Sep 28, 2011  •  In Personal, Pregnancy

The Most Disgusting Thing About Childbirth

(I apologize to anyone who may be getting sick of all the pregnancy and baby-related posts as of late. With only five weeks left to go until BebeDeux’s due date — and just 2 days until Claire’s first birthday! — babies are naturally the #1 thing on my mind. I promise that this will subside…some day. ;-) If anything, you can look forward to the guest posts I’m currently lining up for my “maternity leave.”)

A pregnant friend recently asked me what I considered to be the most surprising thing about giving birth to Claire. Since I am a research fiend, there really wasn’t anything that caught me completely off-guard. There were, however, the squirt bottle incidents immediately following delivery…

Now, most women reading this are probably thinking about the peri bottles that hospitals give you to clean your lady parts after you use the facilities.

(Just in case you were not aware, after giving birth, nurses will give you these squeeze bottles filled with warm water and instruct you to squirt yourself down there instead of just wiping with toilet paper. After squirting — and let’s be honest; it feels damn good because your girl parts are all tender and sore and torn and leaking — you gently pat with a soft cotton pad and spray your cooch with antibacterial spray. Then you wrap an ice pack in extra-large Tucks pads and leave it down there until the next time you have to pee or poop. I know. SEXY!)

I loved these things. I can now understand the appeal of bidets!
(image source)

No, what I am referring to is the HUMAN squirt bottle, aka me.

While I knew that there would be blood and tissue and other wonderful stuff still lounging around in my uterus after giving birth, I just assumed that my body would naturally expel — in other words, slowly leak like a period — it out.

What I didn’t expect was that nurses would help speed that process along by regularly, and repeatedly pressing down on my still-swollen belly.

And when they pressed? Allow this picture to illustrate:

(image source)

The first few times were bad enough that you could hear stuff gushing out. (Ask J. He was there.)

It wasn’t only when they pressed down either; I would shoot and spray whenever I bent over, coughed, or made any sudden movements.

I remained a human squirt bottle of blood and gore for the duration of my hospital stay, and only on about the third day after delivery did the “squirting” turn more into “leaking.” And, as with most women, that “leaking” continued for about 6 weeks.

So that, my friends, is what I considered to be the most disgusting thing about childbirth. I don’t think it would be have been half as bad if I had known that others physically pressing down on my belly would cause that much substance to be forcibly expelled.

What about you? What do, or did you consider the grossest thing about giving birth?

39 Responses to “The Most Disgusting Thing About Childbirth”

  1. Wow. I had no idea. A human squirt bottle. Adding that to the list of things I need to be aware of before birth.

  2. OMG, thanks for the heads up… this is the first time I’ve heard of this… that sounds pretty gross alright :P

  3. Yikes. I had a C-section, so nobody was pressing on my abdomen. However, the first time I stood up after the C-section was a blood bath. WHile the nurse was unfazed, I was confused and my husband was terrified- thinking he was watching me bleed to death.

    Blood literally poured out of me, all over my legs, all over the floors, everywhere.

    They had to call in the janitor to clean the room it was such a mess.

    Looked like a murder scene.

    Now, I warn all my friends ahead of time to expect that- and to warn their husbands/partners so they aren’t shocked.

    This stuff is gross, but nobody talks about it, meaning you are unprepared when it happens. So, thanks for (over?) sharing!

  4. Aaaand I’m never having children.

  5. Cyndi:

    I also had a C and i really didn’t bleed that much..This could be for one of two reasons..

    1. According to my hubby i lost a bunch of “gross” stuff on the OR table (his words) The did need to really examine my placenta b/c the thought it had grown through my uterus (i hadn’t) so maybe they “cleaned” me out REALLY REALLY well


    2. I suffer from a very thin uterine lining so i may not have had a lot of stuff to get “rid of

    I did bleed for several days following my C-section but it was more like a period for me..

    The worst part of child birth for me (and sorry for TMI) was the first poop after giving birth..The warned me prior to discharge but i couldn’t even imagine the pain and trouble i would have going…Pooping for the first time was a two day process..Much of it i spent on the floor of our bathroom crying and an enema..

    • I had been warned about the first few poops after giving birth, so I armed myself with Colace and took the max amount allowed before even attempting. BUT it still hurt like heck…I can’t imagine how much worse the “pushing” pain would be with a c-section incision wound!

    • raggedy-anne:

      this would be a good story to tell your kid(s). i had no idea moms experienced this. crying on the bathroom floor :(
      you strong, brave woman!

  6. Cyndi:

    Grrr..excuse the missing letters from my response! My daughter spilled something on my keyboard..I thought i had fixed this problem but clearly i haven’t…Sorry!

  7. Pam:

    hmmm i didn’t have a c-section, but this is new to me!! i didn’t have anyone pressing on my belly after giving birth. It could have been though that I was low on amniotic fluids, and was one of the reasons they induced my labor 2 weeks early. but oh how i loved that squirt bottle, totally got me through the whole pain when peeing. grossest thing about giving birth? not sure if it was gross but mostly unnerving–i did have an epidural so thankfully the giving birth part wasn’t too bad (i mean it was TOUGH but it wasn’t bad in relation to other delivery stories i’ve heard), but after giving birth, watching and feeling my doc dig out my placenta, inspect it, and then seeing him sew me up where i had a tear…watching him pulling the needle and thread… gahhhhhhhh!! still cringe when i think about it.

    • You’re probably right — I had tons of amniotic fluid and a healthy layer of uterine lining too. As for the placenta and stitching, I was in a such daze right after giving birth that I didn’t even notice the doctor taking out the placenta (I didn’t even get to see it), and I only felt slight pulling and tugging as she stitched me up. Did they have a mirror positioned so that you could watch?

      • Pam:

        there was a mirror available but i told them to take it away, i couldn’t do it. i could see the doc inspecting the placenta when she held it up to look at it, and then when sewing me, i could see when she pulled the needle and thread up… GAHHHHHH hahahah

  8. This is why I’m glad my husband is a nurse! He won’t be grossed out (as much!) as most husbands when we have kids. He only gets grossed out over eyes; everything else is awesome to him.

  9. MrsW:

    For me the grossest thing was having my first clue that I needed to pee when I felt my pants getting soaked. In the hospital I peed my way all across the 6 feet from my hospital bed to the toilet, and repeated the performance at home. Then my in-laws’ dog chewed up my peri bottle. I was SO mad.

  10. Feeling the doctor tug on the umbilical cord to get the placenta out, then feeling that icky, gooey squish as it came….*shudder* I also hated leaking amniotic fluid after the doctor broke my water, it felt like peeing myself in the bed. Gross. I don’t think I was grossed out when they did the whole “pushing out the blood clots” bit, but my nurse was super rough and kept making me cry. I hated her then, because she would never give me any warning! She would saunter over pretending she wasn’t going to do it, look at my blood pressure, then sock me in the stomach! Ooooh, it was misery. Plus I had a 3rd degree tear, so that didn’t help things at all. Ah, childbirth. I guess the little rugrats are worth it, eh?

  11. For the c-section ladies above: you had nice nurses. My sister had a c-section and the nurse came in less than an hour after the surgery and “massaged” her abdomen. The look of abject pain on sis’s face is something I will never forget. I really wanted to haul off and punch that nurse.

    I’m 3.5 weeks from my due date, so THANK YOU for this warning. I think I might try to find a delicate way to warn the hubs (though he knows that Depends are on our shopping list for postpartum supplies, so he has some clue…)

  12. i know i shouldn’t find this funny but your description is awesome. thank you for the heads-up, these are the kinds of things that nobody tells you about, and when it happens, you wonder if something’s wrong with you!

  13. JMeg:

    I’ve had 3 “Cs” and the nurse helped me “Project” afterward. And yes, that is some severe pain.

    But the grossest thing I remember (and it STILL torments my husband) is when (for my first, when we still were under the illusion that it would happen naturally) they had to manually break my water. Maybe in real life it doesn’t hurt and stink, but when you’re in a bed and the nurse basically comes after you with a crochet hook and you’re RIGHT THERE….UGH. Nasty.

    And NOW I’m freaked out. :)

    • Maybe I’m weird, but I actually felt some relief when they broke my water! I remember a “whoosh” feeling, then some pressure in my tummy was gone. That being said, I still can’t look at a crochet needle the same way!

  14. serena:

    I really appreciate this kind of detail.I don’t find it gross at all and I feel like i need to prepare myself as much as possible for the big days, and unless I know all the nitty gritty details i won’t feel that well prepared! please continue to share!

  15. serena:

    Okay, the comments are hilarious and so enlightening. thanks all for sharing

  16. Oh my. I’ve never heard any of these things. I’m slightly horrified but at the same time so glad to learn them ahead of time. Thanks for sharing.

  17. sarah:

    Not the best thing to read while eating a spaghetti lunch! lol

  18. Girlfriend, you deserve a Nobel prize for this tremendous service you have provided women everywhere! You don’t hear about this stuff!
    Seriously, THANK YOU. Helpful to know : )

    5 weeks, whee! Enjoy! : )

    And viva the preggy-posts!)

  19. I was slightly nauseous when reading this, and yet EXTREMELY grateful for someone letting me know. I’m with Sarah. You rock!

    Also, since I will more likely be the dumb medical student watching the birth before I am the woman actually getting pushed on, I would like to thank you for letting me have my little gross out moment privately, in front of my computer, and not in front of a horrified patient!

  20. Blech. Yeah, I’ve never understood this part. Modern medicine has come so far and yet we don’t have a way to shorten/lighten postpartum bleeding?! (Granted, I haven’t had kids yet, so maybe there really isn’t a way…) TOTALLY didn’t know they push on your stomach though. Good to know, now I won’t be freaked out!

  21. m@7.7.11:

    i had a c-section and LETMETELLYOU, did i EVER get my belly pushed on! i was in the hospital for 4 days after giving birth and for those 4 days, i was pushed upon every hour on the hour. the worst part for me was standing up for the first time. my nurse at the time said it best – “it feels like your guts are going to drop out, doesn’t it?” why, yes! i also bled for 6 weeks after delivery. yumm-o.

  22. m@7.7.11:

    ohhh, and the poop. oh, the poop! it felt like i was passing a serrated knife but man, it felt good to get it out. i was too nervous to go so i held it for 4 days until gravity took over. the nurses warned me it would smell very badly (um, probably like hospital food, antibiotics and 4 days of fermenting…) and let’s just say, they know their shit. pun intended. take the stool softener. trust me.

  23. raggedy-anne:

    reading this post and all these comments makes me appreciate my mum more.

    and for easily grossed out husbands and or significant others, i have a message for you: SHUT UP AND GET OVER IT! childbirth is no glamorous strut in the park. and should they ever complain, or be embarrassed about having to buy feminine supplies for the mother of their children, they out to try having blood and other matter leaking out of them.

    anyway….THANK YOU MOM!

  24. OMG this is so scary!!!! I’m glad you’re sharing this stuff because I would be so mortified and scared, not knowing what to expect!

  25. Molly P:

    For me it was mid-labor. The nurse hit the vein wrong when she inserted an IV (I had group b strep) so I was spurting/pouring blood everywhere, simultaneously started to vomit (a common labor symptom), while my water broke. I was swimming in blood, vomit, and amniotic fluid. So fun.

  26. the actual baby-popping-out part was pretty mess-free since i gave birth in a tub (although i made sure not to look down at the water, and felt really bad for my sister in law who cleaned out the tub afterward!)

    i do agree with the comment about the placenta sliding out. that was ewwww. even grosser, they put it in a zip lock baggie and handed it to my mom so she could deliver it to the lady who made pills out of it. the pills smelled like dry menstruation. yuck!

  27. tubecozy:

    My husband got this on video– After the baby slid out I guess I kept pushing. This gush of blood, fluid, tissue literally shot across the room. My OB and the nurses ducked for cover. Maybe they’re used to that? It was gross, but I found it to be more comical.

    I also grew a few skin tags in my armpits during my pregnancy. One day I realized that I had accidently shaved them off…

  28. […] can read a post like this, and still want a baby – here’s a little […]

  29. Mommyof4:

    I had a c-section and they pressed on my belly for the first few days I was in the hospital it hurt and blood came out of course.

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