Monday, September 24, 2007

Afterpains

Kelley brought up afterpains, and it just sent me back down memory lane so much that I wanted to respond in a post instead of in the comments section!

You see, I had read about them, sure. But with my first baby, they left me on a lot of medications for 24 hours after I had her, plus they aren't often as bad with the first babies, so I just did not have any.

With my second baby, I had a c-section, and in a small, small way it did save me from any noticeable afterpains. I was on IV morphine and then Toridol for three days, and then right on Darvocet and Tylenol 3's and I didn't fee them, either.

SO, as you might guess I was going to say, WOWOWOWOWOWOW was I BLOWN AWAY by this whole thing when I had Casey, baby #3 at home. HOLY #$%&!!!!

Almost as soon as he was born, I felt this horrible contraction! HUH?? I had to pant and blow and moan and this time, I was not a pregnant woman laboring freely on hands and knees anymore, the baby was born, and we were still attached by umbilical cord! I was kind of sitting on the edge of our couch, which only 2 minutes before was my place to bury my head as I roared out my son--help! help! someone still please care about me! OWWWWWW! again and again they came, and I knew that my third stage was not going to be a "quick and easy passage". This sucked! I was obviously 100% DONE and did not emotionally prepare for this at all. With the first baby, "they" handled everything, I think I remember being told "give us a push" and that's it. For the c section, "they" take it all out, I guess (?) So this "birthing the placenta" seemed like a bunch of cruel bullcrap to me! After about 15 minutes, I changed my mind about leaving the baby attached to its cord and asked--told--begged my midwife to cut the cord NOW, so I could deal with this.

Somewhere in my tired mind, I remembered reading a birth story about someone who did what I was about to do: I took a chux pad (those big blue pads) and opened the toilet seat, laying it under the seat. Then I sat there for the rest of the third stage and I couldn't have more relieved to REALLY be done with labor when that 2 pound placenta made it appearance. I didn't really know where to go, so I just sat in the bathtub, where it seemed the perfect time to draw me the herbal bath I had been smelling all afternoon, simmering reassuringly in its pot on the stove in my kitchen.

So, after the bath, I got all snuggled into bed with my pads and ice packs and fresh clean sheets and new clean pajamas and my dear, sweet, amazing new baby, who had been so thoughtfully diapered and bunted all up by his daddy while the midwife got to work cleaning the house and washing towels and I settled in to nurse him...when OWOWOWOWOWOW!!!! OHMYGOD OWWWWWWWW I started crying! Something was so wrong! OWWWWWWWWWW I felt like I was in labor AGAIN!!!! Is this a nightmare?? Is something terribly wrong?? I was actually moaning and really, really crying hard and I didn't give one glance to Arnica or anything else, I wanted MOTRIN, N O W.

Ooooh, those pains were just amazing in their ferocity, and I had never ever felt that before. I had them for the whole first week, when I nursed, as is the perfect and normal cycle of hormonal release. The baby nurses, and your uterus shrinks. The more babies you've had, the more it can hurt. A big healthy hungry baby like that, all alert with no drugs or trauma--wow could he nurse.

So, a big OUCH to this memory. Another one they don't really tell ya about, even mom-to-mom.

Due to all of this good and normal situation, this was the birth where I barely bled at all, unheard of in my other births, where due to no ability to rest whatsoever, the bleeding lasted well into the 2nd month, leaving me exhausted and anemically pale yellow and completely feeling gross.

After baby #4, another c-section, I could feel some afterpains when he nursed and when I used the hospital grade electric breast pump becasue he wouldn't nurse for a few days. I was on a good deal of medications, though, so I know those cut what I can't even imagine would be the pain of afterpains on a sliced uterus trying to go back to size after a 12 pound baby, the 4th born in 8 years. OUCH! My mom also gave me secret Vicodins, which I am certain are the only reason the police didn't have to come and take my children away that first week, the only way I possibly coped with being home alone with all 4 of them.

Interesting to me, wondering if others have any afterpain tales to share?

12 comments:

mm said...

Ah heck.... I'm shuddering as I remember those first afterpains. My second child (first hbac) was born, then HOLY CRAP WHAT WAS THAT?
The 3rd degree tear sucked but afterpains for days? I was so mad at myself for promising that I would not complain about anything, so long as I got my vbac.... dumb move on my part.
Third baby was even worse. Thanks for the reminder... perhaps I won't feel so sad today, when I realize we aren't having any more =)

Rixa said...

Yes, afterpains are worse than labor, because when you're laboring you're moving around, your endorphins are flowing, you're in the groove. But the baby's born and you're lying in bed cuddling and you're kinda tired--you did just give birth after all--and then BAM they hit you and you are immobilized holding this little naked baby and it's still attached to the cord and the cord to the placenta and the placenta to your uterus. Yeoooowww!

I tell you, I sure hope my placenta comes out faster than 2 1/2 hours next time. Because the afterpains were a killer those 2 1/2 hours. Then as soon as the placenta was out, they subsided to nice, well-behaved mild cramps.

Oh, and as a plus, I only bled for 8-10 days after the birth! So those cramps were doing something good, right?

Housefairy said...

2 1/2 hours?? Oh you poor woman.

I was all about leaving the baby attached, really, but I just changed my mind. I think it was somehwere between 15 minutes and 1/2 hour, the cord had completely stopped pulsing, and I was DONE. I had it in my head that I needed to be up and sitting to get that thing out of me (placenta) and I couldn't sit on my bottom having just given birth...so to the bathroom I went, I guess my own little version of a birth stool.

CreepyUCMama said...

Oooooohhh yes, I think I mentioned this in my UBAC story and my last comment. I'll be ready for those nasty afterpains next time, and I did have Arnica, which helped, and I really only had heavy/period type bleeding for maybe a week and then random spotting or no bleeding for the next 6 weeks or so. I'm really hoping that being mentally prepared for the afterpains next time will keep me from freaking out and swearing. =) Oh, and we didn't cut the cord until 14 hours later, we planned not to do that at all but our toddler and cats were way too interested in the bag o' placenta we carried around. =)

Trish said...

Oh, yes - I remember those afterpains! I wish I could remember how long after birth I was getting them. With my 3rd I only know that it wasn't just the bleeding nipples that made me wince thinking about nursing - it was those contractions I knew would accompany the nursing session!

Kelley said...

What are some good things to use with those? I'd like to make sure I am ready this next time since I suspect that they will just be worse again. I think they truly were the worst part of my labor with Ben.

Anonymous said...

Afterpains suck turkey...
I have had 6 born babies so afterpains are very much like intense labor pains...worse each time yes! They slipped pit in on me the last 2 times after birth, so I don't know if that made it hurt more or not. I didn't feel it with #1,2 or 3...but #4 I noticed. 5 & 6 were terrible for days.

Dawn

stand said...

The midwife I apprenticed with used Afterease tincture, made by Wishgarden Herbs. (Rixa)

mamalove said...

Ack, how had I forgotten that when it was only last year? I'm all about a drug-free labor but I'll be popping the Motrin like candy after birth. Perhaps Percocet as well??? Kidding, kidding...

Kelley said...

I'm finding a common theme in going it alone (drug-wise) during labor, and then looking for anything and everything to quell the pain afterwards. It's actually quite funny, especially since I do that myself. :)

Housefairy said...

Afterease,
Placenta-out, and other tinctures have been used with great popularity in my online friend world.

Tylenol, Motrin, darvocet, vicodin, aleive, hot packs, and baths in my real friend world.

Its up to you and how much you are into the baby not getting the druggy milk, etc.

Also, are we talking still-connected-by-the cord or all during the first week? I probably would not take anything that could make me bleed more until a good deal after the birth. No aspirin, etc.

but day 2, 3, 4, and that mack truck comes and blares you down everytime you feed the baby? Uh-Uh. Pass mommy's meds. Might calm down the nip pain, too--heehee (although by baby 3 and 4 I didnt have too much of that)

Christine said...

I had my first natural birth, three months ago. She was my third child. No one had warned me about the pains of a non-medicated child nursing.I was breathing through the nursing and the afterbirth pains. I also would lose the biggest blood clots while nursing. The after birth pains were intense, as well. They were when I had my second baby, too. Tylenol did little to help me. It truly felt like labor all over again. (or worse)They are a great blessing, and well worth the pain.