Things I wasn’t expecting after expecting

I have had 3 babies now and that makes me an expert. Hahahahahaha, I am kidding. Most days I have absolutely no idea what I am doing!! 1 I wanted to write a blog post about the few things that were a bit of a surprise to me after I gave birth. These things might have been things that were written in baby books or in blog posts that I missed but I really struggle to retain information when I am reading whilst pregnant. I have no idea why but I just can’t. I tried reading The Cows by Dawn O’Porter when I was pregnant with Evan and I ended up just reading the first 3 pages over and over again, I have no idea what happened!! Anyway here a few things that I think you should know…

The Shakes…

Straight after Dylan popped out (haha) my legs started to shake, a lot. It was a little bit like I had just done a really intense workout followed by 100 squats. I couldn’t stop it, I freaked out! It was totally uncontrollable. I tried to keep it under control but it was a bit crazy so I asked my midwife what the chuffing hell was going on. She assured me that it was absolutely normal. This happened again with Eilys and with Evan (although it wasn’t as bad with Evan which I put down to me being so chilled in the water). The midwife explained that it was because the body had been through a huge, exhausting thing and that the adrenaline and endorphins go into overdrive which makes your body shake. Simple!

There will be Blood…

I knew that after giving birth there would be a lot of bloody gubbins that needed to leave my body but I don’t think I fully appreciated how much stuff I was housing in my baby oven. After a lot of minutes (or several hours, who knows) of cuddling my scrumptious newborn baby Dylan I handed him to Joe and went for a shower to make myself feel more human.  Oh my goodness, that bathroom looked like the shower scene in Psycho after I was done. After having a baby it is literally like having 9 months worth of periods in a few weeks as your uterus contracts. Maternity pads will become your best friend. When I bought my 1 pack of maternity pads before having Dylan I opened them up to put some in my hospital bag and thought “flipping heck these things are ridiculously huge, I won’t need them this big”. WRONG. So very wrong. Trust me, you will smash through several packs a week. And those maternity bed pads are a good idea for at night too because sometimes maternity pads like to ruin your bed sheets.

After the birth comes the after pains…

Having just pushed a human out of my special place I expected that that was it. Nope, wrong again. After pains. Why did no one mention after pains!? After Dylan the after pains were mild, like period pains and lasted on and off for about a week. After Eilys they were worse but didn’t last as long. But with Evan, wow-wee, the after pains were intermittent and intense. Really intense. About day 3 after Evan was born I had my breastfeeding support nurse over and I honestly thought I was in labour again, I had to stop talking to breathe through the pain a few times. The after-pains are your uterus contracting and every time you have a baby this happens quicker as your body knows what it is doing. So the pain is a good thing but still, ouch!! My advice, if you can as soon as the baby comes out have some painkillers.

Google will become your best friend but it’s also a bit of a dick…

I think if someone made a graph of all the things I have ever googled and their frequency not only would you have a very bizarre list (my brain goes to some odd places at times) but “why is my baby crying” would be the most frequent. I don’t really know why my sleep deprived brain thought that the internet would help discover why my baby was crying. In the very few things that I did read it stated that I would just know what the different cries of the baby meant but nope, I didn’t have a clue. All the cries sounded the same, loud and they made me feel crazy. So I googled. And google came up with the 7 reasons why a baby cries. Yay, I thought, this should help! I will save you the hassle and tell you the 7 reasons why a baby might cry…

  1. Babies cry because they are hungry – ok, but I have already fed the baby so that can’t be it
  2. Babies cry because they need their nappy changing – nope, checked that
  3. Babies cry because they want to be cuddled – well, that can’t be it because I am cuddling the baby
  4. Babies cry because they are over stimulated and want to be put down – right, I’ll put him down and leave him to chill… oh wait, nope that’s not why he’s crying… Next!
  5. Babies cry because they are sleepy and need to rest – hmmm, well I guess we could try to pop him down for a snooze. Oh wait, he doesn’t seem to want to sleep. Bugger.
  6. Babies cry because they are too hot or too cold – I have checked his tempurature and it seems to be fine… and onto the next one
  7. Babies cry because they just feel like crying – great, thank you Dr Google. Awesome.

It is embarrassing how many times I googled this and many other things after having Dylan. I really didn’t after having Eilys but since having Evan I have been back on it again, I am a numpty. Other things at the top of my google search list are “what does [insert colour here] coloured poop mean?”, “how can I get my baby to sleep more?” and “how much should a [insert age here] baby feed?”.

Word to the wise though, Google is a good thing for the most part but it can be a really scary place too. There is no one to filter out the ridiculous and the nutters, no one to stop you falling into a spiral of horror stories and unhelpful device, oh and cat videos… so many cat videos. I can remember the exact moment when I stopped googling things after having Dylan. He was about 9 months old and I had noticed that in the mornings he would have slightly puffy eyes. Like the nutcase I am, I worried about this a bit and so I headed to google. The link I clicked on after typing something like “9 month old with puffy eyes in the morning” said that it was probably necrotic kidneys… Hmmm, something clicked and I googled no more (well, I googled less).

The toilet is not your friend…

In my birth plan for having Eilys I made it quite clear that I wanted to be in and out of hospital as fast as possible. The midwives were fine with this, on  one condition I needed to produce 350ml of wee. Ah. Right. She gave me one of those weird thick cardboard bowl thingies that sit in the loo and off I went.  I was a bit cocky, 350ml of my finest pee would be a piece of piss (pun intended). However, with all the joys of childbirth my body had completely forgotten how to wee. Hmm. I drank about 2l of water and then returned to the loo. Nope. Nadda. Have you ever tired to make yourself go for a wee? It is very difficult, it’s not something that you can really force. My body was very much resisting. I managed to get out a little splash here and there but nothing overly substantial. Poor Joe had to watch his sorry state of a wife traipse to and from the loo with bowl of wee (childbirth is so glamorous and it really shows your husband how sexy you really are, haha). After a l-o-n-g time I managed to whizz out the correct amount of urine and we were allowed to escape.

And that leads nicely onto the other part of toilet time. The dreaded number 2. Birth is traumatic for your undercarriage, a lot has happened to an area that you usually treat very delicately and kindly. Birth is gnarly. The first poo you have after giving birth is a memorable one and not for any good reason. The only way I can describe it is that it feels a bit like the whole world is trying to come out of your arse and a little like you are going to turn inside out. It may feel like that but it won’t. It isn’t enjoyable and it is a little scary but you’ll be ok. And if you are worried about how it feels then please contact your midwife asap. Oh and top tip, as a little treat for your bottom buy yourself some expensive loo roll. I am talking quilted, 8-ply, coconut oil enriched loo roll, your bottom deserves the best. Also I found those grown up wet wipe things (washlets maybe?) really good but only the sensitive ones! Go on, treat yourself!

The hairdryer and the vacuum cleaner are super helpful, parenting assistants…

Picture the scene, the baby is crying… again. You have googled and completed the checklist of why the baby is sobbing. What is your next move? Well, we turned the hairdryer on and it bloody worked! When babies are in the womb it is noisy, really noisy so when they come out the quiet is really hard on them.  I am sure next door neighbour thinks we are crazy having the hairdryer or vacuum on at 2am (the poor fellow also had to put up with screamy shouted labour Emma). It took us a few days to realise that static on the radio worked just as well as the hairdryer and it was quite relaxing and helped us sleep too. Bonus!

The World is suddenly a very confusing place…

After having a baby your whole world is altered. The transition between person and parent is a huge step. I found the first few days of Mummyhood so confusing. I was completely knackered and I had this tiny human to look after and nothing made any sense anymore. I wasn’t just tired but everything seemed a little bit wrong. A few days after having Dylan we were watching Have I Got News For You and I thought they had all been aged or were wearing prosthetic to make them look older. All the contestants looked about 20 years older than I remembered. I couldn’t get my head around it. I was really freaked out. Joe and his Mum didn’t seem to think anything was different but they all looked so weird! I have since put this weird phenomenon down to me staring at nothing but a tiny, new, smushy baby face for a few days so obviously everyone else looked haggered and old.

The first time I ventured out into the world with my newborn without Joe I walked to Tesco (other supermarkets are available). It was too far to walk in (nearly instant) hindsight. My first problem I encountered was a zebra crossing. I stood there, waiting for the traffic to stop but then they stopped and I still stood there… until a rather irate (nobhead) driver beeped me and I remembered to walk across the road. I then negotiated the lift into tesco. We had ventured out into the big wide world to get Daddy something yummy for dinner for being such a fabulous Daddy. We kept getting stopped by people cooing over Dylan which was lovely. We made it to the fancy ready meal section (there was no way that I was going to actually cook a meal). The choice was baffling. Baffling. Nothing was jumping out at me and I was super aware that Dylan might wake up and start screaming the place down. I think I decided on something pasta-ry and some garlic bread  (probably with cheese, Joe is a really great Daddy). We made it to the tills and then came the next hurdle… the bloody chip and pin machine. Like an idiot, I handed my card to the cashier and she in return gave me a blank stare. I explained to her about the new baby and my cotton wool brain. Obviously I had also forgotten my pin number. Duh. I ended up signing my name instead of the PIN thing. Basically  the moral of the story is don’t venture outside your new baby bubble unless you absolutely have to… the outside world is a weird and scary place!!

There are hundreds of things that were a total shock and surprise for me and my husband after having a baby, after a while you learn to roll with the punches. I hope you have enjoyed reading my waffle!

Thanks for reading



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