I hope I’m not breaking some sort of woman code here, but there a few things my friends and I have experienced that might have been glossed over in the pregnancy and childbirth books. (Or maybe I skipped those parts?) I spent nine months prepping for BIRTH – this HUGE event – almost like a wedding! Did I want pain meds? Epidural? Midwife? Doula? Hospital gown or my own pajama ensemble? I spent all that time planning the perfect birth (HA!) and forgot to do any research on the aftermath. Birth is a beautiful thing, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Here are 10 SHOCKERS that didn’t seem to be in any of the pregnancy books I read! (Some names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
10. Postpartum “Glow.” I don’t know if I was always worrying about doing things the right way or what, but after my kids were born, I was constantly breaking a sweat. Why was I sweating all the time? Was this a hormonal thing? Because I perpetually had a sweat ‘stache going on. I have pictures to prove it. Did this happen to anyone else, or am I just the sweaty weirdo? Either way, know you’re not the only one if it happens to you!
9. Circumcision Complications. My friend Heather was shocked to find no matter how much ointment she put on her son’s *ahem* boy part, the skin near the healing circumcision reattached. When she told her pediatrician, he informed her this is very common, in fact, it happened to his own son, and it can take 2 to 3 years to detach. It might even excrete some sebum. The prescription? Wait it out. She assured me that 2 and a half years later, the skin broke free and he has a perfectly normal boy part.
8. Tongue Tie. Some babies are born with a little web under their tongue that can make breastfeeding difficult, and can possibly lead to speech problems down the road. My second son was born with this, and it’s called “tongue tie.” The lactation consultant recommend we get it clipped, because should he need it later, it could result in minor surgery. After crying over it (of course) and talking to the pediatrician, we had it clipped before being discharged from the hospital. The doctor numbed it and it just melted away. He was fine and breastfeeding was successful.
7. There Will Be Blood. Yes, we all know birth is literally a bloody mess, but I did NOT expect to find bright red blood in my son’s spit up a week after being born. I’m not saying to ignore it, but don’t melt into a sobbing hormonal puddle on the floor thinking your baby is dying (like I did) just yet. Make sure you examine your *ahem* nipples for even the most microscopic lesion. (They are more common than you think when you first start breastfeeding!) If you have one, your baby might be sucking blood out while nursing. We went to the emergency room, and we were told that’s exactly what happened. (Your own breast milk air-dried on the cut can actually help you heal better than lanolin.) Please go to the doctor in case of emergency!
6. Hair. I had the most glorious pregnancy hair. It was shiny and thick, and I don’t think I ever lost a single strand the whole nine months! (Please see above sweat ‘stache picture) Well I should have known, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is! About three months after my son was born, I started shedding like a dog in San Antonio summer. It was awful! Plus, I had to wear my hair in a bun everyday for work (Air Force), so I parted it a certain way to cover my balding temples!!!!
5. Hair. Did I mention hair? Oh, because according to my friends Danielle and Paula, they had a shot of steroids while in labor which resulted in them growing a full face of hair. This is just not fair.
4. Hormones. I had read about the baby blues, I just didn’t think it would happen to me. I’m a tough lady! I’m in the military! I’ve been to Iraq! Well, I was no match for those postpartum hormones. I was a blubbering weepy mess. After two weeks of crying about everything (to include crying about crying), I really reflected on some words my friend Crystal told me: “Enjoy it, because it goes so fast.” I immediately thought “Is she serious!? I’m a mess! I’m crying all the time! How can I enjoy this!?” I decided to listen to her advice. I pulled myself together and learned to enjoy and appreciate every part of it. Even the sweating part. Ok, maybe not the sweating part. (After a couple of weeks, if the baby blues aren’t going away, ask your doctor about postpartum depression.)
3. Stretch Marks. I was so diligent with my cocoa butter and it paid off. My son was born and I was in the clear – not a SINGLE STRETCH MARK! Even the nurse commented (while digging in my stomach to check my uterus) on how lucky I was to not have a single one. A week later, I was examining my changing silhouette in the mirror and noticed some redness under my belly button… UH, WHAT?! Were those STRETCH MARKS!? Yes. Yes, they were. Apparently, you can also get stretch marks if you rapidly LOSE weight! Now, THAT is just WRONG.
2. Number 2. My buddy Ashley sheepishly admits she didn’t even consider that eliminating might be painful until she was lying in the hospital bed, thinking “Oh no! What if I have to go to the bathroom!?” The hospital staff hadn’t even offered her ibuprofen until she asked! So she bit the bullet and asked the nurse, “Will I be getting stool softeners?” It’s her life’s work to make sure you ask for those.
1. The Myth of the Extra Stitch. I think every woman wonders if “she” will ever be the same after childbirth. I, myself, have been subjected to some very obnoxious advice to ask for an “extra stitch.” Well, my friend Aubrey can honestly tell you, you don’t want that extra stitch. It can be downright uncomfortable – for everyone. She actually admits that everything went back to “normal” after having her second child and only getting one stitch!
And we wouldn’t change it for a thing in the world! 😉
So there you have it, ladies! My postpartum SHOCKERS! Which ones did I miss?
Any C-section shockers we should know about!?