The Rest of The Story, Take 2

I firmly believe one of the least discussed parts of the whole pregnancy, childbirth, becoming a mom experience is the part that follows immediately after that baby exits your womb. The world, with all it’s warm and fuzzy ads and Lifetime movies, would have you believe that once that baby is out, all is perfect with the world. The pain leaves, you heal up, you go about your blissful existence with your newborn… at least until colic sets in.

Not. TRUE.

I was so blindsided by what followed Kendall’s birth that I feel like the days/weeks after I had him were far more traumatizing than the pain of delivering without an epidural. The Pitocin in the thigh, nearly passing out, the catheter, the blood, the stitches, the rash, the mastitis, the chunks of flesh falling off my bleeding nipples… NOBODY WARNED ME ABOUT THAT SHIT.

Now, looking back, and after experiencing things the 2nd time around, I have to think that maybe my experience was a little on the extreme side the 1st time (and I’m so sorry if I scared the living hell out of you). That said, it wasn’t all rosy and baby powder scented diapers of puppies and bunnies this time, either.

Each time I’ve pushed out a baby, my mind has rejoiced momentarily that the “pain is over.” And then, minutes later, I’m reminded it’s not. Sure the pain level has decreased, but it’s not over. First, there was the delivering of the enormous placenta I was carrying around that was, apparently, about the size of my baby.

Then, though I only had a small 1st degree tear this time, I still had to have stitches, meaning I had to endure several shots of local anesthetic to the part of my body I wish to not be touched for the next year. And then? That doesn’t completely numb the area, just dulls it slightly, leaving me still able to feel the sensation of the thread and needle weaving in and out of my delicate and already battered nether regions.

On the bright side, I didn’t bleed nearly as much after having Leyna as I did Kendall. There was no need for the shot of Pitocin to the thigh, and I didn’t pass out on my way to the toilet, either. I did, however, leave a lovely, murderous looking trail from the bed to the bathroom, which I nearly slipped on.

Oh, a side note, the poop I left in the toilet while in labor (have you read my birth story yet?), was still there after I had Leyna and I saw Scott silently slink over to the bathroom and flush it. I think it was really bothering him that it was still sitting there, in all it’s nasty germiness. What a gentleman.

I was really nervous about my first pee. I sat on the toilet, again in front of the whole room, and wished with all my might that I would pee. Y’all, that catheter I had to have after Kendall was the WORST part about childbirth last time. I was more afraid of that than pushing. And as the urine started to trickle out, I shouted from my throne to every soul in the room, “I’M PEEING!! YES!! I’M PEEING!” I was met by many congratulations and my nurse even made a call up to my recovery nurse to share the good news. I don’t think anyone was looking forward to the catheter possibility.

By the time I got to my room to recover, I was, honestly, feeling pretty good. In fact, Scott and I sat there and looked at each other like, “that was way too easy.”

And then… the cramps started.

Cramps as painful as the most painful menstrual cramps that once sent me to the ER and many times sent me home early from work. Maybe worse. Definitely worse than the cramps I experienced last time as I breastfed Kendall (they come when you’re breastfeeding because it makes your uterus contract… so I’m told).  Cramps so bad I hunched over and cried many times, all while trying to perfect my newborn’s latch.

The good news is I was was given a lovely cocktail of narcotics to dull the pain, which I dutifully took each time I was up for another dose. This girl may push babies out with no pain meds, but I sure as hell want them after I deliver.

We came home 24 hours after having Leyna, and I was all kinds of hormonal and crazy by then. As we pulled up to the house, I saw the neighbor kids running amok across our yard. I could see them peering into the Jeep. I KNEW they were going to pounce on us and ask to see the baby the minute we opened the doors.

“Your mission is to keep those punk-ass kids AWAY from me and AWAY from my baby. I’m not kidding, Scott. I’m going to kick them in the teeth. Do NOT let them near me. Do NOT let them talk to me, and so help me, DO NOT LET THEM TOUCH MY BABY.”

I think it took a good week for my hormones to level off.

In the meantime, just as I thought breastfeeding was going really well this time around (minus the standard nipple pain that comes from a Hoover attached to tender breasts for 20 out of 24 hours suddenly), Leyna suddenly decided to absolutely refuse to latch on my bitch-ass, giant, malformed left nipple. Tears fell from my eyes and landed on her sweet little head as I struggled for up to 30 minutes to just get her to latch. Just PLEASE LATCH. Oh God, I did NOT want to have latch issues. We battled for 48 hours and I’m happy to report I WON. I mean, the conditions do have to be just so. She has to be positioned just right. The boob can’t be too full or too empty. I have to squeeze it and start it for her. She doesn’t want to work for it at all, but I finally got her to latch and we’ve been good to go ever since.

The upside to all of this is my nipples look nothing like they did with Kendall this far out. No scabs. No blood. No chunks of flesh falling off. Okay, so she’s picky, but at least she’s kind. So breastfeeding is definitely a win this time around.

And then the rash returned. Oh yes, remember my lovely crotch rot? Just a few days out of the hospital and it erupted all over my butt, thighs and everything in between. AGAIN.

Confession- Like an IDIOT, I didn’t stock up on pads before I went into labor. I came home with the hospital pads, and they ran out sooner than I expected… in the middle of the night. What did I have left? Oh, only the ALWAYS PADS OF EVIL AND DOOM from my last postpartum experience that gave me contact dermatitis. But I didn’t think it would be that  big of a deal. I would only need to wear one for a few hours before we could get out to the store.

Flash forward to the end of the day, and I’ve got another raging, itching, burning, red, bumpy rash all over the parts I wish not to be touched. My name is Jill, and I’m a dumbass.

Or am I… because shortly after, after I quickly switched to Kotex pads, continuing for many, many days after that, I began to see this rash spread up my stomach, inside my stretch marks, and down my legs, behind my knees and even on my calves. Last time it didn’t spread, that I can remember. Contact dermatitis is just supposed to erupt where the skin actually comes in contact with the irritant. Those pads may have been big, but they certainly didn’t touch my knees.

I consulted Dr. Twitter and Dr. Google (since it was a weekend and I couldn’t consult my midwife until Monday), and the diagnosis ranged anywhere from PUPPPS to an allergy to my husband’s DNA in the placenta and amniotic fluid. <<< No, really. That was a for real issue.

I never found out what caused the rash this time around. My midwife called in a steroid pack for me that Monday after I delivered and it seemed to clear up about 95% of the rash within a few days. Next time, I’m just going to assume this is going to happen to me and be on the lookout.

It’s 2 weeks out now, and I *think* the worst has passed. All in all, it hasn’t been that bad this time around, at least when I compare it to recovery with Kendall. I was up walking around much faster this time, the weight seems to be coming off faster this time, breastfeeding is 80% less painful.

So doesn’t that give you all hope?! Hopefully, it at least doesn’t scare you nearly as much as my 1st Rest of The Story did.

Kendall is 2 1/3 and Leyna is 2 weeks.

50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide
Available now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble


    • I guess not! But really, I can’t be the only one that goes through this. Sure, there are probably varying degrees of discomfort postpartum, but I just think women should be prepared. I wish someone would have told me the first time around what to expect. I really don’t think it was *that* bad this time, though 🙂

  1. yeah! I found that the 2nd time was much less pain/blood/crazy. There will be no 3rd. This house is closed. Actually my house is still open but my husbands? Vacant. Great story.

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  3. I’m right there with ya, pushing out a baby is only the beginning. I found the cramping, pad changing, and stitches healing to be just as bad as delivery. But the terrible two weeks is over for you, so it’s all good! You survived momma

  4. The first time I paid for a nice recovery when I lost the breastfeeding battle 🙁 So sad.

    The second time, recovery was even better and I won the breastfeeding battle. Not without major issues though, of which you already have read.

    It’s amazing how each woman’s birth story and recovery is different.

    But those cramps? Oh LORD, those cramps. I thought they would be the death of me. I can’t imagine what #3 would do to me.

  5. Wow! You did have it rough with him! And no 2 pregnancies / deliveries / postpartum experiences are alike, even for the same woman.

    With my 3rd child I had the horrible horrible cramps while breastfeeding. I doubled over, too. I hadn’t had that experience at all with the first 2. Surprise!

    But ugh, I remember feeling EVERY stitch after my 2nd! I managed to not tear with my 3rd! Yay!

  6. Ohhh Always pads are the devil!

    An allergy to amniotic fluid is definitely real – I worked at a horse farm as a breeding assistant and whenever I’d catch a baby, I’d break out into a rash and itch for DAYS. It was always up my arms. Such a pain in the ass, especially when we had multiple mares birthing at once.

    Hope you’re feeling better Momma!

  7. It’s refreshing to know that I’m not the only woman who left a “murdurous-looking” trail of blood between her bed and the bathroom. I was mortified when that happened after having DS, but I’ve since found out that it’s pretty dang common. Ah, the things people don’t tell you.

  8. Yes, it does give me hope…. the one thing you said that gives me the MOST hope is “Next time, I’m just going to assume this is going to happen to me and be on the lookout.” That’s right… you said “Next time.” My first time around I didn’t’ consider a next time until he was 3…. I was DONE. Seriously.

  9. I swear I am one of those women allergic to her husband’s DNA. After all 3 of my children, my whole body would ITCH for WEEKS. I mean itch so bad, I had scabs up and down my legs, thighs, stomach, hips. I would scratch until I bled, and all I wanted to do was run sharp forks all over my skin, it was horrible. By week 7 it would disappear, but it really is an awful feeling, I hope your rash heals soon! My baby is 3 months old tomorrow and my skin finally healed from all the scabs a few weeks ago. Enjoy your time as a family of four, it will get harder, but also better and more fun!

  10. You’re absolutely right…nobody truly prepares you for the after! I was the first out of all my friends to get married and have babies and I have already let them know that childbirth does NOT end once the baby comes out. I had read so many books and articles, talked to numerous people and tried to prep myself as much as possible for the birthing experience but I was still never close to informed about what would happen afterwards! It’s like going through battle and winning only to find that there is an enemy ambush awaiting you after your victory celebration.
    Is it supposed to be this huge unwritten law of women to not tell? Do they have some drug to erase all memories for weeks after they place the baby in your arms? Because surely I am not the only woman who WILL NEVER FORGET how shocking and terrifying recovery was!

    I am 6 months pregnant with my second baby and I do thank you for giving me hope that the experience will not be so miserable this time!

  11. This should be a chapter in all those childbirth books. Before I had JD, I had NO IDEA of what went on after birth, and I had taken a class! This is way more important info than the breathing crap!

  12. Ahhh the cramps with my second…they almost killed me!!!

    …and I love how brave you are to say “next time” with a 2wk old in the house!

    Congratulations again!

    • We agreed on 3 as the magic number before we got married, and it looks like Scott is holding me to it. I will, however, be taking my sweet time getting there. I think Kendall needs to at least be in Kindergarten 5 days a week before that can happen. I can’t have 3 kids at home with me at once.

  13. I blogged something similar just after #2 was born because, like you, I don’t think it’s discussed enough!

    I was an unsuspecting first time mom. I didn’t have stitches externally but had them internally, couldn’t have sex for several months & had a hemherroid pop up WEEKS after delivery.

    Someone needs to tell these women! (And remind the rest of us so that we can keep baby fever at bay.)

  14. That is so true. If you decide to go through this hell again (if your baby rabies is not placated by now…), I just have one word: Depends. Best. Postpartum. Product. Ever. Disposable panties that cannot possibly leak. I know they are bad for the environment but the happiness they provided me were TOTALLY WORTH the part of the earth that was destroyed. I just kept a garbage bag next to the toilet to put my “diapers” in.

    Also: a few drops of comfrey (5? per bottle) in your little squirt bottle thing when you go to the bathroom helps a ton with healing stitches!

  15. “Next time, I’m just going to assume this is going to happen to me and be on the lookout.”

    Hee-hee. She said “Next time”. I guess it couldn’t have been that bad. lol

  16. Again, you make me glad I had a C-section delivery. Sure, it was major surgery, and it was scary when they said, “We need to get your baby out NOW.” But my recovery was surprisingly smooth, and I missed out on many of the joys you are describing. You will hear no complaints from me on that!

  17. Hi Jill,
    I totally remember those mind numbing cramps and sore nipples! I’m so sorry to hear about the woes with the disposable pads. They are nasty! There is a report from the Cnd Medical Journal stating that Always Pads can cause contact dermatitis!

    I also saw on Twitter that @undomesticamy suggested you try Lunapads. I’d be happy to send you something to try! You may want to check out my blog post to see how some of our products may be useful to you.(And if you no longer have any post partum bleeding, our super comfy Lunapanties will still be a treat for your recovering perinium!) Just let me know.

    All the best to you in the weeks, months and years going forward!
    Suzanne (or @luna_gal)

  18. Oh I hear you on the cramps! I started getting them at 24 weeks pregnant and my cardiologist thought I was having an aortic dissection. My OB swore up and down they weren’t contractions but I had the pain throughout the pregnancy and then every single day postpartum. After 2 weeks postpartum they went away and haven’t been back since. Definitely contractions.

    I got contact dermatitis twice after delivery: once from the hospital pads and once with my Always pads. I didn’t know there was a connection but sure enough the rash went away after I switched to Kotex so I will not be using Always ever again.

  19. oh my goodness. the PUPPPS is the worst. i had it with my son and it started a few weeks before i went into labor and lasted another week after. i wanted to surgically remove my own skin

  20. Hi there! I enjoy reading your blog. I like the stories about funny things that kendall does.

    I have just started my own blog. do you think you can help me? How do you like to previous posts?
    For example:
    ” while in labor (have you read my birth story yet?), was still there after I had Leyna and I saw Scott silently slink over to ..”

    Thank you very much and congratulations on the new baby!

  21. Thank you for sharing so honestly! I’m glad this time around was at least a little better for you. I completely understand not being prepared for what happens after delivery. Why do they not cover that in childbirthing classes?

    The cramps killed me. It felt like I was giving birth again (yay for no drugs!). I do not look forward to that again, whenever that may be!

  22. I’m 11 weeks pregnant with my first, but I’m actually glad I read this! I’d rather go in knowing all of these things could happen, that way I’m not blindsided, or so I can just be grateful if some of it doesn’t happen to me. 🙂 I’m going a similar route to yours; midwife in a DFW hospital, so I’m glad it went well for you because I’m still a little concerned about having to fight off inductions, epidurals, etc being in the hospital.

  23. There were cracks so deep in my nipples that I’m pretty sure you could look in and see my lungs. “Uncomfortable,” my ass. I was SHRIEKING in pain.

    Hearing this has made me hopeful for the next one. Perhaps my nipples are now strong like bull. Let’s hope so.

  24. My DD is a year behind Kendall, and I first found your blog a few weeks after I had DD. I remember being in bed, reading your description of your recovery with Kendall on my phone, and crying. I woke my husband up and made him read it. I wanted him to understand! He was living the colic, but couldn’t really understand the hemorrhoids, the bleeding nipples, feeling like I’d been run over by a truck…

    I also developed an allergy to the Always pads that I was wearing. I was miserable in places where I was already miserable. Those things are from the devil!

    I’m so sorry that the rash came back this time (for whatever reason), but I am glad that it has been easier overall!

  25. the breastfeeding cramps?? WAY WORSE than labor/delivery without meds. WORSE. I, too, cried, panted and swore my way through them like I never did during the actual labor and pushing of the baby. Makes TOTAL sense. So glad you guys are doing well now!

  26. jill, i’m so happy that it’s going good again for you! I had puppps when i was pregnant and I used tar soap and it cleared it up. i also used some vitamins/supplements but I can’t remember them off the top of my head.
    that’s so funny how we don’t want meds while we’re pushing a human being out of our vag’s but we’ll go looking for meds when we’ve got a headache or like you, cramps. 🙂
    i’m so happy that you stuck with bfeeding. with my 2nd, he refused to latch, and believe you me, i cried tears on his little bitty head too…BUT I have to say that my boobs haven’t gotten worse-looking 🙂 LOL.

  27. Thank you. Thank you for writing this side of your birth story. I wish someone would have shared something like this with me before I had my first in December. I always thought a natural med free childbirth equaled a quick easy recovery-that was my main reason for doing it. But oh no…If I had known I’m sure all those late night feeding spent bawling over his little head would have been shared with thoughts of, “this is normal, it will pass, you will heal and bond with this little one.” Instead, I heard, “what is wrong with you, nobody else is like this.” You’re right, labor and pushing that’s only half of it. It’s the stitches, the pitocin shots, the hemorrhaging, and pain afterwards that get you.

  28. I just found your blog as a friend shared your post today (the hell-no I’m not handing out goodie-bags on an airplane post – love it!) and I’m a sucker for birth stores so I started poking around. I too developed that horrible rash all over my body 5 days post partum and my OB told me it was PUPPS, however she did NOT give me any steroids to clear it up and it took a full month to go away. Holy PIA. Just wanted to commiserate as that was absolutely miserable. I wore long sleeves to keep the anti-itch ointment off my newborn, but then the sleeves aggrivated the itch. What a miserable way to go through the first month of motherhood!

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