Yesterday, I gave you a glimpse of how labor went for Miss Daphne.
This part of the story is long, but it is helping me process it and will serve as a good reminder that my family is perfect just the way it is.
It was almost immediately after giving birth that my blood pressure started evening out. I also was not feeling the magnesium that much anymore, and we started the countdown until I would be off of it. They require that you remain on magnesium drip for 24 hours after you deliver. This means you are still stuck to the bed (with the catheter), and you do not get any food, still. With George, I remember that day after was the worst. I was delirious and felt like I was swimming the whole day, never mind that I couldn’t go see my boy since he was in the NICU. Since Daphne never left the room, I like to think that made things go a little smoother for me that next morning. I just started going stir crazy counting down my 24 hours.
My mother-in-law brought George to meet Sister early that morning. He didn’t really get that it was his sister, and he kept pointing to my belly when we would say Sister. He called her Baby the whole time. He was more excited about all the digger books that we got him for the occasion. He did give her a sweet kiss and then tried to poke her in the eye before he left.
My dad was the next visitor. He was there for most of the day just hanging out holding his grandbaby. Both Tom and I were able to catch a few zzzz’s while he was there.
Then that afternoon, I took a turn for the worst.
When you give birth, the nurses will check your uterus to make sure that it is distended or not out of place. They push super hard, and it is not comfortable at all when they do it. However, I do not remember it being this painful when I had George. I had to grab on to the handrails of the bed and brace for impact each time they checked my belly because it hurt so bad. But they said that everything felt normal, and I was looking great.
I was also starving at this point since it had been over 24 hours since I had real food. My nurse got the approval that I could have clear liquids, which included strawberry jello and a popsicle. That was the best damn jello I have ever had.
I started to have some heavy bleeding, which also alarmed me because I barely bled at all after George. The nurse said for now it looked normal and there were no clots coming out, but she said she would keep an eye on it.
I began feeling really faint and like a huge weighted blanket was being put on my body. I wondered if it was because I ate the popsicle and jello too fast and thinking maybe it was my blood sugar levels freaking out on me. I remember turning to Tom and telling him that I didn’t feel good and I was going to pass out. Tom said I was really flush, and my blood pressure went down to a 49/39. He called the staff in, and I can remember there all of a sudden being around 10 people in our room. I felt some gushing like I peed my pants, and they realized that I was basically bleeding out.
They pushed on my uterus, and oh my the pain. Even giving birth and contractions cannot compare to this pain. They determined that I was hemorrhaging. Once everything was out after the birth, my uterus was supposed to contract. Because I had a blood clot though, it wouldn’t fully contract. So each time it would try to contract, it would just fill up with more blood.
It seemed like a lifetime was going by while they made a decision on what to do and continued checking everything. I know they were asking me questions and telling me things about what they were going to do, but I just remember being hazy.
I remember telling Tom that I was not doing well and telling him that I loved him. I was going in and out at this point because I recall Tom begging me to answer him and to stay with him. It was an out of body experience because I was yelling back at him, but nothing was actually coming out of my mouth. He just kept leaning over my face and kissing my forehead telling me that he was there and that he loved me.
There was a moment that will haunt me for some time. I looked up at the ceiling and said a prayer to God thanking him for letting me get Daphne out safely and to help Tom take care of them. I was having a hard time breathing and things were fading quickly for me and I felt like I needed to make peace with it. I am not trying to be dramatic; I really thought I was dying.
Tom said this is when I was in shock.
They gave me a ton of pain meds (morphine, fentanyl, and ephedrine). Let me tell you though, they did absolutely nothing for the pain I was about to endure. The doctor had to go elbow deep in my vagina to dig out the blood clot. THE WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. The pain was excruciating, and it brought me out of the daze I was in moments before. I felt like I was in a horror film where they were trying to get an alien or demon out of my body with no mercy. I was kicking and screaming just hoping it would stop. I am in tears just recalling it. I also am still having nightmares every time I close my eyes because it was so horrific.
I almost wish that we had taken a picture of the blood clot. It was like a whole other baby was in there. The largest piece was about the size of a large grapefruit, and then there was several smaller remnants that came along for the ride. It kind of looked like a ball of yarn after a toddler gets a hold of it. One big mass, and then a tangled mess unraveling around it. Many of the doctors and nurses told us that it was the largest blood clot they had ever seen.
It was estimated that over the course of the ordeal, I lost about three pints of blood. I had to have a blood transfusion, which is a first for me. It really brings home being a blood donor.
Once they had the clot out, the gave me a huge shot in my leg to get my uterus to contract fully this time.
It took me a while to feel back to normal, but with the new blood, I was starting to stabilize again.
I feel extremely fortunate for the staff that was on hand, and my husband for talking me through the whole thing. I thank God that He pulled me through so I could continue being a mom to my sweet babies. It is because of these moments that I will never again have another child though. It’s not that I can’t, and I feel very fortunate that I did not have to have a hysterectomy because the clot was so bad. This is just not something I can risk happening again or put Tom through. I have told Tom that if I even mention a third kid to pull up this post as a reminder that this is not a safe idea. The gravity of this ordeal is just not something that I feel like I could overcome again.
Soon after the transfusion, I was back to counting down the time until I got off the magnesium so I could get some mac and cheese.
Tom’s side of the family came that evening to meet little Miss. This was nice to keep me distracted because I was not able to sleep because every time I tried all I could see and hear was myself screaming from them pulling out the clot.
Not much happened next until early in the morning when they came to do their 24 hour check on myself and Daphne. I was doing much better which meant getting off the magnesium and having some Kraft mac and cheese. But Daphne was losing too much weight.
So they made me start pumping to supplement after every nursing feed. Pumping and nursing meant that I was basically milking every hour, which also translates to no sleep.
Her weight and my blood clot got us an additional night stay for observations.
We were moved to a post-partum room, and Tom and I just waited it out watching hours of Law and Order and Alaska Bush People.
My blood pressures were amazing (if I do say so myself), and all our doctors and nurses were even astonished how quickly I bounced back after everything I went through. And Daphne gained a few ounces over that 24 hour stretch.
Saturday came and so did our discharge paperwork.
Apparently May was the time to have babies though, and our paperwork did not get sent right away. Because of protocol, since we were still there at noon, I had to have all my vitals checked again. However the nurse tech did not make it to our room until 2:00. (Our discharge paperwork was done minus the doctor’s signature at 11:00 am, but again because of the overwhelming number of births, our paperwork was not an immediate priority).
My parents happened to come to the hospital at that time as well.
So the unexpected vital check and waiting for the past 2 days to leave, on top of having to perform a good blood pressure in front of a group…well let’s just say did not happen. I had two readings that on paper would have signified that I was having a stroke (193/127).
Needless to say, they wouldn’t let me leave. I had to have my blood pressure checked for the next four hours every 15/30 minutes. I also had to do some lab tests with my urine and blood to make sure I was not still pre-eclamptic. Apparently 70% of patients with pre-eclampsia during pregnancy will develop it after the birth as well. The first two hours I did fine, and they were down to a more normal rate. But the longer, I was there they started climbing again. All I could think about was that they would never let me leave, and I would psych myself out into a bad reading.
Tom really was a saving grace here. He helped with the readings, and talked me off the ledge many times to keep me calm. He also advocated for me when it was hitting that four hour mark after we were supposed to leave initially, and I was working myself into a tizzy. We just wanted to be home and be able to tuck George into bed for the first time in four nights.
We finally were given the green light to go, and I would have to come back in for a follow up to determine if I needed medication.
I have had two very different pregnancies and two very different labor experiences. However, both were traumatic in their own rights. I am now confident that our family is meant to be just the four of us, and Miss DC completes our family dynamic.
I am eternally grateful for nurses like Amy, Christine, and Amber who were instrumental in my safety throughout the whole ordeal. Amber never left my side during the whole birth process. She was there from the moment they started the pitocin until well after Daphne was born. She was a delight. Christine was our day nurse and really was instrumental in helping me stay comfortable after the blood clot situation and got me some sweet snacks before my 24 hours was up. And Amy helped us get out of that joint and was an advocate for us as well when doctor’s wouldn’t even come to our room to tell us they were keeping us “hostage.” She also let Tom really take the reigns with taking my blood pressure so I wouldn’t experience as much white coat syndrome. They really made the experience as easy as possible.
I am more in love with Tom after watching him become a dad for the second time. I know I would not have gotten through all of this without him encouraging me all the way.
I thank God for gifting me the chance to be Daphne and George’s mom. It is the greatest gift I have ever been given. They make my world complete.
While it wasn’t easy, we made it home safely, and we are now trying to figure out our new normal.
I have so much more to share about how things are different this second time around, how big brother is doing, and just all the pictures I can manage to get of this little nugget.
Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and kind words that you have shared with our family. While this blog is mainly for me to remember, I enjoy being able to share pieces of our journey with each of you.