*If you haven’t read part 1 of my birth story (which includes the actual birth) I suggest reading that first. See post HERE
I think the blurriness of the days following your birth are important to remember and, for me, is crucial to my birth story. Let’s just say it ain’t over till it’s over. Thanks for reading!
I delivered on a Saturday evening and wasn’t released from the hospital until Tuesday afternoon. “Released” makes it sound like prison. It did feel like a form of motherhood hazing meets prison lockdown. I never saw the weather outside during my hospital stay and only left my hospital bed to use the bathroom and *occasionally* pick up my baby (when I felt too guilty to continually wake her exhausted father just to pick her up for a feeding<< in retrospect this guilt was extremely unnecessary!) Only once did I leave my hospital room during those long, sleepless days and that was to supervise my baby’s first bath a few hours after giving birth. The bath was mandatory by the hospital staff and I was so supped up on adrenaline that I didn’t want to miss a thing. The stroll down the hall turned out to be a bad idea since I nearly passed out next to the post bath baby warmer. Somehow I had forgotten I had just endured a natural child birth and lost a lot of blood in the process only a few short hours beforehand. Well, I shouldn’t say I had forgotten… more like got too distracted to realize that that first exhausting day/night wasn’t actually several days behind me like it felt. Fortunately, a nurse was called to wheel me back to my room before I passed out at the bathing station.
Somehow we made it to Tuesday, release day, despite the constant hourly check ups and zero sunlight. Once the babe and I passed all of our tests we were approved for dismissal. I was prepared to have our car seat fully examined but with a quick nod from the nurse we were left to our own devices. Jake and I were excited about our new freedom. We weren’t sure what to do, just the three of us at home but we managed to squeeze in some sleep and started getting back a little familiarity in our lives.
Wednesday, the next day, I woke up still energetic thanks to my healthy dose of freedom and a pretty content baby. I even got a chance to do a little design work and touch base with a few clients while the baby napped. I was thinking, “man, I’m killing it!” I was even appreciating having that natural child birth and the burst of energy it left me (note in previous post that natural wasn’t my first or second birth preference.) It felt good to get back to having a few things under control and back to a semblance of “normal” routine. Our first full day home was turning out to be a walk in the park. After a few family members stopped by to visit we begin to prep for our night (everything exciting happens at night, right?) The next thing I know, I am passing a very large blood clot followed by a continuous stream of bright red blood. My heart sank as I realized this meant a trip back to the hospital and that our night was just beginning.
It’s after 10 pm and I go straight into crisis mode; fortunately I work really well in that state (I’m also still feeling amazing from all my accomplishments during the day). I tell Jake to call my mom to come over to watch the baby as I wrap up my lower half in towels in an effort to save our new car from a blood bath. Thankfully I had just fed the baby (not an easy feat, but breastfeeding is a story for another time) so I knew she would be ok for a bit and my mom lives only 5 minutes down the road. On our way to the hospital I call my doctor who recommends I go back to the OB emergency care center to get checked out. I am still under the impression this could be a quick fix (again as if any trip the hospital is ever quick) and I can be back to my baby in a matter of hours- probably by the next feeding! cause that is how awesome my day was going.
We arrive at the front of the hospital and I'm quickly hit with dejavu. Jake leaves the car at the front, hazards lights on this time. Miraculously I managed to not bleed all over our new car but decide to take it slow this time and accept a wheelchair ride so maybe I won't strip my stitches or cause any further damage. We are admitted at the same place I gave birth, and low and behold my same OBGYN who checked us in for the birth is there to check me out, yet again. I don’t think he was too excited to see us for the third time in one week, but we could all agree on that. He investigates the source of the bleeding with a vaginal ultrasound and warns that it could be painful. I remind him I just had a natural childbirth and he agrees that if you can handle that pain this will be nothing. Ladies, itwasnothing in comparison BUT, I assure you, itissomething compared to a pre-birth ultrasound. He calls and consults with my doctor and they determine I have birthing remnants in my uterus that need to be removed as soon as possible but isn’t "immediately urgent” now that the bleeding has been controlled. Ultimately, this means the fam is moving back in.
In order to save my spot for an OR the next day we had to remain checked in. I couldn’t leave the hospital, no overnight bag in hand mind you, and I would have to have a D and C procedure under anesthesia to remove the placenta or whatever was left over in my uterus. My stitches would also have to be redone. Great. Jakes dashes home to bring our baby back since by this point she is way past her next feeding-- just another something to juggle and add to the mix.
We were told I can have the procedure in the morning and check out by that evening. If you haven’t noticed a trend yet it’s that you never leave the hospital on time. As it turns out, there are no open ORs until early afternoon. To prep for the procedure I was given a hospital grade pump so my babe could eat in case I was gone too long for her feedings. We hadn’t bought our pump yet (mama’s get on that sooner than later) and I had no idea how to use one! Fortunately, the nursing staff is awesome and a nurse put the pieces together for me and showed me what to do. At least I got a professional demonstration!
Finally I am wheeled down to the OR where I wait, freezing, and the only person sitting alone. I tried to get a few minutes here and there of shut eye between nurses and doctors stopping in to poke and prep me. I suppose my veins had given out because several nurses couldn’t get the >>> to stay and work. Once they’re ready I’m quickly out for the count. When I wake I’m groggy, thirsty, freezing and tired. More waiting in post-op as the nurse buries me under warm blankets— bring ‘em on. At first I wasn’t sure if I was seeing/hearing things but I heard a familiar voice among the nurses. Sure enough a woman walked by and I called to he— it was my neighbor growing up. It was nice to see a friendly and familiar face. Major points for a small town! She later came by my room and met the family and my baby.
Back at the room I am wheeled back to my mom, husband and baby. They were great— made it through the past few hours with ease. It was a relief to know everyone was helping with the babe even if it meant I did a lot of waiting alone (seriously didn’t hate the solitude, they even let me turn off the lights in my waiting cubicle). Even though it was only early evening they wanted me to stay overnight for observation. As annoying as it was to stay yet another night at the hospital I think it turned out to be a good idea. The procedure/anesthesia left me a lot more tired and weak than I had been. Nothing like getting knocked out to take you down a peg.
The next few days home were a little more back to reality. I was much weaker and more exhausted than the last go round. I also had to go back and explain to friends and family that while I had such a burst of energy before, I now was starting the healing process all over and would be much more sluggish. So, I guess after this experience a natural child birth isn’t looking as bad— which apparently is a good thing since, according to the nursing staff, any future baby is gonna shoot out of me double time!
Some of what I learned: A good nursing staff means everything. Witch Hazel and ice are your friend. You don’t have to, can’t and won’t know everything. When in doubt you’ll figure it out.Pain tolerance is subjective but I definitely learned to communicate mine more effectively!