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Part 2: The After Birth

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I checked into my hospital room where I’d be staying for the next couple of days.  And by ‘checked in’ I mean was wheeled in by a wheelchair where nurses helped me stumble into the bed.  Because as anyone who has give birth knows, you’re not usually itching to run a marathon hours after pushing a human bowling ball through a 10 cm hole.  Which by the way, has most likely either been torn  or cut open and then stitched shut.

There’s a lot of things no one really prepares you for when you’re going to have a baby.  So here’s a few nuggets for ya:

1.  You bleed…and bleed….and bleed…

The after birth situation is not pretty.  Not that giving birth is exactly pretty (although it IS beautiful), it’s full of fluids and nudity.  But afterwards, well…blech.  You bleed.  A lot.  Why?  Because your placenta which was attached to your uterine wall was ripped away, leaving all those blood vessels wide open.  And you bleed for weeks to come.  And no tampons allowed!  Yay for us!

So the nurses give you these pads the size of a sleeping bag (NOT exaggerating) and you shove them and an ice pack into these weirdly shaped mesh panties that leave little to the imagination and make you realize just how far you have to go in your upcoming weight loss journey.  And here’s a little bonus…that bleeding is probably not going to go away for the next 3-7 weeks. Longest period ever.

2.  Your downstairs is a mess.

I have never been brave enough to actually check out the situation down there after giving birth.  I’ve had friends recommend strongly NOT to–there’s no coming back from that.  So I just use the little squirter bottle (think mini-bidet) to keep it all clean for the first week or so.  Some people like the sits bath, but it’s too much work for me even though it really does feel nice.  And ps, it will definitely hurt to sit if you’ve had stitches.  Sit on your Boppy pillow–it will be your best friend.

3.  You keep having contractions.

I had had stitches for tearing, which of course hurt, but the worst pain after having a baby is the contractions.  Yes, you still have contractions, you lucky girl, you.  Because your stretched out uterus is not going to just magically shrink back down.  The contractions help it to get there and they hurt a lot.  And be prepared for every single person to tell you “They get worse with each baby.”  Thanks, that’s comforting.  Bonus:  they are also worse when you breastfeed!

4.  You have gas…  

It was about 3 am.  I was alone in my hospital room sleeping.   Little E was in the nursery and Husband was at home with our boys.  Suddenly I awoke to a very sharp pain in my abdomen.  I thought it was maybe a contraction, but it wasn’t going away.  It started getting worse and worse so I buzzed the nurse.  She spent the next hour or so with me, trying to help me get rid of the pain.  Here’s the pathetic part–it was just gas!  But it hurt SO. BAD.  And I had some serious sympathy for Little E when she would be crying in pain from her gas over the next few weeks.

Finally it was time for me to take the heavy drugs, my percoset.  I took two and finally fell asleep for hours.  But my abdomen hurt to the touch for hours after, and I cried when my OB came in to feel my uterus.  So embarrassing.

5.  …And pooping is just downright terrifying.

As for doing the number 2, the big BM, taking the Browns to the Super Bowl, etc.  It takes awhile to get normal.  The first time you do it after giving birth is super scary because you just know it’s gonna hurt.  And I’m not gonna lie…it might.  But it might not.  But it might.  And it might hurt for the next month or two as your bowels try to figure themselves out again.  Take those stool softeners they give you!!  After I had Will I was guzzling two water bottles a day of Metamucil to try and make my experience less painful, but it still wasn’t.  It would hurt so much and I bled so bad that I would be physically wiped out for the next several hours.  (Not that bad this time, btw.)

6.  You are still huge.  

You’d think that your baby being on the outside of your stomach would make your tummy virtually flat, with a fun little fat flap.  Nope (well, you do get a fun fat flap.)  After I have my babies, I still have a giant tummy, only slightly smaller than I was 9 months pregnant!  Very depressing when getting dressed.  I mean I seriously get sick of my maternity clothes and the second I am unpregnant I do NOT want to be wearing them.  But they really are the only things that still fit.  I specifically bought some cute maternity jeans this time around that I knew I would wear mostly after the baby came.  And guess what?  I’m wearing them right now.

Here’s a secret and if you should happen to do this too I will give you a hug.  I wear a girdle thingy every day.  I bought it the first week I was home.  And the main reason I wore it at first was because my tummy was so lose, it felt practically detached from my body.  So I bought a $12 body shaper thing at Wallys and sure enough, it sucks that baby belly right in.  It really helped me feel more together, as well as look a lot thinner.  And it allows me to wear more of my non-maternity clothes!  I’m going to keep wearing it for as long as I need and will probably buy a smaller size as I lose the weight.

7.  Breastfeeding is pretty much a nightmare. 

So maybe it’s not a nightmare if you are, oh lets say every woman in my family except me.  (Yes, sisters I know you will resent me for that comment.  It’s just the way I feel sometimes!)  Y’all can read my story of breastfeeding and know that I have never been able to do it right.  My mantra this time around was “I’ll try it–if it’s a struggle, I’m not wasting my time and energy.”  But what about if it kind of works?  I’ll detail this in an upcoming post, but you can rest assured that it’s not all easy peasy for many women.  And even the women who seem like it’s super easy struggled at first with the pain and such.  A proper latch does make it more comfortable but there is no way it’s completely pain-free in those early days.  Expect pain and expect difficulty and if you don’t have it, woohoo!

8.  And a couple other things:

-Your hair will fall out in droves.  Definitely consider getting a hair cut.

-Your tummy will look alien as it shrinks down.  The saggyness, the wrinkles, the unstretched stretch marks…oh the humanity!

There’s much more to the after birth that I could detail but I’m not gonna.  I’m just going to say this:  I was incredibly glad to leave the hospital and go home.  Because with all the discomfort of post partem, it was just better to deal with it at home.

 

Read Part 1:  Meeting My Daughter

 

48 Comments

  1. Your post has me cracking up! All these things are so true about after birth! I had a c section, so I was given these wonderful pills afterwards that forced me to pass gas. Best things EVER! And the bleeding??? Holy moly. Someone had told me that if I had a section, I wouldn’t bleed even half as much, because they would “clean me out”. I’d like to smack that person lol. The only thing not true in my case? The weight loss! I’m overweight to begin with, and I had gestational diabetes, so I had to be very strict with my diet & such. 3 days after giving birth, I was 40 lbs lighter. I had maintained a 10 lb weight loss my entire pregnancy, according to scales. I didn’t realize how much water weight I had!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Congrats on the weight loss and a healthy pregnancy tho!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Yes, you SHOULD be! 😉

  2. This is soooo true (and I think it is the first time I’ve seen all these things in one place). NO ONE tells you this stuff! I think the sleep deprivation erases some of your memory. And those mesh “panties”… LOVE them! I’d be wearing them right now (my youngest is 2 years old) if I could find someone to score some from the hospital for me 🙂 I had a C section with my first and those were the only things I could wear with the incision. I had overglamorized having a VBAC with my second; had I read this list I might have thought twice!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Haha, I hated trying to wear anything after my C section for sure!

  3. Preach Heidi! It’s all so true, and I really wish I would have known about all of it before I found myself there. It might have helped tame the inconsolable crying when I realized I looked exactly the same 9 months pregnant and not pregnant. Ugh.

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      I know, it’s so sad! But fortunately we sweat and pee all that water weight away…

  4. You had me at #1. I got the delightful experience with my first of the Dr. reaching in and physically removing the stubborn placenta, and then dropping it on the floor. Right at my still raised feet. There was blood everywhere! Good thing I was too far gone to care about being embarrassed since I also had the pleasure of not 1 but 2 “students” (a Dr & a nurse). Why don’t we just broadcast it on the hospital TV already!?

    But seriously, thanks for the reminder of what I can look forward to in the next few months. I was starting to think that pregnancy was the bad part. Oh how quickly we forget…

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Wow! Sorry about all that! You really lose all remaining dignity you might have had when you have a baby. I mean how can I when I just had a nurse shove a gas pill up my bum? Haha!

  5. Enjoyed reading your post, because I know exactly where your coming from on this one. I wish I would have had a more realistic picture of this before my first one. I remember clearly being shocked how big my stomach still was, the comments I received didn’t help any, and the fact that I felt like I had been run over by a semi- truck. Boy, I didn’t expect that. Then how different everything was after the second one. I’m kind of nervous about this one, after all I have 2 older kids I will still need to tend to, not just the baby. One of the comments that I get when people first find out that I’m pregnant and can’t stand is “Yay no period for 9 months!” Are you kidding me, do you know what happens after 9 months!? If all we were basing it on was the period it wouldn’t be worth it.

    You like the girdle, does it give good support? I was thinking about getting one instead of those highly commercialised Tummy things.

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      I got great support with the girdle, and WAY cheaper than the specialized post partum tummy band things. Not sure if they work better or worse but it’s worked great for me so far!

  6. Yup, you’ve all got it pretty much there! Good thing we get sweet babies out of it!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Seriously.

  7. I am going to be delivering baby #4 tomorrow and I have noticed that my cramps and bleeding have slowed with each of my births. But I completely understand everything you have posted. At least in the long term you get a beautiful little baby to snuggle and love. 😉

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Wow–good luck with your birth tomorrow! And of course, the baby is well worth all the pain and grossness!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Haha Amie! Yes, having kids can be scary!

  8. LOVE this. just had baby #3… so i can relate to many of these lovely things right now 🙂 these are the things i am not afraid to tell my friends… because they won’t hear or read anywhere else 😉

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Great–I’m sure your friends will thank you for the info! Or decide to not have kids, haha!

  9. I laughed and nodded with each point you made:) My son is turning 7 weeks this Friday and I just stopped bleeding LAST week! THEN I got got my period two days later! What the what??

    Its sad when you get excited to be able to sit on a toilet cause it doesnt hurt anymore…let alone a hard chair. And that water bottle they give you at the hospital…best invention ever! I have never been brave enough to look at the whole works after my kids come out either. No thanks.

    Oh…and if you ever have any more kids…bring Depends to the hospital with you. I brought them this time and I didnt have to wear the mesh underwear and gigantic pad (that is too large to fit any human being between the legs anyways…).

    Thanks for sharing your story:) It made me laugh and agree…and glad I picked up my birth control from the pharmacy yesterday:)

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      So glad that you’re on this little journey with me! I just barely stopped bleeding too–way longer than normal for me!

  10. Cute little comic strip. I’ll tell you, breastfeeding seemed to work well for me, I did it for nearly a year with each of my 4, but it hurts like the *&^%#@%^*& dickens that first week, and everyone said “If you do it right, it doesn’t hurt.” And that’s just not true. I can’t imaging if I had a real struggle how much it would hurt.

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Ya, I’ve had my share of pain with breastfeeding, but the pain is not as frustrating as all my issues!

  11. I so feel you on many of the items you listed. I had c-sections with both of mine so luckily, I didn’t have to worry about tearing (and after listening to my one sister’s three experiences with that, it made having a c-section look like eating cake). But I had the gas issue of course and was told I couldn’t have solids until I could pass gas. I thought I was going to die it hurt so bad but I didn’t want to “push” because I didn’t want to split myself open. And breastfeeding didn’t work out for me and I was nervous after watching previously mentioned sister have tons of problems. I pumped with both. I went back to work so I was going to do it anyway. It was a mental life saver. Congrats on the baby!!! 🙂

  12. I SO hear you on all of these. I wish some had told me.
    My 3rd delivery was the worst. My labor was 45 minutes, no believed I was in labor until the nurse actually checked me in an assessment room and found my daughter was crowning— lets not mention how freaked out she got and then how panicked I was see her freak out… I was bawling.
    I also bleed for 15 weeks… yes, you read that right… 15 freaking bloody weeks. It finally stopped when my milk dried up (I dry up with no rhyme or reason). She caught pneumonia 2 days out of the hospital and then RSV afterwards along with colic. My son was also diagnosed autistic while I was pregnant and was starting his therapies after I had my daughter. Six months later I actually had a break down (and am doing much better now… apparently you should deal with issues and past abuse as a child instead of letting it all pile up… who knew!).
    My husband said he wants another baby…. I’m seriously debating the issue. They’re cute, but I don’t want that recovery again! And in the end, it is all worth it. Everytime I look at my kiddos I am thankful for everything. I think we might have another one eventually…. I love my kids.
    So glad Ellie is here safely!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Wow–that is some serious trauma Dana. I would definitely not be looking forward to that again either!!

  13. Wow, I thought my friends were open with me about this birthing thing, but there were quite a few I had never heard of from your list. I am glad to know it, but it doesn’t make it any easier going into this in approx. 6 weeks 🙂 Fun times ahead for sure!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Yes, maybe I am too open. 🙂 Good luck!

  14. Ahhh, the beautiful and (not so beautiful) birthing experience! Lol. I think you explained it just about right! It’s a rough recovery, that’s for sure. I hated being in the hospital, I got no rest whatsoever. I couldn’t wait to leave. That’s interesting about the after birth contractions. I’ve never heard of that. I’ve had two kids and never had that. And the ‘ol #2. Uggh, so annoying and uncomfortable. I noticed with my second that I started losing a lot of hair. I started taking a multivitamin and it stopped. I was nursing, so I’m guessing he was taking a lot of my nutrients and I wasn’t getting enough. I’m sorry that breastfeeding is so hard. I can imagine how difficult and frustrating that must be. But, congratulations! I can only imagine your excitement after two boys, finally having a girl! I have a girl, then a boy. I almost wish I had a boy first, so I could truly appreciate the calmness and serenity of a girl! 🙂

  15. I was getting so excited about baby #2 until I read this… “oh yea…” popped into my mind more than once. Its crazy how much you forget – and it hasn’t been that long. No wonder we do it more than once!

    I know remember thinking, “I don’t know if I EVER want to to do THAT again!”

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      It’s hard but you know you can do it!

  16. Wow! I’m glad you said all this straight up, no dodging around what happens. I don’t have any children yet, but they are in my future, I have to admit, I’m terrified now, but at least you didn’t make me think it was all butterflies and cupcakes. Now I know what to be prepared for. ha ha ha I hope you start feeling better fast and congrats again on your little one.

    Natalie
    http://www.projectdowhatyoulove.wordpress.com

  17. Ahh! Lets hope I forget this post BEFORE its time for me to have kids. Scarryyyy… I’m sure its all worth it in the end, but still SCARY. 🙂

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Haha, it’s not THAT bad.

  18. OH my goodness! I was laughing so hard. I’ve never had it described to me so candidly. I’ve had three and to be honest, each was it’s own experience. I don’t enjoy being pregnant, I panic that last month of pregnancy when I realize there’s only two ways to get this baby out and neither sounds all that appealing. I didn’t like breastfeeding, but did it at least a year with all three; the last refused to eat/drink anything else so nursed longer. My youngest is now six and a half and I still haven’t forgotten how hard it is. Love my kids to death and would do it all over again, but not without a few groans of complaint first.

  19. LOL! This post cracked me up! And perhaps, scared me a little as well. I will be having my first baby in May. I already knew that most of this happens/ed but hearing it in more detail just makes me SO UBER EXCITED to experience it all myself. NOT! lol

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Wow, congrats Allison! And really, it’s hard but totally doable. I think that it’s totally worth it!

  20. I am seriously laughing out loud! Everything you describe happened with my second baby. I’m laughing because I totally relate, not because it’s “ha ha” funny.

    I agree 1000% with you on the girdle thing! It saved my life after my first was born via c-section. I no longer felt like my insides were going to spew out at any moment. I wish I would have worn my girdle after my second (vbac) baby was born. I think the ol’ belly would have been back to normal more quickly.

    I wish you the best of luck as you adjust to your newest little angel!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Ya, it ain’t pretty! But it’s only a short time and I am already forgetting all the mess. 🙂

  21. Love it! So true! The mesh panties are my favorite. I thought they were SO weird when I first saw them, but they may be the best post-partum invention ever! 🙂 And, thanks so much for sharing your story about breastfeeding! I just read it. It’s so frustrating when things don’t work right. I have an absolutely terrible time and shared about it too. http://www.momendeavors.com/2011/03/when-breastfeeding-doesnt-work-part-1.html
    Hope everything has been going well this time around!

  22. Oh thank you for being so refreshingly honest! I am laughing out loud. My husband and I are trying to conceive and people don’t like to share this kind of stuff, but seriously, I want to be prepared for the not so beautiful parts. Keep keeping it real!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Haha, maybe too real!

  23. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience!
    I guess the whole labour thing just seems like the light at the end of the tunnel for me 🙂 I have 2 sons – first born vaginally, second born c-section (I MUCH prefer the vag delivery for recovery!!). But my pregnancies were rotten. I was sick, sick, sick, sick… and for 3 days after my first was born, i was STILL having morning sickness. I lost 25lb in the first 3.5mos of pregnancy, spent 5000$ on medication (to keep me from throwing up – thank God for insurance!), got hospitalized 3 times for rehydration, missed about 20 days of work, I lost a ton of hair and looked like death. So…. If I could have my choice… I guess I’d say “i’d rather have the labour” 😉
    Just my perspective, though!
    I hope everything sorts out with the BF for you!! I know that can be a totally different experience for every woman and for every baby. I admire your fortitude for sticking it out, even though it’s being rough on you!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      No no, it wasn’t a bad experience! It’s just a messy and painful one but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world!

  24. Hi!
    I’d just like to thank you for this blog entry. I’m three months pregnant and I like to be as prepared as possible, but I just couldn’t find the honest truth like this. I’ve had moms (who gave birth with epidural and “naturally”) who made giving birth sound like, “Oh, it’ll hurt a little but when it’s over, you’re done and that’s all there is to it.”

    I’m so glad I found this post, or else I’d be in for some painful surprises!

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