I had my beautiful baby boy 6 weeks ago and in that time I have learned so much and without wanting to be patronising or condescending, thought I might share with others.
I ended up having a forceps delivery as I was too tired to push anymore. I knew very little about assisted deliveries so was a bit scared and upset that I had given up. However talking to the midwife afterwards, I had no idea how close we were to losing our baby. If I hadn't asked for help, there is every chance I would've ended up with an emergency c section and problems for baby.
So first tip - research assisted delivery before you give birth, just so you are prepared in case you need any help. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you get tired or feel you can't go on and NEVER feel guilty for 'giving up' you aren't, it is whatever gets that baby out!!
I wanted to go home from hospital as soon as I could as i don't like them at all! I ended up staying 2 nights because baby had a tongue tie and struggled to breastfeed. The staff were wonderful and nothing was too much bother, they would take baby if I asked them to so I could get rest, they brought me tea and toast at all hours of the day and night and I learned so many tips from them.
Second tip - don't be in a rush to get home, use the midwives for their support and knowledge and help. It also means hubby/partner can get some rest before being up with any in the night. My husband was up all night with me then didn't leave my side until baby was born. It's a knackering experience for you but it's also emotionally and physically draining for your partner too and if they've had one good rest before you come home, they are in a better position to help when you do come home.
Third tip - if you really want to breast feed, persevere. It will get easier for you and baby. Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work instantly, it is a learning curve for you and baby but if you really want to do it, persevere, it will happen!
Fourth tip - accept whatever help is offered. Whether it is someone to clean the house or make you a meal, they will do anything in return for a baby cuddle!! Limit the visits though, they are draining on you and all you want is to hold your baby and the hormones play havoc so smiling and pretending to be ok wont help. It is natural to feel weepy for quite a while, don't hold it in, let someone else have a baby cuddle and let yourself cry.
Fifth tip - try to sleep when baby does but if yours is like mine and won't sleep in a cot during the day, cuddle them and put your feet up while they sleep. Get plenty of fresh air but take it easy until you feel like you again, you won't be up to much for a while after birth!
Sixth tip - questioning everything you do is totally natural. Go with your instinct about baby and spend lots of time getting to know them and for them to know you. Try to get out to baby groups and meet other mums, they have other tips and have been through some of the things you have and can give assurance that you aren't the only one!!
Final tip for now - you will wash your hands loads and probably get old lady dry hands!! Get some intensive moisturising hand cream to use.
Enjoy your little ones ad I hope you love being a mum as much as I do!! X
P.s. oh and that 2am feed? You aren't alone, you are not the only mum in the world up at that time and if you need a break from the crying at that time (it's always louder and more tiring at night!) wake up hubby and get him to help!!