Those first few hours after delivering your new bundle of joy are important for a variety of reasons. And, for better or worse, the people at your bedside can be the difference between a good first night, and a night you'll never speak of. From comfort keepers to emotional support, everyone plays a role. The doctor is a given, for obvious reasons, but there are other people who can make or break your first night at the hospital... and they may not get the credit they deserve.
I still remember the blur of people in and out of my hospital room after the birth of my first child. The very best people, at least in my experience, were the ones that both allowed me the freedom (and space!) to enjoy my baby, and those who made sure I was tended to and supported (long after labor and delivery ended). While the focus usually shifts to the newborn as soon as they enter the world, the people who can start off your postpartum experience the right way are those who don't forget you still, you know, exist.
I didn't have as many supporters in my corner when my second child was born, unfortunately. Maybe everyone assumed I'd already been through it once and, as a result, didn't need the same care and attention. Or maybe they innocently assumed I wanted time with my baby and partner, alone. Whatever the reason, I appreciate those who made that first night in the hospital with my babies everything I needed, and more.
It should go without saying, but your partner (or designated support person) plays a critical role during that often confusing whirlwind of a first night — especially if it's your first child.
After my first baby was born, it was painfully obvious that my partner and I had no idea what we were doing. Still, having him there to go through it all with me made me feel like a little less of a failure. He reminded me that we were in this thing together and, through trial and error and time and patience, would learn together. Our time in the hospital with our first child brought us closer together.
Your Designated Nurse
Unfortunately, my postpartum nurse was rude and unkind, and left me in tears just hours after I endured a traumatic birth to deliver my son. Having a nurse who made my first night as a mother of two pretty terrible didn't make my postpartum life any easier, so I eventually requested a different one. The previous nurse apologized, too, but at that point it was too little, too late.
The Person Responsible For The Food
I was induced on a Monday afternoon and didn't give birth until Wednesday evening. As a result, I didn't eat actual food for a very, very long time, and while enduring an incredibly physical event. Those glorious souls who took my phone order from the hospital bed, prepared my meal with love, and delivered it to my bedside? Angels. Pure angels.
My parents live out-of-state, so when both of them came for the birth of my firstborn I was simply overwhelmed with emotion. It was so touching and moving, that they would take time out of their lives to watch mine change.
There's nothing like having supportive parents tend to you in a parental way, while simultaneously watching you come into your own as a parent yourself. The circle of life is a beautiful thing.
A Lactation Consultant
My first experience with a lactation consultant came just hours after delivering my first child. I couldn't get her to latch and, as a result, became visibly frustrated. My on-call nurse set me up with the on-staff lactation consultant to help get things going. While I ultimately didn't succeed on my breastfeeding journey due to postpartum depression, that woman believed in me and guided me through the process. She was patient and kind and the exact type of person who should be with a new mom who's chosen to breastfeed.