If you are reading this episode in the journey~ I hope that you have found your way through parts 1-17.........the journey to get *here* started wayyyyyyyyy back in March of 2007~ over a year ago.......
THANK YOU for sharing in my telling of the story and thank you for sharing the hope.
27 April 2008
A mere 4 hours after my husband had left the hospital room~ left me clutching the very first picture of our wee tiny princess and a teeny tiny diaper~ all of the sudden I was fully AWAKE. And I could feel my legs.....and I thought I was going to scratch the skin right off of my whole body. The nurse who never seemed to leave my bedside throughout that long night explained that they had given me something call 'duramorph' (a combination of Morphine and I don't know what else) in the epidural space in my spine before taking the epidural out ~ the injection is meant to control post operative pain~ and a very common side effect is itching. She said that she had to go and give the oncoming nurse report and did I want a shot of Benadryl to help with the itching??? OH LORD YES, YES PLEASE! She smiled~ she left the room and was back in a flash with the IV Benadryl. As she was injecting it I thanked her for taking such good care of me throughout the night. I said what I thought was a joke "you never seemed to leave my bedside" and she smiled again and she said "that's because I really didn't, not for very long anyway". And as the IV Benadryl began to make me sleepy once again~ it occurred to me just how badly the C-Section had gone for me. I thanked her again through sleepy eyes....she squeezed my hand~ wished me luck~ and was gone before my eyes closed fully.
I awoke sometime later that morning to a new nurse~ who was also very kind. The itching was still there (and I would later discover that I actually *had* scratched off some of my skin in several locations during my anesthesia/ Benadryl induced fog).......the new nurse checked my vital signs, mashed on my belly (which I could feel~ but it didn't hurt per say) and checked the status of my bleeding.
I asked immediately if there had been any word from the NICU. She said none so far but promised to call over and let me know as soon as she could. She explained that she would be removing the catheter from my bladder and soon she wanted me to sit up on the edge of the bed. She was very strong in her cautioning of me to NOT EVEN TRY to sit up or to get out of bed myself (which at the time I thought was pretty silly). I had been lying almost completely flat to try to avoid what they refer to as an 'epidural headache' since leaving the operating room.
I dozed in and out and about 9am she came back in with news. She had spoken to the NICU nurse and my daughter remained in critical condition; but stable. Critical; but stable. Some days that's the BEST you can hope for in the NICU~ and today was one of those days.
She asked if I was ready to sit on the edge of the bed and if I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom? Yes~ ready to sit up. No~ I don't have to pee.
Now~ I *thought* I was prepared for how difficult sitting up would be ~ after all I had 5 babies and several abdominal surgeries .......and yes sitting up the first time afterward was always difficult~ but holymotherfuckinghell I was so so so unprepared for what happened next...... a second nurse came in to help her help me sit up....and I thought again "well that's just silly"......right up until I **tried** to sit up. I had almost blacked out when I was hemorrhaging after my first son was born~~ nearly 2 and a half years ago~~~ and I had almost blacked out after William was born~~~ but this time there was no "almost"......the room closed in and the tunnel vision came~ and then everything went dark.
Some time later I woke up to some gross smell being waved under my nose. The nurse on the right taking my blood pressure, the nurse on the left turning the IV fluids to maximum flow. I was a bit alarmed~ but neither of them seemed to be overly alarmed~ they were calm and deliberate yes, but not alarmed. I smiled weakly and muttered "well *that* didn't go very well did it now?" They both actually managed a small laugh. The nurse on the right (my primary nurse for the day) asked me how much of my C-Section did I remember? Again shaking my head to try to clear the fog~ I said I remembered that after my daughter was born things did not go well and based on what the surgeons were saying before I was put completely under I gathered that I had lost a fair amount of blood. And with a small smile she said "well, that would be a huge understatement". The nurse said the OB doc was due in shortly and she would explain more what had happened and what they knew. Before leaving the room she set the BP cuff to check my blood pressure every 5 minutes and put up all 4 of the side rails on the bed......like I was even going to attempt to get up~ GAH!
About an hour and 1000 milliliters of IV fluid later my blood pressure climbed back to an acceptable level and the nurses once again asked if I would try to sit up? I said rather trepidatiously "uh, ok. sure". And this second attempt was much slower and was much more successful~ raise the head of the bed a little....check BP......raise the bed a little more.....check BP.....raised bed to sitting upright....check BP......gently my raise back off the bed....check BP......swing one leg over the side of the bed....check BP.....now both legs over the side of the bed and sit up, a nurse on each side....check BP......this whole process was ridiculously frustrating and SLOOOOWWWWWWW. But retrospectively~ it was better than passing out again.
So there I sat on the edge of the bed~ silently willing the room to stop spinning........and when it did....the two nurses helped me stand up and ever so slowly helped me walk to the bathroom.
Being a labor and delivery nurse~ and this being my 5th child delivered~ I knew very well that the first time out of bed there would be blood. A LOT of blood. And yet knowing that it still seemed to me that I was experiencing an excessive amount of bleeding.
Getting back to bed was the same just in reverse......and they didn't want me to lay flat anymore~ so with the help of the bed I sat up a little for awhile ~~~no idea how long~ did you know that in L&D rooms the wall clock is purposely placed at the head of the bed? So unless one is a skilled contortionist~ the patient can't really see the clock.
After a few more up to the bathroom trips and eating some food (no idea what) my vital signs stabilized and my bleeding slowed. Just as I was being transferred back to the post-partum unit (to the same room in which I had lived for over 3 weeks now) my husband came in.
He said that he had been in to see our daughter and he was told the same as I was~ no real changes, critical but stable.
Over on the post-partum side the doctor who had performed the C-section came in to see me.
It was then that we found out the real truth of what had happened both the night before and what had likely caused my hemorrhaging after each of the last 3 deliveries.
It was then that the question of "why did this happen to me twice" was answered. The doctor explained that I had was is known as 'placenta accreta'. During my surgery the night before (my first and only C-Section) it was revealed that the placenta had not just attached *to* the uterine wall but had grown *through* the uterine wall.
They say hindsight is 20/20 and just as if a camera had clicked into focus it all made sense......medically at least.
It is likely that I had a mild to moderate placenta accreta with my first dear son~ that led to hemorrhaging after delivery and needing 2 blood transfusions.
It is likely that with William the placenta accreta was larger~ and that it at least contributed to or more likely caused my amniotic sac to rupture so early and the hemorrhaging afterward.
It was known that the placenta accreta with this pregnancy was so severe that I almost had to have a hysterectomy with my C-section and I very nearly bled to death.
So there it was: a medical reason why William had been born so early and why Faith was now fighting for her life in the NICU. I had begged, pleaded and bargained with doctors and God alike for a reason. Why, why, why had this happened?
Oddly, knowing the answer did very little to comfort me or help with my grief.
Just before the OB left the room she said: I try never to tell anyone to NOT have any more babies but, if I was going to tell someone~ it would be you. If you get pregnant again it will almost assuredly lead to your death and the death of your child. It was lucky that you had the C-Section~ because if we had not known why you were hemorrhaging and you were not already anesthetized and we were *right there* to control the blood loss~ well any delay and you would not be here today.
BAM~ ton of bricks
and seeing as how we were just beginning our NICU fight to save Faith from the clutches of death......getting pregnant again: EVER, EVER, EVER again was something I knew with my whole heart I would not, could not ever do~ because I knew for *certain* that even on the very remote chance I would survive *physically* I would never, ever, ever, ever be able to survive it *emotionally*.
Coming next: The NICU Rollercoaster