Disclaimer… This post is going to contain a whole bunch of things you probably wouldn’t want to know about my body and I. If you feel like you can’t read this and still look me in the eye when we chat over coffee, then maybe take this opportunity to close this post and take a big sigh of relief that you’ve dodged the bullet. No really. If you’re sqeamish around the words episiotimy, ripped, cracked and gushed then, this post is really not for you.
So, back around 8 years ago, I was a 22 year old girl who thought her body was completely and totally flawed. I couldn’t look in the mirror without picking a new spot on my body to hate. Little did I know that this was the very best that my body would ever look.
Well, have you had a baby? My good grief. It destroys you. No, that’s not entirely true. It might not have destroyed you, because apparently there are women out there who can be pregnant, birth a baby and breastfeed while still looking like supermodels. But that ain’t me yo! Having babies completely and utterly destroyed me. And right now I know that you’re wanting to know exactly how, so I’m about to share the most disturbing things ever. I’m sorry.
The beginning was great! See that picture on the top left there? That’s me around 4 weeks pregnant with Kyla. I was pregnant and I was stoked. I’d push my belly out as far as it would go, just so that I could rub it and really “feel” pregnant. And the best part? NO MORE PERIOD!
Then the morning sickness started. At any given time of the day you could find me hanging over a toilet cursing the very day that I was born. Or if I finally managed to emerge long enough to be in company, I could be seen meekly nibbling Salticrax only to regurgitate them a couple hours later. Thankfully with this pregnancy the all day sickness died out around 13 weeks and then I could carry on like a normal human.
Which meant that I ate ALL the things. I suddenly loved steak which I had never enjoyed before. And frozen mocha milkshakes were my lifeline – they curbed the heart burn and my insatiable appetite all in one go. But they brought with them the very first in the arsenal of body destroyers… THE STRETCHMARK.
One day I was looking at my belly in the mirror when I noticed this disturbing looking crack on my skin. I lifted the ginormous belly up to try and get a better look (totally futile I know) and in the process I actually felt another one being made next to it and suddenly they were all over the under side of my belly. You can see them there in that last picture on the bottom right. Ugh.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, I was positively glowing. No, no, not in the cute way that other pregnant people do. I was glowing because my entire face, neck, back and chest erupted with pimples. They were everywhere and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
Besides the fact that while pregnant, the Doctor occasionally had to shove his entire arm up my nethers, nothing really prepares you for how exposed you’ll be when desperately trying to get that baby out of your body. I lost count of the amount of people that came to inspect how far along I was by casually popping their hands into my bits. Anyway, I had a natural birth, but I’m sure the same can be said for a ceasar – any sense of privacy that you once had has left the building.
By the time that this baby was ready to come out, I was so nervous that I vomited a few times in anticipation. Then my waters had broken all over the bed and even though they had given me an episiotomy, Kyla came out with her hand next to her head or something, and it ripped all the way to the bottom. ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM. The first moments with our baby were kind of kind of disturbed by the huge amount of blood all over the bed. Turns out it had ripped open some of my veins too and well, the result was pretty freaking gross. They had to stitch it all up while we came to terms with being parents for the first time.
And no, I didn’t poo all over the table. I think that would have just been a bit too much to ask for at this point.
While they were weighing Kyla and after they’d stitched me up, I glanced down at my stomach. Imagine my surprise when it didn’t look anything like it did before and instead, resembled a deflated balloon that had been in the sun too long. That’s when I realised there was no coming back from this. Those stretch marks were as wide as my fingers and they were there to stay!
Ah, if it isn’t just the most natural thing in the World! Not. Ouchy, ouchy. My nipples were cracked and bleeding and we hadn’t even left the hospital yet. I don’t think giving birth is as sore as breastfeeding is. In fact I’m almost positive of this (my opinion may be biased by the fact that I had an epidural). But still. I’m pretty sure that if Kyla was part vampire, she’d have been satisfied with the amount of blood that she drank those first few days.
And let’s just talk about the boobs shall we? Y’all know I cut half of them off a couple years before this right? By the time I got home they had grown back and then some. My boobs now had stretch marks. Ugh. They were hard and huge and just so freaking uncomfortable that I actually cried every time I fed her. There were no soft, sweet bonding moments. It was just tears, pain and crying – from all of us.
So I gave up after like 3 days and tried expressing. But gave that up after like 3 weeks and then we just bottle fed.
WEIRD BODY THINGS
Those things are all pretty normal I guess.
What’s not normal is that I didn’t quite realise how destroyed my pelvic floor was, so when we arrived home from the hospital I was sitting on the couch when suddenly I was peeing all over it. How it happened I still have no idea. One minute I was getting to grips with being home and the next, an entire bladder load of wee was all over the couch…
And the bleeding, the never ending bleeding. I think all those periods that I missed, gathered together to stage a revolt. So much blood. All the blood. For weeks!!! I don’t even think I’m exaggerating when I say it was easily 11 weeks. Which means that yes, as soon it stopped we kind of forgot how babies were made and then well, um…
Yes, that’s right. After 3 months of not being pregnant, BAM! Baby number two was on her way. And hot damn, my body was suffering. I think at this point I was a pro vomiter as I was doing it all through the pregnancy, for the full 9 months, for the whole damn time! And the stretch marks made new friends. It was rough.
Ripping open old wounds that aren’t all that old, is just really no fun at all.
I was more determined to be successful at breastfeeding this time around. So I persevered for 8 weeks. By the end of it my baby was undernourished, I’d had a round of mastitis and my nipples were sore and cracked they could have cut glass. Over it. So over it.
Also, for those that have struggled to feed their babies with their boobs that were made to do it, isn’t it just the MOST frustrating thing to struggle to feed your baby, but then while you’re sleeping, all the milk explodes all over the sheets? Now use crying over spilt milk, but like, I totally cried.
PREGNANT THE LAST TIME
Still so very sick. All the vomits were happening in our house all the time. I avoided going out or doing anything because I couldn’t handle having to puke in front of everyone. And I was HUGE. Third pregnancies are just wow. Your body gets so big even though I was eating less than I did with any of the others (because I couldn’t keep it down, not because I was starving myself).
THOUGHT IT WAS OVER NOW
After being pregnant and birthing three children, I thought that the worst was over. I was wrong.
I don’t know if it’s because of these children that emerged from my body or in spite of it but flip, my body is messed up. I’m not even talking about the finger wide stretch marks that cover my boobs, stomach and thighs or even the weight that I gained (but now thankfully managed to lose). No, no. I’m talking about…
- Weird periods – so painful on the first and second day that my right leg quite literally goes dead.
- How I have to have bra’s in 3 or 4 different sizes to managed what my boob are doing at any given time of the month. They are skilled in ranging from sexy deflated balloon to oddly sized PMSING crazy woman.
- I can no longer trust a sneeze, cough or even a laugh. Those pelvic muscles have just never, ever recovered.