What I Didn’t Expect When I Was Expecting

I’m someone who likes to go into things prepared. Pregnancy was no different. When I was pregnant you couldn’t pry the second edition of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” from my bloated, clammy fingers. I read each chapter with the gusto some might save for something like “Gone, Girl”. I would read, re-read, daydream and read some more.

And by the time I made it through that book, and several others like it, I was ready. And my baby was ready too. She was looking to make an early entrance and so I was on bed rest, leaving me more time to read about the joys of breastfeeding, mucous plugs and cord blood donation. Intoxicating stuff, really. But it was all leading me towards my preparation of being able to manage my bundle of joy.

 mommy at hospital 018

And the day arrived. I was in the hospital and although I had a terrible pregnancy, my delivery was pretty easy. I’m pretty sure I sneezed and Shaila slid out. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that easy, but it was close. And in my hands, I held my bloody, mucous covered baby and oohed and aahed over her, feeling that incredible stirring in my chest when I felt her eyes lock on mine for the first time. Almost like she was thinking, “I don’t know who this lady is but I think she might have something to do with feeding me.” She knew I was special, just like I knew she was as I played with her little feet.

she is here 060

The nurses took her away from me to run her vitals and get her all bundled up in her hospital attire. I suddenly realized I was thirsty beyond belief and so I decided to chug my husband’s extra large Chik Fil-A fruit punch that was sitting on the table next to me. The nurses had already told me that I would need to pee before anything else really could happen and that if I didn’t go on my own in an hour, they were going to catheterize me. Which is exactly what you want to hear after you’ve just popped a baby out of your vagina. I had had enough action down there for the day, thank you very much. The fruit punch would hydrate me and help me solve that problem, I thought.

So I got up to use the restroom, and this is when “What to Expect” totally failed me. Because I just about had the shock of my life. Perhaps it had been mentioned that there would be some blood after the baby came. I had remembered reading that and being warned that I would have to wear maxi pads the size of an Encyclopedia Britannica. Yet the vastness of the blood still hadn’t register for me. I guess I imagined some kind of heavy trickle or mild gushing.

What I didn’t imagine was that what started pouring out of me from between my legs made the whole pig blood scene in Carrie look like freaking Mary Poppins.

I almost lost my balance as I resisted the urge to either faint or puke, it was somewhat of a toss up. But that was not my fate.

“You need go pee!” My very bossy Chinese nurse kept admonishing me.

And so I got down to business. And I sat. And I sat some more. I had no pee coming out of me but there was enough blood flowing out of me to make up for that, surely?

“No, you pee now!” She would not budge.

No amount of waiting seemed to help. I put on the sink to hear the steady stream of the water, thinking it would lull me into some type of waterfall like trance where I would be compelled to pee. But nope. Nothing.

“You need catheter now. I come back with other nurse.” She seemed so disappointed in me and my inability to pee. I really felt like I let her down.

The problem was that now, I REALLY had to pee. Like BAD. But I couldn’t. And after sitting so long, I was so inflamed that I guess my body was very confused about how to properly use the many holes that it had so generously given me.

A team of nurses made their way back into the room and got me ready on the bed. An older, grey-haired one who seemed pretty feisty tried to reassure me.

“Don’t you worry, darling! I’ve done this a million times. There ain’t nothing I haven’t seen.”

This was all very reassuring since I was starting to feel like my vagina was very, very special – and not in a good way. I just wanted her to help me NOW because I was ready to explode.

I suddenly hated John for his extra large Chik-Fil-A fruit punch. How dare he leave it on the table, tempting me?

They started the process of trying to put the catheter in. I knew this was going to hurt, but finally, some relief!


“Wow. Everything too puffy down there.”

“You know. You’re right. I ain’t never seen anything like it.”

“It’s like vagina is big balloon now. Can’t get nothing past.”

I appreciated the back and forth and felt ever more reassured as the grey haired woman tried unsuccessfully many times to catheterize me. Finally, as tears of pain, self-pity and the horror that I might explode from not being able to pee washed over me, they somehow got things working down there.

“Oh good job! You lucky. You vagina so swollen, it like so BIG!”

“Yes, I seem to remember you saying this.” I sniffled, feeling violated in a way I had never imagined.

Finally, in relief as the fruit punch left my body, I was able to relax and remember that this wasn’t all so bad. Sure I might be bleeding more than all of Freddy Krueger’s victims combined and yeah, my vagina was so inflamed that it was the size of a small soccer ball, but I had a BABY. And I would be seeing her soon. And one day soon, all of this fun stuff that “What to Expect” never prepared me for would be a distant memory.

Or maybe not. In the end, nobody can ever prepare you exactly for what to expect. I would just plan on more gore and extraneous liquids leaving your body than you might have expected.

Coming home with this made it all worth it.

with mom 084



22 Comments on What I Didn’t Expect When I Was Expecting

    • masalachica
      March 10, 2014 at 8:18 pm (1 year ago)

      I think the nurse was a bit prone to exaggeration but yes, according to her my who-hah was of epic proportions. Fuck “What to Expect”.

  1. Mercy
    March 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm (1 year ago)

    Oh, that book! I read it with my first and it messed everything up for me. I was so scared when something didn’t go “by the book”, and I gained a huge amount of weight thinking I had to eat every 2 hours through my whole pregnancy. I actually got to where I would think there was something wrong if I wasn’t hungry every two hours. I gained so much weight so fast even my doctor couldn’t believe it.

    I think some updates are needed, including a huge list of the unexpected things that will happen. Or won’t. I didn’t bother to touch the book with my next two and it was better.
    Mercy recently posted…Let the Countdown BeginMy Profile

    • masalachica
      March 10, 2014 at 8:21 pm (1 year ago)

      I don’t even know what would go in the list of unexpected things that could happen anymore given the adventures so many of my friends and I have had which no book ever told us about. Yes, next time (if there ever is one), I am going to prepare by reading trashy beach reads ;-)

  2. Elaine A.
    March 9, 2014 at 11:00 pm (1 year ago)

    This is part of the reason I loved The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy. She told it like it really was/is! ;) But of course there will still things I was not prepared for… of course!!
    Elaine A. recently posted…Can I Get Some Space Please?My Profile

    • masalachica
      March 10, 2014 at 8:22 pm (1 year ago)

      I loved the Girlfriends Guide too. And I think she was pretty graphic if I remember. Still, even after reading it – nothing quite prepared me for the fact that I would look like a horror film character.

  3. Lisa C
    March 10, 2014 at 7:50 am (1 year ago)

    Funny how those harrowing tales feel both like yesterday and another lifetime…maybe I will write mine down sometime…it was so great to meet you in person finally :) xoxox
    Lisa C recently posted…ResolutionsMy Profile

    • masalachica
      March 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm (1 year ago)

      So great to meet you too, Lisa. Yes – 7 years ago feels like yesterday in a lot of ways. Yes – write yours down – we should see whose is more gory ;-). See you VERY soon.

  4. Shell
    March 10, 2014 at 7:54 am (1 year ago)

    No one expects the big balloon comment!

    I remember when I got up to go pee after my third baby and I bled all over the floor on the way to the bathroom. I kept apologizing to the nurse, like she’d never had to clean up blood before or something.
    Shell recently posted…Why I’m Glad I Redshirted My KindergartenerMy Profile

    • masalachica
      March 10, 2014 at 8:26 pm (1 year ago)

      Shell – I think I did the exact same thing. I apologized to everyone. Cuz blood is, well, kind of gross and apologizing seems like the right thing to do.

      Yes, I did not like the balloon comment, but let’s just say that things settled back down to compact size in the days to come.

  5. Kerstin
    March 10, 2014 at 8:35 am (1 year ago)

    I guess you can claim now that thanks to you the nurse saw something she never saw before ;)
    What a story! I was lucky enough to be able to pee after delivery, and I would not have been prepared for that either!
    Kerstin recently posted…Parenting Policy UpdateMy Profile

    • masalachica
      March 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm (1 year ago)

      I know – it’s always exciting to be the first. I can be the one where she starts the story, “Remember that one we had with the swollen who-ha so big that we couldn’t get the catheter in?” And the Asian nurse will say, “Oh, that one bad. Like big watermelon or something her hoo-hoo.”

      Yes, it’s nice to be the first!

  6. Andrea
    March 10, 2014 at 9:55 am (1 year ago)

    “You’re vagina is big balloon now” – words that nobody ever wants to hear. I’m so glad this story had a happy ending!

    I remember being totally aghast at the amount of blood that exited my body after giving birth. And then slightly betrayed that nobody had adequately warned me about it. I spent several postpartum months explaining this issue to anybody within earshot. I was a lot of fun, especially at weddings and baby showers.
    Andrea recently posted…TransitionMy Profile

    • masalachica
      March 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm (1 year ago)

      I know, Andrea. I always want to jump in with my real life stories but I keep my mouth shut because I think I was being a bit of a Debbie Downer. It did make baby showers more fun though! I would have LOVED hanging out with you and comparing war stories.

  7. tracy
    March 10, 2014 at 12:34 pm (1 year ago)

    I don’t even know what to say. We sure lead the glamorous life, don’t we mothers? I hope the swelling has gone down. xo
    tracy recently posted…That Time You Vomited In My FaceMy Profile

    • masalachica
      March 10, 2014 at 8:32 pm (1 year ago)

      Yes, dear Tracy. The swelling went down days later but my lord. What an ordeal. Also if it I was still the size of a soccer ball down there, life would really suck since Shaila was born 7 years ago. Ouch.

    • masalachica
      March 10, 2014 at 8:34 pm (1 year ago)

      Thank God I can tell the tale and laugh about it! In all honesty, Dixya, having Shaila come out healthy was well worth that ordeal. Not saying I would throw up my hand to volunteer to do it again. And I hope if we have any more that my experience goes a little differently this time around.

  8. Alison
    March 10, 2014 at 10:59 pm (1 year ago)

    Haha! Oh dear. I mean, gosh I’m so sorry. :)

    I had severe postpartum hemorrhaging so blood was pouring out non-stop. I needed an iron transfusion 3 days after giving birth. I had to sit on a chair for 6 hours while that was happening, and truth be told, I couldn’t feel anything below the waist after that. I stood up when it was over, to use the bathroom, and whoosh, my I peed all over my pants and the floor. In front of my mother-in-law and a nurse. My bladder just opened when I stood up. Not my finest moment.
    Alison recently posted…WeanedMy Profile

  9. Kristin Shaw
    March 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm (1 year ago)

    OMG! I was both cringing and laughing through this. The things we do for our babies. :)
    Kristin Shaw recently posted…I SurrenderMy Profile


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