Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Hospital

The following is the story of Caleb’s after birth, and I do not mean of the placental type. (Although I do have a picture of Caleb’s literal afterbirth…thanks mom). I want to make it clear from the outset that I am not blogging about this to complain, seek sympathy, or to make any claim that my experience was more difficult than anyone else’s (which is also true of my pregnancy posts and Caleb’s birth post). There are three primary reasons I blog about my recovery and the period of time immediately following Caleb’s birth: 1. It was a momentous and exceptionally difficult time in my life and I find it therapeutic to write about. 2. I believe others who have had similar experiences can find fellowship in it and others who have yet to experience it can learn from my experience. 3. I wish to fight the “facebook fairytale” notion that perpetuates the facade that if you are only awesome enough or try hard enough, birth/parenthood will be a breeze (more to come on this thought in part 2).

With that said, before I delve into the details of my experience, I want to meditate on those things I am grateful for to keep myself grounded and maintain a thankful heart. First and foremost, I am thankful for Caleb and the many blessings he has brought to our family. I am thankful he was/is completely healthy and aside from feeding issues, had no medical problems. I am thankful I have an amazing husband who was involved and supportive. I am thankful for modern medicine and educated health professionals. I am thankful I had medical insurance that helped pay for some of the costs. I am thankful I was fortunate enough to give birth and recover in a relatively comfortable setting, especially when compared with a situation like 


The time is 6:47 pm on April 26th, 2011 and I had slept four hours in the last 60, spent 19 hours in labor, 
and just pushed a baby out of an inappropriately small tunnel. As I was getting stitched up, I thought: “phew, I can finally relax.” HA! Hahahahaha! Little did I know that by the end of the next 48 hours of my life, I would be wishing I could trade the “recovery” stage for giving birth an extra two times. (FYI: That last statement was not meant as hyperbole).

By 7:15 pm, the buzzing room filled with six medical professionals who had converged for Caleb’s birth quickly dwindled down to just one lone nurse who I could barely understand. As the excitement of the last couple hours died down, I suddenly realized that the massive amount of fluids they had pumped into my IV were making me feel like a water balloon about to explode. Although utilizing the convenience of a bed pan appeared attractive(?) at first, it soon became evident that my bed pan was no match for the alarming quantity of pee I had amassed. (Just think “Dumb and Dumber” here. “Harry, I’m still going and this bottle’s getting full! Hurry hurry hurry hurry hurry hurry!!!”)

I wobbled as quickly as I could over to the toilet and unloaded the remainder of my bladder for what I swear was five glorious minutes of relief. I also unloaded what seemed to be several transfusions worth of blood which sort of freaked me out, but apparently this is normal. After finishing off an entire roll of toilet paper, Sean and Caleb went to the nursery and I got ready to transfer rooms. Although I had little previous experience with newborns, I had taken parenting classes and read enough to know Caleb was going to need diapers…however, I was unaware I was going to need them as well.

After my diaper was situated (which consisted of a pad, a larger pad, a larger larger pad, and elastic mesh underwear to hold it all together), I was wheeled over to my recovery room. Unfortunately, Long Beach Memorial is an incredibly busy hospital and the maternity ward was overflowing that night, so I was required to share a recovery room with another girl and her baby (and of more consequence, Sean would not be able to stay the night with me). Months later, when I received my hospital bills, this arrangement was referred to as a “semi-private” recovery room. Let’s just get one thing straight Long Beach Memorial: A room is either private or public…the end. There is no such thing as a “semi-private” room and let me assure you, there was absolutely nothing private about it. The room was teeny tiny and as the newcomer, I got the bed closest to the door and the smaller space which, when surrounded by my curtain, was approximately 8 ft by 5 ft. I had exactly enough room for a small food tray to the right side of my bed and Caleb’s bassinet to the left. Until then, I had never considered myself claustrophobic.  

Upon arrival, I was introduced to the nurse who would care for me for the next 11 hours. She began explaining things to me that seemed important but she had a very thick accent, spoke extremely fast, and I was so exhausted I didn’t have the energy to ask for clarification. At 8:45 pm (just 2 hours after Caleb was born), Sean came back from the nursery to say goodbye since visiting hours ended at 9 pm. After scarfing down some hospital food (which tasted like a gourmet meal after not eating all day), a different nurse came in to help me change my diaper (oh joy?) Even with the pressure of Caleb off my pelvis, I still had a phenomenal amount of pelvic pain (which lasted three months postpartum), as well as a very sore and freshly stitched up “area.” I don’t know if this is standard, but rather than offering to help me get out of bed, the nurse just stood there and stared at me (I felt weird asking for help, because I figured if that was part of her job description, she would obviously step in). Three minutes later, I had managed to inch my butt over to the edge of the bed and then use my arms to swing my legs off and stand up. And I didn’t even get a round of applause…?

Soon thereafter, Caleb was brought into my room. My nurse said a few things to me that again seemed important – yet were undecipherable, and left. Let me attempt to describe to you what I felt at that point. It felt like I had lied about my experience on a job application, got a job on the bomb squad, was sent out on my first assignment, the rest of my squad deserted me, and I was solely responsible for disarming a highly volatile and fragile explosive device for which I had received no hands-on training. And was mauled by a bear 3 hours earlier. And was so sleep deprived I could barely remember my own name. Truly, I do not think I have ever felt less competent or less prepared for a situation in my life, and I was not expecting to face it without Sean. I knew there was always that little red button I could push for help, but I was certain I was only supposed to push it if someone were flatlining.

I slowly and painfully maneuvered myself out of bed to get Caleb, and I vividly recall feeling scared I was going to drop him because I was so unsteady. I carefully got back in bed and attempted to nurse Caleb since I figured feeding was on the approved list of things to do with a newborn (though it was not incredibly successful). He then cried for the next hour while I desperately tried to rock him and calm him down. He finally faded off to sleep, and the next thing I remember was being jolted awake at 2:30 am by my roommate who was on the phone with her boyfriend. Since she was about an arms reach from my bed, I could hear the entire heated conversation. “I JUST had a baby and you are out PARTYING!? What the bleep do you bleep bleep and you bleep bleep how could you bleep….bleep bleep bleep bleep….” So for the next 30 minutes, I found myself involuntarily tuned into what could very well have been an episode from MTV’s popular reality TV series, “Teen Mom.” While I felt for the girl and her situation, I also felt like punching her in the face.

I think I would be stretching it to say I got two hours of sleep that night (NOT consecutive). Every time I finally began drifting off to sleep, a baby would start crying, my teenage roommate would start talking on her cell, or a nurse/doctor was coming in to check on one of the four of us, give shots, or take/return a baby to/from the nursery for tests. Honestly, my most vivid memory of that entire night was staring at the clock, desperately hoping it was 8 am when visiting hours began and Sean could return. Not exactly how I pictured my first night of motherhood, but I have since learned that parenthood requires a high level of adaptability and this was my first crash course.

When Sean arrived at 8 am (in other words, the end of eternity), I was so relieved I would finally have some help. Not that he knew what he was doing any more than myself, but it was nice to have someone there who could navigate it with me (and was in much better physical shape). Poor Sean felt so bad about leaving us the night before that he got minimal sleep as well, and hadn’t been eating. Regrettably, lack of appetite was one thing Caleb and Sean shared in common (other than their cute, distinctive noses!) 🙂

While I was pregnant, I always felt more apprehensive about breastfeeding than about giving birth. This was well warranted because breastfeeding is hands down the most stressful thing I have ever done. You’d think it would be pretty easy and natural considering it’s God’s design and has been around for awhile, but it can actually become fairly complicated. Since there are two parties involved (and one is a non-talking, non-reasoning lump), there is only so much a mother can do if her baby is not catching on. Even though I was doing everything as instructed, Caleb was not latching well, could not stay awake, and was generally uninterested. Not really sure what his issue was – maybe he thought if he refused to catch on to this new method, we would just give up and reattach that convenient tube back to his belly button? Boys…so lazy 😉

I had read a lot about breastfeeding to prepare myself in advance, and one guideline that was continuously repeated was the need to be in a quiet, calm, relaxed state of mind in order to be successful. However, it was impossible to achieve this state of mind when sharing a closet-sized room with a girl who had invited her entire extended family (and extended extended family) to visit. In a steady stream, her family and friends (who curiously were mainly of the male persuasion) came in and out of our room, knocking back my flimsy curtain each time they walked by. Not to mention the nurses who continuously busted open my curtain with little regard as to what random dude was in the room at the time or whether or not my milk makers were hanging out. My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it. 

Thus began a vicious cycle for the rest of that day. I just could not get in “the zone,” and this reality made me increasingly anxious each time I breastfed. Combine that with Caleb’s sleepiness, disinterest, and lack of skill, and suffice it to say that breastfeeding was going terribly. I asked to see a lactation consultant, but because the maternity ward was so busy, I was not able to see her until the next day. The nurses were also incredibly busy and came in and out long enough to check everyone’s vitals to make sure we were all still alive. They also didn’t seem to know much about breastfeeding (?), and while one attempted to help by giving me a nipple shield, I later found out she gave me the wrong size (which actually set me back a few steps).

My roommate was discharged late in the day and a new roommate was not assigned, so Sean was thankfully able to stay with me my second night. God definitely knew what He was doing because there is no way I could have made it through that night by myself without developing an ulcer or a permanent psychological disorder. As difficult as the first night was, the second night was much more grueling with Caleb. At midnight, I guess it hit Caleb that he would not be allowed back in that warm, cozy sac he came from, and decided to let us know just how angry he was about it. From midnight until 7 am, Caleb slept for *maybe* an hour, and cried for the rest. And by cried I mean screamed – much, much louder than his small lungs should have reasonably been capable of. Sean desperately tried to calm Caleb down and did not sleep all night, while I somehow managed to sleep one pathetic hour through all the crying (Caleb’s AND Sean’s that is…hahaha!)

By 7 am, both of us were exhausted beyond what we thought was physically possible, highly emotional, and I was still in a great deal of pain. I hadn’t showered or even brushed my hair since admitting to the hospital and I felt so dirty and gross, but lacked the strength to do anything about it. Our nurse finally came in and asked how our night went and after relaying the events of the night, she said nonchalantly: “ohhh, you should have called, I would have walked Caleb in the halls.” I now count this as one of the biggest missed opportunities of my life. After hearing this demoralizing news, I began pushing that little red button, but alas, it was just too little too late.

With the events of the last three days weighing on us, Sean was feeling intensely overwhelmed and suffered a panic attack. So, yeah, good times had by all.

We soon acquired a new roommate who was clearly in cahoots with my previous one, as she also came with an overbearing entourage of squealing visitors I daydreamed of tasering. Seriously LB Memorial, are there no limits on visitors? I am certain the number of people in my room standing shoulder-to-shoulder were breaking at least ten different fire codes. Originally I had planned to have a few close friends come visit us in the hospital, but after my roommates had invited enough visitors for the entire maternity ward (plus I just wanted to focus on Caleb and make sure he started feeding well), I decided to wait until we got home.

About an hour before discharge, I was finally able to see the lactation consultant who was unhelpful at best, detrimental at worst. After watching me attempt to breastfeed, she aggressively stated “well, he’s had his time to mess around…now we need to start getting serious because this is just unacceptable.” She then proceeded to give me a different sized nipple shield than the one the nurse had given me (which I also found out later, again, was the wrong size…and even more wrong than what the nurse had given me!!) What a disaster! Now, not only was I using a (very) wrong-sized nipple shield, I was now also feeling discouraged, insecure, and scared out of my mind that apparently Caleb was going to die because he was not eating well. After 20 minutes she moved on, and that was quite alright with me!

At this point in time, I had never felt so anxious to get out of anywhere in my life. I was beyond done. Sick of my confining, claustrophobic space, sick of all the strangers in my room, sick of constantly being poked and prodded, sick of no opportunities to sleep…I just wanted to go home (now I understand why home births seem so attractive!!) All I desperately wanted was to be in a familiar place with my family where I could focus on and enjoy my son. At long last, my nurse brought me the glorious discharge papers, and I could not sign them fast enough.

Ok, so to wrap up this very long post, I will impart two pieces of wisdom from this challenging experience for those of you who have not yet come to this place in life:

1. I CANNOT emphasize this enough – if it is at all within your options, deliver at a hospital with private rooms. As much as I loved my OB, if I could go back, I would have first chosen the hospital I wanted to deliver at and THEN chosen my OB based upon which OB’s were affiliates of that particular hospital. Sean would have been able to stay with me my first night, we would have gotten *much* more sleep, breastfeeding would have been much less stressful, and the general transition to parenthood would have been smoother. I don’t know about other moms, but I felt incredibly nervous, overwhelmed, and vulnerable after giving birth. You are constantly getting poked and prodded and getting naked in some fashion or another to feed your baby or change your pads. I would have felt infinitely more comfortable in a more private environment where I wasn’t forced to share every intimate moment of this significant and life-changing time with complete strangers.

2. For goodness sake, ASK FOR HELP! The entire time I was in the hospital I asked for help a maximum of five times. It wasn’t a pride thing – I just knew the maternity ward was busy and I didn’t want to be a bother or ask the nurses to do things that weren’t part of their job descriptions. However, not asking for help/bringing important needs to the attention of my nurses resulted in skipped medication, little help with Caleb when he was crying, little help with breastfeeding, and no help getting around. Next time that little red button and I are going to be BFF’s 🙂

More posts in the ‘Afterbirth’ series:

Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Neighbs (Part 2)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Breastfeeding Blues (Part 3)

Caleb’s Afterbirth – Body Slammed (Part 4)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Am I an Incompetent Parent (Part 5)

Also, read about Caleb’s birth:

Caleb’s Birth Story: Rated PG-13 for Language, Nudity, and Drugs 🙂

And here’s the 10 ways pregnancy crushed my dignity:

Part 1 – Constipation
Parts 2 & 3 – Appetite and Weight Gain
Part 4 – Mourning Sickness
Part 5 – Incontinence
Part 6 – Crazy Hormones
Parts 7, 8, & 9 – Pain, Pain, Pain
Part 10, the Pinnacle – Diarrhomit

Caleb’s Birth Story: Rated PG-13 for Language, Nudity, and Drugs :)

We realize this is 8 months after the fact, but better late than never right!? Before giving birth, we didn’t read many birth stories (not sure why, I guess they just weren’t in any books we read), but in retrospect we wish we had so we would have had a better idea as to what to expect (and not just medical facts or what they tell you in the birthing classes). It would have been nice to read more stories from different people’s perspectives (especially friends), and their particular experience of such a crazy and wonderful event, so we decided to write this out for our friends who will experience this one day or for those who are just simply interested (and for our own reading pleasure in the years to come). Oh and disclaimer, we’re really just kidding about the title of this post, but if the thought of reading the intimate details of a birth makes you want to poke your own eyes out, you should probably read no further.

About 8 days before Caleb was born (16 days before my due date), I began noticing various signs that I would be going into labor soon, so we had a good feeling Caleb would be born early. Then on April 25th (9 days before my due date), I woke up at 4 am with regular contractions. They weren’t incredibly strong but they were 3-5 minutes apart, so we went to the hospital as we were instructed to do when contractions reached that frequency. When we got to Long Beach Memorial, I was placed in a triage room and hooked up to the baby monitoring strap thing to measure my contractions and monitor Caleb’s heart rate. It was confirmed that my contractions were consistently close together, but I was only 2 cm dilated (you need to be 10 cm dilated before you are able to push). When they asked me how much pain I was in on a scale of 1-10, I said “2 or 3,” and they sort of laughed at me and said: “most women who come in and are admitted say 9 or 10.”

Because I wasn’t very dilated, they had me walk the halls for an hour to see if that would accelerate labor (they said they didn’t like to admit women who weren’t at least 4 or 5 cm dilated). The walking didn’t help, and I was subsequently sent back home with the instruction to come back when I was in “more pain.” We were a bit frustrated by this, because that seemed like such a vague instruction – we felt confused and worried that we wouldn’t really know when it was time to come back. They also told us that Caleb would be coming “soon”…and when we asked them to clarify what they meant by “soon,” they wouldn’t directly answer so we had no idea if that meant a few hours, or a few weeks. Really not what a super hormonal and highly uncomfortable pregnant woman wants to hear.

So we went back home at about 10 am and tried in vain to get some sleep (we were just too on edge). My contractions actually petered out throughout the day, so at 11:30 pm, we got ready for bed. Just as I was about to fall asleep at midnight, the contractions started up again. They were stronger than before, but now totally irregular. This continued until 2 am. We had no idea what we were supposed to do since we were under the impression we weren’t supposed to go to the hospital until the contractions were strong AND regular. Finally I was in so much pain I was groaning aloud, and I had Sean call the hospital to ask for advice. They told him we should come in. I was sure they said that to everyone who called to avoid liability, so I decided to wait longer.

At about 2:45 am I couldn’t take it anymore, and we decided to just go to the hospital despite the irregular contractions. I was brought once again to the “triage” area and hooked up to the monitoring device. By this time, my contractions were extremely painful and had become regular. I thought for sure I was 4 or 5 cm dilated, but when the nurse checked me I was only 3 cm dilated. The nurse communicated very little with me and said she had to go call my OB doctor before a decision whether or not to admit me could be made. Once she left, I literally burst out into tears. I was in SO much pain and was convinced they were going to send me back home. All I kept thinking was, “my contractions are now strong AND regular…how the heck am I going to know when to come back in?? I am going to have this baby in my apartment!!”

The nurse was gone for what seemed like eternity (probably more like an hour), and finally returned to check my monitor and give me the very unsatisfying news: “I’m still waiting to hear back from your doctor,” and left again within a couple minutes. Unfortunately the maternity ward was incredibly busy that day (April 26th), so I didn’t get much face time with the nurses to ask many questions or get much explained to me, which was frustrating and difficult. By this point my contractions were becoming so strong that I had literally reached a state of delusion. My vision was really blurry and I remember feeling like I was in a dream. Everything seemed to be moving reeeeaaaally slow and I had trouble processing what was happening. I’ll let Sean take over here because honestly, I can hardly remember what happened from about 4 am to 7:30 am.

One of the most difficult parts of that morning was that the few bits of information we received seemed to be in contradiction. They would say, “wow, your contractions look ‘textbook’ and strong!”, but then they would check her and she was not dilating any further. So it seemed like a huge relief when they finally informed us at about 7 am that she would be admitted and they were locating the next available room. She had already been in labor for 7 hours, so I was hoping it would be just a few more minutes until they got her out of that cramped little temporary room. After another agonizing 45 minutes, I began to think they had forgotten us. At about that time, Melissa leaned over and clutched my hand, her eyes looking directly into mine yet focused 1000 yards behind me, and simply whispered “Help me.” I went to find out why we were still in the waiting room, and discovered that the nurses were having a shift change which was causing a delay in finding a room for us…our timing was just perfect I guess (plus every single birthing room was in use that day). When the new nurse came in, she started prepping Melissa for an I.V. Unfortunately the valve on that I.V. was faulty and when she stuck the needle into Melissa’s wrist, a voluminous stream of blood began draining onto the floor. The nurse hadn’t noticed, Melissa was on another planet, and I was in too much of a stupor to do anything but point and say “uuuuhhhhmmmm….uuhhhmmmmm….” as I watched a 1 foot diameter blood pool collect by the nurse’s foot. My last image of that little room was a shaking, yelling Melissa being loaded into a wheelchair while someone got on a radio and said, “bio hazard cleanup needed in room 9.”

Back to Melissa. It always seemed silly to me to have a birth plan (particularly with my first child) since I had no idea how the birth would go down (i.e. what it really feels like, if there would be complications, etc.), so before going to the hospital we printed out our “birth plan” which had one sentence on it: “Just get the baby out” – a joke for the nurses. Of course I educated myself on the options I would have/the obstacles I might face and what I *thought* I would want to do, but I made sure to keep an open mind and remain flexible so I would be prepared to handle anything that happened. Getting an epidural was one of the options I hadn’t made a decision on before going into labor. At 3 am when I first got to the hospital, I was still unsure if I wanted one, but by 7 am it was the fastest and easiest decision I’ve ever made in my life (and I’m terrible at making decisions). Ha!

I think there are a lot of strong opinions about epidurals out there, and mine is this: if I would normally get anesthesia for any other major medical event (pulling wisdom teeth, surgery, etc.) why would I NOT get it during the most painful experience of my life to date?? Currently, there is no empirical evidence to support the theory that it is harmful to the baby nor that it increases the chance of cesarean delivery, so it just doesn’t make sense to me to take such an opposed stance (however, I do agree that like any drug, there is always the chance of side effects). It also seems that the whole epidural issue can breed a weird sense of pride and competition like the female version of “how many weights can you lift? I bet I can lift more.” Additionally, the only women I personally know of who gave birth without an epidural had relatively short labors; all others opted for one. I WILL say this though – if you had a labor longer than 10 hours with no epidural, I will bow down and kiss your feet because that is just ridiculous. Anyway, I digress…my point is that I think you can get an epidural and still be considered a “good mom” 🙂

So after starting labor at midnight, I got an epidural at about 8 am. As the nurse was getting ready to move me from the triage room to the birthing room, she spent time making sure my hospital gown was completely covering me and I remember thinking to myself “I don’t $*%#@ care if you wheel me down this hall butt NAKED…just get me the epidural NOW!” LOL! Once in the birthing room it took them three tries to get me to round my back so they could administer the drugs. They asked me to arch forwards and I arched backwards. They asked me to go the opposite direction…I arched backwards again…I was slightly confused and out of it 🙂 The epidural took effect pretty quickly and it was a huge relief. I was finally able to relax and rest (in a very loose sense of the term). My mom and younger sister showed up at this point and it was great to have them there with us for support and distraction.

From 8 am on it was a slow but steady progression. I gradually dilated more and my doctor broke my water for me in the afternoon. (Contrary to popular belief, labor does NOT typically begin with the water breaking). It was painless, but pretty weird. There was a LOT more fluid than I thought there would be. There was a huge gush at first and it continued to leak over the next hour or so. Also, like I mentioned earlier, it was insanely busy in the maternity ward that day so I sat in soaked sheets for an hour before they were changed 🙁

Caleb kept falling asleep during labor (seriously???) which they could tell by his heart rate, so I had to wear an oxygen mask for most of labor (which I hated…it was so annoying, I kept asking if I could take it off). They also kept making me turn on my side to wake Caleb up, which was extremely painful and uncomfortable because of the severe pelvic pain I had developed in my third trimester of pregnancy. At one point (maybe around 3 pm), my epidural began wearing off rather quickly so I buzzed my nurse like she asked me to before pushing the button for more drugs to be released. She didn’t respond and it took 30 minutes for the nurse at the front desk to finally come back and assist me (she was the ONLY nurse available in the whole place at that point…ridiculous!) I actually really liked the nurse assigned to me, I just didn’t see much of her :/

By about 5:30 pm, I was feeling the urge to push and they stopped administering the epidural so that I would be able to feel the pushing contractions. It was exciting I had reached that point but I was also super exhausted. They had me push for 10 seconds in sets of 3, which I did for about an hour and 15 minutes (Caleb was born at 6:47 pm). Near the end of the pushing, I was so exhausted and worked up that I began hyperventilating. My nurse had to yell at me to stop because it would have caused problems if I continued. Thankfully, right as I was thinking “oh my gosh, I legitimately do not have the energy to push one more time,” Caleb popped out. Like literally, he popped out super fast. I see now why Dr.’s are somewhat paranoid about dropping the baby…once the head comes out they are like slimy little rockets! Haha!

Caleb Reese
Caleb Reese
Born 4/26/11 at 6:47 pm

…And I got a 2nd degree perineal tear. Not gonna go into details, just look it up on google if you don’t know what I’m talking about and have the stomach for it 🙂 Apparently this is an incredibly common occurrence, which is a bummer. After the nurses did a few things with Caleb and my Dr. was stitching me up, they put Caleb on my chest for his first opportunity to nurse which he wanted absolutely no part of. I held Caleb for awhile and then Sean, my mom, and my sister got a turn to hold him. Then he was off to the nursery to get washed up and other random things I can’t remember now.



I’ve heard many people describe the first time they hold their child as this incredible moment that is breathtaking, spiritual, and somehow magical. You know, the typical “as I gazed into my child’s eyes (eyelids?) I had this overwhelming sense of how much God loves me because of how much I love this child and this is just so amazing, incredible, etc…” I’m not ridiculing you if this is how you felt, I’m just saying my mind wasn’t even close to having such deep thoughts at that moment. The extent of my profound ponderings was “wow, how amazing is it that I just pushed such a large object out of such a small opening!”

Of course all the more meaningful thoughts came later, but honestly at the time I had reached unparalleled exhaustion and felt like total crap (though I was relieved he was finally out). Reference below picture (ha!):

I had slept 4 terrible, restless hours in the previous 2 1/2 days, labored for 19 hours, was carrying a lot of extra weight, just got a rip stitched up, was bleeding profusely, and had to pee like crazy. As far as I know my birth experience was really nothing out of the ordinary or especially awful – it really was pretty standard, so my hunch is that people who were capable of a deep moment after birth are either projecting later feelings back onto that time, were delirious from the drugs/exhaustion, or were the dad 🙂 Also on a random tangent, I have yet to understand how some women are able to post a picture to facebook 5 minutes after giving birth looking chipper, with their hair and makeup perfectly done (you know what I’m talking about, can I get an amen!?) I mean, mad props if that is you, but the absolute last thing I wanted to do after giving birth was take a picture period nor did I care one ounce how I looked.

Just in case there is any question at this point, I do love my son and in retrospect Caleb’s birth experience was incredible; those are just the honest and raw emotions I experienced at the time. Like I said, Caleb’s birth wasn’t unusual or particularly crazy, I just wanted to document the details because it is special to me 🙂

What happened next:

Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Hospital (Part 1)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Neighbs (Part 2)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Breastfeeding Blues (Part 3)

Caleb’s Afterbirth – Body Slammed (Part 4)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Am I an Incompetent Parent (Part 5)

And here’s the 10 ways pregnancy crushed my dignity:

Part 1 – Constipation
Parts 2 & 3 – Appetite and Weight Gain
Part 4 – Mourning Sickness
Part 5 – Incontinence
Part 6 – Crazy Hormones
Parts 7, 8, & 9 – Pain, Pain, Pain
Part 10, the Pinnacle – Diarrhomit