APA’s birth and delivery via C-Section was pretty seamless. Honestly I feel like I waltzed into the hospital, chilled for a bit with my husband and had a C-Section. (part 1 of the story here)
However the aftermath was not quite so pretty.
For 24 hours after APA’s birth I was great. I had a bunch of visitors come to the hospital, I was up walking and talking and eating and basically on cloud 9.
The next day (day 2 postpartum) was not so good, I felt blurry and tired. My mind wasn’t able to hold a good conversation and my pain level was pretty high. That night at 10pm I began shaking uncontrollably. It just so happened that I was alone in my room at that moment, VC had stepped out and my mom had gone home. I buzzed the nurse and could barely get out the words “I cant stop shaking” … I dont think they heard the urgency in my voice and I had been 100% healthy leading up to this, so it took a good amount of time and a few more buzzes for anyone to come to my room. When they finally did they found me with a 104 degree fever, freezing cold and seizing.
This went on for about an hour at a time and for the next 2 and a half days.
I had contracted an infection in my uterus during the surgery and the process of fighting the infection off was really hard for my body. I continued to spike fevers of 103-104 and have periods of seizing. During these periods I couldn’t control my body, my muscles would tense up causing intense pain because my abdomen had just been sewn shut. I was also freezing cold, and shaking but sweating buckets.
There were a few really low points, one in particular when there were no less than 4 nurses and a doctor surrounding me. They were trying to get me warm, and had to test for sepsis in my blood. The process is a lot of needles and blood draws. During the draws there were multiple people trying to hold my body still and keep me from shaking. Another less than awesome moment was when my IV came loose from being bumped around and they had to reissue the IV in a different spot. The nurse tried so many times because I couldn’t control my body to be still enough for her to find a vein. No bueno.
I’ll be honest, it was the most scared I have ever been for myself. I am typically very calm and controlled, I have a high tolerance for pain and roll with what happens … but this. I could see the fear in my husband’s eyes, I could see the high level of concern with which the doctors and nurses were treating me, I could feel the tension. Each time my fever would spike or my blood pressure would be frighteningly low I would worry more and look at this little infant next to me that I could barely take care of.
VC was incredible during this time, he would help me pump milk and would feed APA with a bottle. He took over all things baby and meanwhile layered me with blankets and broke little bit of crackers for me to choke down.
Finally the fevers subsided but the antibiotic and pain killer combination was so strong that I had been vomiting every thing I put in my mouth. It took another 2 days and IV infusions for that to stop. On day 5 I was able to walk around again, keep liquids down and eat small amounts of mushy food. I really think this only happened because I requested to stop all pain killers, they were too tough on my stomach and I would rather deal with the pain than the constant vomiting. It was also determined that I would not be able to handle oral antibiotics, so I needed to be fever free and off the IV infusions for 48 hours before I could be released from the hospital.
When I was released I knew I wasn’t 100%. However I wanted out of the hospital, I wanted to be home where I could sleep without people poking and prodding me and in my warm comfy bed. For the next 2 weeks I was in constant fear of another fever spike. I was completely worn down. For the first week I was able to stay awake during APA’s feedings only, but slept every other moment. The second week I started to be awake a little more and have more energy to walk around but I was so swollen from all of the fluids. I could barely bend my knees and my breath was labored from swelling in my abdomen. I was a mess.
I really have to thank my husband, my mom and our caregiver for help during this time. I was barely a functional human being and could not have cared for myself and my baby on my own. It truly takes a village.
Amazingly after those 2 weeks I was functioning really well, I still had some healing to do but I didn’t have any fevers, chills and my pain level was relatively low so that I only needed to take Motrin a few times a day.
On this side of everything I see my beautiful baby, I feel my healing body and I am so grateful that I made it through that. It was scary, and something I didn’t even consider as a possibility for happening. My previous birth was also scary (The G’s Birth Story) however once the C-Section was over I had smooth sailing, I recovered fast and never had any hiccups. I made the choice to have a C-Section rather than be induced this time with the assumption that would be the case again. I guess you just never know.
My takeaway is this: Childbirth is a huge event for a woman’s body, and should be seen as such. However we are blessed to have such amazing bodies that endure and heal. Neither of my birth experiences were “normal” and there is a part of me that is sad about that, but I feel pretty strong and incredible for housing 3 children and going through some serious measures to bring them into this world.
And to those of you reading this, I don’t tell the story to inflict fear! I promise I would do it all over again in a heartbeat … the prize at the end of the tunnel is magnificent. But I want women to be more educated on the possibilities of what can happen during and after childbirth. I wholeheartedly believe that there is a darkness of information on the subject and we need to share our stories to educate each other.