There were several aspects of pregnancy and delivery that I was warned about, including signs to look out for regarding postpartum depression and anxiety, how nothing could prepare you for actually having a baby, etc. etc.
But the truth is, there were definitely a bunch of other postpartum conditions from having a baby that I was not prepared for, in any way, shape, or form. Here they are:
- Delivery means you’re naked. I don’t know why I thought I could remain clothed while giving birth but it’s really not feasible, possible, or something you even worry about in the moment. But it was definitely something that surprised me.
- Postpartum uterine contractions. Known as uterine involution, this is the process of your uterus contracting back down to its smaller shape and causes painful cramps and contractions in the process — especially while breastfeeding. I was surprised by this when I had my first baby because I knew nothing about this at all. The entire process of your uterus shrinking back down takes about six weeks. For me, the first week post-delivery was the most painful regarding these cramps. I was prescribed pain medication for this reason and I very much encourage you to take them!
- Shaking from the shock of delivery. A few hours after delivering each of my babies, I suddenly felt very cold and feverish and could not stop shaking. My parents and hubby and sister had to cover me with blankets and after a few minutes, the shaking stopped. Nothing was wrong, this was apparently how some women experience the intense aftershock of delivering a baby!
- Pregnancy-induced breast infection that made breastfeeding excruciating. Thrush is essentially a yeast infection in your boobs that makes it super duper agonizing when baby latches to drink milk. I had thrush with both of my babies and even many of the midwives had no idea what my pain was caused by. It wasn’t until I had my second baby and was prescribed a life-saving compound ointment, that I realized extremely painful and stabbing pain in my boobs was not normal! Make sure you get yourself checked out if your breasts are in extreme pain.
- Breast engorgement from milk production. I didn’t notice this with my first since I was distracted by most everything else, but with my second baby, my boobs became very hard and painful (like water balloons about to burst — sorry but that’s the only analogy that makes sense to me!) when my milk came in a few days after the baby was born. I was nervous that something was wrong, but thankfully YouTube came to the rescue and suggested some massage techniques and a hot shower to take care of the symptoms.
- All you worry about is SIDS in the beginning. Both hubby and I opted to have our babies in bassinets when they were newborns because all you ever worry about in the beginning, is these precious little creatures not breathing. We also argued over temperatures in rooms (he always opted for too hot, I always opted for cooler temps) and how best to swaddle our little guys so they wouldn’t accidentally suffocate themselves. No one told me that I would be worried about this nonstop in the beginning!
What about you? Anything that surprised you about having babies? What do you wish you knew?