When I say "birth is disgusting," I don't want you to get the wrong idea. Birth can be empowering and wonderful and downright beautiful... but it's all of those things and pretty gross. There's nothing wrong with that, either. In fact, that's a pretty typical response to your body doing something so intense. I truly believe that women, socialized to put a premium on being "pretty" and "polite," should embrace the yuck. So, in the spirit of owning grossness, I asked moms to share the most disgusting part of their birth experience. Their answers were mostly typical, and all pretty icky.
On top of being normal and a big middle finger to the powers that would have women as anatomically functional as a blow-up doll, grossness (especially when it comes to labor, birth, and postpartum issues) is funny, at least from a distance. Some might call me juvenile, but I say there is nothing juvenile about thinking fart stories are funny. Have you ever even heard a fart? It's a ridiculous noise! Bodies doing gross things at inopportune moments provide much needed levity to remind us that, hey, we're all human.
Fair warning: these stories are not for the faint of heart. When I asked these gals to be gross, they were not shy about holding back. That said, if you have given birth I am positive you will be able to relate to most, if not all, of these tales of squishy, stinky, splashy, grossness.
"I had a lot of amniotic fluids with my first and when my water broke only a little came out because the baby was blocking the rest of it. Well, after I got an episiotomy to get my baby out, he came flying out and then the amniotic fluid stuck behind him flew out and got all over a nursing student watching, who wasn’t gowned up because he was clear across the room."
"Uncontrollable shivering and vomiting during transition, I remember asking the nurse what was going on and she said, 'You’re having a baby, this is part of the process'... my husband wasn’t too impressed by this part of the process."
"I went to pee after my catheter was taken out and a blood clot the size of a cantaloupe fell out and splat all over the floor."
"When my water broke. 'Water' is a terrible term to describe the multitude of nastiness that exits your body when that sh*t breaks. It reminded me of the pink slime river from Ghostbusters 2. That, and the fact that it didn’t stop coming out... [I] literally had a burst, and then so much stuff kept coming for hours and hours. It was so gross."
"Once my contractions hit hard, I had uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting. Add in the fact that the hospital had no power due to a powerful derecho storm, and I was blindly vomiting all over the floor while sh*tting in the toilet while shaking like crazy. I had zero control over my body and fluids were coming out of every part of my body."
"When the midwife tugged on the umbilical cord and I felt my placenta plop off on the inside. It was so gross."
"The super loud pop of my tailbone breaking still makes me nauseous."
[Writer's note: I checked, and she had an epidural in so thank goodness she didn't it feel it when it happened.]
"[I] didn't really have anything horribly disgusting, but definitely did experience the uncontrollable shivering and vomiting. Not fun at all...and every time I would warn the nurse about me having to throw up she would just keep saying, 'Oh good, good! This is good' WTF lady?! It doesn't feel good! Stop saying that!"
"Mine would definitely be the hemorrhoids. So painful and huge and gross."
"When I smelled something foul and realized I sh*t the table... the look on my significant other's face still haunts me."
"When my husband decided to watch the end of my cesarean and tell me that my uterus was on my chest while I was shaking and vomiting uncontrollably while they stitched me back up."
"There is nothing quite like amniotic fluid soaked yoga pants and flip flops. I literally squished my way through the lobby of the hospital."
"I was hooked up to magnesium sulfate for the last 24 hours before [my daughter's] delivery and 24 hours afterward. That sh*t makes you sweat like you’ve never sweat before in your life. By Sunday morning I smelled so bad from B.O., it was seriously nauseating. And I was still catheterized and not allowed to leave the bed. A nurse smelled me and offered a sponge bath and some dry shampoo and I’ve never been more grateful."
"Oh man, mine is terrible . After I brought my son home I had to have my first poop. Couldn’t do it. It hurt so bad I thought my butthole was ripping open. The sh*t was literally stuck half in and half out and I was in there for almost two hours. I had stitches from birth, mind you, so I was scared and wouldn’t poop the next few days. I literally held it in. I got impacted and had to go to the doctor. He stuck his finger in my butt to try and fish out sh*t (again stitches). It was horrible. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and he sent me to the ER and I had to drink a bowel prep. All of this with a 3-day-old baby. Still haunts me."
"The afterbirth. There's a reason it sounds like the name of a bad '80s horror film."
"I threw up directly in the face of my nurse...I told her I felt ill, she told me I was fine. I ended up getting sick about six inches away from her face, she had vomit in her hair and on her glasses. She was a total b*tch to me, so I probably didn't feel as bad as I should have."
"The sound of my episiotomy. My husband says it is something that will forever be stitched in the memory of our son being born. I do not remember hearing it but ... my husband almost died."
"The warm, extended squish of amniotic fluid when the midwife broke my water to induce. Yuck."
"I had a C-section, so I needed help from a nurse or my husband pulling the mesh panties up, on the first day. He was busy with the baby so I attempted it myself.. and left a murder scene on the floor. I called him in to help, because I couldn’t bend over to wipe up the blood. He came in, looked at the mess, and started singing Meatloaf's “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)."
PS: He did clean it up."
"[My] second C-section gave me pretty bad postpartum preeclampsia. My feet and ankles were hugely swollen, so I decided to soak my feet in a tub of hot water and Epsom salts. The room started spinning as my blood pressure bottomed out. I sat on the edge of my bed simultaneously vomiting and peeing myself and strained so hard I busted my incision. That was awful!"
"[T]here is nothing quite like coughing so hard that you end up violently vomiting ... causing your water to break."
"I asked my husband what 'it' looked like when our girls were born and he said. 'You know in the South Park movie, where Kenny explodes in the OR? Like that.'"
"[With] kid one [I] developed an infection from the catheter and it stunk. Like, so so bad. [With] kid two... the vomit, oh, the vomit. I started while in the recovery room and did not stop for several hours. The lactation consultants came and hooked a pump up to me as I was puking over the side of my bed, which I find funny now."
"That slurping, squishy, 'whoop!' feeling when they deliver the afterbirth. Ick."
"Nobody told me that my blood would clot from sitting in the bed in the postpartum wing. I got up to use the bathroom and out dropped a clot the size of a bullfrog. I thought I'd lost a vital organ!"
"My water hadn't broken yet and when my baby was about halfway out it popped and fluid literally sprayed eight feet in the air all over the room and my midwife. Talk about an entrance to the world!"
"The postpartum poop. I literally lost five pounds that day. Five."
"This was what I saw on the ceiling in the labor and delivery room when I had my first and was brought in to start my induction... I had to stare at this for 20+ hours until I was brought in for my C-section."
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