I pride myself on the fact that I have always researched all of my life endeavors pretty thoroughly. Delivering my first child was no different. I prepared for labor by milling over countless books, articles, and podcasts. However, I never came across the mention of poo, placentas, or pooches.
Understandably, going #2 is a bit of a taboo subject. Placentas aren’t really discussed asides from the fact that it attaches the baby to the mother. The talk of postpartum pooches was non-existent. How many times have we seen new moms post pictures of their flat bellies while holding their newborns? That’s great and all, but why aren’t we seeing post-pregnancy pooches? Perhaps because poo, placentas, and pooches go against all of the sweet magical joys that are associated with motherhood.
But, c’mon people. A heads up would’ve been nice.
To start, I was in labor for 36 hours. When it came time to push, I was more than ready. This was the moment we’ve all been waiting for. I asked my doctor, “How do I push?” Calmly, the doctor instructed, “Push like you’re having a bowel movement.” Um, excuse me? I side-eyed her and slowly asked, “Are you sure?” She gave me the thumbs up.
O . . . kay. So I did.
Babygirl was out in three pushes. An hour later, after everyone was cleaned up, my husband and I stared at our little miracle. We smiled at her ten perfect little toes. My husband sat next to me and tenderly stroked my hair. He casually mentioned, “You know that you took a massive dump, right?”
I was mortified!
He quickly followed it up with, “It’s okay, the nurse cleaned it up really fast.” I couldn’t believe it. How did this happen? It couldn’t be. Never would I do that. I am a lady! Of all of the pregnancy tips and advice that I received, no one warned about the possibility of poo. Now we know.
After 36 hours of labor and the pushing fiasco, I was enthralled to hear my daughter’s first cries. At last, she was out. I did it. I was exhausted, but I was so happy because I was done.
The nurse started to push on my belly in a downward motion. Was this some type of postpartum massage? The doctor peeked over my knees and said, “Push again.” I was confused. Why? For the placenta. I had no idea that I’d have to essentially birth the placenta too. I just assumed that the placenta came out with the baby. Apparently not.
With a deep breath, I dug deep to muster up the last morsel of strength to push out this surprise afterbirth. It didn’t take long. A few minutes later, a big blob came flying out. The placenta was almost as big as my baby! The doctor held up the placenta and commented that it was the most healthy placenta that he’s seen in a long time. Uh, thank you?
Since this was my first birth, the hospital required a two-day stay. It was pure bliss. The hospital provided us with delicious congratulatory steak dinners. The Labor & Delivery nurses were absolute angels. They patiently answered all of my gazillion rookie mom questions. My lactation specialist expertly assisted with getting my baby to “latch on.” The entire Labor & Delivery Unit really encouraged me and boosted my confidence. I never would have figured out these new mom skills on my own.
Two days later, they gave us the okay to discharge. With excitement, I carefully dressed my newborn daughter into her very first onesie. I couldn’t wait to get home and show my daughter the nursery that we had prepared for her. As my husband went to install the car seat, I got up to get dressed. Up until now, I’d been in a hospital gown. It will be nice to put on my own clothes. I unpacked my “going home” outfit. This consisted of my favorite pre-pregnancy jeans and a purple tee– one of the usual outfits that I wore before getting pregnant. I was ecstatic to ditch the maternity wear.
Quickly, I slipped off my hospital gown. To my shock, I still looked pregnant!
My stomach had a pooch that I thought would disappear once the baby was out. With a slight struggle, I pulled on my jeans. They made it past my hips, but there was no way those buttons were going to ever come together.
To add to my astonishment, I put on my tee-shirt that used to fit fairly loose only to find it super snug in the . . . ahem . . . chest area. I looked like I had just gotten a boob job. Where did these big fellas come from? I paused and gazed at myself in the mirror.
This is not how I envisioned my first days as a mom. I had expected my body to go back to how it was before. Clearly, I was wrong. Slowly, my eyes made their way to the pouch on my tummy, the pouch that safely held my child for the last 40 weeks. I looked back at my chest, the chest that was designed to sustain her life with nourishment. All of the sudden, a feeling of awe overcame me. A mother’s body is truly amazing. I couldn’t help but feel proud, and I never felt more beautiful.
Originally published June 2022.
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