5 Things About Afterbirth You Never Knew You Wanted To Know...
Author: Cassi Hurd
Hey guys! As most of you know, I am a new mom. Pregnancy for me was pretty much a breeze. I was very lucky to have, dare I say, a boring pregnancy. Well, until the end when your body bluntly reminds you that you are in fact carrying a human. I could go in to detail there, but that's a whole other gory post on its own. This post in itself may be a little "reader discretion advised", but I promised to write about real things, so here we are. With this being my first pregnancy, I found myself googling things a lot, wondering if this was normal or if that was normal. Google can be super useful, but it can also have you very quickly self diagnosing yourself with inevitable death. We have all done it, I know I 'm not the only one. There are so many parenting books out there, books on what to expect when expecting, books on babies, toddlers bla bla bla, but those along with google give you very generic step by steps and in no way set me up for the reality of what my body was about to go through. ESPECIALLY post delivery. There are all kinds of lamas classes or online courses to prepare you for the birth itself (which by the way I never did and I was A-OK) but in my own personal opinion we could all stand to be a little less concerned with the breathing patterns of birth and a little more concerned with what happens AFTER birth. I have said it once and I'll say it again, women are effing super heroes. Along with my pregnancy, my actual labor was also fairly easy, which again I am very grateful for being that I took no birthing classes. My water broke at 4am and I had a beautiful baby boy in my arms less than 12 hours later. I'm not down playing it, the contractions were in fact the worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life, and I went with the (gasp) epidural. I pretty much went in to this whole experience knowing that I would more than likely get the epidural and I was ok with that. Though this was way more controversial in conversations I had with other women before I gave birth than I ever could have imagined. People tend to have VERY strong opinions on all things pregnancy, birth, and baby related, and that's ok, but I am here to tell you that it's all a guessing game, no mom or decision is perfect OR unfortunately un judged. This is something you learn as you go and you have to do what is comfortable to you and your family. All this to say, though labor was intense and brutal, it was to be expected.... What was NOT expected was the after birth experience.
Less than 30 minutes after you push a tiny human being out of you, (I'll say it again, super heroes), they have you grabbing your belongings and wheeling you to another room where you will spend the next few days before discharge, only one to two if you are lucky. I had to stay for 2 nights after delivery because I ran a fever during labor. But, this is where the fun begins...and by fun, I mean no fun at all.
No Sleep: Get ready because your road to no sleep begins here. I know I know this seems like a no brainer but hear me out, it's not what you think. Everyone told me before I gave birth, if they ask you to take the baby to the nursery overnight, always say yes. It could quite possibly be the last full night of sleep you get for a while. LIES! I skeptically and feeling guilty decided to take that advice and allow the nursed to watch over the baby overnight thinking I would need that rest for him later. Well that was all for nothing because you get no rest. Your baby isn't the only one being watched, the nurses came in to check on me every 2 hours. Whether it be to swap my IV, refill me medicine, or just anything at all. I even at one point told them that I didn't want the next dose of what I assume was a pain reliever, but do you think that stopped them? Not at all, in they walked ..right on time just as I had gotten myself into a position that allowed me to sleep with out accidentally ripping my IV out. This is 100 percent a silly complaint as it is absolutely necessary for them to check in on you, but annoying none the less.
Bathroom Time: Remember simply just going to the bathroom? Yea that's a whole new ball game now. It has now become a full blown production, no step by step manual here. You are laying there, 4 steps max from the bathroom holding it until the very last minute knowing what you are about to have to do to just get yourself there. When you can no longer hold it any longer, you have to completely un hook yourself from all your IV's or choose to wheel the whole dam thing in to the bathroom with you. Now you are standing there trying to navigate simple things like just pulling your own pants down, I wish I was kidding. The whole 3 step (pee, wipe, wash) routine is completely out the window at this point. There are now water bottles, disinfectant sprays, the largest pads you have ever seen in your life, ice packs and wait for it...disposable underwear involved. I have now had ice packs in places I never thought they would be and I have never been more thankful for it, they are truly heaven in this case. You will be given prescriptions for all of these things to purchase for yourself once you leave the hospital, but my advice is to take as much as you can while you are there. Any time at all you hear your nurse say "Do you need any more...?" The answer is always a hard yes. When you get home and have the glorious option of using more than one bathroom in the house, you are going to want to have these items in each bathroom. I have grudgingly found myself in the upstairs bathroom missing the water bottle, and in that moment, it is the equivalent of driving home from work realizing you left your house keys on your desk. Not cool. Just be prepared for your bathroom to look like somewhat of a murder scene after you use it for the first little while. (Sorry for the TMI) I wish I could tell you it's pretty, but its not. No one prepared me for that one, so you are welcome! lol
Constipation: In case you thought your bathroom problems ended there, WRONG! I was slightly confused when I saw that my doctor had written me a prescription for stool softeners but boy am I glad she did. Constipation is not something anyone wants to talk about, and wasn't even in the realm of possibilities of things I thought would come with this whole experience. Well I am here to tell you that is is a very real possibility, and not a fun one either. You have already done all the pushing you want to do for quite some time, and the thought of having to work any harder than necessary to have a bowel movement is not a fun one... let alone worrying about any stitches you may have. The stitches could be a category on their own but since I'm tying it in here I will say that they are worrisome. They are painful and you are in constant fear that you will somehow mess them up or get an infection. As we all know, this is not an area of our bodies that we want either of those things happening. Constipation however, is a very normal occurrence and usually stems from any pain meds or anesthesia you were given during labor. My advice? Do not skip the stool softener, you will thank me later. No shame here.
Wardrobe: You see all these women getting cute outfits/pajamas to wear in the hospital for all those photos you are going to be taking. If we don't post it on IG, it never happened, right? LOL! I am guilty of this too, but listen to me right now, unless you plan to get dark colors, don't do it. No cute little pink numbers to match your little girl...or baby blue to match your brand new son. Want to know the real reason new moms are always in black leggings or yoga pants, aside from the comfort of it? Because it's less noticeable when they leak or bleed through their clothing, which I promise you, will 100 percent happen. Another thing I personally was not prepared for. I was completely blind sided by the amount of "things" we'll call it, being released from my body. Some might argue that we should be used to this, I mean, we all get a period every month right? No, this is a completely different monster that rears its head. Not only is it (I hate to tell you) not just blood coming out, but you can't use tampons for risk of infection so you feel everything happening. And I mean everything, are you catching my drift? Get yourself some comfy pads, like the biggest ones they sell and be prepared to feel like you are wearing a diaper for a while. Hell, in all honesty, I would be lying if i said that adult diapers didn't cross my mind as an actual option. So keep it simple on the clothing front and stick to darker tones and loser stretchier clothing. Both to wear in the hospital and for quite some time after. Believe it or not, women can tend to bleed for 6-8 weeks after birth.
Wheel chairs: Oh what a life saver. Don't be a hero, take the ride. When they first make you get in to a wheel chair to go from the bed to the bathroom it seems silly. But you will soon learn that literally everything hurts. It hurts to stand, it hurts to walk, it hurts to sit, shift, or move. Everything must be done slowly and that first day using the wheel chair makes it so much easier to heal. But please be careful sitting down in to your chair, or any chair. Do it slowly, Slowly with a capital S. That area is very very sensitive at this point, and simply sitting can be painful. After the first day, its actually good and somewhat recommended to walk on your own and get your body moving again. Just know that this is another thing that normally comes so naturally and now may seem like more of a chore until you are fully healed. Don't be discouraged by this and take it at your own pace. It is ok to give yourself some damn time.
Labor my ladies, is in fact a major surgery. It happens every day and is so natural and regular that people forget what their bodies actually go through. There is no time limit on your bodies recovery. Though it's hard as a woman to not let the "snap back" pressure get to you, its' important to listen to your body. We all have un realistic expectations about getting back in to our pre pregnancy jeans, and for some people it is truly naturally that easy. But not for everyone, so cut yourself a break and know that there will be enough going on with your body, the last thing you should be worrying about is losing that weight post partum. I am not saying don't have goals, I am just saying be realistic, give yourself time, and be careful. Everything going on in that little body of yours will resume back to normal in due time. In the mean time, take the time to be lazy, to not have to worry about working out. Take the time to enjoy your baby and your family. When you go back to work you will be yearning to have this time back. I promise you, one day you will be on the treadmill wishing you had a valid excuse to not work out so enjoy this excuse while you have it. Take the time to truly listen to your nurses about all your after birth care, take notes even. Post partum depression was not something I dealt with so I can not speak on it, but I do know it is very real and if you feel even the slightest bit off it is ok and actually recommended to seek help. Make a list of any questions you may want to ask when you are in the hospital, because when you go home, you are on your own and will inevitably find yourself googling again. And down the rabbit hole you go. My whole point in this graphic, straight from my heart post it to advise women to take some time to educate yourself a bit on what is to be expected to be going on with your body after you deliver your beautiful bundle of joy. It is fine, you will be fine. However, for me personally if I went in to it knowing what I know now or at least knowing a little bit more of what to expect, then that wouldn't have been such a bad thing haha. It definitely would have saved me a lot of under my breath "WTF"s. I am in no way a professional but I wanted to pass along to any other expecting moms out there my experience, and all the things that really aren't talked about but need to be. Most importantly to anyone who has a little one on the way, enjoy your miracle...and congratulations!!!