Okay, so where was I?
Right – husband brought the kids to the hospital, they met their new little brother, my parents arrived and the entire family met the new little man. Then, my nurse came in to check on me and ushered everyone out of recovery. This is when it got interesting.
In every patient post-delivery, it is common practice for the nursing staff to check the woman’s bleeding and status of the uterus – firm or boggy. The nurse checking me said I was “oozing”. The next thing I know, my OB is at my bedside ordering IM (intramuscular) Ergot, PR (per-rectal) misoprostol and IV (intravenous) oxytocin. Then my OB starts massaging my uterus, and not in that “ah, what a nice massage” kind of way, she is pushing down on my uterus with such force that I cried out in pain. Remember, this is only 1 hour post-operatively and I was still pretty much frozen from the upper abdomen down to my legs from the spinal anesthetic. Frozen yes, but oh my, I could feel that “massage”. It was awful. No one said anything, but it was obvious to me that I had just had a postpartum hemorrhage. Caught very early, mind you, but a hemorrhage nonetheless. Thankfully, no one in the family knew what was going on as my husband had taken the baby to the waiting room while the nurses worked on me.
Eventually it was time to head up to the postpartum/maternity ward. I had requested a private room and got one, thankfully. Once I was settled, it was almost 6pm, maybe a bit later, and the kids were getting super antsy, so husband took them home. My brother stayed behind to visit for while and bonded with his new nephew. About an hour later, my best friend came and spent a few hours with me and new baby which was so nice. Although I was pretty tired, I was still bedridden and admittedly a bit lonely after everyone left, so it was so nice to have her there.
That first night was pretty good. Baby latched, nursed on an off most of the night, and the post-op pain was relatively well controlled until about 4am when I started noticing I was passing gas and the pain started. I asked for pain relief and was given SC (subcutaneous) morphine which helped. A few hours later, the nurse had me getting up to the bathroom, she removed the catheter and I was encouraged to start walking around as much as I could. The OB resident came in to see me and dropped the not-so-subtle hint that I might be released the next day. Only 48 hours post-op? Seemed a bit soon to me, but apparently the “rules” had changed since having my son 2.5 years ago. It used to be women were discharged 72 hours after c-section. Now it’s 48 hours. Too soon, in my books. Too soon.
Later that day, another girlfriend came to visit. She is due in a few weeks with her first child. It was lovely to have her come visit. She brought me an ice-cold lemonade and some aromatherapy for my sore neck. But by the end of that visit, I was noticing some new pain starting. Under my rib cage, on the right side. Kind of like a muscle spasm. After she left, I asked for some pain medication. For some reason, I wasn’t allowed to have any SC morphine, so instead I was given 2 mg of hydromorphone. It did nothing.
Around 10pm, the pain was escalating and I was starting to get really emotional about it. It hurt to take a deep breath, and of course, crying didn’t make it any better. It was probably the worse “stitch” I ever had – you know, those pains in the chest wall you can get when you run too fast? Well, now that I think about it, it’s exactly what it felt like but 100 times worse. I called my husband and cried on the phone to him. I hadn’t slept all day, baby was cluster feeding that night since about 7pm and I was exhausted. When I was on the phone with him, my nurse came in and saw me crying. I hung up the phone and just let it all out with the nurse. She said she would page the OB resident on call and see about getting me more pain meds. About 20-30 minutes later, the nurse returned and told me that the OB was too busy to come see me, but had ordered 10 mg of oxycodone.
The last thing I remember was texting my husband an hour later, telling him that I could feel the meds working and the pain was better. Then, nothing. I woke up at 4am with the baby on my chest, asleep. I have to admit something here, I felt good! Not just pain-free good, but “I’m kind of high – good”. Wow. Suddenly I understood how easy it can be for some patients to get addicted to Oxycodone. It’s a very dangerous narcotic, one not to be taken lightly – pardon the pun.
That morning, the OB resident came in and told me I could be released that day. I explained my pain from the previous night and that I was not comfortable leaving. My concerns were heard and I stayed an extra day/night. The rest of the recovery went pretty smoothly. That horrendous muscle spasm pain never returned, and I later discovered from my med school colleague (and good friend) that the manipulation of my fallopian tubes likely caused the pain – referred pain to the diaphragm. It was great just to have an explanation for it. It was awful pain and at that moment the physician in me took a backseat and I was just a patient. In retrospect, I’m not sure knowing the origin of the pain would have helped at all at the time. I am just glad that it was short-lived.
I was released on the third post-operative day (72 hours after delivery). The kids hadn’t seen me or the baby in two days so our reunion was wonderful. In the last 2.5 weeks, life has slowly returned to our new normal. Husband gets the kids ready for school in the morning. The baby and I are camped out in the basement as he sleeps on my chest at nighttime still. It’s the only way both of us get any sleep. Eventually, I will move him to the bassinet, but likely not for a few more weeks.
The decision to have a third child was a difficult one. We went back and forth for almost 6 months. Despite the sleep deprivation and the generally chaotic nature of our life right now, I cannot imagine not having had my new son. I can’t put it into words, but I truly feel complete now that I have had him. My family of four was perfect – but my family of five is so much more. I can’t wait to see who this new little person is and how he’ll fit into our lives.
Thank you for reading.