Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Unwelcome Surprises

Nobody tells you how much bleeding is normal after you give birth. The nurses on the postpartum floor supply you with pads that seem appropriately sized for, oh, a hippopotamus, which gives you a teeny clue. But, every woman is different, blah blah blah. They do warn you that nursing causes your uterus to contract and that you'll probably bleed more while actively breastfeeding.

I spent the majority of my time the first 5 weeks after D was born trying to breastfeed. It did not go well. I had a low supply, my nipples were absolutely trashed, and D didn't use her tongue properly to draw the milk out. Instead she used more of a chewing motion. Fun for everyone. I did discover that nursing her certainly increased the rate of my postpartum bleeding. This was an item of rather minor interest until one afternoon when I was attempting to feed her and felt... well, let's just call it a large clot. I stood up to discover I had bled through my pad, underwear, pants, and done significant damage to the cushion of the armchair I had been sitting in. I set D in her bouncy seat, dashed upstairs (we had been living in our brand new house for about 2 weeks at this time) trying desperately not to drip blood on the new carpet, did a quick cleanup, and put on my oldest, ugliest maternity underpants, and a pair of workout shorts. I went back to get D, checked the new pad, and decided a trip to the emergency room was in order. I called my husband (at least an hour away at work) and a couple of friends, one of whom left work instantly, came to my place, and assumed care of me and D. She dropped me off at the ER and took D to her house to look after her.

H met me in the ER, where I was given an ultrasound and diagnosed with "retained products of conception." The bleeding had stopped, so after talking to my OB, the ER doc on call discharged me and said my OB's office was expecting me first thing the next morning for a D&C. On the drive home, the bleeding resumed. I was attempting to get my OB on the phone, when I apparently passed out from loss of blood and scared about 15 years off my husband's life. He called 911 and the paramedics arrived.

So there I was. 5 weeks postpartum after nearly three months in bed, eating mostly See's Chocolates and Wheat Thins. (Let's just say I was not at my slimmest.) I hadn't showered that day. I was clad in nothing but a breast milk-stained tank top, the aforementioned maternity underpants, and my workout shorts. There was also a fair amount of blood involved. I was untidy.

Well, they scooped me up and brought me back to the hospital, where I was admitted by the same doctor who had sent me home not an hour earlier. Deemed too unstable to be ambulanced down to the hospital where my OB-Gyn group had privileges, I had the D&C done there at about midnight that night by a doctor who heard my history and promptly tried to get me to leave my current group and come to his local practice. I think his pupils actually turned into dollar signs as he looked at me.

D was, at this time, very hungry. She didn't react well to the abrupt transition from bring breastfed (albeit very poorly) to being bottle fed formula, which her stomach kept violently rejecting. It was a long night for everyone. Eventually, though, I was deemed likely to live, discharged, and sent home, where D was very happy to be reunited with my breasts.

Did I mention this all happened on my husband's birthday? Every day I am amazed that he ever recovered enough from all of this to agree to try for another child. Later I learned that he followed the ambulance to the hospital in his car, hoping all the way that the lights and siren would just stay off. As long as they were off he was managing to keep it together. Poor guy.

Anyway, we're braced for tomorrow's ultrasound. 9:30. Let's hope there aren't going to be any unwelcome surprises.

1 comment:

Spanglish said...

GOOD LUCK. You'll be in my thoughts.