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Things No One Tells You About Pregnancy - Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Things No One Tells You About Pregnancy [20120830|13:18]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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Despite doing the usual internet searches and having read the books on sprogging up that have been loaned to me by kind friends, I note that there are a few things no one tells you.

  1. Braxton-Hicks contractions are both scary and painful. The Wikipedia article on the subject must have been written by a robot. "They should be infrequent, irregular, and involve only mild cramping." To which my response gets a bit sweary, frankly. Because, fuck off! It hurts! A metric fuckton! Try getting them in the middle of a meeting or when you're standing on a bus, and tell me if that feels like "mild cramping", you wankers.

  2. No position you can assume will relax you once you pass a certain size threshold. I have passed that threshold. Sitting, standing and lying down are all uncomfortable. My back hurts. My feet hurt. Various limbs go numb periodically. It's horrible, and if anyone had told me in advance that I would have to spend three months in a state of constant physical pain, I would probably have insisted on having a large vat of cooling gel installed in my bathroom and would currently be dictating all my work and this post from there.

  3. At some point it becomes impossible to maintain the topiary conditions of your nether regions. Forget losing sight of your feet. I like to maintain a Brazilian with a razor. Now that most of that area has disappeared under a vast expanse of belly, I find myself largely guessing whether or not I've done a thorough job. And usually I find when I'm looking in the mirror later that I've managed to miss more than one bit, or that the remaining tuft lacks a certain symmetry. The bloke says he doesn't mind forging his way through the jungle if necessary, but dammit, I feel untidy.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2012-08-30 13:08 (UTC)
"The bloke says he doesn't mind forging his way through the jungle if necessary", LOL! Maybe he could help with the bush whacking?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-01 14:02 (UTC)
I realise he must wield a razor near his nose every day, but the idea of man + razor + ladybits still makes me a rather nervous.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-01 14:02 (UTC)
Yes, we have one of those classes coming up next weekend. I look forward to commiserating.
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[User Picture]From: bryangb
2012-08-30 13:53 (UTC)
One of the specially-shaped pillows I mentioned before really might help with the aches and pains.
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[User Picture]From: bryangb
2012-08-30 14:43 (UTC)
According to *my* wife, they're wonderful... (-:

Maybe some are better than others, or maybe it's just as case of YMMV.
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2012-08-30 18:33 (UTC)
Word. Babies come out underdeveloped relative to other mammals because they already have huge heads relative to the size of the birth canal.

Speaking of Intelligent Design Ha Ha human evolution, we need our big brains, but haven't got hips to deliver them.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-01 14:06 (UTC)
I still don't understand why we don't lay eggs. Shared responsibility for hatching! Yes! Now that's equality!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-01 14:05 (UTC)
I'm reluctant to spend £30-£50 on something that will only be useful for about eight weeks so I'm making do with six pillows arranged around me in various ways. It seems to work OK, though the longest stretches of sleep I get are about 4.5 hours. This is largely because either I need the loo or I'm getting dehydrated and have developed leg cramps, so I don't think the special pillow would help with that anyway.

If I had another five months of this ahead of me at this point, I might become suicidal.
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[User Picture]From: seismic
2012-08-31 00:48 (UTC)
Duuuuude. I was at the hospital twice with Braxton-Hicks contractions thinking (hoping!) I was in labor. Mild cramping, my ass.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-01 14:08 (UTC)
Exactly! I thought for a few terrifying minutes that I was going to have to ask the bus driver to divert to the hospital.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-01 14:10 (UTC)
As I said to cosmiccircus, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the idea of untrained man + razor + ladybits. I might book in for a waxing in October.
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[User Picture]From: bowtomecha
2012-09-01 10:08 (UTC)
I'm upset that although I don't post much to my journal, I read my friends page pretty religiously and had no idea you were with child and so far along too. Its like not getting all my mail even though I'm home to receive it. Like half a dozen people fell through the cracks and I don't know why.

Congrats by the way, although I guess it's like congratulating somebody halfway through a race heh.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-01 14:16 (UTC)
Don't worry, it hasn't been the main subject of most of my posts! Especially from the Scotland trip, where it only looks like I'm smuggling a cantaloupe in the photos rather than a giant watermelon. :P

Thank you. Eight more weeks, so more than 3/4 of the way there...
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[User Picture]From: belladonna_
2012-09-02 01:54 (UTC)
Ugh, I never had Braxton-Hicks. The rest... I hear you.

In the vein of things people don't tell you till it's too late... In the hospital, after you've had the baby, and they offer you a stool softener? *Take it.* In fact, ask if they've got something stronger. Use the strongest safe stool softener/laxative they will give you until you are confident everything is back to normal.
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[User Picture]From: thekumquat
2012-09-02 22:05 (UTC)
Never had BH either, well not until a couple hours before labour started. Which was a huge relief as my pelvis had already collapsed and I'd seen my sister in law fall off chairs doubled over with them. She said labour was a doddle in comparison.
Ditto stool softener - worth splashing out 2 quid on a bottle of Lactulose now. Though I never had much of a problem myself.

My top tips are take large bottle of water in with you and in the postnatal ward soak a towel and tie it to your bed as the wards are hotter than hell. And pelvic floor exercises. Do them. Lots. You can do them lying down!

Hope you feel a bit better soon. Take it easy.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-04 19:12 (UTC)
Stool softener, right. I shall get some. Thank you for the tips!

I'm American so I still drink 2-3 times as much water as most British people anyway. I have a little bottle with me at all times. Good to know that a large bottle will be necessary. I do my pelvic floor exercises every day (terrified of the thought of incontinence).
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[User Picture]From: thekumquat
2012-09-04 22:53 (UTC)
Course you could follow my example and react to an epidural with acute diarrhoea and vomiting, which certainly evaded the postnatal poo issue...
They seemed to bring water round regularly, usually every time I got to sleep, but I wouldn't rely on it. 2nd time I did get given some lactulose but as I didn't bother keeping a terp with me, I had no idea what the woman said it was at 6.30am, and wasn't sure if it was a urine sample so didn't touch it until 6 hours later... when discharged 20 hours later I was given 200 ml to take home, so approx 20 days of reducing doses.

I'd take your own paracetamol and any painkillers you've been prescribed, just in case the ward prescribers screw up. And food. Lots. The ward food was fine, but if you get to the postnatal ward after supper at 6pm, it's a long time to breakfast. And you'll deserve chocolate/malt loaf/fruit/juice/chocolate milk/sustenance of choice, damnit!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-05 18:18 (UTC)
Eep, I'm glad you didn't desperately need the lactulose at the time you were given it or that would have been an awful six hours.

Clearly I need to make a list of things to take with me! And possibly work out the location of the nearest grocery shop to the hospital in advance, so the bloke can pop there to get supplies.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2012-09-05 13:20 (UTC)
Yes! The postnatal ward was *roasting* - it was really unpleasant, especially given how queasy and wobbly I was feeling. Didn't help that it was August and a thundery, hot, humid day for me, though. I had Gordon soak some paper towels to put on me, but they just heated up really quickly. I think they keep it warm for the babies, but even the staff were commenting on how hot it was and they couldn't get it to cool down even with the windows open since it was about warmer outside.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-05 18:26 (UTC)
Ooh, that sounds miserable. I mean, it's likely to be cooler *outside* in late October/November, but the hospital staff are probably less likely to open the windows...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-04 19:14 (UTC)
OK, there are now three people who've mentioned stool softener, so I'll get a bottle of the stuff to have on hand! I haven't had too much in the way of digestive trouble during pregnancy but then again I've been making a special effort to eat enough fibre. Who knows if I'll have the energy to watch my diet quite so carefully while learning to look after a new baby...
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[User Picture]From: belladonna_
2012-09-04 20:10 (UTC)
Really the first time post-baby is the worst. I mean, since we're getting TMI here. I don't think it's diet so much as a combination of the process of childbirth putting many normal body processes on hold, plus if you've got painkillers, those tend to back you up, and then if you've had a vaginal birth, that part of your body is horribly sore, so the act of passing some backed up, weirdo poop is exacerbated. I had a c-section (unplanned, prompted by late-pregnancy gestational hypertension), and so I got even more painkillers than a vaginal delivery would have. I didn't go for more than a week after having Miles, and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. Not to be gross, but you might want to buy a disposable enema from the drug store (chemist?) and stash it in the bathroom. I never imagined that I would ever want an enema, but if I had had one, I would have used it, *happily*. Yeah, happily. :)

I kept taking the stool softener for a few days after that, just to make sure things were back to normal, and they were.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2012-09-05 13:22 (UTC)
I didn't find it necessary (and it wasn't offered). It was a good five days before I had to pass anything, as it were, and it was actually fine, despite lack of softness, and that was with a second degree tear and stitching. Sorry about the TMI there! I guess everyone is different.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-05 18:21 (UTC)
No no, the TMI is good, thank you. I'm finding hearing about everyone's experiences very comforting. It helps dispense with expectation and enable the ability to accept what happens, even if it's not what is most desirable.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2012-09-04 05:23 (UTC)
Someone mentioned stool-softener--YES. You're not going to want to miss a dose for a while.

And *spoiler/OMg?! alert* : something else that no-one had told me & made me *angry* in the delivery room (provided it's a vaginal vs. c-section)--after wee passenger is born, you'll still need to deliver the placenta. I guess I knew that in theory, but when the nurses began to fiercely manipulate my (veeeery pi*ssed off) belly, I about went through the roof. I did the whole bit sans drugs of any sort & relied upon lamaze breathing w/ hubby to make it through. So that sh*t HURT. I was irrationally pi*ssed, to say the least. I thought perhaps if you knew it was coming & could mentally prepare, it'd be less of a 'thing'.

Cheers? ;)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2012-09-04 19:16 (UTC)
Oh man, that's right. I'd forgotten that the process doesn't quite end with the birth of the baby. Like you, I know that on an intellectual level but it's the notion of getting the baby's head out that predominates in the worry stakes. The placenta is no small matter, though!

Thanks for the advice/warnings. It helps a lot to hear from honest friends who've had a variety of experiences with childbirth.
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