I wrote about finally nesting a few posts ago and I'm grateful that despite what I said about wanting to have a private birth, I got support and understanding from my readers. One reader, however--and I didn't publish her comment because she was mean--said that she's 6 months pregnant with her first child (congratulations!) and she's actually ordered catering and balloons and signed up a pro photographer for the big day. She said that I--and the other moms who left comments about having private births--was selfish and ungrateful and don't deserve our children.
Well. Strong words. But I understand. It's your first baby. Of course you don't know what you're talking about! So let me tell you why I feel this way for my second time around.
I gave birth to Vito at almost 8am. It was such an easy labor and delivery, but my body was obviously traumatized. I was shaking uncontrollably till around lunch time. Noon was also around the time that I felt the need to pee. So, for the first time since 4am, I stood up and found that my legs were wobbly. I stood still to find my balance and found to my horror that I had incontinence. I was warned by mommies that I won't be able to control my pee for some time after giving birth (the muscles down there would still be in shock). Even then, I was appalled when it happened to me. I tried to hold it in but the pee just flowed and flowed (I hadn't gone to the bathroom since 4am). It filled my adult diaper and overflowed and pooled around my feet.
Then, to my humiliation, the door burst open. There I was, in a hospital gown with my naked back and a big heavy diaper exposed, and I was standing in a pool of piss.
It's a good thing the visitors were my nurses. But I was still embarrassed. My relief and humiliation turned to anger and I barked at the nurses to quickly close the door. Then I burst into tears. I was thinking what if the visitors had been real visitors. What would they think when they saw I had a diaper on? What would they think when they saw what I was standing in?
The next couple of days was filled with other indignities. There were times I was naked from the waist up as the lactation consultant showed me how to breastfeed Vito. Again, what if someone walked in at that moment? There were also the times I had to bend over and have the stitches of my episiotomy (that's when the doctor slices the skin between the vagina and anus to prevent tearing) slathered with antibiotic cream. Again, what if someone walked in at that moment?
To my relief, on all those awkward moments, no one walked in. And my visitors always always knocked first. Thank the heavens! So I always had a few seconds to compose myself.
I'd be the most beautiful woman who just gave birth ever! Well, I wasn't. I was pale and swollen and tired (but incredibly happy!). I hated it that people had to see me like that but, hey, they stared at the baby not at me! So it's okay.
So I'm not saying I don't want visitors. How can I say no to so much good will and love and happiness? I'm just saying that I didn't expect the days after giving birth would be so horrific as much as it was ecstatic. No one warned me about those other awful things. How raw and emotional I'd feel, how swollen I'd look, how adult diapers are so yucky and uncomfortable, how I'd be so tired I won't have the energy to even brush my teeth.
But, mommy-to-be planning a huge party in your hospital room, this is your lucky day! I'm sharing with you what happened to me so you won't be so smug. I know how you feel really. If you read through the 2010 posts of this blog, I sounded pretty much like you: Why are pregnant mommies so ugly? Why don't they put on makeup when they give birth when it's such a photographed day? Yada yada. I was such a judgmental know-it-all. Well, now I know better.
So I really don't begrudge your smugness. It's annoying but I understand. I'm hoping that this post warns you about what might happen on that happy day so that you'd be prepared. So that you won't be caught standing in your piss, with your breasts exposed, and with your ass in the air.