanding of why so many of my friends prefer a Midwife to a Doctor. It was nice to have someone who was supportive of everyone needs throughout this experience. If there is a next baby I think we may look into that option a little more closely:) But Ms. Abigail has been a blessing and joy to are little family and I can’t wait to see what God has planned for my little whirlwind as she grows-up.
by Dr. Bob Sears
When that tiny baby is placed into your arms, he or she is the ultimate reward for your nine months of careful preparation. You may not know that what you and others around you do in that very first hour of your baby’s life can have a significant—even lifelong—impact on the bond you have with your baby. This article shows you how to best prepare for that golden hour, how to maximize the bonding experience, how to defer hospital procedures that may interfere with bonding during that first hour and how to communicate those needs to your medical caregivers.
To read the entire article by Bob Sears, please go to: http://choicesinchildbirth.org/choices/postpartum/golden_hour
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Great information from Midwifery Today:
I see slings as basic items of clothing, and I recommend that my clients have several available, try different kinds and wear their babies as often as they can. Each sling, carrier, backpack and hip carrier has its place and appeal. One mom who wouldn’t think of using a fabric sling loved the high-tech fanny pack I got from Cuddle Karrier. It converts into a sling-like carrier, but goes back to being a fanny pack easily. Just as different styles of parenting work for different people, there are different carriers that work for different mothers. As long as the baby is being carried, that’s the whole point.
— Jennifer Rosenberg, excerpted from “Cuddle Up! Slings and Baby Carriers,” Birth Wisdom, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. III