For all the expecting mamas out there, I’m here to share some invaluable tips to help you feel more prepared on your pregnancy journey. And to all the experienced mamas, what crucial insights did you wish you had known during your pregnancy and childbirth?
I gave birth to my daughter via c-section last year. The things other women warned me about were the spinal, and I mean having a huge needle stuck into your spine isn’t fun nor is it enjoyable, but it was manageable and somewhat expected. The catheter, again, having a tube stuck into your urethra is not comfortable, it scratches, but it was manageable.
Two things that no one warned me about were 1) when the assistant pushes down on your stomach to push the baby downwards – that was uncomfortable, however, the thing no one told me about that sent me into a full-on panic was 2) when the doctor pulls down on the peritoneum to sew your stomach closed, your peritoneum is attached to your diaphragm, so when they pull down on it, it feels like you cannot breathe. I was not expecting that, and it sent me into a full-on panic as I was concerned that I was dying. I wish my doctor told me about this before I started saying ‘I can’t breathe, help me’. So, pregnant mamas take note of this, so when it happens to you, you expect it and do not panic.
I was never ready for how difficult and painful this would be. I thought, you have breasts for the sole purpose of providing nourishment for your baby right, they fill up with milk and you feed your child, easy right? Boy was I wrong…. I also thought that because I had naturally large breasts, that breastfeeding would be easy for me, I don’t know why I thought that, but I did… it was something I never gave much thought to, as I just assumed that I would be good at it…. I wasn’t and it sucked. So, Mila was rooting from birth (searching for a nipple to latch) and she latched and drank beautifully. I was high on meds so it wasn’t painful, but I did see little bruises / hickies all around my areola’s and just thought wow, this baby was hungry. Breastfeeding was incredibly painful for me. I also didn’t produce a lot of milk, so Mila was feeding almost every hour, this led to dry, cracked nipples that would bleed and I became scared to breastfeed because it was so sore.
I went on pills to increase my milk supply which helped a lot. But only one breast produced enough milk, the other breast was just wasting everyone’s time. I guess that’s why you’ve got two right? My breasts became engorged in hospital and became as hard as rocks, luckily some infrared laser broke down the build up and everything was a lot better from there. I tried the cabbage leaves and hot baths to soothe sore boobs and get the milk flowing, I drank the jungle juice, the rooibos tea, water, and the other pills and vitamins that were meant to increase supply. Eventually, at 5 months, I accepted defeat and called it quits. Mila was always mix-fed, with breast milk and formula, so eventually I stopped applying so much pressure on myself and told myself that a happy, full baby is what was beast. Once I took that pressure off myself and realised that I was not doing an injustice to my child, things got a lot better for me. I also became quite down while breastfeeding. Apparently, it’s a hormonal response. All I know is that it wasn’t easy.
3. Numbness above my c-section scar:
Little did I know that during a C-section, the surgeon inadvertently severs stomach nerves, leading to an unusual numbing and sore sensation just above the scar. This unexpected experience caught me off guard, and I was ill-prepared for it. I’ve heard varying accounts, with some claiming the feeling returns after a few weeks, while others insist it never fully recovers. One thing’s for sure, it’s a facet of the C-section experience that isn’t commonly discussed.
Pregnancy and childbirth are undeniably beautiful experiences that I deeply cherished. However, I was caught off guard by the challenges mentioned above. I wish someone had shared these aspects with me, so I could have been better prepared to navigate them alongside the beauty of motherhood.