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How is your comfort level?

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Craig, the sweet fellow that he is, IM’d me that question today and unwittingly opened a huge can of worms that he most likely would rather have left closed. So to his question I offer the following:

I feel really frustrated and annoyed. You see, when a woman becomes pregnant she watches her body, mind and soul take on a dramatic transformation over a slow period of time at which she expects to end at a designated period. Like signing a contract with your cellular phone company.

But pregnancy and due dates are these fluid things that change and fluctuate and in my case NEVER FLIPPING MATERIALIZE. I went to the doctor yesterday and he said “Oh look, you’ve made progress you are 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. I am just sure you will go into labor by Thursday.”

Well, what he doesn’t know is that my body doesn’t like change and it is content for me to remain pregnant forever, until such time the medical community gets it’s claws in me and starts pumping me up with a bunch of crap that will make me feel like climbing the walls and killing people.

So then Craig asked, “Well isn’t there some kind of relief period after birth, like say a couple of days after, when you feel much better?”

Feeling compelled to set him straight, I gave him the real story of what happens AFTER you give birth.

If you are lucky enough to have a vaginal delivery what you have to look forward to right after birth is the overwhelming fatigue and exhaustion of just running a marathon. Your body has dramatically shifted in a short period of time and you have used muscles that you typically never use. Your uterus is sore and bruised from hours of cramping and pushing out a large object. Your cervix is temporarily damaged from stretching and opening to ten times its normal size, your vaginal cavity is stretched beyond comprehension and your pelvic bones have been displaced and forced to retreat to their original position. Your once full abdominal cavity is now empty and your organs are floating around trying to find their proper place. The bladder, which has had tremendous pressure exerted on it for months, as well as extremely hard pushing in the last few hours expands and releases urine at will.

Then there’s the episiotomy, which is a common procedure in most vaginal deliveries. It’s a cut they make between your vagina and anus to make room for the baby’s head. You don’t really feel it during labor and delivery because of all the pressure, but once the pressure is gone and you are stitched up, it swells, itches and burns, especially when you pee, which is all the time since your bladder doesn’t work anymore.

They give you these huge pads to absorb all the blood your uterus is pumping out and they have a tendency to stick to the stitches and you are constantly changing them as you bleed for another two to three weeks. The pain in your pelvic area is constant and throbbing and you are forced to sit in hot baths for your crotch area just to relieve the swelling and pain and keep yourself cleansed and sane.

And, on top of that joy, you get the pleasure of your breastmilk coming in and engorging your breasts. For those who don’t know what that’s like imagine (if you are a woman) your breasts swelling to three times their normal size and feeling like burning orbs on your chest, with the only relief being breastfeeding, which you do round the clock and your nipples become cracked and sore because a moist little mouth is constantly sucking and gnawing on them.

For men, imagine your testicles being backed up, blocked and congested after watching three weeks worth of porno videos and receiving a lap dance-an-hour while force-feeding yourself viagra pills – all while being physically restrained from relieving yourself. It’s mildly uncomfortable to say the least.

Then there is the fatigue from being up all the time looking after a newborn around the clock. You look and feel like shit and your crotch is burning. The fatigue can only be compared to soldiers in battle who are forced to remain alert all the time while wearing soaking wet boots, filthy garments and lugging heavy equipment around in the dark while nursing some gaping wound that causes constant discomfort.

God forbid if you have other children or people who depend on you, because the surge of hormones and emotions will cause you to strike out and bite everyone’s head off and threaten to kill anyone who comes near you.

This my friends, is motherhood, stay tuned as I LOSE MY DAMN MIND.

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About Dawn Olsen

  • Eric Olsen

    How about those Browns!

  • y’all shoulda gone to da game last night…maybe Dawn coulda given birth in the dawg pound…right after that marriage ceremony.

    or not.

  • Eric Olsen

    Very descriptive writing, by the way. I even learned a few things.

  • JR

    In the immortal words of Jeff Spicoli:

    “Oh, gnarly!”

  • Eric Olsen

    And this is what she has to look forward to AFTER the equivalent of passing a watermellon, a camel though the eye of a needle – women are tough, man.

  • dawn:

    first of all congratulations.

    this is the most honest and detailed description of birth i have ever read.

    OUCH!!!!! thanks for your openess..no pun intended….okay…intended.

    i always thought there was more to it than the way it was portrayed on “touched by an angel”.

    i am loving my penis a bit more today.

    jack e jett
    the jack e. jett show

  • duane

    “God forbid if you have other children or people who depend on you…”

    After my son was born, I tried to lessen the work load for my wife by, for example,

    stacking dirty dishes in the sink, rather than leave them on tables

    putting my dirty laundry in the hamper

    getting takeout once a week to cut down on her cooking duties

    driving her to the grocery store on shopping day (she loves pushing Skippy around in his stroller)

    volunteering to change diapers, as long as I wasn’t busy, and as long as it was not after midnight

    cutting down on the number of times per week that the guys came over

    helping her repaint the baby’s room

    not complaining if she forgot to pack fruit in my lunchbox

    giving her $20 and saying, “Get yourself something nice.”

    I really showed her that I can be warm and sensitive when it counts, and I know that helped her recovery a lot. As soon as Skippy is old enough, I’m going to insist that he gets a paper route and buy his mother a Mother’s Day gift. I can just add my name to the card, so that will let her know that I appreciate her, too.

  • I was squeamish about the whole birth thing before, having seen those horrible screaming-pregnant-women shows on TLC, Discovery, etc. This paints an even gorier picture. All I can think is, “please don’t cut my wife there, please?!” She is equally squeamish about this whole thing, actually much moreso (it’s her body, afterall.) This has us both contemplating ending the Johnson bloodline with me . . .

  • debbie

    Maybe my husband is right… Maybe I have forgotten what it was like. Maybe… I don’t really want to have another one.

  • Eric Olsen

    Remember a few things: many women choose to have more than one child – there must be some reward for all of this ickyness. Dawn’s first experience was particularly difficult because she had to take medication that literally put her body at war with itself. But it is difficult, painful, and exhausting at best.

    This will be my fourth and it’s never easy although the first is always the hardest (which I have witnessed/assisted twice).

    Men, as far as blood and guts go: I am about as squeamish as it gets – I once literally fainted in a movie theater watching an open heart surgery scene – but when it’s your wife, and your child, and they need your help, and you really CAN provide some help and comfort, then it’s all just part of the routine and you don’t even think about bodily fluids and organs flying through the air, and afterbirth, and weird white stuff all over the baby, and, and, and… because you care and you are there to help and it’s all TOTALLY AMAZING.

    So rock on and don’t worry about it – you’re always tougher than you think you are.

    One other little story: because of all this crazy shit going on with her poor body when Lily was born, Dawn had to vomit several times during the process, and her mother was in the room and her mother throws up anytime anyone else throws up, so here I am in the middle of this birthing room with two women puking their guts out in rapid succession. I will be the only one there this time – no sympathy puking.

  • Temple A. Stark

    >>>>How about those Browns!
    Classic. Made me laugh out loud.

    I was just going to comment: oh.

    .. to say the least –

    Thanks for the additional puke details. Tastes great. Less filling.


  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Temple, it’s kind of like the Exorcist, but less Satanic.

  • I had no idea what I was walking into. Silly me, I thought I would get, “well, it’s a bit uncomfortable, but the date will be here soon and it will be all over.”

    Next time I will talk sports and leisure. Hopefully there won’t be any fluid talk involved in that. 🙂

  • Eric Olsen

    Tread lightly among those who are heavily burdened.

  • then it’s all just part of the routine and you don’t even think about bodily fluids and organs flying through the air, and afterbirth, and weird white stuff all over the baby

    Yeah, I’ve seen all that on those shows and I’m just like “They’re going to have to clean that thing off before I’m touching it.” I’d be much better if we could just skip the “birth/drooling/spastic bodily function phase.” I’m generally not a “typical guy” – don’t care about sports, have feelings, can cry, cooks & cleans, asks for directions – but I’m going to have to pull my guy-card on the fluids issue. They’re blechy.

    because you care and you are there to help and it’s all TOTALLY AMAZING.

    I sure hope you’re right, Eric . . . I have a feeling “You’re going to have to clean that thing off” isn’t going to go over too well.

  • Eric Olsen

    They do it without you asking them to anyway, and new babies smell really great: like bread and cookies and cashmere all at the same time.

  • Dawn

    Hey, Newsflash dudes (where are the women in this post? WHAT, you didn’t go through labor to have your child?)
    I just lost my mucous plug. I would have taken a picture of it, but it was in the toilet and that seemed like the best place to leave it.

    Any questions? I didn’t think so.

  • Mucous Plug was really good in their early years with “Toilet Bowl Funeral” but later on they started sucking with titles like “Expelled and Flushed.” Frankly, I never liked operatic hardcore anyway.

  • Didn’t Mucous Plug tour with the Smug Pricks back in ’77?

    After reading this, maybe I’ll opt for 1950s TV birthing–me in the waiting room, and then < -poof-> mommy and baby all snuggly and warm and ungooey, and then me handing out cigars.

    In all seriousness, this post was actually kind of fascinating. Birthing is definitely a situation where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts…

    My thoughts are with baby and mom and dad…

  • debbie

    I have 3 kids. I’m assuming that Dawn had to take Pitosin (sp?) with her first child. I did with my first 2 kids. That is the worst stuff….usually you can prepare for a contraction because it builds up and then releases but not on pitosin. It is just there and then it is gone. Makes it really hard to deal with.

    Hope you don’t have to use that stuff this time.

    Sounds like it will be soon… ;~)

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks for the kind thoughts, natural is certainly to be preferred and I hope we can go that way this time – so far so good in that no problems have arisen this time. Because of the baby’s size, we do have a Monday dealine, though, and that will involve inducement. I’m really hoping for tomorrow or Friday.