Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
As my cousin’s husband so eloquently put it after his wife gave birth, “It’s like a bomb exploded on her crotch.” I know it’s graphic, but it’s as close to the way I felt after birth as can be put into internet appropriate words.
Warning: if you have not had a baby yet and are nervous or squeamish about the birthing process, this post may not be for you.
With our first, I was terrified to have a baby. The idea of pushing a baby out made me weak in the knees. But I will never forget the one friend who sagely told me her honest opinion that I painstakingly recalled after birth, “it’s not the delivery that’s hard, it’s the recovery.” Amen. Labor seems like summer camp comparatively.
No one adequately prepared me for the feeling of being ripped apart that lingers for a good six weeks post birth, not to mention every time I peed or #2-ed. I was unaware an inflatable donut would be my lifeblood, and I’d sell my soul to the devil to have a constant supply of them so I didn’t have to schlep my one true donut love around the house like a vagabond.
No one really prepared me for the incessant bleeding either. It’s not all that unfamiliar as it’s like a period, but on crack. And as the stereotypes about periods indicate, that cannot be a good thing.
And I’ll never forget the optimistic words of the postpartum nurse who told me I only had one little hemorrhoid. So bright. So encouraging. So wrong. Dear tiny little hemorrhoid, you’ve blossomed into my constant companion. Your mother would be so proud.
I don’t fault that nurse. In fact, I hold her on a pedestal. All those labor and delivery and postpartum nurses. They are the salt of the earth. The best people I know. I mean her job is to care for me, a stranger as I come to comprehend what lack of bladder control really means (read: repeatedly pee the bed). Not to mention the tasks of continually cleaning up my blood from all over the floor, comforting me while I cry because I’m scared to poop and then analyzing my bowel movements. If that’s not a saint, I don’t know what is. Nothing but straight up respect for those ladies.
The thing that is most difficult about the aftermath is the length. It’s rough being tore up from the floor up (see what I did there?) for an extended period of time. Sure, showering and getting dressed helps, but it doesn’t erase what you and I both know. A bomb went off down there and 6 weeks ain’t no amount of realistic time to undo that damage. After being so bamboozled by birth, I felt more ready to rejoin society not in 6 weeks (and many agree), but maybe somewhere closer to 6 months.
Maybe I’m being dramatic, it is my specialty, but the thought of enduring the exploded crotch again terrifies me.
Congratulations if you are one of the lucky ladies who is up walking, running, and sexing before your six weeks. I am not of that breed. Maybe I’m of the “wuss breed” or the “sissy breed,” but there is one thought making “the aftermath” seem surmountable. Nothing compares to the feeling of meeting a new little person.
While I’m not looking forward to the aftermath, I am more aware this time of the intoxication of a newborn baby and the indescribable love that make donut buddies humorous and bladder control just superfluous.
Image: Obstetrician via dabjola/Shutterstock.com