What I Have *Actually* Been Using 2 Months Postpartum

As baby Austin approaches his second month of life, I am reflecting on some of the experiences I have had postpartum- the most useful items I have needed for myself and for baby. We had THREE baby showers, and between my and my husband’s family and friends, we were (thankfully) gifted soo many baby things! Every baby is different, but there are certainly things that have came in SUPER handy these past four weeks, and other items that I haven’t really needed to use (yet). I figured sharing my thoughts could some folks some time, and maybe money too.

Best Items for Mommy:

  • Tucks Witch Hazel Pads
  • Dermoplast Spray
  • Overnight Panties (aka adult diapers)

All of the items above were ABSOLUTE necessities in the first two weeks after birth. I delivered vaginally and suffered minor tearing (I only needed two stitches), and was in absolute agony going to the bathroom or moving around too much. Using the witch hazel pads+spray every time I went to the bathroom helped. I recommend the “panties” because frankly, you are going to be bleeding too much and be too sore and exhausted to change a pad every hour or so. (If you DO wear pads, CHANGE THEM THROUGHOUT THE DAY!) Wearing the “panties” helped me only need to change once or twice a day.

  • A good breast pump

If you are breastfeeding or pumping, a good pump set-up is so crucial. I currently have an electric pump from Medela which works well, but I am still figuring out ways to make it simpler. It truthfully is a very time consuming and exhausting process, so finding something that works and makes your life easier is priority. I am also currently looking into nursing bras so I can pump hands free, so I will update y’all on that. (Spending a few HOURS a day pumping boobie juice adds up and I realize I am just not using that time efficiently right now.)

  • Moisturizers for everything

But seriously. My skin and lips have been super dry since I gave birth. I also have much less time lately for a full beauty routine every day. The best thing I have done is keep lotion or butters (shea and cocoa) everywhere. Upstairs, downstairs, in my purse, in the car, even at my moms… It makes remembering to put on moisturizer easier. I also hope this helps to reduce the appearance of my stretch-marks over time…My entire pregnancy I used moisturizers almost every day, specifically always on my stomach hoping to steer clear of stretch marks. Unfortunately, I still developed quite a few on the center of my stomach around my belly-button during the third trimester of my pregnancy. Hiss boo.

Best Items for Baby:

  • Not being afraid to use formula

I am not able to produce enough breastmilk to feed Austin, so we supplement with formula. When I was in the hospital after birth, a lot of the nurses were very adamant on him breastfeeding exclusively. However, I realized that it would be impossible for me to sustain a pumping schedule for that… I also really find it difficult to transport breast milk whenever I am on the go with baby. Formula just makes life a lot easier, and I do not feel bad for doing what is best for both me and my baby.

  • Gassy meds

ALL HAIL MYLICON, an absolute lifesaver on days when baby is especially fussy. Austin has been fine for the most part, but we have had days where he is very gassy and upset and won’t stop crying. Gassy meds work almost immediately and I can tell that they help little Austin a lot. I think they are sooo necessary for any newborn.

  • A bassinet (or something similar)

You need somewhere to put your baby (duh), but Jose and I did not realize that Austin’s actual crib was going to be basically unusable until he is at least a few months old. We have found that a portable crib or a bassinet is needed in order to stay sane. Baby needs a place to safely be put down and sleep, and parents need a way to catch a break every so often. The particular bassinet that we have actually has WHEELS so you can roll baby around with you (aka when you go to the bathroom), and holds extra diapers and clothes in the bottom for easy access.

  • Burp rags everywhere

Babies spit, cough, drool, cry, spill… they are literally helpless little mess humans until they get older. So yes, you will need LOTS of burp rags to put everywhere you can imagine. Bedroom, kitchen, livingroom, bathroom, bassinet, diaper bag, car, grandma’s house…you name it. Being caught in a mess of spit up with no towel is not a situation you wanna be in.

  • A sink bathtub. Omg.

My husband and I were gifted both sink bath tubs and bathtub seats to bathe baby in. We attempted bathing baby in the bathtub for the first few weeks until we finally got around to using the sink-style tub. The sink tubs are SO much easier, especially because baby Austin is so small and weak right now. Baby is confined to a smaller space and has less room to wiggle around, and the set-up and clean up is much easier because the tubs usually have a drain on them that you can unplug right in the sink.

  • Coconut Oil

We also have an use baby lotion, but pure coconut oil has helped Austin a lot with baby acne and dry skin. We use it on his face and body after every bath, and we keep it around so we can use it when we see more dry spots pop up. I have found that it absorbs super well into his skin, so there is no greasy residue.

  • Pacifiers

Listen, I know some moms try to steer clear of pacifiers because getting babies to give them up can be very difficult. But Jose and I have chosen to use them because I literally think that baby would never stop crying without them. Austin calms down significantly when we give him a pacifier when he is fussy, and to me, it is better to have a calm and happy baby than to worry about weaning him off a pacie.

Overall, motherhood has been a lot of fun so far. A lot of my day is consumed with worrying, stress, and lack of sleep, but those seem like fair trade-offs for having such a beautiful little boy to love and raise.

My First 72 Hours as a Mom

It’s a boy!

As I write this, little baby Austin has been alive a whole 9 days! I wanted to document this amazing experience while the feelings and memories are still fresh on my mind.

Last September, Jose and I discovered that I was pregnant- not soon after, we found out our baby was a boy. My pregnancy was remarkably difficult, and I am so blessed to have had an outpour of support from all of our friends and family. Despite the 9-months of struggle, Austin is beyond worth it; I have never before felt so obsessed and in love with another creature.

I was about to be induced! Notice our matching Crocs.

I was induced into labor on the night of Tuesday May 4th. Jose and I checked into the hospital at 8pm alongside his sister Claudia. My mother later met up with us and took Claudia’s place in the labor room. My nurse in Labor and Delivery was lovely, and explained the process of induction to us very clearly. I was also opting in to get an epidural, and she was able to answer all my questions about that as well. She explained that depending on my level of dilation, they would start me with a dissolvable pill placed on my cervix that is used as a “ripening” agent to get the cervix soft and to begin the process of labor. After I became dilated at least 4 inches, she would be able to switch me to pitocin to start the harder, more intense contractions that speed up the process. The nurse also explained to me that most first time moms take a long time (usually over 12 hours) to fully dilate and push, so to be patient, and communicative of any pain and issues I was having. She checked my cervix (which was RIDICULOUSLY painful, by the way… they basically gotta stick their whole ass arm up you to feel for dilation), and told me I was not even dilated yet- so she placed the pill around 10pm and we began the “marathon” process of labor.

Within an hour and a half, I was having consistent, strong contractions every minute. My nurse had advised me that I could ask for an epidural at any point, so I called her in to let her know I needed one. My anesthesiologist came in shortly after to administer the dose, which was actually a relatively easy procedure. I felt a couple of pokes but otherwise there wasn’t a ton of pain like I imagined a needle in the spine might cause. The medication helped relieve my discomfort for about an hour, until I began feeling my contractions again and asked my nurse for help. She administered extra dosages to my epidural multiple times, but I was still in severe pain. My nurse checked my cervix again around 4am (a much easier experience now that I couldn’t feel the process), and I had dilated to about 3cm. She went ahead and called back the anesthesiologist who provided a different, stronger medication which ended up completely numbing me and allowing me to get a bit of rest. I felt MUCH better after this new dose, because before then I was nearly in tears with pain. My poor mother and Jose had to deal with me repeating “This is stupid!” over and over, as well as insisting that this would be Jose’s first and only child.

Around 6am my nurse returned to start my pitocin. She had literally plugged my IV up to the bag of medication when she mentioned that she wanted to check my cervix again… which thank goodness she did! She told me that I was already dilated FULLY to 10cm and she could literally feel my baby’s head! She told me to try my best to relax, as she needed to call my OBGYN for him to get to the hospital. I was so shocked- this meant that the entire process of labor took much less time than expected. I did not even start the pitocin before baby was down and ready to go. I immediately became incredibly nervous. For over 9 months I had created and carried my baby, felt him kick against my ribs and tummy, talked to him and sang to him, and finally it was time to meet him. I was really panicking, because something inside me still felt completely unprepared to hold and look at a little human I created. I was overwhelmed with hormones and emotions, none of which I really could process because within half an hour my doctor was in the labor room and it was time to PUSH!

My nurse and another labor nurse assisted my OBGYN. They lifted my (numb) legs into the holsters and explained to me that during my contractions, I would lift up the top of my body into a “curled” position and HOLD my breath for three rounds of a count of 10 seconds. During these round I needed to focus and “push” towards my booty area as best I could. My mom and Jose were by my bed behind me, and kept their excitement contained as best they could. They had a better view of what was going on than I did, and they told me as I pushed that they could see that baby had so much hair! I did about 5 of these breathing sets before baby was OUT with the assistance of forceps, and immediately he placed on my chest. He was alert but a bit blue because he had his umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck. Jose cut his cord and the nurses immediately took him, as he had inhaled fluids which needed to be sucked out from his lungs. Baby Austin handled the situation very well, and after being examined was weighed in at 7lbs 4oz and 19 inches long. I was cleaned up and able to hold baby Austin again. We took lots of photos and were incredibly overjoyed. Claudia, cousin Angel, and Jose’s dad had stayed in the family room overnight awaiting his arrival and finally got to come in and see him! Everyone was overwhelmingly happy and in love with Austin. He was so sweet and calm, and did not cry or fuss at all. We all were very surprised that he looked so much like me! His blonde hair, light eyes and chubby cheeks were nearly identical to my baby photos. I almost felt sad that he didn’t look closer to Jose at birth, but honestly I am a bit happy to see that I did not spend all that time cookin him in my tummy for him to look nothing like me. I am sure that he will look a lot like Jose as he grows older.

Left: Baby me. Right: Baby Austin!

Before I was moved into the delivery unit, a lactation nurse visited me and Austin to show me how to breastfeed. The nurses asked me what my preferred method of feeding him would be, and I explained I wanted to breastfeed if I was able; truthfully, the experience was difficult but I was told it would get better over time. I believe the nurses might have been a bit too biased towards breastfed-only, because once I was moved into delivery I continuously failed at getting Austin to feed yet none of my nurses suggested any other feeding alternatives during my two day stay. I was soo exhausted during my time at the hospital, as I was up almost non-stop trying to feed a crying and upset baby. None of the nurses (or the lactation nurses) could get him to latch even after multiple visits to our room. I attempted to manually extract colostrum/breastmilk to feed him, but it was a long and very painful process. My boobs were super sore and my nipples were raw from the baby chewing on them and angrily receiving no milk in the process. I finally was given some relief when one of the last nurses assigned to me suggested I feed him donor breast milk and attempt to pump my own milk instead of breastfeeding. I graciously agreed with her and had great success pumping milk, and Austin was finally a happier baby after being able to eat a sufficient amount.

Aside from breastfeeding issues, I was also exhausted because of the visitors coming and going. I am beyond grateful that so many (vaccinated and masked) folks wanted to come see my baby and congratulate me and Jose, but I was SO tired that staying awake enough to tend to baby and to visitors was a difficult balancing act. I found myself nodding off pretty often, and besides my mom staying with me I had little help. Jose of course was there with me, but unfortunately he still had to return to work the day after Austin was born. He was gone during the evenings and passed out when he returned, so although he was so sweet to still want to be present, I knew he was much too exhausted to fully assist until after his shifts for the week ended. It was a very tiring and difficult time for everyone, but finally we were discharged Friday afternoon. Jose and I left the hospital and drove to my mother’s house down the block, where I would stay for the weekend while he worked. My amazing mother had set up Austin’s bassinet and changing station, provided me with pads and other post-labor bathroom supplies, and had cooked us lunch all while waiting for our arrival. (I can not express how thankful I was (and AM) for my mother and family for all the fantastic care they provided me and Austin in our days after his arrival.) We all ate and got adjusted in the house, and I was able to FINALLY sleep after days without rest.

My heart!!

Since our first weekend home with Austin, Jose and I have continued to adjust to our new lives and schedules. We are both tired and anxious about having a new baby around, but overall we have been doing just fine caring for him and taking turns sleeping, feeding him, and changing diapers. Jose is so thrilled to be a dad and watching him enjoy Austin is a beautiful and heartwarming feeling. I adore them both so much and to see my beautiful son being doted on by his dad is absolutely precious. Despite having such a difficult pregnancy and exhausting labor experience, I do find it all to be more than worth it to have little Austin around. The intense love and admiration I have for him is beyond any emotion I have ever felt- it has come so naturally, so fluidly and so abundantly. I am so excited to continue growing alongside my son and husband, and to see what the future brings us.