Need more info after the Parenting classes? it seems I did…
Whilst visiting a friend who has recently got herself one of those very little humans I realised the things we chatted about are the things that you don’t find out when doing an NCT class (other brands of birthing classes are available), the main things a new mum natters about to an longer serving mum are those little things people neglected to mention before it got to push (or pull) time.
So if you’re heading towards D day then the following list may be helpful, if you scare easily then maybe not? Myself, I’ve always been of the option I’d rather be prepared and knowledge is power, those who know I’m a total control freak will not be shocked to hear I do not like surprises!
Last warning – this little list isn’t pretty, but it is pretty honest….
Skip to the next point now if you’re squeamish (although maybe point 2 should have had this warning too? head to point 3)
There can be a lot. I knew there would be blood involved with the labour, I’d seen pictures of screwed up newborns, a dappling of blood covering their brand new little bodies. But oh my!
The first time I had a baby I had a c-section, so I didn’t see the labour room post birth, I was flat on my back looking at polystyrene ceiling tiles for a few hours. I was however clueless how covered in it from the waist down I was and unable to move my legs for 12 hours.
(Tip 1: Pack wet wipes in your hospital bag, not for your baby but just in case you need a bit of a festival wash due to not being able to move your lower body)
But the first shower – it looked like a shower scene from a 70’s horror film! And it just kept coming!!!
The second time I had a baby, she came out the way nature intended – and let’s just say I can see why the room needs a deep clean after a birth. It probably didn’t help I haemorrhaged.
(Tip 2: Take a flannel in your hospital bag you are prepared to bin post your first shower, use it to get from the shower to padding yourself up without getting covered.)
And then comes the post partum bleeding. For me it was a few weeks before this stopped, as always we’re all different that’s just my experience. I certainly wasn’t expecting the longest period I’d ever had after having a baby!
(Tip 3: Do not be a dick like I was, don’t buy those slimmer less obvious maternity pads, buy the whacking great ‘looks like a child’s duvet’ pads. They offer relief to your bashed and bruised hooha like nothing else can. The slim ones are for a few weeks in when everything is decidedly calmer in your nether regions.
The Piles: (TMI?)
This is one of the most hideous things that happened to me whilst giving birth! Both times!!
At no point in the Birthing classes did anyone mention that after pushing a baby out of your hooha (or you have at least given it a good go and pushed bloody hard before being taken to surgery for a quick evac) it’s entirely likely some of your insides might have popped out of your bottom!
And if it is mentioned, they don’t say it feels like a bag of plumbs between your arse cheeks.
They didn’t mention to me how painful piles are and that the only real way to ease the pain and reduce them is via a steroid cream being applied internally! Try inserting a tube up your back passage when you have just had major abdominal surgery it’s not an easy manoeuvre. Oh and it’s a mess down there so make sure you find the right spot!
I distinctly remember feeling like I probably needed another procedure to sort out my undercarriage the piles were that bad. Too much information? (They’ve gone now so if you do know me you don’t need to worry) I hate to say it but also once you’ve had them once if you get knocked up again they turn back up, in my case just before the main event – front row seats and all!
(Tip 4: There isn’t a lot you can do about piles in pregnancy, like most things in pregnancy the reason for them is pregnancy and cure for them is becoming un pregnant. If you’re unlucky enough to get them, don’t be British, ask the midwife to have a squidge at your undercarriage and get some relief in the form of steroid cream asap. And if you can’t do it yourself – ask – don’t sit there/ balance on a rubber ring in pain and silence, someone will help you)
Nope not the pain that occurs when in labour pain, that is a given and something that is impossible to explain, different for every birth, not just every mother.
I knew getting the baby out was going to hurt, I’d heard about this, I was prepared for that. Ever since I watched Tiffany give birth to Courtney on Eastenders I’d realised that labour wasn’t a barrel of laughs (although in Tiffany’s instance nice and quick!). But the pain afterwards…
This just wasn’t talked about pre the pushing malarkey at our class! Your vagina has been through a massive trauma, or in some cases you have had major surgery (in my case, one natural, one section). Either way the notion a hour later you’ll be right back to normal, with no need for that drugs trolley every four hours is a bit odd. But it was what I thought was going to happen. We’re so stoic as women – even my mother didn’t let onto the post labour pains I may experience.
The first time my uterus began to contract as I tried to feed my tiny, half day old baby, I was terrified I’d gone back into labour. My boobs felt like someone has stuffed them full of boulders, they were so engorged I felt like my skin couldn’t possibly stretch anymore but it did! And my fanny well….
Without wishing to be all doom and gloom, just as labour pain ends, this pain too shall pass. Just maybe not as quickly as you might have thought.
(Tip 5: the drugs you are given in hospital for pain are on a prescription at the Dr’s for you, all you have to do is phone your Dr’s to get some more of the hard stuff. In many cases paracetamol will simply not cut it. Once again my tip is to not sit in silence, ask, tell them you hurt, I can promise no one gets a medal for being in agony but keeping it a secret!)
Lastly, When to pump and dump?:
I was that person in our class that got sent a link to Alcoholics Anonymous!!
Yep, that totally happened, and it still slightly mortifies me. I’m also still terribly grateful to the fellow class members for sticking with me and not ditching me there and then.
It went a little like this: were all holding knitted tits and tweaking the green nips to practice hand expressing, then the tutor asks if we have any questions?
Hand goes up and I ask “how long after drinking alcohol can you feed again?”
Tutor: “one or two glasses of wine should be fine for you to feed a few hours later”
Me: “what if you’ve drunk say two bottles of wine?” (To put this into some context, we were going to a friend’s wedding 6 weeks after our baby was due, we weren’t taking the baby with us, over the course of an 8 hour day I figured I may drink 2 bottles?)
It’s worth noting at this point my husband totally threw me under the bus and made a face of confusion at the room, as if he’d never drunk more than a glass or two (he’s an ex-rugby player, do the maths on this one – fraud!).
Tutor: “umm I’ll look into that for you and email the answer” (she’d said this a few times in response to other questions so I thought ‘great I look forward to that helpful email’)
A few days later an email comes out to the group answering our questions, I scroll down, our breastfeeding tutor wrote: ‘in answer to your question please see below link’ I think great, scroll down, click… and the page redirects to the Alcoholics Anonymous website!!
FYI I read a lot about this – oddly not on the Alcoholics Anonymous site – and have read countless studies about alcohol and breastfeeding, and the answer is still unclear. I mostly used instinct and pumped off until the milk looked standard again (trust me after more than a few glasses you can tell the milks gone bad just by looking at it)
(Tip 6: If you go away for an adult night whilst you are exclusively breastfeeding your 6 month old baby, and you take your pump for relief -DO NOT forget the filter! Without the filter the pump doesn’t work. I learnt this the hard way. It was a low point as I milked myself into a travel lodge sink at 2am when my skin was see through and I couldn’t take the pressure any longer!)
So there you have it some truths I wish I’d been told pre ‘go time’ on the birthing front. If you’ve got your own I’ve missed please add them to the comments below – sharing is caring and all that!