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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 4th of July (a couple of days late)

I don't remember much of the 4th from last summer.  I was 3 days post partum, 6th day in the hospital, and not feeling the best.  I honestly don't know that I acknowledged the fact that it was the 4th last year, I'm pretty sure it was never brought up.

I had some pretty serious complications following my somewhat hastened c-section, so much of what I remember is kind of piecey and a little bit scatter brained.  There are people I spoke to in the hospital that I don't remember except for very hazily, if at all.  I had a lot of visitors, my husband's family is BIG and I have a few close friends that wanted to come see me and the new little one.

I was set to go home July 5th, they wanted to keep me for the full four days just to make sure I was up to par.  On that fourth day is when everything started to go downhill.

I spiked a fever, and couldn't stop sweating (accompanied of course by the occasional bout of chills) and they decided to give me another dose of intravenous antibiotics.  By the next morning my fever had gone down, but they had to keep me longer for observation. 

I'm just going to list what I remember about what happened next, because as I said, it's not very reconciled in my head.

I spiked another fever, which worried the medical staff.  I was to the point where I had so many blankets around me yet I still felt frozen, and I was soaked with sweat.  I was taken for a CAT scan and had to drink vile liquid which meant I had to pump and dump for 48 hours.  I was put on more antibiotics, given intravenous pain meds as the pain was intense, and kept on intravenous fluid since eating or drinking was out of the question.  At some point I had to get a blood transfusion because my labs were really off, I didn't like that one bit.  I wasn't sleeping because I was in too much pain, and too sick.  I was treated for DVT (blood clots, potentially life threatening) with shots of Lovanox in my stomach four times daily.

And in all of this Eli decided he was going on a nursing strike, right away.  I just remember sitting in the rocking chair one night, him on the boppy pillow, and both of us just wailing away out of frustration.  The nurse came into the room and asked me if I was okay, all I could do was cry, "I just don't know what to do!"

I just wanted everything to be perfect, and nothing went right.  I went in for a vaginal birth, and came out with 50 hours of labor to end in a c-section, with a side order of life threatening complications.  But the one thing I cherish most of it all is my perfect, healthy boy.  He was absolutely perfect, despite my rocky recovery, and for that I cannot be more thankful.  He did eventually start nursing again, on the day we were released, Saturday, July 11th 2010 (a mere 13 days of being in the hospital.)

The first few days at home were okay, I had quite a few helpers taking care of things for me while I continued to recover and adjust to life as a mommy.  Eli was a pretty easy going baby and gave me very little trouble.  But after a couple of days I just felt wrong.  I brought this up with my follow up physician but he just stated that it was normal healing after a c-section.  The Thursday after I was released my mom came over to visit and pick up my niece (my little helper, she and Eli are like brother and sister.)  I had asked her to look at my incision area to see if anything was wrong.  It felt very swollen and hurt to the touch, and felt a little warm but only on the right side.  She looked at it and said it definitely didn't look right.  I gave a call to the doc, and they just told me that it was normal and should be fine. 

At 3:00 am Thursday night (technically Friday morning) I had just finished feeding Eli, and was putting him down in his bassinet.  As I was walking there I felt something drip down my leg.  I figured it was milk (oh did I have milk) and put him down.  When I looked down I saw that I had dripped blood.  My first thought was to grab a tissue, it was probably just more bleeding post baby.  By the time I had gotten to my bathroom the blood was coming in a steady stream and I realized it was coming from my abdomen.  My incision had opened with a vengeance.  As I stood in my bathroom trying in vain to control the blood that was pooling at my feet I tried to get my husband's attention (he was sleeping in the bedroom).  After calling and calling to him I finally just started crying.  I didn't know what to do, I didn't know what was wrong with me.  All I knew is that there was uncontrollable bleeding and I was covered.  He finally heard my cries and came to see what was wrong, and nearly had a heart attack.  I can only imagine what it looked like to him.  Me standing there, trying to feebly contain the blood that was flowing through my fingers, not moving because I didn't want to get it all over the place.  He gathered the baby, called his mom to meet us in the ER.  I threw a skirt on, held a bath towel to my abdomen, and asked him to bring my sandles to me so I didn't track blood all over our floors.  We called ahead so they were prepared for us and they immediately brought us back.

They were in shock over the amount of blood, but they said it looked like old blood since it was dark and thick.  They prepped me for transfer to another hospital more equipped to handle whatever was going on with me when the OB on call came in.  After pushing and prodding and then sticking a wooden q-tip into my open incision as far as it would go to see how deep it was, they finally decided that it was just a hematoma from the Lovanox the finally built up enough pressure to burst.  They gave me a prescription for (yet another) antibiotic, and then FINALLY asked me if I wanted some pain medication.  Um, yes!  I'm woman enough to admit that out of my whole two plus weeks of birth experience that was the only time I ever cried out of pain (and there was plenty of it) and I needed something, anything to take the pain down so I could think straight.

We went home, I got a little sleep.  They decided to let my incision stay open to drain and since the opening was only in one layer they weren't too concerned.  This was the beginning to yet another complication.  My incision stayed open for weeks.  It was leaking blood at first, then another spot opened in the middle of my incision which started leaking this pinkish/yellowish tinged fluid, and not in small amounts.  All in all it took 8 full weeks for those wounds to finally close.

Due to my ordeal my doctor advised only repeat c-sections.  I'm still torn on the issue.  I know he's not just trying to push c-section on me, he is pretty against surgical intervention except when it is medically warranted, and he's got the lowest c-section rate in the entire hospital.  Their take on what happened is because I was in labor for so long, and my water had broken, it had introduced bacteria into uterus which later caused infection.  They have no real reason as to why I wouldn't progress.  I was already a week and a half past due with no signs of going into labor anytime soon.  The only real reason they could give me is that Eli was far too big to fit into the bony opening of my pelvis and therefore could not engage the birth canal and put pressure on my cervix, and without this my body just couldn't do it's job.  It makes me nervous to go into a surgery when there is a chance it could not be needed, but that's an other post entirely.

So my mantra for my ruined birth plan and the loss of the experience of laboring to bring my child to this earth as it was meant to be is this:  My baby is perfect, he is healthy, and every single thing I went through was to bring him into our family, and I did my job.  I love that little boy with all my heart.

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