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.
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?
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!