I felt prepared to give birth. I’d read my books, I’d taken my classes, and my friends shared a few too many gory details prior to the big day — but they didn’t share everything.
Heading into my C-section, I was confident and full of anticipation. I knew what the procedure entailed and how long it would take. I knew the schedule for the baby afterward and had a plan so my husband would follow our baby as soon as he left the operating room. But once my son arrived, they came too — the shakes. Nobody warned me about the shakes. And these weren’t just a little shiver felt throughout my body, but full-on, uncontrollable shaking that probably made me look like I was convulsing to the untrained eye. I honestly don’t remember much about them — I was probably so pumped up on endorphin that they’ve been erased from my memory — but I do recall having trouble getting a full sentence out of my mouth because my teeth were chattering so hard. The whole “episode” probably lasted the total of an hour, and, like I said, it isn’t anything I would have remembered, except that it happened again when my second son was born.
This time around, with a scheduled C-section on the books, I braced myself for some postpartum shaking prior to entering the operating room. My body, however, seemed to have something else in mind.
After receiving a spinal block and lying down on the table, I began to feel cold — like polar-vortex cold. I asked the operating-room staff to raise the temperature in the room, at which point my husband told me that the room was already very warm — he was sweating. Before I could say anything else, the shakes set in, and this time they were uncontrollable! Whether it was nerves (sometimes it’s actually worse to know what to expect) or a side effect of the painkillers, I’ll never know. But, thanks to a thoughtful anesthesiologist, my upper body was covered with an air-warming blanket that looked like it came out of Big Hero 6, which provided me some comfort and heat throughout the surgery. Before long, my second son was in my arms and the shakes were the furthest thing from my mind.
But consider this your warning. The shakes are real, and they’re normal. They are part of your body’s recovery (or in my case preparation) and nothing to worry about — unless they’re accompanied by a fever. Because heck, you know you wanted your newborn to have an interesting first feeding session.
Did you have the shakes during your delivery?