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the mommyhood memos: don't sweat it momma... or do?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

don't sweat it momma... or do?

Delivering a baby is so glamorous. Any mommy can tell you that. And perhaps equally as glamorous are those first few post-partum weeks.

If you’re like me, you imagined those first few weeks filled with outings to the park, the shopping mall, and your favourite coffee shops... with your darling little babe all bundled up in his brand new pram. Everyone would look on at your beautiful bundle of joy with adoration and look at you as if you’d just succeeded in the most noble of human tasks.

I thought that surely their eyes would be nearly overflowing with the overwhelming emotion that came at the mere sight of my gorgeous little babe. They would ask how the delivery went and I would give a short, polite (censored) version of the magical water birth I had, and gush about how wonderful natural birth really is. Yes, I would be a bit tired, my boobs might be a little sore, but I would be glowing and grinning... everything but signing autographs.

Imagine my surprise when—15 hours into labor—I had to be wheeled in for a last-minute, unplanned c-section... and five days later I was still in the hospital due to some mystery infection.

Needless to say my recovery wasn’t all that glamorous! I was sore and hunched over and needed help showering for the first several days. Laughing and coughing and sneezing sent me to the verge of tears and getting up and down out of bed or the couch made me feel like a 95-year-old woman! My dreams of finally sleeping on my belly again were (temporarily) crushed and my back throbbed far more than when I was ready to burst at full term.

As unglamorous as the whole thing was, I was pleasantly surprised that the recovery seemed to go a little quicker than I had anticipated. Within the week I was keen to get out in public (to show off the baby of course – the world needed to see him!). And by three weeks or so I was back to driving and doing little things around the house. I was also starting to look more and more like my pre-pregnant self. In fact, by week three I was also down to my pre-pregnancy weight... and I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty happy about it.

But I have a little secret.

I didn’t try... It happened by accident.

But please don’t hate me. The next part is nothing to brag about.

About 10 days after giving birth I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Granted it was the height of summer in Australia, but we sleep with the AC absolutely cranked to avoid melt-down and our room was a pleasant temperature. And you have to know I’m not talking about just a bit of sweat on the forehead... I’m talking about so much sweat that my husband seriously thought I had wet the bed!

My hair was soaked, my pyjamas were soaked, the sheets were soaked... this was profuse sweating at it’s best (worst?).

At first I wondered if my post-c-section fever and infection had returned... because what else could possibly make me sweat like that besides running a marathon? (Or, since I’m not a runner, running around the block?)

I felt fine but took my temperature anyway. No fever. (That's a good thing.)

The next night it happened again.

And then again.

For those of you that know me, I know what you’re thinking: what else should I expect after having a baby during the middle of summer in the tropics? But I’m telling you that my husband keeps the bedroom AC so cold during the summer months that I sometimes use more blankets as the temps climb.

Anyway, after the third night of ridiculous sweating I finally looked in my What to Expect When You’re Expecting (pregnancy bible) under postpartum recovery and found... I was normal.

I discovered that about one in ten women suffer from excessive night-time sweating after giving birth, and it even has a medical name for it: diaphoresis. There is no cure, no treatment, just a suggestion: sleep on a towel until it goes away! Apparently it’s hormonal (along with everything else) and is one of the ways that the body gets rid of the excess pregnancy-accumulated fluids.

No one tells you this stuff before you get pregnant!

Well, I continued to sweat it out for the next two or three weeks, unable to sleep with the blankets off (room too cold) and unable to sleep with them on (sweaty wet blankets in the cool room made me even more cold)... and constantly rotating the beach towels that now covered my side of the bed.

What a dilemma! J

And then as fast as the night sweats appeared, they were gone again. I had sweated out my baby weight... and I was back to my normal night time (dry) self.

I will probably forever look back at those first few weeks after having my son as some of the most unglamorous of my life... But, they were also the most precious. Adjusting to life with a newborn is like nothing else! I’ve never cried so many tears of joy and happiness, never wondered how my heart could be so full... and never thought I could be such a sweaty, slow-moving, emotional mess and yet not really be bothered by it.

After all, my dream had come true: I was finally a mommy. 

P.S. Dear mommy friends, did you experience any post-partum “glamour” that caught you by surprise?

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At June 24, 2010 at 5:01 AM , Blogger The Planet Pink said...

Ah yes, the night sweats. Good times. One of my "favorite" postpartum moments came when I started shedding all that fabulous pregnancy hair. I knew it was going to happen, but I had no idea HOW MUCH hair I would lose. I seriously thought I was going to go bald. And I thought we were going to go broke buying Drain-o. LOL

At June 24, 2010 at 5:37 AM , Blogger Chelsey - The Paper Mama said...

I had the sweats that bad too... ewww, I didn't like them. Wake up too hot, get up and I'm too cold. Weee....

At June 24, 2010 at 6:50 AM , Anonymous Jessica Anne said...

I had the sweats too with my first. (Didn't lose my baby weight with it though. Hmm. :)) I had no idea how uncomfortable stitches "down there" are and that I'd be using my Boppy to sit on instead of feeding the baby with it.

At June 24, 2010 at 7:47 AM , Blogger HRH Mommy said...

1 in 10?? Really?? Based on the comments here (and add me to the list of night-time sweat-ers), there already have to be 36 people out there who didn't have it. Personally, I think it's a whole lot more common. Ugh, don't miss it, though with my 2nd pregnancy, every time I had to get up and change outfits, I told myself: "there went another pound!!" :-)

At June 24, 2010 at 8:05 AM , Blogger Chelsea said...

I have an award for you at my blog! Stop by and pick it up!

At June 24, 2010 at 8:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had it! I think it has to do with a c-section too and being pumped with tons of IV fluids. Also the gross shedding. Between 3 and 7 months post partum I definitely thought I was about to bald.

At June 24, 2010 at 9:38 AM , Blogger Cameron said...

I didn't actually get night sweats. But I did have the postpartum bleeding for more than 6 weeks. That was not fun. Although it wasn't super heavy or anything, the doctor said it was fine. It just kept me from really feeling like myself. I felt gross. I also had bad baby blues & majorly leaking breasts from breastfeeding. I used to wake up in a puddle of breastmilk.

At June 24, 2010 at 9:54 AM , Blogger Adriel Booker said...

omg, the hair shedding. don't even get me started! that one i expected... but i still can't believe how much it is!!! sick! mine didn't start falling out until 4 months... but we're still going strong! eww. :D

At June 24, 2010 at 10:31 AM , Blogger Louise said...

Post was actually okay for me. I waddled for a few days because I had some stitches - and they had to snip me down there (so nice), but reading this I'm happy I didn't have anything else! I was happy to leave the glamour of pregnancy though - what with the snoring, swelling and random gas. I didn't miss that!

Also wanted to let you know I gave you a nod on my site as one of my favorite bloggers - I gave you an award if you do them. And I voted for you on top baby blogs :)

At June 24, 2010 at 1:38 PM , Blogger Mrs. Mother said...

I had the night sweats, too, but it doesn't sound as bad as yours. My worst was losing hair. I've always had a ton of hair anyway, and being pregnant added a ton more. My husband said he was afraid I was going to go bald with as much as I was losing. Luckily, it has calmed down a lot.

At June 24, 2010 at 7:24 PM , Blogger Dream House Trish said...

What a fabulous & honest post, nothing in motherhood is as easy as you expect it...I have 4 children & have experienced a something different with each child, never night sweats but always the hair loss, stitches etc. Luckty babies are beautiful hey!!!!

At June 25, 2010 at 3:22 AM , Anonymous cherie said...

LOVE IT! I am on my third pregnancy (10 years after my second), and none of them have been glamorous pre or post-partum. I remember the soggy existence of leaking from every orifice. But how we LOVE to share our war stories, LOL!

Hair loss is my current foe. Ugh! Check it out at

Peace out!

At June 27, 2010 at 12:35 PM , Blogger Smellyann said...

I had the same sweats after my first one, but not after the next three. Lost the first weight quickly, but not after that! They're all different, you never know... but yuck!! lol

At June 27, 2010 at 9:51 PM , Blogger Jackie Higgins said...

Hmmm, never thought about it that way. I thought I was losing weight due to nursing, not the 4xs that I changed my shirt at night. I guess it will make me less frustrated to change clothes all night if I think of it as a "weight loss plan" lol

At July 4, 2010 at 9:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can relate to the unexpected C-section and the awful days after (except for having a beautiful baby to care for!) I had an AMAZING vaginal birth with my first and completely expected to have the same thing with number 2, but wound up having a complicated C-section with almost 2 liters of blood loss for failure to progress with labor. My husband had to help me to the bathroom and help me sit on the toilet! There is nothing he hasn't seen now!

PS love the blog, i'm following you now.


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