10 Surprises About the First Few Days After You Have a Baby
Childbirth classes were something I didn’t consider to be optional when I was pregnant. With my Type A personality and the fact that I am someone who would always rather know the ugly truth than a pleasant lie, you’d better believe I was in that class with pen in hand, taking notes. Plus I was pregnant with twins, so I was already at Terror Alert Level Orange.
My husband and I learned about many, many things over the few months we attended class, but it turned out that there are a whole bunch of things that happen before you even leave the hospital that I not only didn’t learn in class, but no one ever mentioned. I guess most people figure that once you’ve actually had the baby, you’ve already seen hell, so there’s no reason to point out the many rest stops on the way back.
But because I care, I want to share some of the surprising experiences I had after I delivered that it would have been nice to have a heads up about:
1. When shit gets real, you might freak out.
Oh, I thought I was ready. By the time they wheeled me to the operating room, I’d had hours to think about this c-section. So I was not prepared for the massive panic attack that hit me once they sat me up to give me my epidural. I looked around the operating room and saw all of this equipment and all of these nurses scurrying around getting things organized, and it suddenly hit me that this train had left the station. I was not in control—these babies were coming out. Period. I must have gone white because my husband stopped to ask me if I was okay. I somehow managed to stop myself from asking everyone in the room if we could wait like half an hour or something so that I could think about this some more. But I really, really wanted to. Luckily I just said, “I’m fine,” and swallowed the fear.
Remember, it’s better to hide the crazy than to share it with people who could call CPS.
2. C-Sections—not necessarily the less painful option.
I didn’t give a lot of thought to the pain that would come with a c-section. After all, it’s not as if I were going to have an unmedicated vaginal delivery. No, I was going to be doped up before during and after my childbirth experience. I was going to be fine, right?
Holy crap, the agony I was in after my c-section. AGONY. I barely made it through my first post-op shower—when the water hit my stomach, I about died. Want to know what else was difficult? Standing up straight, because it pulls on the stitches. I was a hunch-backed, Vicodin-popping mess for WEEKS after my surgery. It was bad times.
Now, this is not the case for most people. I have friends who were up walking around with very little pain the day after they had their c-sections. It could be that I am just a wimp of epic proportions. Or maybe all of the other women I know are heroes. Probably it’s both.
3. Please excuse me, but something has left my body via my vagina.
I had no idea that after they took out the babies, grabbed that good old placenta, and sewed you back up that so much STUFF was still going to need to exit your body. You’ll just be laying there enjoying your hospital pudding, when all of a sudden something will just casually make its way out of you. Believe me, there is nothing like talking to your mother-in-law and feeling something slide out of your vagina. It’s extremely disconcerting.
And did I mention the bleeding? Holy cow, I bled for days, if not weeks after I delivered. Which leads me to every woman’s favorite post-delivery undergarment:
4. The Foxy Lady Diaper Panties.
Ah, the famous mesh underpants. Are they not magnificent? Consider these to be another way of bonding with your newborn, as you both lay there in your own horrible.
5. The worst massage ever.
Hey, did you know that the nurses will come by every so often to give a massage? Yes, really! And did you know that they are going to massage your stomach, right where you recently had anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds of baby and also where someone recently cut you open and stapled you back together?
It hurts. It hurts like a sonofabitch. They do it so that your uterus will contract and you won’t bleed to death, which is a super good idea, but the word “massage” does not at all describe what it actually feels like. That’s like calling labor “tummy hugs.” Of course, the fact that it is called a “uterine massage” probably should have tipped me off that this was not going to be a comfortable experience. It’s not like they offer uterine massages at the spa. “Hm…do I want a facial, a pedicure, or a uterine massage…?”