B's birth story part 4, "The Hospital Recovery"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Can you tell that I have been a little preoccupied in the past few days?  I was cranking this out and then got so busy with B now that he is starting to stay awake for longer periods of time.  Here goes the hospital recovery part.  This may take me several days to finish!

After my surgery I was wheeled back into the room where I had labored for many hours.  One of the nurses tried to take my blood pressure and was having no luck because I had the shakes so bad.  No one warned me about this.  I could not control my body, at all.  My husband said that he tried for almost 2 hours before he finally got it to take.  Someone came in and drew blood from me.  Another nurse wheeled the baby in and tried to help me breastfeed him for the first time.  Breastfeeding immediately after birth was one of the top items I wanted to accomplish from my birth plan, but at this point I was having trouble remembering where I even was or what had happened.  I had absolutely no idea what time it was or what was going one.  They kept trying to force my baby to latch and I had absolutely no interest in it.  I could barely keep my eyes open let alone listen to them try to instruct me on how to feed my baby.  I think that they finally gave up on the breastfeeding because when I woke up, it was about 6:30 in the morning and they were ready to move me to recovery.  Luckily I didn't really know what was going on because I think that I would have been really upset.  What a total failure.  I couldn't nurse my own baby.  My nightmares were now a reality.  :(

Once I was wheeled up into my new room, I started to wake up a little.  I had a catheter and massaging calf wraps on both of my legs to prevent blood clots.  I was fairly immobile.  I was also insanely itchy from the PUPPPs and very swollen.   I was also very thirsty, but they would not allow me to have ANY liquids other than a few ice chips every 1/2 hour.  I was so annoyed and upset.

Nurses and doctors filed in and out, checking on the baby and me.  I was taking oxycodone and Tylenol/Motrin every few hours along with other things like antihistamines to try to control my spreading rash.   My poor little B had to have his foot pricked every few hours to test his blood sugar.  Luckily everything was normal for him.  They also checked my blood sugar, which was within normal levels (albeit high-normal) so they released me from further diabetes testing in the hospital and the diabetes menu.

That first day was kind of a blur.  The things that stand out most are walking down the hallway with a nurse who applauded my efforts at walking several hundred feet without being dizzy or fainting.  I also met with a lactation consultant who instructed me on how to feed the baby.  She was awesome.  Very nice and understanding and gave a ton of good advice.  She explained that my milk would not come in until day 4-5 so that I should be patient with myself until then and try to pump colostrum, if possible.  We had a few visitors on Thursday, which was nice.  I felt like I had been in the hospital forever at this point.  That night we let B sleep in the nursery for a few hours.  I NEVER wanted to do this, but then again I never thought I would have needed a c-section, either.  The 4 hours of sleep I got made me feel so much better, physically.

Friday was a weird day.  Without saying too much, I'll just say that outside events made this day quite surreal.  It was a total out of body experience.  To make things even weirder, I came to find out that I had lost 2 liters of blood during the surgery, which explains why I felt so bad and had completely white lips.  Apparently my hematocrit levels were extremely low (I was now anemic) and the doctors were recommending a blood transfusion as soon as possible.  I was totally stunned and upset.  Why was my body failing me??  I sucked it up and did the transfusion, which took about 5 hours total.

During the transfusion I tried to feed the baby, but it was not going very well.  My nipples hurt and he seemed very hungry and cried a lot.  He was not having wet or dirty diapers as he was supposed to.  When they weighed him in the evening he had lost 10% of his body weight and was down to 8 lb 3 oz.  I had tried pumping and the first time, after pumping for 20 minutes, nothing came out.  The second time I pumped was in the middle of the night and I actually got almost an ounce of colostrum from both breasts.  I was so excited to feel the baby this, but then I accidentally knocked the whole thing over on the floor.  I was devastated.  I cried for a while because I had worked so hard to get that.  They ended up recommending that I supplement with formula to get the baby's weight to go up.  I was seriously upset by this, but knew it was what I had to do to help my baby.  EVERYTHING that I had wanted out of this birth (except for a healthy baby) was just not happening.  We used SNS with the syringe and tube which we stuck in the baby's mouth while he was trying to breastfeed.  He sucked that formula down so fast.  I felt terrible.  My baby had been starving because I could not feed him.  I felt terrible, but was glad that he was getting what he needed.

Besides the feeding fiasco, my PUPPPs rash decided to get worse instead of better and the swelling that I had experienced immediately following the birth was now also 10 times worse.  I didn't want to look at my feet or legs because they were so gross.  The PUPPPs rash had spread to my entire body.  I was itchy and burning at the same time.  It felt like a bad itchy sunburn.  From between my fingers and palms of my hands to now between my toes and the soles of my feet, I was covered from shoulders to toes with a gross blister like rash.  The only place that I did not have it was my face.  Several doctors came by to look at it.  They even called in 2 doctors from a neighboring hospital, who took pictures of me and agreed that this was one of the worst manifestations of the rash that they had ever seen.  They prescribed me a steroid creme and some fenofexadine, but nothing helped.  I cried quite a bit out of desperation   My husband, who is really the best man ever, scrubbed me 2 times a day with Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap and then slathered me with Sarna.  Honestly, the only thing that helped me was the soap.  God bless my husband and God bless Grandpa.

Speaking of my husband, he has taken to being a Dad like second nature.  He quickly became the lead on diaper changes, burping, and swaddling, since I could not do it.  He was also able to use the knowledge that he learned from "The Happiest Baby on the Block", and soothe our fussy little guy.  You never would have been able to tell that, at one point, he did not want to ever have kids.  This man is a natural!

See?  How totally gross.  :(

With regards to the swelling, I would tell every nurse/doctor that walked in to look at it because I was convinced that it was not at all normal.  They assured me that it was and told me that it would get worse before it would get better.  I could not even believe that they were correct, but they were.  Edema turned into pitting edema, GROSS.  They told me to walk as much as possible, but I had trouble in between pumping, feeding the baby, eating, and getting checked out by medical staff constantly.  My husband and I would take the baby in his rolly crib and visit the nursery to get "exercise".  Man those babies were tiny compared to my big boy.

As the days went by, I started feeling a little better.  I was able to walk more.  I was able to use the bathroom without assistance.  I was so worried that I would not be able to take a poop, since the doctors told me that it would probably be days after I came home from the hospital and that it would hurt like hell, but to my surprise (and theirs) I went on day 3 and day 4 and it was only minimally uncomfortable!  Thank you Colace!  I think my post c-section diet had a lot to do with this, as well as the amount of water I was consuming.

By the morning of my discharge day, 4 days post c-section, I was feeling a lot better, but was still very swollen and itchy.  It was chilly outside, but I could not squeeze into my U.ggs.  I ended up wearing my showering flip-flops home.  One of the doctors came in and removed my staples before we left.  I was really worried that it would hurt, but it was totally fine.  They put little pieces of tape over the incision and told me that they would fall off with time.  I had a few more checks (as did baby B) and left with several prescriptions including oxycodone, Mortin, Colace, iron, and steroid cream.  I also left with several goodie bag items (haha) including: mesh panties (so hot), huge pads, some castile soap, formula (just in case), and a bunch of other random items.  The doctors told me no driving, no housework, no stairs, and no lifting more than 15 lbs for several weeks.  How realistic is that?  They also told me no getting pregnant for at least a year if not 18 months.  The perks of a c-section just keep on coming.

It was almost a week that I was in the hospital and being outside seemed so weird.  It was just like one big long day to me.  I was ready to start my home recovery and had no idea what to expect.  No books or manuals could have prepared me for all of this.

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7 Responses to “B's birth story part 4, "The Hospital Recovery"”

  1. You are so brave and strong! Thank you for sharing your story. So glad you have Baby B in your arms now.

  2. Nothing ever prepares you for child labor....absolutely nothing. Glad you and B are doing well. He is a handsome lil' devil!

  3. I thought the whole swelling thing was horrible too. It was worse than when I was pregnant which just didn't seem right.

  4. I had feet like slabs of meat!!! You've had a trial that's for sure - poor love :(

  5. What a story! Hope you are recovering!

  6. Ooof! That's a lot to deal with. I'm glad you're home and I hope your recovery is continuing.

  7. Wow ... you certainly went through the wringer! I hope you're recovering well at home and enjoying your time with little B. It might be time for another picture, you know! (NOT of your feet ;) )