Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crying over spilled milk and other postpartum adventures

In terms of being pregnant with triplets, I've had it pretty easy: no hospitalized bed rest and no major complications other than cholestasis and thyroid issues. However, the maternity gods have decided that I shouldn't get off scott free.

I developed post partum HELLP Syndrome while I was still in hospital and naively thought I had paid my dues. A week after I delivered, I developed a low grade fever. I phoned the on-call doc who asked me a bunch of questions and he pretty much dismissed it since there weren't any other obvious symptoms. So I happily waited until the routine follow-up with the peri three days later. Turns out my body was so run down that I had developed shingles. Lovely. And my blood pressure was sky high again.

Thankfully, the la.betalol helped bring my blood pressure down, but the shingles... well, that I'd just have to ride out with a little help from my friend Val.trex.

Since the rash is near my breast, the neonatologist and infectious disease specialist at the NICU advised me not to breastfeed, and to "pump and dump" the milk from that breast. Additionally, I have to express milk from one breast at a time, taking great care to disinfect everything.

Now I know this doesn't sound like a big deal, but trust me. When you're pumping for an hour every three hours throughout the day and night, and then dumping half the milk, it's just heartbreaking. They say it's no use crying over spilled milk, but I've been doing just that. It's been pretty demoralizing, but I know it's to keep my babies safe.

I was still struggling to come to terms with the fact that I had shingles and couldn't breastfeed when the C-section incision started bleeding. Hmmm, I thought. I had probably been overdoing it. It was just a trickle on Saturday and I had a follow-up scheduled for Monday morning. I wasn't worried. But by Sunday night, I couldn't keep up with changing the gauze. By Monday morning, I was gushing blood, soaking everything. I couldn't get out of the shower without being covered in blood. My husband had to put pressure on the incision so I could get dressed. Even so, I had to get dressed twice, but by the time I made it to the car, the blood was everywhere again. And we had an hourlong drive ahead of us... I contemplated a detour to the ER, but figured I'd be waiting more than an hour anyway. So we drove.

There was a flurry of activity when we arrived at the perinatologist. They ushered me to the back and used scary words like, "hematoma," "we may need to open you up again" and "infection." Despite the blood bath, I'm fine. Fortunately, the large hematoma that had formed behind the incision seemed to be draining outwardly (no kidding!) The peri pushed on the incision (yikes, that hurt!) and opened it up ever so slightly in an effort to help the hematoma along. It looked like a massacre, and I'm not exaggerating.

They sent me on my merry way with a Rx for antibiotics. It had looked like this would end badly, but the bleeding has slowed significantly and the antibiotics have done their job. Hopefully the maternity gods are happy now.

12 comments:

Kate said...

Well, it sounds like you've managed to take all the bad karma post-delivery, so hopefully your little ones are thriving.
Glad things are on the mend. I hope the shingles clear soon, and that you'll be able to stop dumping half your supply!

mybumpyjourney said...

woah. You have really been through the ringer...and then put back in again! I am sorry you have had to go through all of this. I am glad you are doing okay, and things are getting better. I am sending lots of good thoughts your way. How are those little sweeties doing?

jenicini said...

I'm glad that you are doing okay despite the crappy circumstances. I hoping the shingles and bleeding go away quickly!

Amber said...

What a crazy experience! I'm crossing my fingers that things start to go in the right direction for you from here on out!

callmemama said...

Holy crap! Wow. I'm glad to hear it wasn't anything more serious, although I can imagine how scary gushing blood would be...

I hope you have some smooth sailing from here on out!

The Patterson's said...

That sounds like quite a story...hope things are going better now and your recovery is coming along nicely.

K said...

Holy crap. Thanks for the update, I think. Especially now that I'm walking in your shoes, so to speak. Happy to hear things are improving for you. Take care.

'Murgdan' said...

Spilled milk. Spilled blood. Dang woman! You have been through the ringer. I hope you heal quickly on all fronts...thinking of you!

Allison said...

oh gosh! Im glad things are getting better. I cant even imagine! I got nauseous just reading your post!!! GO AWAY SHINGLES!

mekate said...

good god! How horrible! And I am not sure I could manage that on a good night's sleep with just me and the cat to think about-- I am so so sorry! I hope you heal quickly in every way.

Thinking of you and sending healing thoughts your way,
warmly,
Kate

Anonymous said...

Poor H....That's not nice....my experience post-partum was that the focus was 100% on the babies...didn't matter about mommy's woes....they seemed to take the back-seat....and often still do. Good job that you are expressing your feelings on the mommy-front - coz a healthy mommy = healthy off-spring right?
How are your three-some doing? All coming along as hoped? Do post some more pics via email sometime soon. Hope you are managing to distract yourself a little with some fun activities at home....(or out somewhere)...without having to drag the pump around! Does DH hook you up while you're asleep at night? Phwoar! Waaay too personal a question I know, but you do need your beauty sleep....says a mommy of only two :) Keep chugging.....one baby step at a time...Miss A turned 1 today...she's oblivious...the year has been a blur...but we are way excited about her accomplishment....before you know it you'll be having those birthday parties too :) Hugs Shaz

Michele said...

Oh I would cry too. Pumping and dumping when every drop is so precious is painful. I am so sorry.

I had postpartum eclampsia after Alex. It was such an insult to injury. Saying a prayer for you.