Lilly's Birth Story, Part III: Post Partum
I've been keeping a list of things I want to remember in case I ever become daring enough to have another baby. I do think that knowing what to expect, in this case, is much scarier than going into it without a clue as to what lies ahead. But this is all part of Lilly's story and I want to remember every little detail.
1. Epidural swelling. It's no surprise that my swelling continued through labor and delivery. Even my elbows went missing for a couple days! But what really freaked me out was when I took a shower on Day 2 and as I was drying my lower back, I noticed lots of large lumps and bumps-- like snow mogels. It was also very tender, which I assumed was from the epidural and the accompanying injections. When I asked Nurse Jolene she just shook her head and said "You've got so much swelling, honey, your whole body is swollen." So really, it had nothing to do with the actual epi, which was a relief. But sure enough, before this whole party was over, I would have swelling from head to toe.
2. During the stitch-up/clean-up/recovery portion of the delivery, I vaguely remember hearing two nurses discussing conflicting gauze counts. One was getting 29, the other was getting 30. They started out with 30-- one was missing. Matt gave me the full story later. It turns out that in addition to a piece of gauze, a pair of scissors were also missing. Evidently, all that was once lost was eventually found. I'm hoping anyway:) I also heard two nurses discuss conflicting blood loss measurements. One thought I'd lost 500 units (Im not sure what units are used) and the other lowered her voice and said "Nooo, it was 750".
3. Which brings me to the Magnesium and Potassium. Once all of the chaos subsided and everything calmed down Nurse Jolene brought me a dose of Magnesium and a small cup of Potassium that was mixed with what tasted like orange soda on the rocks:) It was very salty, but after dying of thirst for hours and sucking the daylights out of crushed ice, I slurped that bad boy down in record time. Magnesium can sometimes cause extremely uncomfortable side effects, but thankfully I had none that I can remember.
4. In the 3rd trimester, I started snoring A LOT! It was so bad that I couldn't even stand myself! I hated falling asleep because it was a constant battle between my belly, my back and my adnoids. The great news is, the snoring is gone. My theory is that with all of the tissue and membrane softening a woman goes through later in pregnancy, the nose is no exception! I turned into a Pug for a good 6 weeks! Matt is also quite happy that this phase is over:)
5. The Post-partum shower. Also not as scary as I anticipated. I had the option of using a walk-in shower that was part of the Birth Center, but not in my room or the jacuzzi tub that had hand-held shower head. I chose to stay in my room and although it was tricky climbing in and out of the jacuzzi, it was worth it to have the privacy of my own bathroom.
6. Looking back and reading about Preeclampsia, it seems so obvious that I was headed down that road. I understand my doctor was following protocol and the absense of protein in my urine reflected that I did not have Pre-e until the day I was induced. Between my last 24 hour urine test and the one I finished the day of the induction, I went from a 210 to over 500. When I read about the condition, it's me to a T. I'm so thankful that once the bloodwork and everything was in, that Lilly was born healthy and beautiful. All those snafus along the way are nothing compared to what could have happened had Dr. S not been on top of things at the end.
7. Post-partum depression. I'm working on this one. I think it'll be a separate post and I've debated whether to even include it in Lilly's story because I don't want to cloud the blessing of her birth with negativity, but I feel like it's important to put out there in case anyone might feel or think the same way I've been. If it can help someone to see that childbirth isn't the same rosy, blissful experience for everyone then I'd want them to find that here.
8. Remember the kegel exercises you're supposed to do "all the time"? Well I didnt because they make me want to throw up. But guess what? I think I should have. Then again, maybe even the most dilligent Kegelcisor can't combat the force of shoving a watermelon out the hooha. What I'm saying is that for the first two days, it was very important to get out of bed and force myself to pee so I never got to the point of having to hold it. Because there wasn't a fiber of muscle around to help me out in that department! Thank goodness for the monster pads and mesh undies stashed plentifully on the back of my bathroom door! They may look frightening but I was sure to load up on them before checking out of the hospital!
9. Now for the good stuff. Normally I would never have shared how much weight I gained, but now that I see how much of it was water weight and NOT all of those Dairy Queen Blizzards and McDonalds double cheeseburgers, I must share. Priscilla and other swollen mommies-to-be, pay attention-- you're going to like this! I gained 47 pounds in 37 weeks. By day 5 PP, I had lost 37 of those. Today, 12 days PP, I am at my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm not breastfeeding. That was a HECK OF A LOT of fluid residing in my bod! It was in my eyelids, my face, my elbows... even my toes had rolls! But God gave me a big break after all those weeks of suffering by making darn sure it promptly left my body! Nothing changed during the first two days PP, but my doctor put me on a water pill for 6 days and it did the trick. Don't get me wrong, my tummy looks like a deflated balloon and feels like a bowl of pizza dough. That part will take some time! But I feel SO much better now that I can move... and FEEL my appendages:)
10. Some Before/After pics.