Labor & Postpartum Q&A

Did it take you longer to get pregnant with your 3rd? Due to Hashimotos?
Yes, it did. With Sophia & Avery, I got pregnant right away, but it took 6 months this time, which I know is not abnormal. I talked to my endocrinologist about it, and she said she would not intervene until we had been trying unsuccessfully for 1 year.

I’m in my first trimester of my first pregnancy and freaking out! What prenatals did you take? Diet changes? Cravings? Morning sickness?
Congratulations! I took Ritual prenatals. I didn’t plan any diet changes, but just ate what I could stomach and what I craved. Lots of Ramen, bagels, fruit…basically all the carbs! I didn’t love meat, and couldn’t do a lot of veggies. I felt sick until week 17, and then my nausea came back around week 27 until birth, unfortunately! But all worth it ;).

Did you use an ovulation app?
I didn’t.

Did you have a natural birth or C-section?
Natural (but medicated).

Did you have to wear a mask the whole time you were in labor? I’m dreading that! And was your husband the only person allowed in the room?
Yes I did, but I know every hospital is different. I have a couple friends who just had babies in different areas of the country, and neither of them were required to wear a mask. I was worried about it too, because I get light headed when I wear a mask for a long time, but it was the least of my concerns once I was actually in labor. I even asked my husband after she was born, “Was I wearing my mask the whole time?” I couldn’t remember. It didn’t bother me at all. And yes, my husband was the only person allowed at the hospital with me.

How nervous do you get leading up to labor and delivery? How did you deal?
Leading up to labor & delivery, I was the most nervous this time. Not about labor/delivery, but just during this pregnancy. I think it was a combination of knowing possible complications from Hashimotos, and feeling anxious after two of my scans – mild ventriculomegaly at 27 weeks that ended up resolving on it’s own in utero & practicing breathing/swallowing being undetected at 37 weeks. My doctor is older, very chill and laid-back with years of experience. He specializes in high risk pregnancies, so I know he has seen it all. After the scans where something came up, he would be so calm about it & tell me try not to worry, which helped a little. At the 37 week scan, I had to go right to labor & delivery for a non-stress test, and I was sort of panicking asking him what would happen if I didn’t “pass.” He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Then you’ll stay and have a baby today.” It definitely helped me to have such a laid-back doctor. I was the least anxious during actual labor because I knew the baby would be here soon! Once I knew she was going to be born that day, I felt a sense of calm I hadn’t felt my entire pregnancy.

How many weeks were you when you delivered?
39 weeks 5 days.

How did you prepare for labor? Any specific strength exercises/workouts? Hypnobirthing exercises? Or anything you did leading up to labor that helped?
With SPD, I couldn’t exercise, but I did download a hypnobirthing app (Gentle Birth) to help with the anxiety I was feeling and I do feel like it helped a lot! The breathing exercises helped when I was in labor, especially since the contractions came fast & hard with being induced.

Did you feel like contractions were worse being induced vs naturally going into labor? I’m high risk and going for NST weekly and may be induced as well!
Yes! I don’t necessarily know if they are “worse” but they are very intense right away. There is no progression like there is with natural labor.

If you could choose, would you go into labor naturally or ask to get induced? 
I would much rather go into labor naturally! I really didn’t enjoy being induced, but of course wanted whatever my doctor recommended as being the safest option for baby/me.

Inductions are so hard! Did you have an epidural?
Yes I did

Was each of your labors faster than your previous? I’ve heard it gets quicker each time!
Yes, my 2nd was 1/2 the time of my first, and I heard that continues to happen each time. It was a bit different this time since I was induced, but it was still faster than my 2nd as well.

Why did you get nauseous during labor? Pregnant with my first and this isn’t something I’ve heard!
I think it’s pretty common, at least this is what my nurse said. It happened to me with Sophia & Lulu, but not with Avery.

Is it easier each time? Or just different? Did you find you were more or less anxious?
I would say different. Each of my labors were so different. This time, obviously being induced was the biggest difference. I wrote about my anxiety above, but that was during pregnancy rather than labor/delivery. I was the least anxious during this labor/delivery vs my other two. I felt calm because I knew the baby was coming, my doctor was there to deliver (first time I’ve had my actual doctor deliver!), and my nurse was an angel on earth. I also think the hypnobirthing app really helped me stay calm during labor.

Did you still keep the gender a surprise until birth?
Yes, and it was so amazing!

That hair is legendary lol! Did your other girls have that much hair at birth?
Sophia had almost as much, but not quite! Avery did not have much hair at all.

With all that hair, did you have horrible heartburn?
Yes! It may be an old wive’s tale, but I had terrible heartburn and indigestion.

Obsessed with her name & would love to hear the story behind it if there is one! 
Thank you! She went 2 days without a name lol. All of the nurses and doctors kept visiting our room asking if she had a name yet. We went into the hospital not set on any names for either a boy or girl. We had a longer list for boy names, but were having the hardest time finding girl names we liked/agreed on. After she was born, we didn’t feel like our girl names were a ‘fit,’ for her. After two days of searching what feels like every list on the internet, we came back to family names and decided on her name – Lulu James Iris. Lulu (after my mom) James (my grandpa) Iris (my mother-in-law).

Congratulations! Names you loved but didn’t use?
Boy names we had on our list: Harrison James (this was our boy name since Avery), Henry Harris, Jack, Leo, Anderson, Rockwell (Rocky) and Tate. Girl names: Willow James, and Leni Celine. Girl names were so much harder for us this time!

Were you hoping for a boy? She is adorable!
I really wasn’t. I feel like this is one of those things that everyone else kept saying, “Oh, I bet you’re hoping for your boy this time!” but I never was. After having two girls, I know I love having girls, and would have been excited about either boy or girl. But, especially with the age difference between the girls, I’m so happy it’s a girl. She will always have her older sisters to go to about life and girl things! I always wanted a sister (two older brothers), and it’s so fun for me to have girls and see their bond.

Were the girls excited to have a new sister?!
So excited! It was so fun to tell them it was a girl!

Did your pelvic pain/SPD go away right after birth?
Yes, instantly! Most of you who had this as well said the same, such a relief.

Thoughts on encapsulating the placenta?
I wish I would have since this is likely my last pregnancy, and I never have before. I found someone highly recommended about a week before, but she is out of state and I would have needed to start the process before then. I know Meggan is going to do hers!

What did you end up packing/using in your hospital bag?
I overpacked for sure lol, but since we couldn’t leave I wanted to be prepared in the event we had to stay longer than expected. The things I loved having: this night light, shower shoes (drain holes are essential), slippers (true to size), these button down pajamas, heating pad, snacks, a small diffuser (packed it based on all of your recommendations, and the nurses all told me they love when someone has it because it smells so good), a bluetooth speaker (loved during labor – spa music, and later in our room to watch movies on the iPad), essential oils, and the Always discreet underwear (much preferred these over the hospital underwear with the giant pad that always falls to the side). Stuff I didn’t use: makeup, hair dryer & extra skincare stuff (I used the bare minimum, didn’t feel like doing a full skincare routine lol).

More info on the oils you took to the hospital with you please!
As we were getting ready to leave the house, I told my husband to grab some oils since we were bringing the mini diffuser, but I ended up using them in labor as well when I got nauseas. I had an orange citrus and this one from Saje, both helped so much with my nausea. I would put the roller ball on my neck, and wrists, and just smelled (sniffed? breathed in? lol idk correct term here) the citrus directly from the bottle.

What are your post-partum must haves for recovery once you get home? 
I bought the Frida Mom Kit and loved/used everything it included, these silver nipple shields if you’re nursing (the reviews convinced me to buy these & they’re amazing – I haven’t used nipple cream at all!), a comfy robe, these nursing bras & nursing pads, and slippers.

Can you share items you feel that you need/don’t need on your registry?
I feel like every baby is different, and I don’t really know what types of things people register vs buy themselves, but the items we’ve used most in our first month home are: the Doona, Snuggle Me lounger, swaddles, bottles, Snoo (or any bassinet), changing pad, baby bathtub, baby monitor, thick burp cloths, diapers/wipes (obviously), and pump. Babylist has a really great quiz (I took it to see what we needed to buy) and emails you a suggested list for your registry – I recommend taking it! One thing we did in the past, and decided against this time is a diaper garbage, and I’m so happy with that decision lol! They seem like a great idea, but especially as your baby gets older, they just start to smell SO bad. I’m gagging at the thought of the smell. We just have a small garbage can next to the changing table, and take it out every night.

Do you have a night nurse and/or nanny? If you have a night nurse, can you share your experience?
No we don’t. I’ve never had a night nurse, but I have friends who have and the reviews are mixed – some said it was the best money they’ve ever spent, and others said it wasn’t for them. I’m officially going back to work this week, and my husband isn’t working from home anymore, so once she’s a little older we will look for someone part-time during the day. We had two conference calls last week, and both times she was crying the entire time. It was a hot mess lol, but thankfully everyone was understanding!

I have kids similar ages as yours and pregnant now as well, can you share how it’s been going (specifically in the mornings?) Routine, etc.
The mornings are the craziest time I would say. My husband has been helping with the older girls before heading to work – getting them ready for school, packing lunches, getting them off to the bus, etc. while I feed Lulu. Right now, she’s waking up/feeding at the same time they need to be getting everything ready/out the door, so thankfully he can be hands on most days.

Are you breastfeeding or using formula? If you’re using formula, which kind?
Breastfeeding & pumping for now!

Can you share why you love the Doona? Can you also recommend something less expensive? 
Best invention ever! I see why it was the #1 most recommended item when I asked for suggestions on IG stories. It’s an infant car seat with a stroller attached. I wish I would have had this for all of my girls. It’s so easy to use, and you’re not having to haul a big stroller attachment out of the back of your car to pop the carseat onto – it’s just all in one! The only downsides are the cost & that once they outgrow the infant seat, you can’t use it anymore. I was talking to a friend who lives in Canada (Doona is not approved for use in Canada), and I recommended this infant car seat carrier/stroller for the infant seat. I know, it’s not the cutest, but it’s inexpensive, light weight, and universally compatible – read the reviews. Having the huge stroller in the back of your car is just such a pain/so heavy/takes up so much trunk space! If I had to do it all over and couldn’t get the Doona, this is what I would buy!

Can you share post-partum realness? Emotions/baby blues? How your body feels/looks? The good and the bad. I’m going to be a FTM and I don’t know what to expect! 
Yes! I definitely forgot how tough it can feel in the beginning – exhaustion, how much breastfeeding hurts at first (it gets better, I promise!), how sore your body is after birth and still looking pregnant after you come home from the hospital, a rollercoaster of emotions, hormones all over the place, and randomly crying. It’s such a blissful, happy, and emotional time all at once. I will say, I am loving the newborn phase the most this time. I’m not sure if it’s because I know what to expect, that it’s (probably) my last baby, or I know how quickly it goes, but I feel less anxious than I did with my other two. My biggest piece of advice would be to take care of yourself, take it as slow as you can for the first few weeks, and rest when the baby is sleeping! The more you rest, the better you will feel.

How are YOU doing and feeling?
Thank you for asking! I’m doing well, and feeling pretty good now that I feel like we’re in somewhat of a routine. She’s started sleeping really well, I’m only having to wake up once (sometimes twice) in the night to feed her. Overall she’s just a good, chill baby & I’m just enjoying this time and trying to soak it up because I know how quickly it goes!

Are your parents or in-laws able to visit? It’s so hard living far from family, especially once you have kids :(. I’m in the same boat as you, live across the country from both my parents and in-laws.
I feel you, it’s so hard to live far from family! We hadn’t seen either of our parents/families since 2019, but my in-laws were able to visit a few weeks before Lulu was born, and my parents came in April after she was born. It was so nice to see them, I was sitting in my car crying after I dropped them off at the airport lol. But I’m super thankful for the time we got to spend together, it was much needed!