What to (Really) Expect After Delivery

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delivery

I don’t know what it was. Sure, I read the books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting and the Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, but they did nothing to prepare me for what would actually happen after delivery. My girlfriends all told me a little of what to expect, but in reality, they were just too kind and didn’t want to scare me too much. I think they figured, “Well, she’s already in it. Sink or swim, baby.” And I swam, but barely.

But I want more for you. The following is what to really expect when you’re in the hospital after the baby comes. The stuff you might not have picked up in books or classes or from your friends. Because this is when shit gets real…

1. Prepare for the blood. You might have been warned about this. You might have even heard about the big maxi pads and disposable underwear that you get to wear that even a Victoria Secret model couldn’t make look hot. Well, let me tell you something, sweetheart, I have never seen anything like this. A maxi pad the size of The Webster’s Dictionary wasn’t even big enough for me. Now, don’t fret. Even though what’s coming out from between your legs is making the pig blood scene from Carrie look like a Disney movie, it does eventually stop. And you don’t have to worry about the blood getting everywhere – it just will.

Related: Unmedicated Childbirth Survival Tips

2. Put away the cute PJs. After the baby is born, you will be gushing out so much stuff (see above) that you are likely to stain anything your disposable underwear touches. So, put away the new nightgown you bought thinking how cute you would look greeting visitors and get used to that ultra-sexy blue hospital gown. It’s backless, after all. How can that not be sexy? Besides, there’s plenty of time for cute pajamas in your future; you’ll likely live in yours the first few weeks (or months) after you get home.

3. The peeing. Did you know that after you have a baby, you’re supposed to pee within an hour or so of the delivery? This may not seem hard, but you know, things get a little inflamed down there sometimes and this isn’t always the easiest request. Your nurses will hold you to it though and if you can’t, they will have to catheterize you. This sounds lovely, doesn’t it? HELLO, I JUST PUSHED A BABY OUT OF MY VAGINA OR HAD ONE CUT OUT OF ME AND NOW YOU WANT TO STICK SOMETHING UP MY URETER? I think it’s fair to say that our vaginas have all seen enough action on a day like that for anyone to try to get remotely close to it. To stick something up it. Yeah, good luck with that.

4. Shit, you’re exhausted. You know the right thing is to keep the baby beside you at all times so you can bond but MY GOD, YOUR EYES CAN BARELY STAY OPEN. Do what feels right, but if you need the sleep, make sure to ask the nurses to bring the baby into the nursery. Get some shut eye when you can, because frankly, you really can’t all that much. They will be in there – poking, prodding, temperature taking. And it’s really going to get on your nerves. Use the time to bond with the baby, but get some sleep too. You’ve just made a huge journey. You made a baby. Single people need naps after going to the Bonnaroo Festival, don’t you think you kind of deserve some sleep?

Related: Damn, That’s an Ugly Baby

5. And then, suddenly, the milk will come. It may take longer than you expect, but you start producing colostrum fairly soon after delivery and so you are going to be encouraged to get this “liquid gold” to the baby, even though it won’t look like much at first. Or you may choose to formula feed – you’ll be on the hook to make these decisions pretty quickly, so be ready for some pressure. Either way – the porn star boobs will come – they will just leave a little sooner for the formula feeding crew. Enjoy them while you can, because sisters, they’re FANTASTIC. And much more attractive than the blood.

Now, welcome to the beginning of many sleepless nights, exhausting days and anxiety over all the ways this little being can now be put in harm’s way. You’ll be great!

The Five Stages of Dilation

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Natural Childbirth

Stage 1: DENIAL. Mild discomfort starts to poke you where the sun don’t shine, as if you were having your period. Things are a little sore and tender, but it’s nothing to worry about. You get optimistic and hopeful, and even think your delivery will be pretty, even glorious. You know, like what childbirth might look like if the tampon commercial people were to film it. You consider the thought that it might not even hurt at all. Perhaps that mild discomfort is just your positioning. I’ll just adjust my legs over there. Or run through a meadow, Julie Andrews-style. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Stage 2: ANGER. “WHATTTAAAF…” You’re lucky if you even finish the sentence. Contractions spike into a whole new motherfucker of intensity level. You aren’t – can’t be — prepared for this. Like when you eat so much, and so many different types of food, that it’s all going rotten in your intestines. You want to scratch the wall, your breath is shallow and you can’t wait to shit it all out, because a pain a hundred times worse than food poisoning creeps out and around you. It’s a migraine in your gut, all-powerful, all-consuming. One pain to rule them all. Frickin’ ouch, mother fucker.

To aggravate matters, after hours of begging, pleading, swearing and sweating, you’re told you’re only dilated about one centimeter. Nine more to go, sweet cheeks, but hold in there. You’ve never felt more desire to punch someone more than in this moment. Wait, did I say punch? I meant to say rip the beating heart out of the chest of an unsuspecting, innocent human being. You croak out, “Honey, could you come here a minute?”

Stage 3: BARGAINING. You start questioning the integrity of the measurements. They’re subjective, even lazy. They’ve gotta be. C’mon! How can two fingers put together know that you are barely one centimeter dilated? You demand a re-count. Those fingers are huge! They’ve gotta be five or six centimeter, at least. Get a damned protractor up there. A tape measure, something. The ripening pain in your abdomen makes you think that a fallopian tube just exploded. “I know I said I didn’t want drugs until the last possible minute. But yeah, I want ‘em. Gimme.”

Hopefully you are in better luck, unlike me. My midwife, she said I should wait until at least four centimeters. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T HAVE DRUGS YET?”

Demand a recount.

Stage 4: DEPRESSION. You’re not progressing as your delusional self thought it would happen. The pain keeps increasing, as if someone is reaching inside your abdomen through your vagina, trying to detach your uterus with rusty, jailhouse-sharpened spoons. Repeatedly. Every four minutes.

By now, you feel there’s nothing you can do, other than… wait. Squeezing your eyes might help. Those massages, that breathing pattern, those pressure points, are your onlyhelp.

Sigh.

SCREEEEEAAAAAM.

Sigh.

Stage 5: ACCEPTANCE. You realize you’ve managed to make it for close to 12 hours under all that shitting-fallopian-explosion-uterus-extraction pain. You don’t know if your body has given up or gone numb.

You know help will come, you will only need to stay focused until that happens. Because it HAS to happen. It HAS to.

Months from now, you’ll hear stories about yourself. Stories that you have a starring role in. Stories that are vaguely familiar, but you don’t. Remember. Doing that.

Like when you release your husband’s ears and order him, on pain of death, to fetch the epidural guy…

6 Things I Wish I’d Known About Having a C-Section

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c-section

My first son was delivered via c-section at 35 weeks after an ultrasound revealed he ceased growing due to placenta previa. I knew early on in my pregnancy that it was a possibility I wouldn’t be able to deliver vaginally, but being in denial, I never bothered to ask what the recovery process was life if I did indeed go under the knife.

I figured, by comparison to pushing a baby out and getting ripped from the rooter to the tooter, a c-section would be a cake walk.

Sitting in my OB’s office, hearing that I was heading over to surgery and would have a baby by happy hour, I was scared and ill-prepared.  I didn’t know what I was in for, exactly. I just figured they’d wheel me in, I’d lay there like a corpse, and then hours later I’d be sitting up in bed, holding a baby, looking glowing and happy in an adorable robe like Rachel in Friends.

Sucker.

This is, after all, major surgery. I mean, my husband saw my intestines being pulled out, for crying out loud. If that doesn’t buy you a night out by yourself when the baby is older, I don’t know what will.

Related: Finding me

If you’re thinking that a c-section is a possibility for your next birth, perhaps my ignorance can spare you a few headaches and worry. Here are some things I learned:

1. The operating room is as cold as the polar ice caps and the stuff they put in your IV only makes it worse. With my first c-section I was shaking so much I was convinced the anesthesiologist would miss his target with the spinal block and I’d come out of surgery a paraplegic. I had absolutely no idea my body was capable of shimming that fast. Watch out, Shakira, those hips don’t lie. They’re scared shitless.

2. Think you won’t feel a thing? Think again. While you won’t feel them cutting or feel pain, no one told me I’d feel all this tremendous pulling as they pried my son out of my body cavity. My OB warned me “Okay, you might feel some slight pressure.” Slight? This is not a flu shot, people. I don’t call the sensation of someone yanking a bowling ball out of my loins a slight sensation.

3. Don’t say no to drugs. They get you pretty doped up in surgery and at first I willingly took the hard core pain meds they give me. But at around 28 hrs post surgery I felt pretty good and though “Nah, I’ll skip meds this shift.” Bad idea.  Worst idea I’ve ever had. You’re not only dealing with the pain of getting your insides ripped open and sewn back together, but you’ve also being visited post-delivery cramping because the baby isn’t paying rent anymore. They tell you to stay one step ahead of the pain. I prefer to be a football field ahead.

4. Your ability to laugh like a normal human being will be put on hold. Ditto for sneezing, pooping and coughing.  The advice is to hold a pillow over your incision if you need to perform any of these actions, and though it may help a tiny bit, you’ll still find yourself making modifications. Your sneezes will become the tiny, restrained kind that only Disney Princesses can attain. While in the hospital with my son, my husband cracked a hilarious remark that caused my body to produce such a high-pitched hyena snicker that the nurses went running to call the psych ward.

5. Think your intestinal tract was screwed up when you were pregnant? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. With my son, I didn’t take a dump for seven days. SEVEN. POOPLESS. DAYS. Mass quantities of fiber didn’t get things moving along. Five days after delivery I finally got the urge and 50 sweaty minutes later, I came up empty. It was as if the kids climbed up the ladder of the high dive, tip-toed out to the edge of the board, took one look down and said “No way in hell, lady” then made the slow, shameful climb back down. Arm yourself with some goodies like apricot nectar and prune juice.  Think “retirement home beverages”.

Related: Top 10 Post-Pregnancy Bodily Surprises

6. The area around your scar will never, ever, ever get feelings back. The skin around my incisions still has very few nerve endings, four years after my last c-section. That area will still get itches that I can’t scratch, but I power on, digging at it like a meth addict. I have high hopes I might regain sensation, but at this point, I have as much chance as Lindsay Lohan staying out of jail.

Yet, despite knowing all this, after my first born, I still had another baby via cesarean. Being prepared for what was to come definitely helped ease my jitters. That, and sneaking a case of prune juice in my overnight bag.

Unmedicated Childbirth Survival Tips

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Child-birth-labor-delivery-room

When people hear I intentionally had an unmedicated childbirth with my son, they’re intrigued. “Amazing!” they say, “And insane. Jeez. How’d you do it?” I nonchalantly shrug, check my polish, channel my homebirth idol Gisele Bundchen and say something Zen like, “Oh, I just let my body do what it was made to do. It was nothing.”

Humble, but bologna. It was not even close to nothing, but I don’t want to scare them with, “OMFG. I have no idea how. It was HARD. I was looking for the light so I could walk into it.” (OK, it wasn’t that bad.) There was a ton of preparation, for me and RealDad, leading up to RealBoy’s arrival. And we worked out butts off at go-time.

Do you want to endure unmedicated childbirth, too? Well, I have a few survival tips for you so you can get through this intense—I mean, beautiful—experience.

1. Start mentally preparing for the worst pain of your life RIGHT NOW. Preparing for natural labor is a marathon, Ladies, not a sprint. You don’t show up to a marathon and expect to finish if you’ve been jogging twice. You train for that bitch, physically and mentally, for months. You also don’t show up for a marathon with the attitude of, “I’ll run as far as I can, then get a ride the rest of the way.” So if you’re telling people you’ll labor drug-free for as long as possible and then get the epidural, stop right now. You need to commit to facing down the pain 1000%. The worse you imagine it will be, the more tolerable it actually is. I prepared to feel like my arms were being ripped out of the sockets. Then, I practiced pain management techniques to mentally cope with that. Very effective. So, pick a body part, imagine what it would be like to have it pulled off, and learn to manage that pain. Childbirth won’t be that bad, especially because it’s a normal pain; losing limbs is definitely not. This mental prep will also help you endure labor with less fear (and physiologically, fear=tension=pain, so less fear=less pain), although with probably just as much profanity.

2. Get primal. Your noises will sound like a cross between a lonely whale’s mating call, a constipated gorilla’s grunts, and a drunk sorority girl’s screams as she’s chased with a meat hook. You may hurl insults at your partner, vagina, baby, doctor, and Mother Nature, and you’ll probably declare at least once that you’re never having sex again. You can’t avoid it: you’re going to make some outrageous noises and say some outrageous shit. You might be afraid to lose your manners and humanity like this, but I assure you that in the throes of labor you will not give a fuck. Fact: the more conservative you are normally, the crazier you’ll be in childbirth. So embrace it now and unburden your mind. You can ask everyone for forgiveness later.

Oh, and while we’re getting primal, I hope you don’t plan to show up to your unmedicated birth and slip into an adorable nightie with clasps at the shoulders for tender post-delivery breastfeeding. If you do, I hope you also plan to get blood and poop all over that thing, because it’s happening. Really, you should arrive at the hospital in such an advanced stage of labor you won’t even remember you have this nightie and you’ll end up with a hospital gown thrown over a leg and only one sock. So, just plan to have your baby pretty much naked. I promise it won’t be the worst thing your L&D team has ever seen.

3. Prepare your coach for #2. Give your birth coach the heads up that you’re going to go nuts with the verbal assaults and supernatural noises so they react appropriately. While you won’t care about your unladylike words and sound effects, you will care if it looks like they are anything but awed by the miracle of childbirth. You won’t appreciate any frightened looks or unsupportive commentary in response to your letting loose. Tell them to lock that schizz down. Expressions other than those of blissful adoration will elicit more cursing and scarier noises, all directed at them.

4. Pretend there are no pain meds. Epidurals? What epidurals? I pretended they didn’t even exist so I wouldn’t be tempted. I thought I would be more likely to ride out the pain if I felt I had no choice. Totally worked. If I had had it in the back of my mind that they were available, I would’ve been calling the anesthesiologist the second I waddled into that delivery room.

5. Don’t think about the post-delivery state of your vagina. It’s easy not to think about it when you have an epidural. You can’t feel anything, so you hardly know anything is happening to your reproductive system at all let alone to your punani. When you do not have the epidural, however, you are acutely aware of the way your body is stretching and twisting to accommodate the emerging baby. You’re acutely acutely aware of your vagina’s state, and the first logical thought there is to protect your goods so they’re not ruined and don’t end up looking like an elephant that your partner will run screaming from when they see it. Which could make you want to cross your legs and hold the baby inside. Which, of course, is useless. Any resistance to this process just makes it harder, so let that baby out. As unbelievable as it is in the moment, your lady bits were made for this and will fully heal within a matter of weeks. And they won’t (necessarily) look like an elephant.

Best of luck! You’ll need it.

Birth Plan… Gone Bad

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pregnant-belly-bear-636-525x393

You know what is so cute? You – when you’re pregnant and think you actually control how things go in the delivery room. Oh, don’t feel badly; most new mommies think they dictate how the birthing process goes. I was no exception.

If you’re like me you’ve researched the procedure ad nauseam and are such an expert on the process that you’re pretty sure you don’t even need your obstetrician present. All these pregnancy sites have these great templates to serve up an a la carte delivery.  You just check off how your labor is going to go (Yes soothing music, No Pitocin). You hand you selection to the maître de and then a little while later your perfect cherub is placed in your arms. They present the bill to you on a silver platter and you go home with your leftovers….er….child.

I knew EXACTLY how my baby was going to be brought into the world and designed my own birth plan accordingly:

Natural birth; no drugs, calm and quiet, so I can bring my angel into a serene new world.

Music in the background, along with candles lighting the scene.

A very adorable silk outfit purchased for the occasion – not one of those hideous johnny-things.

Very few people were to be involved in the birthing process – my husband, the OB, one nurse, the baby and the star of the show – me.

The labor will start naturally.  I will walk around through the contractions until the baby’s head begins to crown. Then I will ease into the bed and breathe deeply in a controlled pattern. Three or four big pushes and my baby will burst into the world.  There will be NO episiotomy, no tearing, and no stitches.

My husband will assist and stay with me through the entire process and we shall make all the choices together as a family – unless the baby is in distress and requires immediate medical attention.

There were a few other side dishes checked off on the a la cart order as well. Then it was time for this elegant and demure event to begin. My obstetrician checked me into the hospital and I began to walk laps around the hospital.  And walk.  And walk.  And walk.  Seven hundred thousand million miles later I was 5 cm dilated (a few hundred thousand more than I had anticipated but that’s ok. Get the discrepancy out of the way early). My husband went to grab a bite to eat because we were getting ready for the long haul as directed by my birthing plan.

And that’s when the real contractions began. Holy. Fuck.

Well, that whole “natural” birth went right out the motherfucking window.  Drugs NOW!!!! What the fuck is taking so long? Can’t I get an epidural with a side of laughing gas or something? WHERE THE HELL IS MY FREAKIN HUSBAND????  My cute birthing outfit is on the floor covered in yuck.

Oh, God, here comes another contraction. Breathe?  You fucking breathe!  I’m too busy screaming! Where are the drugs?????  40 random people enter the room. “Mrs. Winslow, we are a teaching facility – would you mind if they watch?”  I don’t fucking care if the janitor takes this baby out of me – just GET. HER. OUT. NOW!!!!!!! Some random girl has my ankle up around my head and my husband finally comes back with his chicken salad. The waves of contractions are coming faster and more furious. Then my OB decides to show up. Oh, glad you could make it to the fucking party – just having a baby here.  No big deal or anything.

Push, don’t push – really? Like it’s up to me. My baby has taken over and I’m waiting for her to burst out of my asshole at this point.  Things are ripping. People are screaming bloody murder.  Oh, wait, that’s just me.

Somehow she makes it out.  I think the guy who fixes the computers delivered her. Whatever. My bag full of preconceived delivery notions sits on the chair next to me along with my uterus and a chicken salad sandwich. The cute little candy striper or flower delivery girl or whoever she was that had my ankle yanked up to Jupiter was all “That was awesome!  Are you going to have another one?”

I turn to her and sweetly say “I will claw your face off.”

Serenity now, baby girl.  Welcome to my your world.  Hope raising you is easier than birthing you.  (Muahahahaha – Yeah right. But that’s another story for a another time…)

Damn, That’s an Ugly Baby

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c-section-real

I didn’t want to have an ugly baby. Having an ugly baby was definitely not in my Birthing Master Plan. In fact, I was confident that my baby was going to be luminously beautiful–hybrid babies always are.

Doubt the beauty of hybrid babies? Two words for you: Halle Berry. Two more words: Lenny Kravitz. Yeah. That genetic cocktail brewing in my belly? Killer. Genius, even. Would my magnificent creation come out wearing Elie Saab, I wondered?

The first indication that something might be amiss happened after I gave the final push (yelling “Motherfucker!” in my husband’s general direction) and the first word out of the nurse’s mouth was, “Whoa.”

I waited for it. I waited for, “Look at that beautiful baby girl!” I waited for them to place her stunning little body on my chest so I could admire her.

Instead, the nurse hustled her to the weighing station and hissed at the obstetrician, “I thought you said this baby was term.”

So I’m waiting, spread-eagled.

Then the attending nurse exclaims, “Awww. She’s got a Mongolian spot on her butt……boy, that’s a whopper.”

Hello! Waiting here and where the Hell is my champagne?

Curious, my husband ambles over. And then I hear the sonorous sound of his laughter. “Okay, that puppy needed at least another month in there,” he says.

Give. Me. Alcohol. And while you’re at it, can you fork over my dang kid?

“The Apgar’s good,” the head nurse chirps helpfully.

My mother decides to get in on the action. “What’s this Mongolian thinga–?” Damned if she doesn’t giggle, too. “Ronald,” she calls to my father (who is out of the room, terrorized by the birthing process), “The baby has your belly.”

My father oozes into the room. He doesn’t laugh.

“Is it because she came out so fast?” he whispers.

“Like a West German on the luge,” my husband snorts.

The OB is still hunkered between my splayed legs, waiting for whatever gunk needs to come out, and suddenly, I’m royally pissed off.

“Give me my champagne and my baby, you morons!” I holler.

So they do.

It’s a good thing I demanded alcohol, because damn, that’s an ugly baby.

But then I look into those big eyes and that little monkey face, and it’s not so bad and…she shits all over my chest.

Welcome to the world, ugly baby. I vow to love you anyway.

The Vacation of Giving Birth

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Hospital-Bassinet

I’ve never been too keen on hospitals, a feeling which was confirmed after the birth of my first.

Sixteen hours of labor that culminated in an emergency c-section, school cafeteria quality food, (complete with mystery meat and warm mush) a nurse who left a baby with clueless me (looking and feeling much like a deer in headlights) and showers with faucets that were temperature controlled so no one could burn themselves (or take that much needed hot shower.)

After four days in hospital hell, I swore that I would never enter another hospital for as long as I lived.

Fast forward two years later and baby number two was on the way. This was a baby they said I couldn’t have, medically speaking, so as if the stress of an unexpected high risk pregnancy wasn’t enough, I was having flashbacks of my first hospital experience. Bad memories aside, by the time I was eight months along, I began counting down to the four days in the hospital just to get a break from home. Even though the food would be mediocre, the shower lukewarm and the help lacking, I had a daughter in the depths of the terrible twos and nothing could be worse than that. Plus, I knew when this baby would arrive thanks to the doctor agreeing to schedule my c-section.

When the day came, everything was so calculated and smooth. From the valet parking to the registration, right down to the epidural for surgery – it was a TOTALLY different experience than my first time there. Before my new baby girl was 20 minutes old, I was already nursing. I enjoyed the most delicious hot meal that evening. A nurse was in every hour to rub my swollen feet. And I stood under the steamiest, hottest shower I think I’ve ever taken.

Hold the phone just a cotton-picking second. This wasn’t a hospital stay at all; this was a pleasure cruise!

I was doing so well by day three that they wanted to send me home. I instantly began to cry right there in front of the doctor when he told me. Unsure how to handle my post-partum emotional outburst, he called for my nurse to come in while he checked on another room. After the nurse calmed me down, she asked why I got so upset about going home early. I whined my very best whine and said, “But…but… I want to stay! I don’t want to go home! My vacation isn’t over yet!”

Before her shift ended that evening, my nurse brought me the most delicious hot chocolate and gave me the best hug. Then she took the baby to the nursery and told me to get as much sleep as I could. And I did just that. I popped a Percocet, sipped my hot chocolate, watched TV alone and I slept for a solid nine hours. Smooth sailing!

The next morning, I tearfully packed up our things and we went home. That’s when reality hit – HARD. I had no staff that came with a call bell. I didn’t have a chef at my beck and call. There was no night nanny. The TV was on a constant loop of cartoons. My coffee was cold. And I was, once again, peeing with an audience. My ship had run aground.

It’s been a year since my second baby was born, and not a day goes by that I don’t dream about being rich and famous enough to emulate the amazing experience I had in the hospital the second time around. Until then, I will cherish that four day “vacation” to give birth since it was as close as I’ve come to a real vacation in a very, very long time.

S.S. Motherhood … when giving birth is a break from reality. Welcome aboard!

10 Things To Pack in Your Hospital Bag

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10 Things To Pack in Your Hospital Bag

I am done having babies.

(I think.)

I will (probably) never again feel the familiar wave of nausea roll over me and see the bright blue lines appear on a positive pregnancy test.

I will (most likely) not be found shopping for bottles or pacifiers or infant car seats to be used by my own precious offspring.

And, I’m (pretty) confident that I will never again make a hospital checklist.

So, as a former member of the expectant-mother-club, I consider it my duty to impart my knowledge onto the new breed of yet-to-be mothers. Here’s what I wish I’d taken to the hospital, but wasn’t smart enough to…

1.  Shampoo, conditioner and body wash. The first shower you take after you give birth will be the best shower of your life and the hospital products are awful.

2. A roll of good quality toilet paper or wipes. That first pee after giving birth is brutal. Hospital grade toilet paper feels like sandpaper and you don’t need that rubbing against your bruised lady parts. Trust me.

3. Makeup. I know, I know. You just pushed a human being out of your vagina — who cares how you look in pictures with your newborn? You will. For the rest of your life.

4. Cellphone (obviously,) but don’t forget the charger. Between taking pictures, tweeting, Facebooking, calling, texting and e-mailing, you’ll blow through that battery in no time.

5.  An extra bag. You’ll be sent home with diapers, wipes, formula, and more. It’s like a new mother’s Halloween! Make sure you can schlep all of your loot or you’ll be kicking yourself the next week at Babies”R”Us. That crap is expensive.

6. Preparation H. It will be your new best friend.

7.  Food. You’re going to be starving and hospital food is revolting. Stock your fridge with all the stuff you haven’t been able to eat in nine months.

8.  Extra strength maxi pads. The ones at the hospital haven’t changed in a century. Seriously, they practically have belts. A box of extra strength Always will be one of the best investments you make.

9. Maternity yoga pants. It’s total bullshit, but you will leave the hospital looking as pregnant as you went in. You’re also going to be sore and tired and the effort of having to zip or unzip pants is one you’re not going to want to excert.

10. A Blindfold. (For yourself.) Girlfriend, you are going to look like hell; best not to see it.

The 5 Grossest Things About Childbirth

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The 5 Grossest Things About Childbirth

Last week, we sold the changing table that we’ve used for all three nurseries. As the young couple walked out with it, rosy with the excitement that can only come from expecting your first child, my husband pulled aside the stranger-man and passed on to him some wisdom. Childbirth, he whispered, is the grossest thing ever.

The poor guy looked both terrified and intrigued. Jeff didn’t elaborate and certainly wasn’t asked to, but he had no shortage of examples…

1. The Mucus Plug. Aside from my constant vomiting and complaints of constipation, I think I managed to remain as ungross as possible for most of the nine months I was pregnant. Sure, my skin had some issues and I gained ten pounds alone thanks to a massive Nutella craving, but I wasn’t that bad. Once I lost my mucous plug, though? That nasty bloody booger like thing that kept my baby where he or she belonged? All bets were off. It was a sure sign of the grossness to come.

2. The Placenta. Had somebody warned me about delivering the placenta, I would have been tempted to sign up for an unnecessary c-section. When I was done pushing, I thought I was done. But, no. I still had to push something straight from Alien out. The nurse actually asked if I wanted to keep it. KEEP IT???

3. The Shit. Not only does childbirth feel exactly like taking an enormous dump, but you will actually shit during it. Worst of all? You won’t even care.

4. The Episiotomy. If a woman’s body is built for child-rearing, you would think everything would just open up like a beautiful flower to aid in the process. No such luck. You may actually be sliced, from vagina to ass, in order to push that sucker out.

5. Your baby. I mean, your baby!!! Sadly, that beautiful baby you’ve been waiting to meet for nine months looks like something out of a horror movie. Not only is it covered with your insides, but it’s head is likely shaped like a cone. The good news? Your baby will only get better looking. You pray.