Sunday, March 24, 2013

Back to the Hospital

This is late, but I thought I would share the story of how I ended up back in thehospital after delivering our boy.

Three weeks after delivering my baby boy, I started getting sick. I woke up at 4 AM shaking, shivering, and running a low-grade fever (99*). After waking my mother up at that hour to ask if it was ok for me to feed little man with a fever (it is), I took some Tylenol and snuggled beneath several blankets. This was a Saturday, and Dillon was pulling an 8 hour shift at the office, so I was home alone with a fever, a sink full of dishes, 4 baskets full of laundry, and a hungry baby. Thankfully my wonderful aunt drove in to help with all of the above.

My fever progressed througout the day, breaking when I would take Tylenol and then spiking up further than before when the medicine wore off. By about 9 PM, my aunt left, and I called my other aunt, who is a nurse practitioner, to ask what in the world she thought this could be. I had no cough, congestion, stomachache, digestive problems, vomiting, or any of the common ailments. My mom guessed a touch of mastitis -- I was a little sore, but a hot cloth did the trick on that. My aunt guessed maybe a bladder infection -- I've never had one and didn't know what to look for. I was recommended to go to bed and if I still had fever in the morning, try to find an Urgent Care that was open.

 I went to bed and woke up to feed Roman at midnight, bawling my eyes out from the pains the fever was giving me. I had a splitting headache and was so cold I couldn't get out of the covers. Roman wouldn't touch me because even though I felt cold, my body was very hot, so poor baby missed a meal. I checked my temperature and WOW -- 102.9* !! Dillon jumped up, got dressed, packed up Roman in the carseat, and rushed me to the hospital. In fact, he was in such a hurry, he drove with the windows fogged over and just a tiny hole to see out for the first few minutes.

We were admitted to the ER and they started monitoring me and running tests. My heartrate was up to 140 and my fever had started to come down on my drive in and was now 101.9. I was given an IV in my right inner elbow. Due to this placement, I couldn't feed Roman on my right side, so he had to make due with a hasty left-side feeding after the IV had brought my fever down to normal. The nurse tested my blood and said my white counts were very high. Since I had recently given birth, they wanted to do an ultrasound of my uterus. I was wheeled back into a small dark room where I received a painful transvaginal ultrasound. The tech found debris in my uterus and an OB from my practice was called in at about 2 AM. She began to examine me, which was very painful, and discovered that my uterus was severely infected. I would have to be admitted to the hospital for a few days and would possibly need surgery.

By this time, I was in tears and frantically trying to call my parents who live 3 hours away. Although we are adults, and parents, I felt like Dillon and I were 2 kids alone in the ER, trying to deal with problems above our heads. I really needed my parents! Finally, I was able to wake them up and they quickly got ready and began driving to Conway at 4 AM -- now that's love!
A team of nurse assistants helped Dillon and I get to the OB ward where I would be staying for a few days. They started me on antibiotics and said that after a few hours of this we would see if I was making any progress. To my amazement, one of the nurses who had cared for me during labor--Meghan--was there to take care of me on the night shift. She remembered everything about me from a few weeks before and we were able to pick up our conversation where we left off. She made the call to transfer my IV from my right arm to my left hand in order to make feeding easier. I was dehydrated and my veins were being impossible, so she had to dig around in several places before placing a good port.

I woke up a few hours later when my parents arrived with my mouth full of the worst taste-- my medication had a side effect that was as if I was chewing the antibiotic up and swallowing it. I couldn't believe I was back in the hospital so soon and I was really upset.
The OB, Dr. Johnson, came back in and did another ultrasound (this time an exterior one) and found that the debris was still present and no real progress had been made, so she scheduled me for a D&C (dilation and curettage) to remove the debris and infection. This is the same procedure that women go through after a miscarraige. Since I was breastfeeding, they would have to be very careful about my anesthesia, so I was supposed to get a sleeping gas and then local anesthesia. Moments before the surgery, I was bawling to my dad because I was afraid I would feel the needles for the local anesthesia in my cervix. I thought the sleeping medicine would be like laughing gas at the dentist and that I would be awake for it.

They took me into the OR, which was freezing, strapped me onto the table, and the anesthesiologist inserted a drug into my IV. I don't remember a single other thing until they were waking me up to take me to my room. The procedure was less than 30 minutes, and my parents weren't even there when I came back to my room to recover because they thought it would take longer.
After an hour of recovery, my nurse moved me to the bathroom to clean me up. You lose all decency in the hospital, especially in the OB center, so as she was cleaning a very naked me, she discovered that I had serious mastitis on my right side. We all decided that it was from skipping our midnight feeding and then having the IV in my elbow.

I had to stay in the hospital until I was 24 hours fever free, so I was in for another night. My mom sent Dillon home to get his first full night of rest since before Roman was born, and she stayed overnight to help me with Roman since I couldnt get out of bed very easily.

My wonderful Dr. Lawrence visited me in the morning and later that day I was discharged with the pill form of the antbiotic I had been taking through IV. In the next few days, I began to feel better than I had in months. I didnt realize until then that I had been recovering in a very unhealthy way, and my particular type of fatigue, bleeding, and pain were all slightly uncharacteristic of simply being a new mother because I was also harboring an infection.

All this to say, please monitor your postpartum healing carefully, but understand that my circumstances are rare!

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