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Sweat and nightmares

“Turn the light on! Help me find her, quick!”

Panic grips me as I rifle through the covers, or try to find the end of the pillowcase. I’ve fallen asleep with her in the bed, and now she’s trapped in the covers, suffocating! Then the light goes on and I see that she’s fast asleep in her cot, right where I left her. On an unrelated note, I notice I’m sweating profusely, my pyjamas sticking to me and my boobs forming a ravine between which a veritable river of perspiration trickles.

Nobody tells you that the newborn nights are a hazy mix of sweat and nightmares, but both of these are in fact very common. Google “nightmares about losing baby in bed” and the search turns up a plethora of forum questions, articles and even news items addressing the phenomenon. Researcher Tore Nielsen, PhD, has found that three quarters of new mothers will experience these nightmares, dreaming such things as leaving the baby on the change table or with a bad babysitter, and typically resulting in the frantic search through the covers. [CLICK HERE for the NBC report, which has more details].

I was surprised to read about the sweating in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” – up til then I’d been blaming Sean for leaving the heater on overnight (“It’s only on 15 degrees!” he’d protest). Apparently this sticky problem is caused by the dropping levels of hormones, and can last for several weeks. You can read more about it HERE on the Babycenter website.

Amelia is sleeping longer each night; hopefully soon I’ll be able to sleep soundly as she does, unimpeded by terrible nightmares and the sensation of having taken a stroll through a monsoon!

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The incident of the laxatives

During the second day in hospital I was given two different laxatives: lactulose and Movicol. This was to help “soften” my bowel movements, to avoid causing pain or problems when I went to the toilet, due to the stitches. Unfortunately, I had no need of laxatives, perhaps because I had eaten little and drunk a considerable quantity of water. In the middle of the night I had two very unfortunate incidents. The first was easily managed, as I snuck into my room to fetch a new pair of undies, and snuck back to the bathroom to fetch the soiled ones (dressing gowns are an excellent cover in these situations).

The second incident was not so easily managed. The midwife was in the middle of checking on Amelia and I was sitting on the edge of my bed. Suddenly I felt the urge to go to the toilet. I stood up, but it was already too late.

“Oh no. Oh no. Oh no!”

The midwife looked at me, confused. I was obliged to inform her that I was losing my insides uncontrollably. With absolute horror I realised it was running down the back of my leg! The onslaught eased up and I hobbled into the bathroom. I ended up stripped and sitting on the loo, my insides still pouring out, while the midwife fetched my luggage and some towels (luckily I had already left my dignity at the door to the birthing suite!). My plans for having Sean come help me shower again the next morning were out the window – I was on my own, and once again grateful to find that I was quite capable of managing, in spite of my wound. I even washed my hair.

Fortunately I did not have any further incidents like this, though I did need to wear extra pads over the following two days, and frequently needed to jump up and run to the loo. Needless to say, I did not take any more laxatives!