25 May 2010

Just blowing off a little steam. You can play too.

As Rebekah recently had occasion to explain so eloquently, the terrors of any given birth experience are not necessarily proportionate to the duration thereof.

While I can see why the sufferer of an extended labor might envy her more precipitous counterpart…amply sufficient unto each birth are the pangs thereof, no?

Which is why I was at least a little annoyed when one acquaintance, upon hearing that I’d entered the hospital at 11:30 pm and produced a baby by 2:50 am, exclaimed, “Oh! That’s not so bad!”

Since I’m in a rather mischievous, if not wicked, mood, I’m curious to hear your nominations for Perturbing Postpartum Comments. It’s been awhile since we’ve done a best of the worst list, after all. [In fairness, we shall recall that postpartum is a time when nearly any comment can be ill-received, to the honest surprise of the well-meaning commenter.]

39 comments:

Untamed Shrew said...

I like how Rebekah put it a few months ago: there's just no good way to get the dear thing out. I think at the root of it is every woman's desire for what she can't have. I burn with envy over those who go into labor on their own. Their bodies do what they are created to do, and I'm always left feeling that mine has failed me.

Rebekah said...

When our first baby was born, my doc was on vacation and I drew an absolutely horrible member of her group. The day after, this horrible person came to check on me and congratulated me for making it through med-free. I still don't know why I didn't tell her that I would have experienced considerably less pain if she hadn't handled me like I was an insensate lab specimen.

Gauntlets said...

I still think the worst thing I've ever heard postpartum has been, "Don't worry, honey. Some day you'll be Done." I have strong feelings about the people who find it in their hearts to comfort me this way.

Rosie said...

One person was shocked to learn that I didn't have an epidural for the birth of our first child. She commented, "Oh wow, I can't believe labor didn't hurt for you! That's awesome! I was in pain so I definitely needed relief." I was like, "um...."

The assumption that no epidural = pain-free delivery is really annoying.

Untamed Shrew said...

OH! PP comments! I forgot mine and my MIL gives the BEST!!

Baby 1: (I said I was having trouble breastfeeding.) "That's okay, you've got nothing to give her right now anyway."

Baby 2: (repressed memory, I guess, because I know she said something asinine.)

Baby 3: "I just feel so sorry for breastfed babies."

Rosie said...

Lol at Shrew's Baby 3 comment. I mean I don't even get it. Other than that it's hilarious.

Megan said...

Mine's not quite postpartum, but fairly close. When I was was in labor with my first the nurse went to check me and her comment was "wow! that baby has a lot of hair, we could put a bow in it right now."

She also commented after I pushed said baby out in only half a dozen pushes. "By the sixth one, you'll just sneeze and that baby will come out"

greatgaunts said...

After sharing the story of a 13-hour pitocin drip and unwanted (aren't they almost always?) C-section wherein the epidural didn't exactly work: "At least you didn't have to push."

Runner up: "He's going to hate his name when he grows up."

Which perhaps explains why I so love to hibernate during breastfeeding season.

Allison said...

2 of my friends after hearing I'd gotten an epidural after 17 hrs of pit. "Yeah, we thought you wouldn't be able to do it."

Proved them wrong on the second. =)

Untamed Shrew said...

Rosie, she thinks babies are born hungry. She also thinks colostrum is nothing. She ought to know about brown fat and insulin, being a nurse. And she ought to respect the Lord's Order, being a life-long Lutheran.

JenniferH said...

#1 was more hastily born than the "avg." firstborn under the care of a nurse who discounted my insistence that it was indeed time to check me, finally did and discovered me at 10cm, which led to a frantic delivery by everyone involved. It, and she, was mostly awful, and she was certainly afraid of the precautions that were not taken as a result of her ignorance. Nurse Ratchet's launch into self-preservation left me only about 1 minute to hold #1 in the first 3 hours of baby's life.

So here it is, drumroll please.......when I asked after about an hour to hold my baby #1 and try to breastfeed my sweet nurse turned to me and said impatiently, "You'll have the next 18 yrs. to hold this baby, it can wait. Please be patient."

Anonymous said...

Baby #1: a nurse tried to get me to take a prescription for the pill and when I (politely) refused she got all huffy and said: Do you know what will happen if you don't take it? (hmm...just had a baby... ;) )and then told me I better not get pregnant for 2 months
Baby #2: a Med student came into the room with a survey that included the question What do you plan on using for birth control. Usually, I would only be slightly annoyed by this question but she asked this during my last hour of labor--the last thing I want to be thinking about while dealing with contractions and trying not push ;) If this ever happens again I plan on telling them abstinence (but with the right to change my mind in the future)

Naomi :)

Rebekah said...

People! Why are they idiots! Why do they talk!

Naomi, you were INTERVIEWED by a MED STUDENT while you were in LABOR???

Kira said...

Four days after giving birth to my fourth son last summer, my first home birth (necessitated by the VBAC ban at all the hospitals in the region), my mother-in-law arrived at our house, took a quick look at the baby and said to me, "Oh Kira! Bob and I are just so glad that you and Matthew survived!"
I was speechless for quite some time.
After all, not only had we survived, but it had been my easiest birth of the four!

Anonymous said...

From my husband while still in the hospital, "Let's do it again." While this was perfectly true and delightfully enthusiastic, it was, perhaps, insensitively too soon for my one day postpartum self.

D. said...

Great topic!
After a 2 day excruciating labor w/ a malpositioned baby and a cesarean that left me w/ problems breastfeeding and a pediatrician demanding I feed her formula (her bilirubin was fine), a daughter that had trouble breathing (common after a c/s) and by the time they had her breathing and brought her to me, she was asleep. Oh and I couldn't roll over for two weeks---oh and all my future pregnancies will be a bigger deal bc they will be vbac's--- and someone says, "At least you have a healthy baby. That's all that matters."

Um, yes, a healthy baby is the most important thing, but it is not all that matters.

Christine said...

The nurses as they were wheeling me out of the operating room after my first c-section: "See you back in a couple of years!"

My OB as she was closing me up after my 3rd c-section: "Everything looks great, I don't see any reason why you can't do this several more times!"

Of course these comments *are* very CSPP friendly, but the timing could have been better!

Dakotapam said...

My favorite was from a parishioner, a well meaning older woman, who came to visit me mere moments after giving birth to boy #4...I went into labor on a Sunday morning, in a small town...the WORLD knew when I gave birth.

ANYWAY, she looked at him, and looked at me and said, in all sincerity, "at least he's healthy". As if having another boy was the equivalent of giving birth to a child with two heads...

Dakotapam said...

the best part about delivering in a Catholic hospital? NO ONE asks about birth control, ever. That and the crucifix across from the bed to focus on during contractions. And the sweet nun who came and prayed for me. And the milkshakes were good too...

Melrose said...

birth #1, as baby's head just starts to show, my midwife's eyes pop and she whispers, "THAT is the biggest head I have ever seen!" ( 15 3/4") Yea, not what you want to hear when you're trying to get the thing out!!! She then said, "get ready, this is going to burn really bad!" uh, thanks for the head's up! ;)

After my second I was in my 6 wk pp visit and my midwife, upon examining my scar tissue from my tearing, says, "wow, I wouldnt blame you if you got a c-section next time." say what?!

And my personal favorite, while in the ER following #3's birth, the dr, without being qualified to say so, says, "You will never be able to have kids again. You'll be lucky if you survive this." (He was mad that I had my baby at home.) Yes, I survived, and yes, God willing, I am able to have more children.

Anonymous said...

Great conversation! I have so many comments, I can hardly choose!

Day after baby #1 - We wanted our parents to wait a week to come so we could get nursing established, recover, etc. My MIL was UPSET and actually asked what she would "tell people" when they wondered why she wasn't coming right away. They live out of state. It made perfect sense. Who CARES what you have to tell people?

As for comments about they labor...Reb. Mary, I am so happy that you brought this up! I have found that women who are obsessed with telling others how their labors and deliveries were harder, longer, shorter, more severe, more serene, blah blah blah often have some need to build themselves up.

I know someone who insisted on telling me how her child's head was MUCH larger than my son's so even though they were within an ounce of each other, it was a much bigger deal to push hers out. Um, really? I'm pretty sure there is no exact science that we can use to label this kind of stuff.

Some of the toughest women I know have had epidurals with all of their deliveries while (to be frank) some of the biggest hypochondriacs have delivered with no drugs. I think to turn childbirth into an Olympic sport is to forget that much of what happens is out of our hands. Yes, there are things we can control, but there is a lot that we can't.

Thank you for your blog. I really enjoy it!!! God Bless!

HappyFox said...

There should be a designated "slapper" in all hospital rooms. It would work like this (it's very simple): Nurse tells Jennifer she has 18 years to hold her child, so she must wait to feed him/her - slap! Doc tells Melrose she'll be lucky to survive - slap! See? Very simple.

Rebekah said...

DakotaPam, I've also stuck with papist hospitals for those very reasons, although I haven't run into the milkshakes yet . . . .

>>I think to turn childbirth into an Olympic sport is to forget that much of what happens is out of our hands. Yes, there are things we can control, but there is a lot that we can't.

YUP.

HappyFox, that's a great idea.

Melrose said...

happyfox, love it!

Reb. Mary said...

WOW! and YIKES! and LOL!

Ladies, you are all survivors...if we can survive these PP comments with grace and good humor (even if only retrospectively...), we can survive anything :P

I think we should all emulate Greatgaunts and hibernate during breastfeeding season; or when that's impossible, bring along the slapper suggested by Happyfox.

Until we can get that system up and running, I hope you're all finding this as cathartic as I am :D

JenniferH said...

HappyFox: I nearly punched her as it is when she yanked my leg sideways and wrenched my hip while resting between contractions so that she could turn to tell nurse #2 about her vacation plans. I still have problems with that hip. Inretrospect, and though it would've been decidedly unchristian to do so, I have often wish I would've slapped her. I mean, I was a PP mess so I'm sure no one would've blamed me. "Chief of sinners though I be...."

MooreMama said...

Do breastfeeding non-support comments count? These are from the same woman, who I may or may not be related to by marriage. Closely related.

"I didn't breastfeed the older two boys because I didn't know any better. But I did breastfeed the youngest until his eyes lit up when I got out the pillow that we used for feeding. Once he recognised it, I was done."

"Can you call me when she's not sleeping or hungry so that I can come see her?" (C was 6-ish weeks old)

"I just let my boys play until they fell asleep in their toys."
then, a year later, after she asked if I was "having any luck" getting my two week old to sleep through the night:
"I put my boys on a schedule from the day we got home from the hospital"

and my very favorite:
"Is you milk turning to water yet?" a few weeks before C's first birthday.

e&k said...

from a really sweet and competent nurse who came to see me in the recovery room after 37 hour labor, 3 hours pushing and a c-section:
"the other nurses and i were really upset about how that went at the end."

Katy said...

I notice most of these outrageous pp comments are from women.

After (weakly and naively) fighting induction for my #1 (no reason whatsoever except the calendar date), I asked if I could nurse my placenta out. Of course, I realized later that was silly, because I was still hooked up to the pit, and the doc had to pull the placenta out anyway so he could stitch up my tear.

But the "birthing coach" nurse says, "You can do whatever you want, honey!!!" (Imagine Marge Olmstead-Gunderson's voice, but without the no-nonsense) Yeah, right. After the doc held AMA over us and reminded us insurance would not cover this "very, very expensive non-stress test, etc."

This nurse had lots of "cute" things to say during labor, too, like the Megan above's nurse.

And like Jennifer H's nurse, she didn't believe me when I told her I was ready to push (resulted in CHAOS for this baby--lights, things coming out of the ceiling, clatter, yelling. You'd think the staff had never delivered a baby before...).

Jody S. said...

Also, not post-partum, but my LEAST favorite thing to hear a nurse/mid-wife/doctor say is, "Just one more time." Don't ever believe it.

mz said...

Much like MooreMama, I had the experience of a similarly related woman showing up at my door unnanounced at 9am when I was barely 2 weeks PP. I was in sleep deprived, stress induced anxiety hell, and was having trouble nursing. Said woman tells me I need to give my baby formula and she can feed her. (In her defense she did bring some wonderful homemade chicken soup for which I was grateful.) But still not pretty, folks, not pretty. And like another poster, we had wanted to wait for at least a week until DH's parents came to visit. When I relented at 3 days pp (against my better judgement) they show up with their other grandchildren in tow, after DH specifically extended the invitation to 2 adults only.

Anonymous said...

Naomi, you were INTERVIEWED by a MED STUDENT while you were in LABOR???

It was mostly my husband answering the questions while I scowled in their direction ;) We've had a lot of issues with the hospital but I would have to switch to a different OB if I wanted to deliver elsewhere.

Another bad comment came from somebody in the delivery room that was telling me (during the 40 minutes of pushing) something about my pelvis was too narrow for the baby and they weren't sure if I could push her out (or something along those lines--my memory is pretty fuzzy because I was on Pitocin and Magnesium for preeclampsia). Anyway, I really stressed out about this comment especially all through pregnancy #2 when I delivered with (literally) one push!

Naomi :)

Marie said...

Love these stories!

For #1, after 40 hours of labor, we called the epidural doc. He answered his cell phone (and didn't wash his hands) as he was INSERTING the needle into my spine! We wrote a letter to the hospital about that one=) God was watching over us!
Also, pushed out the daughter in about 10 mintues and 3-4 pushes, though I could feel nothing. She came out, and the midwife said, "Well, you sure blasted her out!" Dozens of stitches, and a fainting episode later...
I'm trying to get dressed after my first shower and keep some of my dignity, but I can barely stand long enough to dress. I can't get the stupid gauze ice pack to turn "on", so I put on the emergency bathroom light (because I wasn't willing to sit down with all of those stitches, but I was about to faint again). I'm totally naked, and in comes... a social worker. "Oh, I don't really know how those ice packs work... hmm? Let me see..." 3 minutes later, as I sit down on all those ouchy stitches "I guess since I don't know, I'll go get a nurse." Great idea. That's why I put the call light on!

#2 and #3 weren't really that bad, though. I guess after #1, there wasn't much left to bother me! I'm praying someday, that we'll be able to have a #4 at home!

Anonymous said...

My first was a honeymoon baby but was IUGR and was taken by c-section at 33 weeks. She spent 24 weeks in the NICU before she died. Our doctor, as I was in the recovery room, said, "Now that wasn't so bad, was it?" And then proceeded to tell me I should always have c-sections from now on. I hadn't even seen my daughter yet!

I just had my first VBAC, another daughter, 5 months ago. Praise God.

Gauntlets said...

Oh, Anon, I'm so, so, so sorry about your loss. :'( God bless you and your new little one (yay!) even as His eternal light shines on your beloved first child.

Heather Best said...

While in labor with my 4th, the preacher and two elders from my church come in. I don't mind the company, but then the preacher asks me 'why is it taking so long?' (I had only been in labor for a couple hours.)
Then the two elders started cracking jokes about buying me a baseball bat to keep my husband off me. I mean, I'm IN LABOR! I'm attempting to bring this life into this world and they're talking like more children is a bad thing.
I told them to not be so sure it wasn't my husband that needed the bat and then my husband had them leave the room.
Our 5th is due in August and I don't plan on telling anyone when we go into labor. We will just call them after we come home.

The Mama said...

After a horribly painful and protracted labor (35 hours) with a large, poorly positioned baby that was finally born at home my two girls surveyed their brand new younger brother and said, "Wait, shouldn't there be another one? We wanted a girl, too!"

Family Man said...

The siblings' comment is so perfect, in an age-appropriate sense, of course!

Rebekah said...

Oh, the foolish words of man. Anon, God comfort you (and all of us) with his perfect Word of life.