So sorry for the delay in wrapping up Anissa Marie’s birth story, but this is the least fun part and I’ve definitely been putting off this blog post. But, it’s part of the story and I definitely want to document it, if for nothing else but myself in the future to be able to look back on.
When we wrapped up the Birth Story Part 3: The Birth, I told you all about Anissa Marie’s Good Friday birth on April 18, 2014. We were released from the hospital all together on Monday, April 21, 2014 and headed home to start our life as a little family of 3.
When we got home, both sets of parents came over for dinner, and as we sat around the table to chow down (pizza? burritos? who knows what it was), I began shaking- it was SO cold downstairs! I wasn’t surprised because our downstairs is typically pretty cold, but everyone at the table was giving me weird looks, especially Cele. No one could believe I was actually THAT cold- I mean, come on, was I really shaking that bad from just going downstairs where it was a few degrees colder? As I chattered my way through dinner, all eyes were on me. So I grabbed a thermometer, and I think I had a low grade fever, but nothing worrisome. Everyone left and we headed to bed for our first night at home with our baby girl. Here she is all snuggled and ready for bed.
I tried and tried to get comfy, but I just couldn’t- I was freezing, then I was burning up. Finally, we took my temp again and it was 102. ALL of the literature I had received at the doctor said to call right away for anything over 100.4 post delivery, so I did. But I couldn’t get through to the nurse advice line, and we were getting pretty worried because I was shaking so bad, so we decided it would be best to go to Northside’s emergency room (by this time, it must have been about midnight). We called my in-laws, who only live a couple of miles away, to come stay with Anissa- there goes our first night at home together! When they arrived, we headed out, not knowing what was going on. I checked in at Northside and they hooked me up and started running bloodwork (hadn’t I just escaped my IV earlier that day?) They ran tests all night and finally concluded that I had a kidney infection- yowza! Not fun. So, around 11 am the next morning, I was discharged and sent on my way with some prescriptions. I went home and rested for the day while my parents and in-laws helped out with the baby. After that, we thought, “OK, now is when life at home can get started!” This was April 22.
The next four days were normal- or as normal as can be trying to adjust to life with a newborn. We had planned to have her in the co-sleeper by our bed, but she rolled too much and we couldn’t figure out the hospital swaddle-and-tuck, so we were trying different sleeping arrangements throughout the house- in the swing, in the napper part of the Pack ‘n Play, snuggled inside my shirt (I kid you not, this happened several times!)
It wasn’t easy, but we were figuring things out. I was also working to exclusively breastfeed Anissa- because of her jaundice, she had to have some formula in the hospital, and then because of my medications in the hospital, I couldn’t breastfeed her for a day, so we were off to a rough start already, but my milk was coming in and I was pumping every few hours to stimulate, so things were looking up.
Then, on April 27, things went along as normal (but this is where the story gets to be TMI for some, so beware if squeamish!) We went about our day, had visitors, and all was well. I was still bleeding, but they told me I’d have period-like bleeding for 6 weeks, so I didn’t think much of it. That night, when we went to go to bed, I began passing clots. And not just small clots, but clots the size of a remote control and bigger. They were just falling out of me… I must have passed 10 at once. I tried to get off the toilet but the blood was just falling out of me. When I finally got up, I tried to lay down and immediately soaked through to the mattress (UGH!) I woke Cele up and told him I felt like I was going to pass out- I was dizzy and my ears were ringing. He woke up to come check out the crime scene in the bathroom and he was worried, so I tried calling the Nurse Advice line while simultaneously getting ready to go to the hospital, just in case. As we were getting things ready, Cele called his parents again (thanks, Mimi and Pa!) to come watch the baby and I went downstairs to get bottles ready. As I was putting them together, I felt dizzy and sat down for a second. I remember thinking- am I dying? Is this what dying feels like (give me a break, I’ve never fainted before). I was so dizzy, hot and confused, but I got up to finish making the bottles. The next thing I remember was Cele kneeling over me, shaking me and telling me to get up. Get up?! I was up!! Or wait- I was on the floor. Uh oh.
Once he got me up (and believe- he was in full on panic mode at this point), we went upstairs to get the baby in the carseat- we were going to take her with us and meet my in-laws at the hospital. I remember walking up the stairs, and that’s it. Again, I awoke on the floor with Cele screaming and panicking on top of me. He swears I was like a boxer who had just got knocked out- apparently I stumbled around the entry way, saying words that made no sense, before I ran into the side table, hit my head on the window and fell backwards on the ground. Who knew blood loss could make you so crazy?!
I finally snapped to, and Cele made me chug a huge jug of Gatorade and put my feet up on the dashboard of the car as he raced me to the hospital. When we arrived, he wheeled me into the hospital and left me at the front desk to check in so he could move the car and meet his parents to drop off the baby. Unfortunately, the staff all remembered me from a few nights before and asked what I was doing back. When I explained, there was no waiting in the waiting room- nope, they rushed me back to a room, hooked me up on fluids and meds and got to work trying to rehydrate me from the blood loss. After a few hours, my parents arrived around 5 a.m. to hang out with me. I just remember everyone being so worried- at the time, I didn’t know it was because they all knew how serious of a situation this was. When the doctor finally came back, they let me know I had retained placenta and was going to be having surgery- say what?! I had never had surgery before, and even though a D&C is a pretty easy procedure, it was still surgery and I was scared. See below for my face as I was wheeled back to the operating room:
Surgery went well and I was back home the next evening- again, trying to get used to being at home with a newborn but having the joy of the experience semi-ripped away by all of this hospital crap. But at least we were home and this nightmare was over. That was April 28.
Over the next few days, the bleeding stopped. Apparently, I never should have been bleeding like a period for 6 weeks; it should have been no more than spotting. Wish I woulda known! Also apparently, retained placenta is no joke. Everyone who heard had known someone who had died from bleeding out or passing out while alone and no one found them. HOLY. CRAP. Talk about a wake up call and a reason to be thankful- I was alive!
The week went on and my grandma was in town to visit, so between my parents, grandma and in-laws, I had help at the house every day. Things were finally getting back into the swing of things, and again, I was trying to exclusively breastfeed again since that had been ruined by another hospital stay, more meds, and more formula. On the afternoon of May 6, I passed another clot as we were driving. I absolutely couldn’t believe it, and I made Cele stop at a gas station so I could check- yep. I immediately called my doctor and they assured me that everything was fine- since I had had the D&C, there was nothing left, but sure, I could come in and be checked out. I went in the next day, and lo and behold, the doctor saw something she “didn’t like” in my uterus. But, it was going to take a few more sets of eyes before she could diagnose anything. On May 7, I woke up from a nap to 7 missed calls, voicemails and an email from my doctor saying she urgently needed to speak with me- turns out, there was MORE retained placenta in there, and I’d need another D&C the next day. Well woopdi-freakin-do. REALLY?! How did they not get this the first time? I was beyond livid, as were Cele, my parents, in-laws and everyone else who knew. Turns out, a D&C is a “blind” operation, meaning they just stick a suction up you and wave it around, hoping they got everything. This time though, they promised me they’d use an ultrasound and camera to make sure they were getting it all- shouldn’t that have been done the first time?!
So I checked in the next morning at Northside (MORE IVs! MORE bloodwork!) and was wheeled off for my 2nd D&C. When I was done, I was wheeled off to the recovery room, just like last time, only this time, I had lost so much blood during the operation that I had to have a blood transfusion, which took 8 hours! 8 hours I was laid up in the recovery room, with no glasses, no phone, nothing to do but lay in the bed- and I couldn’t even sleep because I was worried that I couldn’t talk to my family. I finally got to come home that night and snuggle my baby girl, and be done with this nonsense, once and for all! Or so I thought… this was May 8.
We spent the rest of May and most of June trying to get into the rhythm of finally being a new family. Cele had gone back to work, and before I knew it, it was time for me to go back to work part-time. The plan had always been for me to stay home for the first 8 weeks and return to work part-time, from home for weeks 8 – 12, then go back full time. I felt pretty jipped since the first 6 weeks were spent in and out of the hospital and not really enjoying my maternity leave, but I was also excited to get into a routine and start making money again. So, I started working. We had a vacation to Houston planned for the end of June, so we could introduce the baby to my family, and I was so excited. But two days into the vacation, I spiked a 104 fever and had to be rushed to the ER again, where I stayed for a week with a fever of unknown origin. While there, they ran over 400 blood tests trying to figure out what was wrong with me, because every day my temperature would get as high as 104 or as low as 94, but never normal. They were thinking everything from a viral infection to more retained placenta to cancer. It was a scary week. My parents were temporary parents to Anissa that week, which we appreciate more than they know! Cele and I got to see her twice a day, which was both amazing and not nearly enough at the same time. While this isn’t necessarily part of The Aftermath of her birth story, it seems to all be kind of connected in a weird way. I’ve got to say, I don’t know if either of us would have made it through the week without the love, help, support, calls, prayers and visits from our family and friends in both Houston and Atlanta. I hadn’t realized what an amazing support system we had until then.
Since that ordeal, I decided to leave my job to stay home with the baby for a while and try to reclaim some of our lost time. So far, it’s been amazing and I couldn’t be happier. While I’m still in and out of the doctor and hospital having tests and procedures done to check what, if anything, I have, I am treasuring our days together so. freaking. much. I just love this little girl, and even though my post-partum journey has been hell, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, because we have this little nugget to love on.
HOPEFULLY, this is the end of her Birth Story. Hope you’ve all enjoyed reading about the wild and crazy ride