While pregnant with my first I read article after article and never missed a class to learn about my baby, my pregnant body, what to expect during labor, what contractions feel like, what to bring to the hospital, etc. I thought I knew it all and walked through those ER doors with my head high. But never did I read anything about what life is like AFTER you give birth. And you can believe I was in for an awakening.
- Did you know your uterus grows 5 times it’s original size by the time you give birth? When I had my first I guess I just never thought about this but I remember waking up after giving birth, looking down at my stomach and my mouth dropping to the floor. Your stomach isn’t flat by any means. It’s still as big as if you were still pregnant. I packed leggings and a cute t but ended up leaving the hospital wearing the same thing I wore in (but don’t worry, around week 6 it’ll go back down and breastfeeding really helped speed this process along for me).
- Your first bathroom break is like watching a horror movie. The suspense I mean. Hopefully not the blood and guts part. I’ll spare the details but I mean you literally just pushed a baby out (remember that popular “pushing something the size of a watermelon through something the size of a lemon” analogy?). I never looked forward to using the restroom afterwards. I was actually very terrified as I waddled my way to the restroom to sit down. I don’t care how many stool softeners they give you; it feels absolutely certain that there is going to be some kind of explosion or tear and you are going to die on the toilet like Elvis. Then you wonder, do you wipe, dab, what about your stitches, roids, the wondering mind list goes on and on and you freak yourself out even more.
Well turns out they actually give you a squirt bottle (technically called a peri bottle) that you literally squirt onto yourself. But you better make sure that water is warm! Oh and it gets better…THEY DONT LET YOU LEAVE UNTIL YOU POO! No joke. They’re super serious about it.
- Your breasts are 20 pound boulders. Like legit, hard as a rock. When the “milk fairy” arrives, you will look exactly like you just underwent elective surgery on par with Dolly herself. We’re talking giant, rock-hard knockers and they sometimes hurt! You know those crazy porn boobs you see on some women that are just gigantic and don’t move? No? Well, try skipping a feeding while you’re nursing and you’ll have a pretty good idea what that’s like.
- It’ll feel like everyone in town will have seen you naked because they probably have. Ok, maybe not everyone in town but it’ll sure feel that way. As if all the prenatal check ups and labor/ delivery wasn’t enough, so many people will come in while you’re naked, breastfeeding or to check your ‘healing process’ after birth. When I breastfeed in public I tease my husband that everyone in this town has already seen it so who cares! I really have no shame about my body now which is a total 180 from what life was like before.
- I remember a lovely nurse coming into my room and said “Here’s your mommy diaper” and part of my soul died. A mommy diaper is either a maxi pad or an actual diaper packed with ice and tucked into your underwear post-birth to provide some relief. A mommy diaper also doubles as a maxi pad to deal with post-birth bleeding. If you have a dog and they have “training pads,” you’ll also notice a very similar disposable paper pad like that placed under you and atop your sheets to protect them from blood. Consider mommy diapers to be another way of bonding with your newborn, as you both lie there in your mess.
And when you leave don’t expect to wear home your cute Victoria’s Secret panties either. Instead, you’re wearing disposable gauze-like boy shorts (gifted to you by the hospital, so lucky!) that help keep your mommy diaper in place. Yay!
- The first shower after delivery is like heaven but you won’t be alone. Labor and delivery are gross and it doesn’t get any better afterwards. I had to have my husband and a nurse undress me, wash me and clothe me all while I stuck my IV’d hand up in the air so it didn’t get wet.
- You’ll forget everything. No joke, I remember my other pregnant mommy friends asking me a couple weeks later what it was like and I couldn’t remember. I couldn’t explain how the contractions felt or what even happened the whole time I was there. Looking back, birth is like a weirdly realistic dream that you can only vaguely remember. But in the end gave you this beautiful baby to love!
So here’s a cheers to baby number 2 arriving in a couple weeks!