Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Baby got back (from having a baby)

If I took all of the books about pregnancy and stacked them together, they would probably cover the entire eastern seaboard, but where in the hell are all the post-pregnancy books?

I'd like to see JUST ONE.

It could be called, "Lower Your Expectations: What to Expect After You've Been Expecting."

I'm not talking about the sleep deprivation or dealing with the new arrival -- that information is more than readily available in the equally globe-suffocating litany of baby books. I'm talking about the physical changes a woman's body goes through after nine, no wait, 10 months of carrying around another human being inside her.

So, to make up for the lack of information out there, here's my take on post-pregnancy popups, spurred by my latest lovely discovery:

  • Where, oh where, has my body gone? Where, oh where, can it be?
    Somehow in my delusional third-trimester, I had assumed that I'd be walking out of the hospital wearing my old jeans, which I'd be able to zip up without a struggle. Reality is much different. Genetic freaks of nature aside, elastic waist bands remain a part of a new mom's wardrobe much longer than any of us would like them to. That is, if you can manage not to douse them in gasoline and set them ablaze right where you threw them down in an angry heap on the bedroom floor.
  • Sweatin' -- and not to the oldies with Richard Simmons
    What goes in, must come out. All that awesome fluid retention that makes a pregnant woman's fingers and toes look like bloated sea creatures seeps out through the skin's pores overnight. Literally. As in, don't take that plastic sheet off your bed just yet. Because even if your water didn't break while you were sleeping, you'll probably wake up in the week after giving birth wondering if your roof gave way after a torrential downpour. Or a giant tidal wave crashed through your bedroom window, soaking only your side of the bed.
  • Goal weight, score! ... Or not
    Even after the pounds recede and the water weight turns your formerly luxurious 800 thread count sheets into something unfit to donate to a secondhand store, nothing is quite where it used to be. Then you remember that your body just had to make room for a head to pass through your crotch. And your new hip girth turns your formfitting jeans into a tourniquet. The number on the scale might look like it used to, but the number on the measuring tape sure doesn't.
  • If the shoe fits, celebrate
    Another little-known fact of pregnancy? It makes your feet grow. And if you're a self-described shoe addict like me, you probably have what should be your retirement savings invested in a stack of boxes in your closet. So after pregnancy when your feet stop resembling that of a water buffalo and your center of gravity returns to normal and you want to slip on your favorite sexy stilettos and feel like a vixen again and they don't fit? Then you open box after blessed box only to find out that almost NONE of them fit? Because your feet that have ALWAYS been a size 8 1/2 since the eighth grade are suddenly and inexplicably a size 9? And you want to scream about the injustice of it all? Go right ahead.
  • Nothing prepares you for needing Preparation H
    After spending three hours in active labor pushing my daughter out, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised when a hemorrhoid the size of Manhattan took over my sphincter. But I was. There is no way to describe the feeling of excreting last night's dinner around a throbbing, pulsing vein. Well, maybe except this: I would rather go through childbirth.
  • The crying game
    Did you know that the hormone crash in the days after delivery is so intense it's like the equivalent of overdosing on downers? Guys, if you thought your lady's mood swings were intense during pregnancy, hold onto your tissue boxes and be supportive. If not? You'll find out why the female preying mantis eats her mate alive after they're done having sex.
  • Where are the tampon boxes labeled monsoon?
    Here's another one that should've made the "well, duh" list but didn't. I guess it makes sense that after your uterus is forced to more than quadruple in size, there will be repercussions in the menstrual cycle department. After the 30 days of post-baby bleeding stops, then your body graciously gives you a reprieve. (I guess Mother Nature felt like giving women a token thumbs up. Like a shitty prize at the bottom of your cereal box.) Then it hits. And the executives at Tampax need to get with the program and up the ante because those super jumbos are, in the eloquent words of my husband, "like tossing a cotton ball into Niagara Falls."

    Melissa said...

    The whole time I was reading that, I just kept nodding my head. So true!!

    Marcy said...

    HAH! Yes. I remember waking up with my flannel night shirt (it was February, and cold) soaked, and not being able to figure out if it was from sweat or milk leakage. I often had to change at least once.

    I think I had post-partum bleeding up till week 6, to the day. Then my period came back at 3 months (just as the little one had decided to go back to feeding every 3 hours around the clock). So not fair.

    Lioncloud said...

    Now that you've been introduced to Preparation H, let me clue you in to another of it's magical uses -- it rocks at taking away the "pain and itching" of insect bites and other skin irritations. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!

    Nikki said...

    LOL! I think it's so great that you are able to say it like it is. I haven't had a child yet, and I'm not even pregnant, but this is advice I'll come back to when the time comes. Good luck coping!

    phinsterooni said...

    dear novelle, I was minding my own business, stalking err...reading your posts like always, and i read this and just had to say, you rock. thanks for making me laugh. albeit that it was it was at your misfortune :) glad i found you again!

    Anonymous said...

    Decided, never having kids.

    Caryn said...

    I mentioned this once before a long time ago, but at the Preparation H comment, I have to say yet again: Cold Sour Cream!

    I know you might think that I'm trying to play a cruel joke on you; I mean, why believe some stranger on the internet, right?! But I'm telling you, it works better than any cream you can buy over the counter.

    And if you're really desperate enough, you will try just about anything.

    It was recommended by my father's DR when he was in the hospital. He was very malnourished due to liver disease and as a result, his bowel movements were straining and painful resulting in bad hemmrhoids.

    After he followed the DR's advice, he said it was gone in 2 days. Completely gone. To this day my dad says he uses only that to cure his hemmrhoids and it works every time.

    He said he'd rather be sloppy sitting on a towel for a day to cure the problem than to apply cream on his ass for a week straight that MAYBE makes it shrink just a little.

    Next time, try it. Your ass may thank me.

    fiona said...

    You're lucky your post-partum bleeding only lasted two weeks; mine went on for four.
    And I laughed SO hard at the Niagra Falls comment. I read Jenny McCartney's pregnancy book, and her husband said he was afraid to have sex w/her after having the baby because he was afraid it would be "looser". Or, as he put it, "like throwing a hot dog down a hallway".

    LeslieAnn said...

    Ok, seriously -- why don't YOU be the one to write that book. It would be humorous and insightful. Imagine it!
    "Raising Allison: A First Time Mom's Guide to the First Few Years"

    Jennifer Suarez said...

    There actually IS such a book, and it's HIIIILARIOUS...

    The girlfriend's guide to pregnancy (great for when you are preggo, but also as a what to expect afterwards)


    The girlfriend's guide to to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood. (title says it all)

    Be warned though, if someone can't handle the truth like the types of truths Kelly listed here, then don't look in these books. They are so downright honest it might scare ya straight.

    GREAT reading though if you ask me.

    Anonymous said...

    I agree with leslieann. You should write the book, Kelly. I would totally buy it because what you've said is totally true (my boy's 8 months now). Why don't they have books about post pregnancy? There are books about your newborn up to the first year. Why not a book about mommy's body for the first year. BTW, at least you're back in your pre-pregnancy pants already. Congrats! :) Also, I'm still loosing so much hair I can make a wig. You should also add into your "book" that if you get an IUD, you cycle is so off. Forget the "like clockwork" schedule that you had before pregnancy. Aunt Flow decides to visit whenever she wants now. Now I got to go buy Jenny McCarthy's book now, Fiona. Thanks.

    Wendy said...

    Wow! I am so excited about having a baby now. Thanks.

    Cece said...

    I laughed so hard.
    I need to print this out to remind me what I have to look forward to after the little one is here.
    You also have me some items to register for the baby I meant me a cargo of Preparation H and tampons.
    Sorry you had to go through all this but you have helped me to prepare somewhat on motherhood post pregnancy will be like. Thank you!

    C said...

    Oh good lord, now I'm scared. Especially the hormonal stuff, I have a thyroid disease which means I'm already on permanent PMS if I don't take my meds.

    Bitchy Mom said...


    Sh*t Kelly, you have to write a book!!! You have totally got it down to a T!!!


    Kimber said...

    Oy! Good information to know--I'm due in 3 weeks. I was a little surprised as well when one of my books informed me to pack maternity clothes for the trip home from the hospital. It said I'd still look about 6 months pregnant--yikes! LOL--makes sense when you think about it...guess I just wanted to avoid thinking about it until forced.

    I've also been going back and reading your posts from when you were pregnant--I'm so glad they are linked on your's been fun to read them, especially here in these last few weeks. :)

    Ray said...

    HAHA! I loved Jerry's analogy. Thank you so much for posting this. I'm not a mother, and I probably won't be until I'm 40 (HA!), but it's good to know things WAY ahead of time. Great post. ;o)

    Maria said...

    Alright, well I no longer want children.

    Sadly, the thing that frightened me most was the shoe part.

    Heidi said...

    Oh my gosh!!! So true!!! Hilarious (but not so much).

    jsi said...

    A very early morning post, or a late night post, it all depends on how you look at the dark hours. This could and should be another addition to your list...the change of the productive hours of your day. Especially if you include a night shift in your marriage, the nighttime can be an amazing time of productivity.
    Yes, TAMPAX needs a new category, for those who uterus has been stretched because of childbirth. A cottonball at Niagra Falls - exceptional insight!

    Anonymous said...

    You should write a book about all of this!

    As a seventeen year old, it pained me to read this. I can't imagine myself having kids in the far far future anymore. ><

    Amanda said...

    Kelly this is your book! You must write it. Now. Do it. Right now.

    Anonymous said...

    A couple more kids, Kel, and your tampon woes won't be absorbency, but that they won't stay up there!

    marsha said...

    Oooooh, I couldn't agree more. With everyone of them. Except the period thing. I do not have periods while I nurse. The whole 3 years or whatever. Even if I don't have milk, and they nurse once a day out of habit. So I get hot flashes instead, because it mimics menopause. Everything else?

    yes, yes, times 10!

    ajandmac said...

    Way to inform!

    We must find a way to publish this...