I was lucky to have given birth both times at a private hospital, which is a lot different from giving birth at a government hospital because of the period of time you stay at the hospital for recovery.
The first time around, I had no idea what to expect after my delivery, even though I had been on the maternity tour the hospital offered. Somehow I felt a little unprepared for my stay post-delivery, which made me feel uneasy and I couldn’t wait to go home to the comfort of my own bed and space.
The second time around, I was definitely more prepared. After taking pointers from my first experience, I knew how to prepare myself to make my stay more pleasant and comfortable.
I’d thought I’d share my little bit of wisdom for those still going to go through this experience, and I hope to help you make your own hospital stay a wonderful experience.
Take the hospital’s maternity ward tour.
It really helps and it’s really worth taking the tour! I took the tour before Monster was born and it really reassured me of my surroundings, what would be happening during my stay and where/who to go to if I had any questions or complaints. I gave birth at the same hospital with Gremlin, and I assumed that I wouldn’t need to take the tour again because I already knew how things worked there. Which put me up for a big surprise on the day because many things had changed in the three years in the ward and I was left feeling clueless. So even if you’ve given birth at the hospital before and heading there again, still do the maternity ward tour so you’re not caught in any surprises.
Set up guest rules.
Almost everyone came to the hospital after I had Monster, and it was completely overwhelming. He had been taken to the Neo Natal ward for the night, I was just starting to calm down from the emotional and extremely long day, and here I had a room full of people congratulating me and wanting to share the company. If I had known better then, I would’ve told everyone to have rather come the next day to visit, when things calmed down a little and there had been enough room to breathe after the birth. With Gremlin’s birth, I only allowed our closest crowd to be there with us on the day, and requested that everyone else came over the next day. It made the first day so much more special and much more relaxing than I had it the first time with Monster.
If you have an older child, think of when you want them coming to the hospital.
I couldn’t wait to Monster to see his little brother, and experience his first reaction. I had my C-section early in the morning and needed to rest after the whole experience, so we decided to only bring Monster after the school day was over to meet Gremlin. It worked out quite well, because he was much calmer after a long school day and didn’t find the need to run everywhere and climb on everything. Although, when he decided to climb on the bed to give me a hug, and dug his knee into my wound, that was something I couldn’t have prepared for!
Get up and walk.
It’s easier said than done because after birth, it’s really the last thing you want to be doing. No matter which type of birth you have, walking is good for you. It speeds up recovery and well, who doesn’t want to be mobile and be free to roam around?
Be prepared for conflicting expert opinions.
Both my experiences with the hospital stay occurred over a weekend, which meant that my Gynea would only be coming to check-up on me on the Monday, which meant a completely different doctor I didn’t know and wasn’t used to. I should’ve expected like with anyone else, doctors would have different opinions and approaches to the same situations, but somehow this thought slipped my mind, and eventually confused me more than necessary. Let’s not forget the nurses having different advice and approaches as well. Keeping an open mind, and doing what’s best for you, is the easiest advice for this point.
Roommates can suck.
You can’t choose who you share a room with (unless you pay extra to have a room all to yourself) so you’re pretty much stuck with whoever is there. I had to get used to lots of noise and interruptions from other moms on the other side of the room as well as some visitors that came outside of visiting hours and clearly didn’t understand what the word ‘silence’ meant. Keeping an open mind and trying to shut out the noise and disruptions, and also accepting that not everyone thinks as you do, will save you some sanity.
Bring your own bath towel.
I know the cleaning staff wash the towels each time and make sure everything is clean for you to use, but I just wasn’t comfortable with using the towels the hospital provided. So I packed in my own towel from home (I even bought myself a new one just for the sake of it) and I packed one in for my boys’ so they also had personal ones for when they needed their first bath at the hospital. It’s up to you if you wish to do this as the hospital does provide towels, but for me it was just a matter of personal choice.
Pack a backup hospital bag.
While I never actually packed the bag, I left the few items I thought I might need in case of whatever situation in a certain place for Hubby Byren to easily find in case I needed something. Which is exactly what happened. Even after months of packing and unpacking, and packing (again) my hospital bags, I still managed to forget an item or two (blame it on pregnancy brain). So it was a relief when I could just send Hubby Byren a message asking him to bring X or Y on his next visit and he would be able to find what I needed without stressing out either of us.
While everyone’s hospital stay experiences are different, I believe that these tips above can really enrich your experience and make it a more memorable one, with less stress and worry as you step into this journey we all know as motherhood.
What tips would you add that made your hospital stay more pleasant?