Sunday, August 26, 2012

What The (BLOODY) Hell is Lochia?

No, I'm not talking about the hot 'Heather' uber-babe that made Wayne and Garth shaaaa-wing! Nor that khaki wearing not-paralyzed, paralyzed Lost survivor.
Heather Locklear
John Locke
And it's nothing to do with changing water heights in a canal, home security, - or even a Scottish 'lake' where Nessie the monster might live!

Three years ago, I'd never even heard of the word 'lochia'. Now, I'm over familiar with its skanky significance!

Just to give you a hint........

Image from Carrie (2012) remake

Here are the 'top' three answers listed on Google (having experienced the bloody phenomenon myself three times over, my warning to any first-time preggos reading this: take Google's timing with a pinch of salt!):

 /lo·chia/ (lo´ke-ah) a vaginal discharge occurring during the first week or two after childbirth.
lochia is the vaginal discharge for the first fortnight of puerperium (after birth), containing blood, mucus, and placental tissue.
lochia is the lining of the uterus that is shed after giving birth.

Thank you Google for 'educating' me - NO thanks to ANYONE ELSE out there! 

OK, so this isn't my first time on the marathon 'blob'. But, at least I knew what I was in for this pregnancy (well, more or less). The first time around, no one had the 'indecency' to warn me of the bleeding nastiness my body would continue to expel for weeks (and weeks) after the birth! 

Why are so many 'real' topics taboo? We Mommas need to know the score, and (for me) there's no such thing as TMI - especially if it lets me know what I'm in for!

Perhaps everybody just assumed I'd know that I was about to experience the biggest 'period' of my life!

Third time's a charm - as they say - and it seems that my bloody uterus is drying up a little quicker than it did the last go - thank the Lord for that! 

Baby girl is almost three weeks out of the sack - and even though Momma is still waddling around with a soiled tissue brick in her knickers, I think we're close to the end! 

Our big kid often sits on his potty when we do - and he doesn't miss a trick. He's caught a glimpse of my 'bandage' once or twice (fortunately not in all its gory glory!)  

"You got a boo-boo on your bottom Momma?" Yes baby - the biggest bloodiest nastiest gash anybody ever got without dying.....     

My maxi is still only really necessary to catch the dribbles from those over-exertion Mommy moments - like picking up the toddlers (I know it's supposed to be a no-no - but really?), and when baby girl chugs her dinner like there's no tomorrow (usually after a big long nap)!

This after-birth 'period' is nothing like my last lochia - following the birth of baby boy#2... 

After my second baby was born I bled for months! Although I'd been through lochia previously, it hadn't been anywhere near as bleeding long - more in line with this third (and final?) pregnancy.

I ended up calling the Doc when a couple of months had passed by and I was still seeing crimson spots  (not just a pinkish whitish snotty hue) in my undies. But she wasn't a bit concerned. 
I was to call back if I found any egg sized clots in my drawers - or if I was needing to change out that putrid pad every hour. Apparently I wasn't slowly hemorrhaging to death....

I didn't make my postnatal appointment with the Doc until the bleeding had stopped (over three months). I was too embarrassed to be examined while I was still bleeding. Crazy, huh? The Docs and nurses had been up to their elbows in my blood and guts during the birth - did I think a few red spots on my maxi-pad would shock the Doc..?

I can be such a prude! 

Three months of diapering Mommy as well as the newbie 
and the 17 month old - is way more than even the average 
American family's landfill quota! Even after writing (My very own Maxi-pad!) I failed to invest in any of those reusable Maxipads for this last extensive stint on the rag. 

I know, I know - I'm a wuss, a wuss with a big fat footprint! 

But fair's fair, we are rainwater collectors - and we're still waiting for a little Texas summer shower to replenish our thirsty tanks! Washing daily isn't an affordable option for us. Even baby's mustard blowouts have to wait in line for a full load... not our 17 month old's blow-outs though (that s**t needs burning..... Only kidding! The burn ban is still on..)

Anyone remember this old misogynistic joke?

Q: Why can't you trust a woman? 
A: How can you trust something that bleeds for five days and doesn't die? 

I like this version better:

Girls are superheroes. Who else can bleed for a week without dying? 

WTF does that make us Mommas? We can bleed for three months without dying!!   

I'm willing to bet I'm not the only Momma out there that was caught with their pants down, by the postnatal un-pleasantries...

Who knew they'd get painful contractions during breastfeeding, accompanied by torrents of blood pouring out of their vagina? 

I recall one of my Mother-in-laws offering, when I was heavily preggo with baby #1 (thus completely ignorant of the imminent ickiness that was to be my push prezzie) to bring Maxipads over to our cabin once I was back home from the hospital - She expected we'd probably be too busy to buy groceries...

Strange offer (or so I thought). OK, so I knew I'd be getting my periods back - eventually, right? I was planning on breastfeeding, after all - but surely Maxi-pads weren't top priority? 


The hubs and I had boned up on everything there was to know about labour - but somehow the postnatal phase, and particularly, lochia had slipped through our study net!

After my first baby was born I was on cloud nine. I barely remember pushing out the afterbirth or getting my two stitches - I was too busy staring at my baby boy in awe. The magnitude of what I'd just accomplished was a great distraction to all that was going on around me. 

In fact photographic evidence shows that my baps were out on display for many hours post birth. I didn't give a hoot(er)!  

Everything had gone to plan (my birth plan that is) but somewhere around Daddy cutting the chord I lost 'control' of my postnatal care. Some would say that the professionals know best - I would say "Fuck that!"

I came to my senses when I realized that Pitocin was being dripped into my bloodstream. WTF!?  I'd been strongly against a Hep Lock in the first place - but hospital regulations meant I was forced to oblige - just in case of an 'emergency'. But the birth had been incredible - no emergency. 

I was livid with this postnatal violation, which I only became aware of when they came to change the bag. My angry questioning had them backing off and apologizing no end. Suddenly it wasn't necessary after all. They would even refund the cost of the first bag. WTF? 

I was breastfeeding - and quite successfully for a first timer. My uterus didn't need to be 'helped'. I couldn't believe I'd endured a med free natural child birth so as not to dope-up my baby only to have the drugs creep their way back into baby via an intravenous drip and into Momma's milk!

Probably in harmless insignificant trace amounts - but still,  it stung all the same - Jesus, I hadn't even allowed myself an Ibuprofen for 9 months! I soon relented on that one though..... I'm not a bloody martyr!!

We haven't made the same mistake again - my postnatal plan was addendum-ed to the bottom of our iron clad birth plan for babies #2 and #3.

You just don't know what you don't know! Experience makes a huge difference, and finally, after three practice runs I think I've got it....

In the 24 hours following each of my births, the nurses would keep returning every few hours or so to press down hard on Mummy's tummy - how soreEach time, they squeezed out oodles more blood onto the already drenched ice packed diaper and the rancid sheets below - just like you're a tube of toothpaste!

This last pregnancy, I did a lot of the tummy squeezing myself - with the nurses encouragement. Apparently, fast births and close pregnancies increase the risk of Momma hemorrhaging - I'm guessing three babes in three years and two minutes pushing probably put me in the red zone......

I also had it in the back of my mind that my own Mum hemorrhaged after her third baby. I wanted to make sure my uterus was behaving itself - i.e. not spurting out a deathly quantity of blood! Admittedly, it's a little tricky to know how much is too much.

I read somewhere that your preggo body produces 50% more blood to account for the loss during the birth, and afterwards. By my reckoning that's roughly four and a half pints leakage allowed before you start to die.  

Be afraid of a big 'woosh', 
warned the nurses.

Aghhhhhh! Not granny pants!
The first time I got up out of my hospital bed and waddled like a bow-legged cowboy to the bathroom - I got a glimpse of my-glamorous-self in the mirror..... 


That scary 'self image' was enough to give me nightmares. How would the hubs ever see me in another light...?

I'd heard tales of Daddies being afraid of sex after seeing their beloved baby come tearing through that once upon a time sexy orifice. 

Add on about 50lbs of baby blubber
and half a bottle of  Ketchup - Bob's
your Uncle, Fanny's your Aunt!!
As if that wasn't already enough to limpen the hubs' lead-piping - dumpling Momma waddling across the room in the nu-die save for a pair of bloodstained granny pants pulled up over her belly button (and packing a crotch wad far greater than Papa's) would surely turn his penis inside out!

But two more babies down the road, the memory of Mrs Blobby granny pants doesn't seem to have put the hubs off too much in the past. Perhaps, it's lucky I nabbed a bag of the granny pants to take home - for posterity's sake!

Those ice-packed granny knickers - for numbing my torn up 'bum' - were the main reason I didn't get out of bed when visitors rocked up to the hospital. It had nothing to do with being too sore to get up and about!

And the state of the hospital bathroom - due to Momma's dripping gash - was horrendous. In spite of my wounds, I was in there scrubbing the bloody spattered floor tiling before guests showed up!

 "Quick Daddy, chuck us the baby wipes before your Mam gets here!"
I'm like Mrs Bucket (with my bucket) - putting on airs!

You can't wipe your hooch - or your ass. Nobody tells you that. It becomes pretty obvious though, once you're sitting on the pot, attempting your first postnatal pee and poop.

It's going to sting a bit - that thought is probably what scares that first shy shit away.....

There's a squeegy bottle in the bathroom to shoot water on your bits. Like a portable bidet - a MUST TAKE home item. I mastered a water shoot then paper dab technique. The dabbing didn't half make me wince at first - and that snotty mucas just keeps on coming! If only you could 'blow' that snot out of there.

For babies #1 and #2, after 12 hours or so I downgraded from diaper to a bumper breeze-block sized maxi-pad. But this time around I was sitting on ice for a whole 24 hours, I was so sore.

Daddy even attempted to pack a diaper for the car ride home - he'd picked up the trick from the night nurse - but he packed it so tight that I could barely waddle down to the car park. By the time we arrived home, my bits weren't just comfortably chilled - my frozen fanny was frigid (God forbid) and on its way to being frostbitten!

Cheers Daddy! The last thing we wanted was that vital bit of 'clit' dropping off!

The whole lochia thing is a bloody mess - there's just no getting around it! Even my gratuitous blogging can't fully prepare you first time preggos for the horrifyingly long Halloween party you're about to have in your pants! It's OK though - a new baby by far makes up for the icky inconvenience!

What the professionals DO tell you:

No sexing it up for six weeks, or using tampons.

This is for avoiding infection, apparently. Not (like Momma thought), because the hole is still too big to...... get a grip Momma - you're slacker than your (postnatal) fanny!

It's incredible how fast the human body can heal itself, and even after what Momma's muff went through less than three weeks ago, I'm happy to report that my vagina is already well on its way to a 'full' recovery.

Shhhhhh, don't tell the hubs just yet! I plan on wearing an 'Out of Service' sign on my skivvies for some time to come!


  1. Hello! I'm new here and I love it! Enjoyed your post and totally related to it being a mom of two. You brought back memories I had (purposefully?)forgotten. As far as 'lochia' is concerned I would have told you what it is. Not because of personal experience but simply because it is a Greek word !!! Hah!

    1. Ah, Greece - I just checked out your blog - you lucky lucky Momma! I holidayed in Kefalonia and Lindos many moons ago - you bring back great memories of such a paradisaical place!

  2. Josie!! Again, your blog brings back memories. Wow, what we try to forget as mommies. How would we have anymore children if we remembered all of that! I hope you are feeling back-to-normal (whatever that is) soon.

    You are also getting ANOTHER award from me! This one is called the versatile award, because you are all things woman! Congratulations, girl.

    1. Yippee! Thank you Michele! I need to do a bit of catching up on my blog reading and commenting! I'm getting behind - I can't believe I've got three awards waiting for me to pick up! You are way too kind - but I am very glad of it, and super super chuffed you thought of me - TWICE! As soon as I get a chance I'll get to work on them!!

      Oh, and I'm sorry for bringing back buried memories of old - I think you're right, much like labour pain, lochia doesn't stick around for too long in our memories - for good reason! But while it's still 'fresh' for me I couldn't resist sharing! :D

  3. Hi! Just dropping by again to give you the good news: Congratulations! I've nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. Check out my blog to see how to accept:

    1. Wowzers! I don't know what to say.. I'm being showered with accolades all of a sudden - and it doesn't half feel bad!! Thank you a bundle - although I'm not sure I'm allowed to accept ANOTHER Liebster award - I've got one on my sidebar already (a different badge though, so I'd kinda like to snag this one from you too!) Thank you for thinking of me - I'll see what I can do!:)

  4. Your blog is wonderful and hilarious and so very real! Thanks so much for sharing your stories.
    I know so much about you and the kids that I feel like I should know you already. I'm a friend of Dan's from way back in the day. Big hugs to your family!
    <3, Ashley Howard

    1. Thanks Ashley, I really appreciate the comment - it's lovely to know who's actually reading my blog;) The hubs says hi!

  5. hi there from TALU. just a week ago I had a surgery (reproductive system related) and yeah there are medical terms i am completely clueless what they mean. but as far as I understood it they cut some tube in my ovary and remove some cyst whatever. but thanks god I am recovering fast right now and yeah I am amazed too at how the human body regenerates and heals itself. my V is also healing and recovering well. Chinese doctors gave us an advise written on a piece of paper and here what caught me the most "NO SEXUAL LIFE" swimming, bath in a tub for 1 month.. I am relieved that they didnt forget to include the duration. otherwise my husband and I will have a lifetime of celibacy. he he he (as you can see we are expats living in china and language is indeed a great barrier) ;-)