When I got home from the hospital after giving birth to my son, I sent my husband to the drugstore for some emergency supplies. I’ll never forget his shopping list: Preparation H, Metamucil, nursing pads and a giant box of maxis.
I didn’t feel at all bad.
After all I’d just been through, and everything he’d witnessed along the way, we had no shame left.
Yes, pregnancy and childbirth are miraculous, joyous and awe-inspiring. But they’re also sometimes downright disgusting.
Even with all of today’s TMI, there are some topics so awkward, you might not hear about them from your OB-GYN – let alone bestie.
Just so you’re prepared, we’re dishing the details.
“Morning sickness” doesn’t begin to describe how foul the feeling can be. Not to mention the fact that it can last all day. The churning in your stomach may get so bad you’ll dream of throwing up for relief.
Smells that never bothered you can cause revulsion. Foods you once loved can make you gag.
Eating is the only thing that makes you feel better, yet it seems everything that goes down is destined to come right back up.
The good news is, it usually passes by the first trimester – and you can indulge your cravings in relative peace.
How, you might ask, could someone have a false alarm that her water has broken? Well, among the many things those pregnancy hormones do (linea negra anyone?), they stoke vaginal discharge to a crescendo that can actually cause you to mistake it for your amniotic sac rupturing – or, at the least, a small accident.
And that’s not all. In addition to peeing at all hours of the night, you may drool on your pillow more. Cute, huh? And those nursing pads I mentioned … trust me, you’ll need them.
Think your normal cycle was bad? Stock up on some super-sized panty liners. Many women are ill-prepared for the flow of post-birth “lochia.”
The discharge can last up to 10 weeks after delivery, changing color like a kaleidoscope.
The first phase, red due to the large amount of blood it contains, lasts a few days. Then: a thinner, brownish-pink substance that can persist up to 10 days. Finally, it fades to a white or light yellow flow that tapers over time.
You’re eliminating by-products of pregnancy, and it’s totally normal. In fact, variations can point to postpartum hemorrhaging or genital lesions, which you should immediately report to your doctor.
In the old days, women had to worry about surviving childbirth. Today, our No. 1 fear often involves “No. 2.” Yes: Most women indeed poop in the delivery room. The muscles required to bear down and get that baby out are the same ones we use to go to the bathroom.
It seems horrifying, but in reality your doctor, nurse and midwife have seen it all before. They’re so expert at whisking it away you probably won’t be aware it happened.
So many other things in the delivery room strip you of all dignity, it’s really the least of your worries.
Plus, you’re likely to be constipated for a bit after you bring baby home, so might as well give in.
Speaking of poop, you’re about to be become obsessed with it. Your newborn’s bundles of joy are going to fill the diaper, spill out of the pail and become the topic of everyday dinner conversation. Believe it.
And it’s not pretty.
Your newborn’s first nappy will introduce you to meconium, a greenish-black tar-like substance (waste products your baby collected in utero). In two to four days, you’ll notice “transitional” stools that fade to green and are a bit less sticky.
Next, breast-fed babies produce mustard yellow, green or brown stools that can be seedy or pasty – at least five times a day. Formula-fed? It’s browner and thicker, arriving three to four times a day.
It’s gnarly, but your baby’s bowel movements give you a window into his health and well-being. Things that were unimaginable before you became a parent suddenly seem, well, natural.
Before you know it you’ll be hoisting that little baby’s butt up to your nose and giving it a sniff.