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?