When you’re pregnant, your doctor or midwife will warn you about possibly getting hemorrhoids from the extra weight you gain, or about getting constipated from those lovely pregnancy hormones. Then once your contractions start, you worry about emptying your bowels in front of a room full of strangers as you push that baby out. Maybe you were lucky enough to avoid all of the above, and your little peanut has finally arrived.
The worst of is over, right? Wrong- because here comes the first postpartum poop, and nobody will tell you about that nightmare. Why? I’m assuming it’s because most women don’t want to discuss their bowel movements with girlfriends while sitting around having drinks. But guess what, friends? We are talking about it today, because I think it’s something that every woman who has a baby NEEDS to know about. It’s seriously a necessity of life.
I’m here to tell you your first postpartum poop is going to be really shitty.
You probably expected to be fairly sore in your lady bits after having a baby, but what you may not have realized is that the little watermelon you pushed out was also busy bearing down and pushing on your intestinal tract. And your body’s way of protecting itself was by getting extremely swollen, everywhere down there, even back there in the bottom end of your business. So while your first postpartum poop is never going to be the best poop of your life, I’m here to tell you that based on your plan of action, you can take that unpleasantness from a ‘Holy Mother of Pearl is there another baby coming out’ moment to only a slight wince.
Unfortunately for me, I did not have friends like me that were willing to talk me through the second most painful day of my life (labour still comes in first place). So, after 47 hours of pushing a baby out, I was actually feeling pretty good (probably because the meds hadn’t quite worn off yet).
I was able to walk around; my hair and skin still had that lovely pregnancy glow and breastfeeding was going relatively okay. It then dawned on me that I hadn’t gone #2 in four days. I thought that was a bit troubling, but peeing had gone all right even though I had torn a bit, so my bum should be fine, I thought. So I brushed it off and figured it would just happen when it needed to happen.
Then as the day went on, I felt the rumblings down below. So, I calmly handed my baby over to my husband and said, ‘I’ll be right back,’ thinking I would only be a few minutes. As I sat down on my golden thrown, blissfully thinking about my new baby, I began to push and immediately broke out into a cold sweat.
The pain was unreal. It was at this moment that I began to think to myself ‘Oh dear lord, there were twins in there and they left one behind.’
The same mechanism that keeps you from pooping yourself randomly is also the one that makes you strain and push, and after four days of no doodoo, my poop had turned as hard a brick. I strained a little bit more and blood started to spout out. So, I did what any rational human would do. I screamed for my husband to come into the bathroom and after he ran in, obviously concerned, considering I won’t even pee with the bathroom door open, I said in a slightly panicked voice: “Babe, you need to call an ambulance, they left another baby in there.”
After my husband finished laughing, he handed me the phone, and while still perched on my porcelain hell, I called my midwives in tears. They calmly told me I was constipated and probably had internal hemorrhoids, which are very common after labour.
Did you even know that there are two kinds of hemorrhoids?
Yup. There are external ones, which are the ones most people are familiar with- the bulging, sometimes painful, sometimes itchy, piles. But there are also internal ones too. You can’t see them and sometimes can’t even feel them, until you go to use the bathroom and then the reddest blood you’ve ever seen comes out of your bumhole and after pushing for what seems like hours, you may only produce a pebble.
Some hospitals suggest that you do a #2 before you’re allowed to leave, and I say, if you can, please take them up on this. Because if you have problems, they can help you!
I will admit that after that fiasco, I swore to myself that I would never have another baby again. But lo and behold, just two years later, there I was pushing out baby #2.
But- on round two- I got smarter! I was prepared for the dreaded postpartum poo, and I hope that as a result of reading this, you will have a plan of action like I did going into the second delivery. You better believe that as soon as I was done counting all my second baby’s fingers and toes, I was flagging down my midwife for a stool softener and laxative cocktail.
So, my advice to you, friends, is immediately after the baby is born, get that magical stool softening cocktail. Do that, and drink tons of water and eat your fiber. Don’t wait until two days later- not even hours later- take all the necessary poo precautions immediately, so that you never have to end up like I did the first time.