Congratulations, mama, on the birth of your baby or babies!
If you’re doing some quick reading while you’re still at the hospital then you can keep reading because it will give you an idea of what to expect during the next few days before you head home.
Expecting mamas, you’re almost there! This article will tell you what to expect during your hospital stay once you’ve given birth to help you prepare for what is to come.
I’ve had three types of births with my kids; vaginal birth, a C-Section and a VBAC (all natural). I’m not here to tell you what the pros and cons were of each one because everyone experiences their birth experiences differently and there is no right or wrong way to have your baby.
I’m here to talk about what happens AFTER the birth; your recovery period at the hospital.
(Note: I had my births at a private hospital so there will be differences between what to expect at a private hospital and a public one.)
I can’t complain about my hospital stays after my kids were born, I had great service and help from the nursing staff, I adjusted to being away from home easily because I already knew what to expect, especially with my last birth.
While you might miss being at home and the comfort it brings with it, staying at the hospital isn’t that bad, and it’s important too! There are ways to survive your stay and make it more pleasant!
Your stay at the hospital will also give you an opportunity to catch up on some of the things you need to do after your baby is born.
Here’s what you can expect during your hospital stay.
Constant check ups for you and your baby
Don’t get use to thinking that as soon as you’ve been moved from the labor ward to your room that you’ll be left in peace to bond with your baby and get as much sleep in as possible.
You’ll have nurses in and out of your room every few hours (more frequently if you had any complications during the birth) to check on your vitals and see how you are doing and how recovery is going. It’s not always fun, especially when you have just dozed off and you’re woken up for a 5 minute check up and you can’t fall asleep again. Yet, they have to be done. Even when one of the earliest ones of the day are between 4 and 5 in the morning and all you want to do is sleep a little more. Luckily that was also the time they served tea if you wanted any so it wasn’t all too bad.
Your baby will also be taken to the nursery to be checked for glucose levels, jaundice (yellow fever) or just to give you some time to rest and sleep. I took the opportunity to send my kids to the nursery at least once a day so I could take a shower or a bath in peace.
If you have a C-Section, your incision will be checked and cleaned and you’ll get a new dressing for it (usually the day after when you’re ready to get up again and move around).
Apart from that, you’ll have other nurses visiting you to ask you all kinds of questions; when last did your baby poop or have a wet nappy, how the feeding is going, if you are in any pain. Use these opportunities to ASK AS MANY QUESTIONS as you must, even if you think they are stupid. The nurses are there to help you, and assist you with making your stay as comfortable as possible.
You’ll be visited by breastfeeding specialists as well to help if you have any struggles or questions, and you can ask for assistance from your nurses as well. A hearing specialist will also come to check your baby’s hearing, but this is optional.
Visiting hours are set up for a reason. While it’s great to have visitors coming over to see your baby, you’re at the hospital for a reason; you’ve just had a baby, you need to rest and recover so you can go home. If you are expecting visitors, try and split them over the different available times so that your room isn’t overcrowded. If you’re sharing with other mamas, it might be a disruption to her or her baby. If you don’t want it happening to you, dont do it to someone else.
As soon as visiting hours are over, the nurses usually have to do the next batch of check ups so your visitors will need to leave. And don’t think that because the nurses are sweet and accommodating that they won’t chase your visitors out. Rules are rules and they need to do their rounds.
The only person that was allowed to be with me outside visiting hours was Hubby Byren but was still asked to leave at a certain time in the evenings when it was time to do the vital checks before bedtime.
You’ll be served with food during your hospital stay and tea in between, but let me tell you something. While it’s not terrible, it’s not exactly the best either. Still, you’ll need to eat because it’s important for recovery and getting your strength back. The potions of the dishes aren’t very big and the hours between the meals are long, so I always saved the fruits and snacks for a later stage in case I got hungry and needed something to nibble on.
You can always order something from the restaurant or the little shop at the hospital if you feel you are hungry or ask one of your visitors to bring something along for you.
Remember to talk about any dietary requirements with the nurses so they can accommodate you accordingly.
While I was given food every day, Hubby Byren was only allowed to join me for one meal which is like a celebratory lunch/dinner for the parents to have together. The rest of the time he would order something from the restaurant to snack on.
The hospital isn’t really set up to be a hotel so you’ll most probably end up sharing a room with other mamas.
With Monster I shared a room with three other mamas.
With Gremlin I shared a room with one mama.
With Cay I had a room to myself.
It all depends on what is available when you are ready to be moved to the wards. The only reason I ended up having a room to myself with Cay was because I was the first one to give birth that morning and the room was available. I didn’t even ask for one, they just assigned it to me. It was a little boring because I had no one to talk to and the nurses didn’t visit me as often as they did with the other two as I was already a veteran mama and didn’t have as many questions as before. Still, the peace was good. And some of my visitors were able to stay a little longer because they wouldn’t disturb anyone else.
The rooms also have a nice set up of cupboards where you can unpack your hospital bags to make it convenient for you to find what you need without having to turn out your bags each time.
Your baby might be sent to Neo-Natal if there are complications during the birth and the Doctor decides it’s necessary. I can only speak from my own experience with Monster who spent the first night in the Neo-Natal ward for observations after my traumatic birth with him. The nurses wanted to bottle-feed him because I was still bed-bound with my epidural but I insisted that I wanted to breastfeed. So I was provided with a wheelchair to move around until I was able to walk again to visit him in the ward and feed him. He was released back to me the next day after they cleared him of any risks and felt he was strong enough to leave Neo-Natal.
It’s important to find out about the Neo-Natal ward before you go into labor so you know what it is and what happens there in case your baby needs to be taken there. You can find all the information during your maternity tour of the hospital.
Who doesn’t like getting free goodies, right? Once you’re in your room, the nurses will give you a nappy bag filled with goodies for you and your baby. Which you can take home with you afterwards! You can find all the information about what you can expect to find in your bag in the booklet provided by the hospital on the day that you go to book your bed. Knowing what is included will help with packing your hospital bags so you don’t need to overpack on items that you receive to use at the hospital.
On the day of your discharge, your Doctor will check on how your recovery is going, final vital checks will be done for yourself as well as your baby, and if everything looks good, you’ll be able to go home. Sometimes this can take hours because the Doctor has other patients to see, attend to someone in labor and see patients at his practice. So be prepared to wait a while.
Also, you’ll be filling in a lot of forms on the day, some just to take your baby home. It’s all part of the hospital’s safety procedures.
Your last day at the hospital can turn into a long one, so sit tight, you’re almost on your way!!