Friday, September 26, 2014

What to Expect When You're Done Expecting

Hi gang! Stevie here. 

A few days ago I had what I considered to be a very mild conversation with my currently-pregnant-with-her-first-kid sister. Apparently what I consider mild and not shocking, she considers not mild and incredibly shocking. Which, now that I think about it. It is. When I was pregnant with Duchess, I was so excited for her come out of my body so I could meet her face to face that I completely neglected to consider what would happen to my body once she was out!  Had the information I presented to my sister been presented to me before my first child was born, I suppose I would have been shocked too. Still, I wish I would have known it then, and I am glad she knows it now. I mentioned our conversation to John and in a very John-like fashion he said "You should write it down for the blog! I bet other moms will be able to relate!"

And then I said "I don't know John. Some of it is kind of icky."

And he said "Some of it is kind of icky should be the motto for the whole of parenting."

So here you go: a few tidbits of information about labor and post-partum life that you won’t find on your cutesy little iPhone app that tells you what size fruit your baby currently is:

Disclaimer: I am obviously not a medical professional. This is all based off my experiences. Your results may vary. 

You’ll probably poop on the delivery table.
Funny story: when I went into labor with Duchess, it dawned on me that I had no idea how to push. Even with all the birthing classes we took, somehow that was left out. I was clueless. How do you contract your muscles to push a baby out of your vagina? Not exactly something I'd practiced. Well it turns out, I had. Because it's a lot like pooping. And in fact, you'll do just that while trying to push the baby out. The nurses will tell you that you didn't. But you'll see them swoop in, and change the out the pad. And you'll ask “did I just poop?” and they'll say “No! Of course not!” And then your loving husband will assure you that you did, in fact, just poop on a table in front of strangers.

Who has two thumbs and is about to poop on the table?

It is going to swell.
And by "it" I mean your vagina. I just didn't think that looked right in a header. Yep, it’s going to get big and puffy. After delivery (even after a C-Section), you’ll finally sit down on the toilet to *try* to poop (unsuccessfully, of course) and you’ll look down. And between your legs, you have a comical, depressing, cartoon-like vagina staring back at you. And it will be discolored. And you will freak out. And you will call for the nurse. And the nurse will tell you that it's normal. But you won’t believe her because it might be the same nurse that lied to you about pooping on the table. But trust me, it will go back to normal. Eventually.

You won’t be able to poop for a few days.
Sorry, we’re going back to poop again. You’ll feel like you have to poop. And you'll try. And you'll fail miserably. You are going to get the ab workout of your life when you go into labor. And if your labor goes anything like mine (and I really REALLY hope it doesn't), the C-section will have added complications. Like the fact that your abdominal muscles are forcefully retracted for you. Oh so pleasant. So count sit-ups out for a while. And don’t be concerned when you finally rejoice and celebrate your first bowel movement a few days later. Your partner might not understand your joy, but hopefully they'll rejoice with you anyway.

You are going to get milk everywhere.
Whether or not you decide to breastfeed, your body is going to produce milk. And it will produce a lot of it. And it will come out at the most inconvenient of times. Sitting at a restaurant? There goes your milk. On the bus? Hope you brought a change of shirt. Breast pads are your new best friend. Take them EVERYWHERE. Don't worry, eventually your body will adjust and will only release milk when you're feeding the baby. Or when the baby cries. Or when you’re in the shower. Or when something randomly grazes your boob. Or you know, when it wants to. But less frequently.

You're going to have feelings that scare you.
Your body has gone through some big physiological and hormonal changes in the last 10 months. In the days and months after childbirth those changes keep happening. Taking all of those changes and combining them with the stress, sleep deprivation, and countless other unforeseen events around childbirth has a tendency to jumble the feels a bit. Or a lot. Or a lot a lot. It is OK to feel sad or angry or scared or overwhelmed, but it is also important to reach out if these feelings begin to take over. Don't wait until it's knocking on your door. Before or shortly having you baby, read over the warning signs. Know your resources. But most of all, know that needing help is not you failing. It's you thriving. It's that first step in doing everything you can for your baby; by being the best mom you can be. The best YOU you can be. There are some wonderful resources out there if you need help. Start with your doctor or OB but you can also find wonderful resources through other women at Postpartum Progess.

I experienced PPD with both of our kids. With help from the resources I listed above we were able to address it early and effectively and eventually everything turned out much better than OK! Which leads me to my last point. 

I know that you’re going to figure everything out.
You might not know it, but I do, and now that you can see I am not afraid of telling you about the bad and the ugly, you’ll believe the good I can tell you too. One of my biggest fears through pregnancy wasn't that I was going to have a bad labor. It was what I was going to do afterwards. What was I going to do when the hospital sent me home with this tiny little human that we were now in charge of keeping alive. More than I was afraid of milk stains on my shirt and my grotesque-looking vagina, I was afraid of being a mom. But I’m here to tell you now, you will figure it out. You will discover what her cries mean. What times of day she likes to play and when she wants to sleep. You’ll find out how she likes to be held, how she likes to be talked to. And best of all, you’ll find out how much you mean to her. You will suddenly become the most important person in someone else’s world, and that is all at once humbling, empowering, and incredibly cool. 

Good luck, mom.

Love, Stevie

OK current moms and moms to be! What did I miss? What did I get wrong? What would you add? Let us know in the comments, and don't forget to come over to the Ask Your Dad Facebook Page to join the conversation their too!


  1. This makes me want to ask my husband the poop question again because he swore to me I didn't. I did, however, fart. A lot. I know because I heard it. I had zero control over it. Every time I moved it was like I sat on a deflating balloon. Another one is that breastfeeding will give you cramps. Like HARD CORE cramps because it promotes the contraction of your uterus to enable it to get back down to it's pre-baby size, so be prepared. Along those lines, nurses will want to check (push on uncomfortably) your abdomen constantly to make sure things are reducing nicely. Regarding breastfeeding, just make sure you have nipple cream. Lots and lots of nipple cream. It's going to hurt. It will make you cry. Your nipples may bleed and your baby may ingest some of that blood so their spit-up may then turn pink but it's all OKAY, it's normal and it won't hurt them. It will just hurt your nipples. Be kind to them, take care of them and tell your husband to back the eff off them! Finally, speaking of blood, you're going to bleed for a while after birth (even if you had a c-section). Have ultra absorbant, extra sexy pads waiting for you at home or take some of the hospitals with you. Most importantly, reach out! When something happens and you're like WTF?!?!?! Ask someone. Ask a mom, a friend, a nurse, anybody, anything to get the answers you need to help you feel better! Be kind to yourself, go easy on yourself and have faith.

    1. This was a very thorough and helpful explanation of a few things that I did not know. Thank you for this!

  2. Every word is true! I would add on the care for stitches. I couldn't get enough of those witch hazel pads. And the nonstop period for a few weeks. I did know that would happen, but I don't think I was mentally prepared for how heavy it was during that first week. I remember being overwhelmed with taking care of a baby (which I expected) and by all the care needed for my poor vagina, which I did not expect!!!

  3. Since I'm not a mom, is it OK that I read this while putting my hands on my ears and shouting, "Lalalalala!"?

  4. I didn't poop during labor and it isn't because I was lucky our in denial its simply because my bowels decided to clean themselves out for 48 hours before labor both times. Lots of cramping and nausea while my bowels ripped me apart, tons of fun. Oh and don't forget about the mucus plug. Some of us are lucky enough to lose it all at once (okay not so lucky) and nit only is it gross, uncomfortable and happen at the worst time but it can also be scary seeing all that blood and mucus if you didn't know what it was.....ahh fond memories

  5. The blood. The vast amount of blood you lose (and the clots that are bigger than golf balls). I thought I was dying at one point and went into hysteria til the nurse told me that I wasn't even losing as much as other patients she's had. Terror.

    1. Yes! The nurse tried to warn me not to go to the bathroom alone for the first time after the delivery...but of course I didn't listen. The bathroom ended up looking like a murder scene after I stood up from the toilet seat and blood came gushing out! Yeah...gross...

  6. You forgot the "period from hell' that occurs in the days after birth. Like, you know how one of the few benefits of being pregnant is not getting a period? Well, you make up for that with really really heavy bleeding for several days after pushing out "the watermelon". You really just need to use some good, heavy-duty pads (no tampons after birth!), so make sure you have some around the house before you go into labour - and don't bring your pretty panties in your hospital overnight bag.

  7. And don't get excited about kissing those maternity clothes good-bye just may want to plan to wear them home from the hospital. Because you're going to look pregnant for at least another month...enjoy.

  8. A Top Tip I was given by a midwife for pooping in the days after birth, worked an absolute treat. And is sooooo simple. Just lean back!! Sit on the loo and just lean back as far as you can. It immediately becomes a lot easier! And if you've had stitches, you might want to run a quick bath every time you need a wee for a few days - or take a jug with you to the loo and pour warm water over your bits into the loo as you pee.

  9. Smell your kid's head. Seriously. Studies have found that the smell of your new baby's head stimulates the same reward parts of the brain as many drugs. It's an excellent way to de-stress or otherwise deal with the crazy emotions of post-birth.

    Cool, moist burn pads are excellent for soothing sore nipples. You can cut them to size and they cost way less than the ones shaped just for breasts.

  10. I've made a list like this to give to my expecting friends. I'm sure they appreciate it. Haha! Another thing worth knowing is that if your water breaks you will continually leak water until the baby is born. I walked...or waddled...into the hospital with a towel between my legs and water leaking out with every step! Whatever you do don't laugh! That's when you will gush!

  11. I didn't see my wife poop for #1 or #2, but she definitely did on #3. But I guess by then she knew the difference between pushing and pooping, because she asked, and I didn't know I was supposed to lie to her =)

    And +1 on knowing the signs of PPD. We didn't and that came as a nasty shock for both of us.

  12. Ah... and don't forget the fact that when you stocked the freezer with bags of frozen vegetables for busy days, you never knew they would wrap so perfectly around a swollen breast! Great post Stevie that all moms can relate to (and Grandma's can pass on to their daughters and daughters-in-laws.) Why do women never tell the truth? I recall thinking the whole experience had been a well guarded secret of women and being properly pissed. Why do we do that? But then, those babies are two years old and are so darn cute, you get all mushy and say, "Ah.. let's make another baby," completely losing your mind and memory.

  13. When you leave the hospital they give all your prescriptions to get filled, but no one mentioned that stool softener is not a prescription so it wasn't included. Buy some over the counter stuff when you pick up your prescriptions and for the love of God keep taking it.

  14. So good! So true! The biggest one for my partner was that breastfeeding hurts - and just as Kali says, your baby might spit up blood and freak you out! Definitely too much secret women's business that keeps this icky stuff out of sight! It's important.