Childbirth is rough. The aftereffects are even more so. Pregnancy? A breeze.
Apparently, when Michael made his grand entrance into the world, he made certain we would remember it. My husband informed me that everything was going well until that last push. He was crowning, and because of the epidural I could not tell whatsoever what was going on, so I kept focusing on that single push. His head came, and his whole body with him. Sounds nice and fun until the midwife informed me, while they took 90 minutes to stitch me up, that I have a 3rd degree tear. At that time I had no idea there were degrees, so hearing a 3rd degree tear sounded bad, but how bad? She smiled and assured me that I didn’t tear all the way to my rectum, which was a 4th degree tear. Say what? So how bad was my tear??
After doing some research on one of my “I still feel sore and hurt?? I can’t take this anymore!” days, I found just what a 3rd degree tear was. It involves muscles layers and longer healing time — up to 3 months. Say what?
OK, bottom line, I still hurt, I’m still sore, I’m still heal-ING not heal-ED (as my midwife informed me the other day), and I’m not happy about it. Today is so far one of my better days. I have not wanted to cry yet, but I still have Michael’s and my “fussy hour” to get through.
My first week after giving birth is a bit of a blur. I went through the emotions a new mother goes through and it wasn’t pleasant. I felt disconnected, beat up, and in complete trauma shock. What my body went through was enough to send me into shock, which scared me the most. I did not like the way I was feeling and feared that it might last longer than the two-week period they warned me about. Postpartum depression wasn’t something I wanted to deal with. Thankfully, those harsh emotions let up a week after Michael’s birth, and I was on the road to recovery.
Until 13 days after he was born. I woke up Sunday morning with body aches, and eventually a rising fever. Oh dear. Since I stopped nursing (the toughest decision yet but based on multiple reasons) I feared that it was mastitis, and sure enough, after going to the ER at Langley, I was put on two antibiotics to kick it out. Well, the ER doctor took a risk with me. About 10% of people who are allergic to amoxicillin (me) could be allergic to Cephalexin, but he decided that it was a low risk.
About 8 days after I started the antibiotics I developed a lovely rash. That spread to my entire body. And then began to itch. Driving me nuts at night. Hello, ER, again! Since these things popped up on the weekend and holiday, I had to go in to the ER instead of Women’s Health. This time, I also noted another rising issue, so I added that to my trip to the ER. Found out I had a UTI, and the other ER doctor was perplexed that I developed a UTI while on antibiotics. Yes, that is me. I was put on an IV and given countless medications to help the rash clear, and I was assured that by the time I am ready to be discharged the rash will have gone down significantly. (I should also add that they were debating admitting me to the hospital that night, which I am grateful they didn’t because, well, we had a newborn!) However, by the time the ER doctor returned, he was then perplexed that the rash had not cleared. Oh joy! I was still discharged with a new, stronger antibiotic for the UTI and medications for the allergic reaction, and assured that it should go down soon. The following morning nothing looked different. I called my PCM for a referral to an urgent care since they did not have an urgent care appointment open that day, and headed in that the afternoon.
At urgent care, the doctor’s first question was, “Maybe it’s your scarf that is causing it.” Yeah, OK, my scarf is causing a full body rash because yeah, I wear my scarf all the time!! Try again, doctor! I was given shots, and 20 minutes later he came back and, just like the ER doctor, wondered why the rash hadn’t cleared. Because of one of the shots he gave me I was to get off of one of my medications. I was sent home and told that if I wasn’t better by morning I should return to Langley.
By morning I was only a little better, but not enough to stop the itching and irritation. I called my PCM which I was then informed that because I was postpartum Women’s Health takes care of me until my 6 week appointment. So I call Women’s Health to try to get an appointment, but played phone tag with them until the following morning, which by then I was still slowly doing better. I decided to still get an appointment, got one for that afternoon, and was finally told that yes, an allergic reaction to a medication will take time to leave the system. OK, I can work with that! I was told to go back on that medication the urgent care doctor took me off of, and finish off the rest of my medications.
Now, a week later, I noticed some other weird things going on. I got another appointment and went in yesterday. The midwife told me that from what she can tell, everything is normal for where I’m at with the heal-ING (not heal-ED!), but she still sent in for some lab work. And, since I was feeling some of the UTI symptoms still, I had to get tested for that again. I am currently still waiting on a call back about the results, and I’m starting to lose faith in Women’s Health this week.
Emotionally, this has been a roller coaster. It is very difficult to see my body struggle to heal after what I feel like should be a normal thing women do — give birth. But, I’m realizing that giving birth is exactly what people say about it — it changes your body completely, there is nothing like it, and healing is a process.
Do I want a second child? Now is not the time to ask that question!