Since having baby #3, I’ve realized that our bodies are incredible. Actually, I realized that as a first time mom, but now I realize how incredibly adaptable they are! My birth experiences have changed with each child but the biggest differences I’ve noticed are the after effects – healing, milk production, etc. Things have definitely been different with each of my sons, some for the better, some for the worse. For those of you that are a first time mom, read on to find out what you may have to look forward to with subsequent babies. For the rest of you, let me know how you relate.
Here is a little look at how the experience evolves.
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(Keep in mind, all my births have been un-medicated.)
Baby 1: “Cut me if you have to to get this thing out!” After a quick whip stitch and the adrenaline wearing off, “I’m pretty sure I will never sit the same again. And where is that peri-bottle?! Peeing feels like death!” But Dermaplast is possibly the best invention in the history of the world. Could we just take a moment to recognize the people who came up with that blessed medication? And witch hazel tucks pads. Heaven.
Baby 2: I tore? Are you kidding me?! Oh, of course it was along my episiotomy scar. Of course. Peri-bottle me please. Oh, and sitz baths have now become my favorite of all time. Can I just sit here in my herbs all day?
Baby 3: I’m packing the arsenal this time. Oh, no tearing? No stitches? Nothing? Are you sure?? Maybe you should check again. I can pee! And sit! I don’t need any of that stuff! Do you have any idea how easy recovering is when you can pee and sit and not wince in pain?! I’m not sure I’ve ever loved anyone more than the midwife that kept me from tearing…and I’m not even positive it was because of her. I just have so much joy and happiness, I need to direct it at someone!
Baby 1: Oh, afterpains? I guess I kind of felt them a little. Mostly when the nurses came and pushed on my stomach.
Baby 2: K, people mean it when they say these things get worse with every kid. This is rather uncomfortable. Turns out, I didn’t feel ANYTHING last time!
Baby 3: Are we ready for the twin that is surely being born? What is this agony?! I’m pretty sure these are worse than the actual contractions that brought me my child! I had no IDEA as a first time mom.
Baby 1: I have no idea what I’m doing. This is the least natural thing in the world. And OW! No seriously. OWWW!!! How long until I’m “broke in” for this? Am I bleeding??
Baby 2: I’m totally braced for the week and a half of excruciating pain. Oh, not this time? K. Well thanks. I’ll gladly take a few days of moderate soreness.
Baby 3: There are pads that reduce soreness?! HOW HAVE I NOT KNOWN THIS?!
Milk Coming In
Baby 1: He’s screaming. A lot. I think he’s hungry. But it’s 2 am and my brain is so fuzzy. I just fed him. I’m still trying to feed him. Shouldn’t I have more milk by now? I know I’m not supposed to use a pacifier this early but I can’t take it. I CAN’T TAKE IT! My nipples are bleeding!
Baby 2: Here we go again. Why do they always want fed 12 hours before I have milk to feed them? Dying. So tired. Binky.
Baby 3: Drowning him. I think I’m actually drowning him. He’s just looking for a small snack and I’m gushing milk down his throat.
Baby 1: “I don’t know.” (That could honestly sum up every experience EVER as a first time mom.) I don’t know how much milk I have. I don’t know if he’s “getting enough.”
Baby 2: Well, I learned the hard way that milk production is something that should be worried about! Give me herbs. Give me advice. I’m not starving this one!
Baby 3: I think my body has finally figured it out. I could feed him on one side and he’d be content for hours.
Baby 1: He can’t co-sleep with us. I’ll smother him, he’ll get spoiled, all manner of horrible atrocities could occur! And why won’t he sleep while we’re on the subject? I. Am. So. TIRED! Every tiny fuss or squeak or rustle demands my immediate attention, even from the deepest depths of sleep.
Baby 2: Let’s just try nursing in bed occasionally. Oh, and I’m going to sleep through/ignore everything but the loudest demands for nourishment.
Baby 3: Did I just get a 5 hour stretch of sleep during his second week of life? Does he really sleep in our arms, in his crib, on a bed, in a swing, on the floor, with all the noise and chaos just because it’s nap-time? Who is this miracle child?
Now I am in no way guaranteeing these results for the rest of you. Also, maybe it has more to do with the child’s personality than my body or my competence for parenting, but I do know this, every baby is different. Every birth is different. Every recovery is different. The trick is learning to survive them!
I’d love to hear some of the ways your experiences have changed with each new child.