Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Birth in the UK: Postnatal care. Home Visits!
Previously on Birth Story (click for the link)
So when we last left off of birth story, I had had the wee boy, and we went home via taxi from the birthing centre, about twenty-four hours after delivery. If you're shocked that it was so soon, know that there was absolutely no reason to keep us in the hospital, as we'd had an uncomplicated natural delivery, and he was nursing great. We would have actually preferred to go home the minimum of six hours after he was born.
The next morning, there was a knock on our front door. It was our midwife, Emily, coming to check on us.
Read that sentence again.
Seriously -- that happened.
Emily wanted to know how David and I were feeling, how the baby was feeling, if he was looking jaundiced (he was, and she prescribed a walk in the sunshine and to keep him near a window), how many dirty/wet nappies he had, what color his poo was, if he was feeding well, making sure we were keeping his crib in our room, without blankets, that we knew the signs for hunger, and if we had any questions. She checked the temperature in our flat, suggesting it be between 18-20 celcius. She asked how my lady parts were feeling, and if I'd passed any blood clots larger than a 50p coin. (If I did, I was to save them in a container and show them to her, so she could examine and make sure it wasn't leftover placenta bits.) She warned us that I would shortly start to feel "weepy," when my hormone levels dropped. She smiled, she cuddled the boy and checked him over, and she went on her merry way.
And she came back off and on for two weeks postpartum before deciding that the three of us were recovering well and discharging us into the hands of the Home Health Visitor -- also a medical professional who makes house calls.
More on that in another blog.
I've been reminiscing about those early days, as two of my good friends have had babies in the past week. It's a beautiful time, but it's also extremely challenging. I'm incredibly thankful to have had the home visits, and I really wish more was done for new parents in America. There are so many details to consider, so many things most people have never even heard of (counting diapers?!), and it's hard enough to take care of your own postpartum body, much less a little creature.
If you know a new parent, stop by their house (call first!). Bring them some croissants or a quiche or a six-pack of Guinness (it's good for nursing!). Take the baby for a walk, and tell them to take a nap or have a shower. Don't stay long.
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