The Bait and Switch

Welcome to your first night home with baby thus far you have spent hours in labor, evacuated a child out of body, learned a few new things about caring for this little human, starting to feel the pains of recovery, when suddenly you’re sent home.

Our daughter was born at 1.53a after checking in to the hospital around noon the day prior. By the time she came out we were both exhausted, hungry, and in awe of baby. So we agreed to let her spend the next few hours until 7a in the nursery so we could get some sleep. I was ready to pee on my own (had an epidural so the last 2 pees were via catheter) and chow down on something since I wasn’t allowed to eat after the epidural (the nurses did allow me to eat a light lunch, but another nurse lectured me for it especially since I vomited it up – but I would have eaten that and more if I could again). If you have a vaginal delivery in America, insurance only pays for 2 nights in the hospital.

Our first day and night with our child was angelic. She was nursing, quiet, and we would just hold her – still exhausted – and be amazed.

Night two (where depending if you had your child before midnight or after) would already be at home. This is when you can’t figure out why baby keeps crying and suddenly start questioning whether you’re cut out for this new life. All this is occurring where you’re having pains standing, moving, bleeding, needing an ice pack for relief, and haven’t passed your first poop.

That’s what we checked out with the following day – uncertainty, exhaustion, and excitement to go home. From angelic to terrifying – the bait and switch of your child’s expressions.

Why is it “acceptable” in the US to barely allow a new parent to get some rest before they are thrust into their new lives? Why is there not better care for new moms? In South Korea, my friend told me of a postpartum facility that moms go to for 3 weeks after the baby is born where you learn with guidance to become a parent while having meals provided for you. In addition, there are lactation consultants on hand to help you through the extremely difficult road of nursing if you choose to do so. Also this facility helps you focus on recovery – after all your body just went through a huge trauma. In America, if we want help, we have to lean on family, friends, or hired help but our healthcare system just lets us figure it out for ourselves. Did your hospital offer any postpartum courses? In my experience, I didn’t see any options for postpartum only for labor and delivery. What was your experience like?

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