What I Wish ANYONE Had Told Me About My Postpartum Hospital Stay

by Jennifer Landis
Originally Published: 
postpartum body
IvanJekic / Getty Images

Once upon a time, a tiny human grew inside of me for 40 beautiful weeks. She squirmed, kicked, shimmied and shook — and I wish someone would have told me I’d have uncontrollable shakes after bringing her into this world, among the other totally wacko things my body did.

Most of us research what to do during pregnancy — take prenatal vitamins, get all the checkups, eat healthy, and such. We trust the doctors to see us through afterward, and we take family and friend tips to.

Nobody told about me the all the “fun” I’d be having during the hospital stay. I’m looking at you, Mom. No one prepared me for all the weirdness my body performed after the feat of giving birth — and I thought I was done. Nope!

If I hadn’t been completely freaked out, it probably would have seemed funny. As a new mom, I was already dealing with more than enough. So, I’m going to tell you about the random, freaky things your postpartum body is capable of after giving birth and the interesting things to be prepared for during your hospital stay.

1. You Will Sh-Sh-Shake-Shake

You’re so excited to see your little one finally here that you’re shaking, laughing, and crying all at once. My problem? The shaking continued for hours afterward, uncontrollably, and I couldn’t utter a whole sentence for a full hour. My teeth were chattering like I was in Antarctica in all my birthday suit glory.

The doctors shrugged with an “oopsie” gesture, because having overwhelming shakes is apparently a “normal” thing. What happens? Hormones happen, of course, among other options — no one really knows or cares, because it’s “normal.”

After birth, your adrenal hormones go wacky as the fluids shift in your body, or the amniotic fluid leaks into the bloodstream. A rush of endorphins can cause this reaction. Your body can hate you for being on general anesthesia. Cold IV fluids can do it, too. For the lucky few, it lasts only a few seconds. For me, it was two hours straight.

2. Bring ALL The Snacks, Ever

Giving birth is some of the hardest work you’ll do in life. Traditionally, many hospitals don’t let you eat while you’re in labor. Of course – you may not want to – but labor can last for hours, even days for some first-time moms. That’s a long time to be munching on ice chips alone.

Once that baby pops out, though, you’ll want to be ready. When you’re packing your hospital bag, do not forget the snacks. Stuff as many snacks as you can in your car, bags, and on your person.

Afterward, you’ll feel like eating the universe, so reward yourself with a favorite healthy snack like dark chocolate almonds. Heck, grab a 15-pound bag of that good stuff since almonds are loaded with health benefits. Plus, chocolate. My guilty pleasure is valid.

Consider bringing along some of your favorite cereal or protein bars, and stuff that’s easy to much on one handed. Bananas and clementines make great hospital snacks, too.

3. Presenting The Vagina Fallout Frenzy

The strangest and most disgusting thing nobody prepared me for was my disintegrating vagina. That’s right, ladies: Bits and pieces of your va-jay-jay will keep falling out after you give birth.

So, there I was shaking my tail feather and everything else, and I’ve got tissue and other creepy bits falling out of my vagina, too. It’s like a funny joke God plays on us all. You don’t get your period for the duration of your pregnancy and then have continuous blood and lady bits flowing for – on average – six weeks after giving birth.

Don’t worry, too much, though. The hospital totally had me covered from navel to knee in the sexiest undies ever. I used to call super maxi pads diapers. These put those to shame. Heck, they put adult diapers to shame.

Your butt gets its own layered burrito experience. Oh, and on top of this so-called pad, you get a special ice pack – mine was literally a frozen diaper – and you’re off to ice your lady bits. So, now the chattering teeth from the shaking has merit, right? There are also lovely witch hazel disks to add a few extra inches to the experience, like cheap cheese in that fake butt burrito.

I destroyed all the photographic evidence.

4. Postpartum Peeing = Blockbuster Horror Movie Experience

You remember how nervous and excited you were when you peed on the stick for your pregnancy test? Maybe you used the cup to be on the safe side. You read and re-read the instructions to make sure you did everything right.

Well, I’m here to tell you there’s nothing quite like the experience after birth. Postpartum peeing involves a squirt bottle and the crab walk on swollen elephant feet, making you feel like the postpartum version of a zombie donning a stylish oversized leak prevention butt burrito.

Welcome to peeing after birth. Please get someone to fill your squirt bottle with toasty warm water before you go squirt. The bathroom is a no-wiping-allowed zone. Once the burrito-diaper is down, you do your business and squirt to clean, the real fun begins — you get to reapply your lady bits pad, freezer pad and witch hazel disks. Expect expletives.

No delicate graces were harmed in making it to the bathroom.

5. Volcanoes On Your Face

Acne is normal during pregnancy, thanks to the progesterone hormone, which boosts the secretions of the skin glands. Dehydration is also an acne-causing culprit while pregnant. All normal during pregnancy, but no one tells you after delivering the baby, your body will deliver volcanic pizza to your face.

So, if your body is experiencing seismic activity, why not your face? Glorious cystic pizza face — no, not Mystic Pizza. Come to think of it, pizza would’ve been incredible after birth, and I probably could’ve polished off a large pizza singlehandedly. I’m talking volcanoes on your face, postpartum seismic activity. Maybe I exaggerate, but I feel like this acne was worse than the pregnancy kind and even worse than my teen years.

There you have it, in all honesty — the wild things your body can do after birth. My postpartum hospital stay was no walk in the park.

I was shaking. Lady bits were leaking. Volcanoes erupted on my face. I felt tempted to eat inanimate objects and completed unspeakable acts just to pee. It was worth it for the gift of my baby, but I warn you: Be prepared.

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