Postpartum Care Kit

This may not seem like the most pleasant of posts but let me tell you it is a life saver! After limping through trial and error style after my first baby’s arrival I took notes on what all worked (and so did not) and decided to assemble a postpartum care kit for myself the second time around. I have also gifted these, discreetly, to first time moms along with pointers on what items to bring home from the hospital. Nobody talks about how to care for your body After baby! Why is that? I think it is equally important to all of the care put in leading up to the wee one’s arrival.

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Postpartum Care

Items to purchase:

Pads – Overnight length in varying levels of absorbency and don’t forget some thinner ones for once bleeding slows down but you still need coverage.

Witch Hazel Wipes – These wonderful things now come in travel wipes! I can not begin to tell you my level of excitement when I discovered that in the Target aisle. Well, the poor associate can because I simply could not contain myself. These also (and previously only) come in a screw top jar with individual little circle wipes inside.

Dermoplast Pain Relieving Antibacterial Spray – (not pictured) This spray numbs the area while having the adding feature of being antibacterial. This is especially helpful if you have stitches from a tear or episiotomy.

Chux Pads / Disposable Underpads – (not pictured) Laying a chux down can be an additional layer of protection for blood leakage or place it higher up for milk leakage. Either way it will help save your sheets. I also placed one on the seat of my glider for good measure. You should also be able to bring a few home from the hospital in case this item doesn’t make it home before baby.

 

Items to Bring Home from Hospital:

Peri (Perineal) Bottle – This will be very helpful for restroom trips for the first week or two especially. Remember, warm water!

Mesh panties – Because you don’t care what happens to them and they are super stretchy and light. Free is nice too.

Chux Pads – You should be able to bring a few of these blue buddies home to help protect your bed, nursing chair, wherever you sit. Once again, especially for that crucial first week or so.

Ice Pack – If you have a wonderful nurse that makes you an Ice Pack Pad thingy (I know, very technical term) it is a nice little treat to pull out of the freezer when things feel swollen and sore.

 

Postpartum Care Kit Setup:

I like having an assortment of the items (pads, spray, wipes, an extra panty) in a basket or shower caddy type container either next to the toilet on the ground or on the bathroom counter next to the sink.

Keep the lid off of your peri bottle between uses and empty so that you can just run the sink for warm water and fill. One time I sleepily grabbed the peri bottle without switching out the water from my previous bathroom trip and was shocked awake with cold water. That was all it took, one time. Warm is so much more inviting.

 

Hopefully this information is helpful to somebody else preparing for baby or sparks an excellent gift to an expecting first time mom. I know these items have been a life saver and I’m thankful to know what to prepare for now.

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36 Weeks = 9 Months

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The GBS Test result came back negative. Woo hoo! No antibiotics during delivery for me. One less reason for an IV and with my speedy track record it is good to not have a need to administer those antibiotics Before baby’s arrival. My OB did joke with me today that I know my body but not to wait until he’s about to fall out to come in to the hospital. Ha!

Speaking of hospital, even though both of my own children were born at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas I have requested information about taking a tour of Labor & Delivery (L&D). When my youngest was born about 2 1/2 years ago the hospital was at the beginning phase of a big construction project and L&D was supposed to receive a facelift in the process. As mentioned, I tend to go pretty quickly once active labor begins so knowing exactly where we need to go would be ideal, especially if that has changed from our previous experiences.

My clothes continue to shrink around surro baby boy’s growing mass in my belly. And I have started to get the “almost there?” pitiful looks and questions about how many are in there anyway. Still just one, thanks. Thankfully though, I was able to cash in on the second half of my spa certificate this past weekend that a group of wonderful friends gifted me before leaving Texas. It was a little challenging maneuvering on the little bed but I’m quite certain there was drool and snoring involved in the appointment as I listed lazily in and out of dream land. The masseuse was absolutely superb and I’m thrilled I got her a second time without requesting her. I may be biased, but Sarah really is amazing and was recommending I come back in after baby too. That sounds like an excellent idea indeed.

Birth Plan – Relearning the process

Yet another thing that I couldn’t find good information for online when searching was for a Surrogate friendly birth plan. All sites showed a full birth plan which extends to the baby’s first care, nursing, skin to skin, and other preferences that might not be applicable depending on your journey and the IP’s wishes as expressed in your contract. I have included the bare bones of my birth plan below to help others searching for a surrogate friendly birth plan. My birth plan is centered around the Bradley Method so it may not be the right plan for you. But you can always use this birth plan as a starting point and fine tune it to your wishes. Just remember to reference your contract, you make decisions for your own body, and that, unless discussed with your IP’s, all of baby’s care is their decision upon birth.

Birth Plan:

Full name: _________________ – Surrogate

Partner’s name: _________________

Today’s date: _____________________

Due date: _________________

Doctor’s name:  _________________

Hospital name:  _________________

__________________________________________________________________

My delivery is planned as: Vaginal un-medicated

I’d like (below)to have the option of being present before AND/OR during labor: Partner: NAME
Intended Parents: NAMES

During labor, I’d like:
Music played
As few vaginal exams as possible
To wear my own clothes
My partner to film take pictures
My partner to be present the entire time
To eat and drink

I’d like to spend the first stage of labor:
Freedom to walk around and/or get in the shower

I’m NOT interested in:
An enema
Shaving of my pubic area
A urinary catheter
An IV, unless I’m dehydrated (a heparin or saline lock is OK)

I’d like fetal monitoring to be:
Intermittent External

I’d like labor augmentation:
Performed only if baby is in distress
Performed by membrane stripping
Performed with prostaglandin gel
Performed by rupture of the membrane

For pain relief, I’d like to use:
Please only offer pain medications if I ask for them.
Minimal Intervention

During delivery, I would like to:
Squat
Semi-recline
Lie on my side

As the baby is delivered, I would like to:
Push spontaneously
Push without time limits, as long as the baby and I are not at risk
Avoid forceps usage
Avoid vacuum extraction

I would like an episiotomy:
Not performed, even if it means risking a tear

Immediately after delivery, I would like:
My partner to cut the umbilical cord
The umbilical cord to be cut only after it stops pulsating
To deliver the placenta spontaneously and without assistance
Not to be given Pitocin/oxytocin

If a C-section is necessary, I would like:
To make sure all other options have been exhausted
To stay conscious
My partner to remain with me the entire time
The screen lowered so I can watch baby come out
My hands left free so I can touch the baby
The surgery explained as it happens
Intended Parents to hold the baby as soon as possible

I would like to hold baby:
Immediately after delivery

I’d like my partner:
To have unlimited visiting To be able to sleep in my room

As needed post-delivery, please give me:
Extra-strength acetaminophen
Stool Softener

After birth, I’d like to stay in the hospital:
As briefly as possible

Questions for IP’s regarding Birth, Hospital, and Postpartum

In an effort to help other Surrogates (and IP’s) I have decided to post my entire list of questions with answers that I went over during my (long anticipated) conference call. Each journey is unique and there may be questions in here that wouldn’t be applicable or you may need to add some questions/details. Either way, I hope this is a helpful jumping off point for any surrogates finding themselves needing to get some answers from their IP(s) regarding birth, hospital, and postpartum care.

Questions for IP’s regarding

Birth, Hospital, and Postpartum

  1. When will you (IP’s) be arriving to the area?

    Beginning of December. IM will arrive first, IP will arrive later.
    They will bring baby home together

  2. Would you like to attend some prenatal appointments? They are currently scheduled out through the estimated due date.

    Yes, IM would like to attend some December appointments. Please email with all December appointment information.

  3. Do you want me to receive a fresh TDAP vaccination?

    Yes

  4. Will you be present for the delivery if possible? At the hospital or in the room?

    At the hospital, we will wait outside the room. We will come in after you and baby are ready.

  5. Would you like me to wechat you a message when I go into labor? Or how would you like to be notified?

    Tell the agency and they will alert IP’s.

  6. What is the plan if baby boy is born before IP’s are able to arrive?

    Hoping for a full term delivery but if baby arrives early the agency will help out and IP’s will arrive ASAP.

  7. Would you like to have birth photography?

    They are OK with pictures but prefer no blood or private body parts.

  8. As soon as baby is born do you want him on my chest until placenta is birthed? Or with the nurses?

    Ok with either, it is up to me and my strength level.

  9. If you are at the hospital would you like to cut the umbilical cord? Or do you not have a preference on who cuts it?

    Anybody can cut it. We will wait for baby to be all cleaned up.

  10. Do you want baby to receive vitamin K shot and eye drops after delivery? (On birth plan)

    Yes

  11. Do you want baby to nurse?

    No

  12. Would you like me to pump for baby?

    Yes

  13. Do you have any birth/postpartum wishes?

    No

  14. I would like to email my birth plan to the agency for you. I would like to have you sign off on my birth plan so that the doctor and hospital know we have discussed it (can be digital).

    Email it to coordinator

34 Weeks – Getting my list together

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Another week marked off on the calendar and I am finally scheduled to have a conference call with my coordinators and IP’s! I have been asking about this for months and thinking about it even longer. Now to get my list of questions typed up so I don’t forget anything important. Hopefully it goes well and there aren’t any misunderstandings, negative reactions to my questions, or things lost in translation.

The Braxton Hicks contractions continue to keep coming so I am purposely taking things easy for the next few weeks. Now that doesn’t mean I’m staying on the couch all day but I won’t be joining my mom on her trail hikes either.

Smuggling a Bowling Ball at 33 weeks

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Life remains to be very active. I had another prenatal appointment this week but at the last moment had to switch to see the Nurse Practitioner because Dr. Langley had to run over to Labor & Delivery. I’m always happy to accommodate those changes though because I hope that I will be on the receiving end of one such run across the parking lot in the near future.

The appointment went well, my weight went down a tiny bit so my overall total gained at 33 weeks is 17 pounds from day of transfer (woot!). Surro baby boy’s heat beat was good and strong galloping away on the Doppler. He is still measuring about three weeks ahead on the fundal measurement but since I had a good growth ultrasound so recently they aren’t sending me back. The next appointment is in two weeks then after that I increase frequency up to weekly appointments until delivery.

I’ve been working on questions for the big meeting but did find out from the IP’s that they plan to arrive at the beginning of December. We are all very excited to see each other in person and even more excited to officially meet surro baby boy. Another big task I started working on is my birth plan. This is a little different than previous birth plans I have written as my decisions are solely for my body, not the baby once he is born. I keep having to remind myself that and eliminating points from the document. It is a little surreal thought that we’ve reached the point that I am working on things like a birth plan and making delivery and postpartum care arrangements. The pregnancy seems to have flown by! Hopefully the final weeks of pregnancy will continue to fly at such a supersonic pace.