Postpartum Complications (Part 2)

This past Friday I was due to report for a D&C at 7:00 am thanks to 8 millimeters of remaining placenta in my uterus.  Due to construction it was actually 7:25 when Ricky, Sabrina, and I rolled into the Same Day Surgery department.  Sabrina was in her car seat in the double stroller.  Rick and brought a bag of books to keep him occupied.  Then we had the diaper bag with three diapers, wipes, a changing pad, and one sample bottle of formula “just in case”.

They put us in a small room, as opposed to other patients who just got a curtained area.  The nurse warned me that she might ask us to take the baby out so as not to upset another woman who was having a D&C due to miscarriage.  Mainly we sat around for an hour while they went over paperwork.  Then it was time to put in my IV and wheel me downstairs in my bed to pre-op.  Rick and Sabrina followed us down before being pointed to the family waiting room.

I met a variety of nice nurses and the anesthesiologist.  I answered questions about homeschooling.  Then it was time for the show.  I remember very little for awhile after that.  I woke up in recovery with Rick and Sabrina next to me.  After a little bit of time there, I was taken back up to Same Day Surgery.

The doctor had told Rick that the D&C had gone smoothly, but the nurse in Same Day Surgery started to get concerned that I was doing too much bleeding.  It soon became obvious that it was going to be another few hours before I would be allowed to leave.  Somewhere in there I received a shot of antibiotic in the hip and a Cytotec suppository (fun, fun, fun!!).  But, finally we did get the OK to go with instructions to take it super easy at home and visit my doctor within a week.

But as soon as I stood up to get dressed blood flooded down my leg.  The nurse walked me to the bathroom where I passed a gigantic clot.  She left me in the bathroom, shut the door, and ran to catch the doctor who was just leaving.  I heard the doctor tell the nurse to send Rick and Sabrina out immediately.

After changing the bedding, my doctor and the nurse set up a make-shift gynecology table.  Basically, they propped my butt up on a bedpan while the doctor examined me and the nurse pointed a flashlight at my nether regions.  Then my doctor packed gauze in my uterus, hoping the pressure would stop the bleeding.  The blood started to really gush, though.  Twice they had to change the bedding because I was literally sitting in a puddle of my own blood.  A blood draw was ordered.  My IV was reinserted.  Another shot was given in the hip.

My doctor said that she could find no reason for the excessive bleeding.  It was not to the point that I needed a transfusion, but that something was going to have to be done to stop the bleeding immediately.  She said she had put in a call to a radiologist for a surgical procedure to temporarily cut off blood flow to the uterus.  It was either that or start talking about a hysterectomy.

That’s when I lost it.  While I had held it together as things slowly fell apart, I knew that we were approaching hysterectomy territory.  Hearing it said out loud was the drop in the stress bucket that made it overflow.  It wasn’t the idea that I wouldn’t be able to have any more children.  After all, I’ve been blessed four times with healthy babies.  The idea of a hysterectomy at age 33 was just overwhelming for some inexplicable reason.

I started crying uncontrollably.  I could see the concern and pity in my doctor’s eyes and those of the nurse.  They tried to console me, but I really just needed to get it out.  I pulled it together for a little bit, but then I made the mistake of calling my mom to tell her what was going on.  And my longing for my mommy broke me down again just at the radiologist appeared to explain the procedure.

I was starting to get scared and creeped out as he tried to explain what he was going to do.  I asked to be as unaware as possible.  I just didn’t think that I could emotionally or mentally take it.  I asked about feeding Sabrina afterward, and they didn’t seem to think I’d be up for it.  They said they would try to round up more sample bottles of formula and find a room where Rick and Sabrina could stay with me all night after the surgery.

When I was wheeled down to Interventional Radiology, they gave me something they described as the equivalent of “two glasses of wine”.  I have vague memories of babbling and singing along to the radio while the radiologist inserted a tube through my femoral artery and filled the blood vessels to my uterus with a foam that would act as a blocking agent for the next 24 hours (Uterine Artery Embolization).  Afterward the radiologist said that he had discovered benign fibroid tumors.  My OB/GYN said that it is possible that she may have unknowingly nicked a fibroid during the D&C.

I was transported to the maternity floor and given a private room.  They kindly supplied us with some extra diapers.  I had to keep my right leg straight and lay flat for six hours.  Rick tried to get Sabrina to take the formula, but she wouldn’t have anything to do with it.  With a little finagling, I got Sabrina latched on and she nursed contentedly.  Once my positioning was no longer restricted we snuggled in as if we were at home…except for the IV and the hourly checks by the nurse.

We were glad to be on the maternity floor.  We were familiar with it, and it’s such a positive place to be.  (We think we were in the same room that I was in after having Katie.)  Rick stretched out on the pull-out chair/bed.  And we waited to see if the foam had worked or if I would start bleeding excessively at any minute.  Thankfully, I was only expelling a little bit of “old” blood.

The next morning my doctor came in.  She said that I could go home as long as the radiologist cleared me.  She had already told Rick, though, that I had to take it extremely easy for the next week.  The first 48 hours would be critical.  I was told to pay her a visit within a week and then in a month or so we would deal with the fibroid issue once everything else had settled down.  The radiologist left instructions for me to set up an appointment with him in two weeks.

I got dressed.  We loaded up our stuff in the stroller and Sabrina in her car seat.  Then Rick followed my wheel chair down to the patient loading zone and we headed home…

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One Comment on “Postpartum Complications (Part 2)”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Hope things are going well, sounds awful. Thinking of you.

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