Unexpected Birth Complications as a First Time Mom: Part Two of One Mom’s Story

               

As a first time mom, I never imagined my birth story would include an emergency c-section, followed by heart complications immediately after the surgery, blood transfusions, EKG monitoring and the first night away from my brand new baby boy. The first night of being a new mom was nothing like I planned. My husband, Adrian, bonded with our boy, while I laid awake on the cardiac floor.

The night seemed to crawl by for me. I received a blood transfusion and had several bedside tests performed on my heart. Eventually the in and out of doctors and nurses slowed down and the entire situation started to hit me hard. I just wanted to be with my baby, but the nurses on labor and delivery wouldn't let my husband bring him down to me. They couldn't figure out how to deactivate the baby-low jack alarm, which was so frustrating! I was so exhausted from prolonged labor and my surgery, that I didn't even have the energy to fight for someone to figure it out. It was nice to know that our baby was safe but baffling that I couldn't be with him.

At some point during the evening, one of my closest friend's came to visit. It was so nice to have someone to vent to. Once she left, I was thankful to have my knitting and random TV programs to keep me occupied. I had to ask multiple times for a nurse to contact labor and delivery, since I needed a pump. I knew the importance of early breast stimulation and I was determined to breastfeed. Eventually someone brought me a pump, although I had no idea how to use it. With nothing but time on my hands, I fumbled through the directions and set myself up. Throughout the evening, I pumped every few hours and collected very minimal colostrum drops. Around 10 pm I told Adrian to just give Alexander formula, since I had enough to worry about. I was pretty disappointed but was worried the nurses would eventually talk him in to it anyway.

I barely slept that night. I was so excited from the birth, frustrated that I couldn't see my baby, and scared about my own health. So many emotions for one mama! I had a male nurse throughout the night and he had no idea how to care for a postpartum patient. I ended up dragging myself into the bathroom, which was very, very painful and challenging.

Eventually morning came and I was starving. I still couldn't get any real food though. They did bring me a liquid diet tray for breakfast and I inhaled all of it. I was still feeling very dizzy though. Sometime after breakfast, I received 2 pints of blood and the dizziness improved. Shortly after noon, Adrian was able to talk to a patient advocate about our situation. The patient advocate was a retired nurse and purely an angel. She worked with the labor and delivery team to deactivate Alexander's alarm and wheeled him down to me. I was able to have some bonding time with my boy and Adrian got a much needed break from baby care.

The patient advocate was amazing in helping me latch Alexander and gave me lots of suggestions on how to keep him awake during feedings. She also helped me with the breast pump and in general made me a feel a lot better about breastfeeding. It was SO NICE to spend some time with Alexander. Adrian did an amazing job caring for our son during his first night of life! I was blown away with his ability to step up and take charge. The hospital does not have a nursery for healthy babies, so it was all on him.

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After the patient advocate and Alexander went back to the labor and delivery floor, I was feeling much better emotionally. Early in the evening my blood transfusion was complete and my heart readings were looking near normal, so they transported me back up to my room. I was SO relieved!

The next few days and evenings went by quickly and were spent getting to know my son and recovering. We finally were able to go home on Day 5, in the late afternoon. By the time Adrian came to pick us up and we got my huge bag of prescriptions from the pharmacy it was around 6 pm. Instead of waiting in rush hour traffic, we headed to McDonald’s for dinner. I looked horrible, since I was so swollen from all the fluids, but honestly didn't care. I hobbled into McDonald’s with my fuzzy slippers and comfortable pajama pants. I couldn't even stand up straight, because my incision hurt so much. All of that just didn't matter though. It was so nice to be out of the hospital with our baby boy.

We got home around 8 pm and settled in for our first night at home. We were all exhausted and happy. My milk came that night and Xander latched so easily. I was relieved that breastfeeding turned out to be the easiest part of the the week.

My story doesn't end here though. It took me weeks to recover because of my lungs and heart and of course my c-section. Once I was feeling back to myself, I moved on with my life. Xander is now a happy and healthy four-year old and a big brother. When I was trying to get pregnant with my second son, I had to go to a fertility specialist, since my cycles were not regular. They referred me to a cardiologist because my postpartum discharge report said I had postpartum cardiomyopathy, which is essentially a heart attack caused by the birthing process. My follow-up EKG’s after Xander’s birth were normal and the follow up I had when I finally got pregnant was normal. I have since been diagnosed with postpartum pulmonary edema, due to a large fluid overload. This was the cause of my heart abnormalities after birth, but not cardiomyopathy. Both the cardiologists I saw felt that my complications were caused from the birth process (lots of fluids and prolonged labor/pushing). I’m so thankful it was not postpartum cardiomyopathy, as most women who have this need medication, a heart transplant or die following birth. I am so thankful for my health and the health of my two babies.

Image via Mindi Stavish

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Unexpected Birth Complications as a First Time Mom: Part Two of One Mom’s Story

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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6 comments

  1. you just traumatized the hell out of me! lol. so glad you are both doing well though!

  2. Katie says:

    With my son, I went into labor at 1:30am on my due date (april 29th 2010) we were excited, and scared, it was new to us, he was our first.. we got to the hospital about 20-30 minutes later… and got checked in and moved upstairs to ob… my mom met us at the hospital, my dad, sister, and brother in law arrived later, I was only 3cm when we got there… it took me almost 6 hours.to get to 5 cm, which it was really hard for me because my pain was getting worse and worse, so I opted for an epidural… then three hours later I made it to 7, they started giving me pitosin(sp) then the pain really started, but it wasn’t like labor pains… it was a feeling like someone was pulling on my left leg trying to rip it off… and my hip was burning so bad… they ignored my pain, kept telling me my son was in perfect position, but that I needed the pitosin to be able to dilate… that’s when I started going down, oxygen levels were falling really low, and my baby’s heart rate was going down to the low-mid 60’s which is.NOT safe for a baby… they kept rolling me, taking me off the.pitosin and putting me back on it… nothing was working… after.hours of pleading with drs they finally called my dr, who screamed at the drs, it had been almost 24 hours since my water broke, and we were both going down… fast… sheet was there, ordering the other doctors and nurses to get out of my room, and never to speak to me again, you couldn’t imagine the relief I felt when she said she was going to get my.son out alive and we would be ok in no time… next thing I knew I was in an or and she was taking my son out… come to find out he was sideways and his head was in my hip NOT in perfect position as the other.idiots were saying…When I heard him scream I balled my eyes out. It was the most amazing sound I had ever heard. It was 2:28am april 30th almost 25 hours since my water broke… after I didn’t get to see or hold my son until about 8am, and we didn’t get to go home for three days after… I am overly grateful that I had a section or my son would have died and I may have as well… people bash cesarean parents all the time… but it is necessary, and I am thankful for it…

  3. KristaSibole says:

    What an amazing story and roller coaster! I am glad everything worked out ok for you and the baby. Yours supportive partner seems wonderful! Best of wishes

  4. nichole says:

    wow! thats crazy! im glad you were able to get through it all ok. i dont even know how scared and messed up ide be if i hadnt got my daughter after she was born.

  5. Michelle says:

    Good everything is fine 🙂

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