This post might end up having ”too much information” for some of you, but I’m going to be brutally honest. When I was pregnant I was told of all the different things I could expect to happen to my body and yes, some of those things did happen, but there were other things which happened which I had no forewarning or idea of whatsoever. So these are my ”what they didn’t tell me’s”.
I had an assisted birth with forceps which, in itself, can bring on more problems than you’d expect. Unfortunately for me, 7 months on, I’m still not sorted and am currently waiting for an appointment to come round! Anyway, I digress as that’s a whole different blog post.
The first thing I had to do was learn to inject myself with ‘Clexane’, an anti-blood clot drug, for 7 days post birth. I think this is because I’d had an epidural and the anaesthetic had taken ages to wear off. I know some women have to inject this for a longer time than me, throughout their pregnancy even, but nonetheless, something I didn’t expect I’d be doing.
The second, and probably most obvious, was the post birth bleeding (Lochia). Some people don’t bleed for very long, others for ages. I bled for about 3 weeks. I found this so hard since I cannot bear sanitary towels of any description, and since you’re not allowed to use tampons, I had to put up with them. They made me feel so unhygienic, were uncomfortable and just generally disgusting. It also doesn’t help that I was paranoid you could hear it ‘rustling’ around. Yuck.
Incontinence is a new experience for me. I only really suffer lightly with it now, mainly when I’m playing sports or in the gym. But the first few weeks home I genuinely couldn’t hold my bladder for very long, if at all. Not only are your baby’s nappies wet, but you might be changing your underwear a lot too. And don’t even mention going for a poo – when I had the urge, I really had the urge and had to go, there and then! Don’t even think about trying to hold your wind in. All the health professionals tell you to do your pelvic floor, and you really ought to make the effort. I only did it when I remembered, and I even had reminders on my phone using a “Kegel” app.
Big milky boobies! Yes, they’re coming with a vengeance whether you choose to breastfeed or not. I did breastfeed and went from a ‘B cup’ to an ‘E cup’. Super leaky, I’d suggest putting down a maternity pad between your sheet and mattress, otherwise your milk will stain it if you leak through.
I have never lost so much hair in my life. I could literally pull out a whole handful of hair at least twice a day. You don’t lose as much hair when you’re pregnant, and it’s all glossy and shiny and lovely, so when you’ve given birth you lose everything you would’ve done, plus more! My poor hoover must have collected a good few wigs. It gets absolutely everywhere too. The only problem I’ve got now is lots of frizzy baby hair where it’s all growing back.
My episiotomy was absolutely horrendous. Not only did I have the general pain you’d get with a cut down there, unbeknownst to me, they had stitched me up wrong, although it took forever for it to actually get sorted. Sitz baths with some liquid Savlon helped as much as they could, and I found that changing sanitary towels and underwear regularly helped lots too. I never dried it with a towel after a bath/shower, I’d either air dry it with my legs open on the bed (men, this is NOT an invitation for sex, or for you to have a good look at the damage) or used a hairdryer – on a low setting please ladies!
I’m convinced I’ve had a slight prolapse, but the nurses and doctors don’t seem to think I have. It’s not protruding out or anything, but it’s just kind of there. I’m also 99% sure this is adding to the other problems I’ve got “down there” for which I’m due to attend an appointment. I just know that it’s not what was normal for me (not that I expect miracles and to have no lasting effects) and surely you know your own body, right?
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what kind of things you can expect, but these are what I have experienced since having Toby.
What did you experience that you wish you’d know about before? Is it ongoing or resolved?