Friday, April 4, 2014

Top 5 things I didn't expect to happen after giving birth

Photo courtesy of duron123/
I was reading a fairly racy advice column the other day and this is a question one of the readers sent in:

My wife is fit and attractive, but her c-section scar is a total turnoff for me. What should I do? Tell her? Ask her to look into scar removal treatments? Just keep the lights off?

I have no words. None. I do, however, have a fist and I'd really like to use it to punch this guy in the face (I swear, I'm not a violent person). 

And, as most things on the Internet do, this led me to thinking about some of the surprises I encountered after pregnancy. There are loads of articles about this, but it's really an individual experience. Some things apply, some don't. And if you've never been pregnant before or it's your first time, I'm not sure if I would read about it. Sure, knowledge is power but if you're already pregnant it's too late to avoid any of this and if you're not pregnant, this may sway you into the "I don't want kids" camp. 

So venture forward if want, but consider yourself warned (side note: if you're male this may be especially squeamish for you and I'd probably opt out now). 

Five things I didn't expect to happen within days/minutes of giving birth. 

1. More contractions. WTF. I just did 24 hours plus of unbearable contractions and now I'm having more? And I'm holding the baby? You're sure you didn't shove him back in? Because those contractions hurt like a sonofabeetch. Seriously. I never thought about how my uterus would have to shrink back down to a normal size. I figured my body would take care of it on its own. And it does. In a very painful way. Also, if you're breastfeeding, it gets worse when your baby latches on because that triggers the contractions. I remember nursing E in bed at home with tears streaming down my face because it was so painful. Next time, there will be lots of Motrin. Regular strength Tylenol is for the birds.

2. The Ick. If you went to your pre-labor class, you probably remember hearing something about bleeding afterward. I was more focused on the pain leading up to delivery so I must've tuned that part out. Or I didn't realize how much it would be. And the hospital gives you chux pads - let's be honest, they're puppy pads - and mesh underwear. This. Does. Not. Work. If you want to get through this in the least messy, uncomfortable way possible buy yourself a bag of Depends. There is absolutely no shame in this and you will thank me later. 

3. Showers were painful. All I wanted to do after I got settled into my room after delivery was take a shower. The nurse looked at me like I was crazy and now I know why. Like everything else, it hurts. When that water hit my stomach it felt like tiny knives were being thrown at me. And I didn't even have a c-section! Bring baby wipes and put off the shower. Or get your significant other to pour water on you in the shower. Just don't aim jets of water at your abdomen. This is probably common sense...for the rest of you. 

4. Moving was difficult. I had a natural delivery, but it was still hard for me to get out of bed. I can only imagine the level of pain c-section mamas go through. Make sure someone is there to help you (my poor husband slept in a chair) because it's tough getting up, walking three feet and sitting on the toilet. And you have to go a lot because you're shedding your insides. Nice, right?

5. Night sweats. I retained a lot of water toward the end of my pregnancy and the epidural didn't help matters. It looked like I had elephant feet - seriously. What I didn't realize was that I was going to sweat all of that water out. Every night I would fall asleep comfortable and wake up in a giant puddle of water (no, I didn't wet the bed. Well, not like that anyway). It was horrible. My hair was wet, my clothes were wet, the sheets were wet and oh yeah, the baby wanted to nurse. All I wanted was another shower. Almost a year later and there are nights I still wake up sweating. Le sigh.

Now I should mention that even though it was a rough experience, it was all worth it because we had E. I would gladly do it all over again for him without hesitation. And I'm sure my mama friends can relate.

Also, I should mention that Nate was great throughout the entire experience. I couldn't have done it without him. And if any males made it to the end of this, please remember that your significant other is going through a lot of changes and is probably uncomfortable even after delivery. Pamper her as best you can (tip - I made Nate go get dinner for himself once I got the epidural because I was going to take a nap anyway - he didn't want to leave me - and when he came back he brought me a Chick-Fil-A meal and put it in the staff's fridge. It was much better than hospital food and just what I needed after I delivered. It also won over the nurses and that never hurts!).

Anyone else want to share her experience? Or is this way too personal for a Friday morning?



  1. Jeez. This list really does make you not want to have another baby doesn't it? Haha. I actually didn't have most of this happen to me. No post baby contractions, no painful showers, and no night sweats. I didn't even know post baby contractions were a thing! I'm surprised that that even happens. And the only reason moving was difficult afterwards was because the epidural took FOREVER to ware off. My left leg stayed numb almost 24 hours afterwards, started thinking it was permanent for awhile.

    I guess everybody's post pregnancy experiences are as different as their pregnancies.

  2. Rachel - say what now? No post baby contractions? You were living the good life for sure. I thought they were just as bad as the initial ones with no reward at the end, lol. I couldn't have done a numb leg for 24 hours though. It freaked me out when I couldn't move my legs during labor/delivery. I would've thought it was permanent for sure, lol. And I totally agree - everyone has different experiences.