I am sharing these 5 things because, whilst I probably could have done more research; I am not completely thick. There are definitely some other people out there who might not be aware of some of these things. And it’s always good to have knowledge.
1. Emergency C-sections.
They are a lot more common than I thought. And I wish that I had been told to prepare for an emergency C-section, just incase. Anything can happen and it did… TWICE. The first time it totally shocked me. I wasn’t expecting to be in hospital for so long. I wasn’t prepared for such an extended recovery time and I didn’t realise how much I would struggle to do basic things such as get out of bed or lift my baby up. That experience really ruined my confidence as a new mum and those important first moments with my baby. I felt useless and disgusting. To begin with I couldn’t walk on my own. And when I did manage to walk to the bathroom mirror – I was horrified. My body looked and felt like a huge, heavy coat and that my ‘real’ body would be hiding somewhere underneath.
The second time around, I had much more knowledge and knew what to expect should anything go wrong. Although my recovery time was longer (almost 5 months on i’m still not quite back to normal) and more difficult because I now have 2 children to look after, I didn’t feel at fault for the way things had turned out. I was able to concentrate more on the fact that; technicalities aside, we were both alive and healthy and that is what is important.
2. Peritoneal irritation.
Being awake and able to feel pain during a major operation is some people’s worst nightmare and definitely mine. During my second emergency c-section, this is exactly what happened. I thought I was going to die. I was screaming and swearing A LOT. The anaesthetist seemed confused about why I could feel any pain, but then I heard her whisper “peritoneal irritation” to one of the surgeons. She then gave me enough drugs to shut me up (I couldn’t have uttered another word even if i wanted to). Theres nothing I could have done to prevent this, but knowing about it would have stopped me from panicking and thinking that I was being killed during what was already an awful experience.
3. The difficulties of breastfeeding.
I went to all of my antenatal classes and discussed breastfeeding with my midwife. I know lots of people who have had babies before I did. But at no point did anyone mention how difficult or challenging it could be. The midwives at the hospital sounded like a broken record “breast is best, breast is best, breast…”
SHUT UP! When you’ve had a major operation, you can just about hold your baby, your milk takes 5/6 days to come in and then your baby is struggling with latching on – you want support, not pressure. You also don’t want to be told that you are “giving up on your baby” when you want nothing more than to be able to feed her. It would’ve made the world of difference for someone to have just said “If breastfeeding doesn’t work out, formula is fine too”. It would have saved me from struggling with it for 2 months and becoming depressed.
Then second baby was completely different. Breastfeeding was easier. I believe it’s down to the fact that I didn’t allow myself to be pressured or bullied by anyone. I knew my own mind and I was confident that my baby would be fine with or without breast milk. Being relaxed about it made it easier to get the hang of.
4. Nipple thrush.
Who knew about THIS? Not me! Breasts burning every time I fed my son, WHAT THE…
5. Negative thoughts.
A symptom of ‘let down’. I found this one REALLY odd. Every time I breastfed my son my mind would wander. Sometimes I would start thinking about someone who I didn’t like and then get annoyed. Or something bad that happened would randomly pop into my head. Slightly worried that I was going crazy, I had a good old Google search and found that it is actually a physiological thing and i’m not a weirdo. Now that I know that it’s related to the ‘let down’ of milk at the start of breastfeeding, I can control it. I AM NOT CRAZY.