|After eating my placenta, maybe this wasn't so bad.|
That's right, my husband and I analyzed my postpartum blood clot together.
At the time, I didn't know if it was a clot or a vagabond piece of placenta that had jumped the train while the rest was being pulled out. I panicked. If you've never had something the size of a small chicken cutlet squeeze itself out of your vag––what would Chick-fil-a think?––then you won't understand the simultaneous terror and hilarity of the situation. And you've never been in the two weeks postpartum haze. There we were, poking it, analyzing it––hell, we even got out our phones and took pictures.
This is number 1 in the top ten list of "Things Even Yo' Mama Won't Tell You After Giving Birth."
1) You may have chicken cutlet-sized clots plop out of your vagina at random times. I called my gyno's office and she seemed unamused. Apparently "two other women had called with the same question." Her explanation was that since you're mostly immobile on the couch or bed for the first couple of weeks, the lochia in your uterus pools and collects at the top of your cervix until it forms these convenient clots––which of course plop out.
2) Your breasts may get hard, golf-ball-sized lumps when engorged. One morning, my left breast seemed to suddenly swell and get hard with what felt like a golf-ball-sized lump. Panic-stricken, I called my mom, who seemed confused and suggested I had a breast infection. Then, as I was talking to her, my nipple let out a stream of milk that projected about 12 inches onto my lap. Instantly, I felt better. I knew I had to get the milk out, but the baby was sleeping. I had a breast pump, but was scared shitless to even begin to figure out how to use it (running around the kitchen while cupping your spurting breast is not a good time to learn how to use a breast pump, by the way). Once I hooked myself up to the milk dialysis machine, things changed. I've been pumping every morning since. When engorged, don't panic––pump!
4) Your vagina will look like the crime scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta is slamming an adrenalin shot into Uma Thurman's chest while she's vomiting up blood and foaming at the mouth. Or the scene from one of the Poltergeist movies where the woman falls in the nasty swimming pool and ghouls pop up all around her. Resist the urge to even take a peek until well after six weeks postpartum. Sometimes it's best just to cover your eyes. This is one of those times.
5) You might swell up like the Michelin Tire Man. As with most things in my pregnancy, my swelling occurred at the opposite end of the process––just like my "pre-partum depression, "probably because I'm unique and individualistic like that––I had mild swelling during the third trimester, but about three days postpartum, my ankles swelled up to five-times the size of normal and I developed a splitting headache. Crazed, I called my gyno––I had her cell number at this point––and she assured me it was jut my body ridding itself of extra fluids and the 50-percent-extra blood supply I had during pregnancy. It took a full two weeks before I was in shoes again (but it didn't really matter because I was confined to my house for the next six weeks with the baby). Staying true to my antithetic, yet fabulously bloated and leaking self, I was "barefoot and un-pregnant."