Thursday, November 20, 2008

Post Partum Woes

Warning: Content May Get Graphic! Who am I kidding... content WILL be graphic. If you have NO interest in reading about the details of breastfeeding and recovery of delivery, please skip today's post and join me tomorrow :) I did toy around with publishing this post because I don't want people thinking bad of me after I "lay it all out there". I am usually not this straight forward, but today I feel like holding nothing back.

While I was still in the hospital, Jax was having a difficult time staying latched on. In fact, he would just slip right off all together. After the first two feedings in the hospital, I was cracked and bleeding. That is a tremendous annoyance and quite painful to say the least. I remember not wearing a bra because had gooped on the lanolin cream, but everytime I needed to use the bathroom (the only reason I was getting out of bed) - I struggled with the gown rubbing against my sore nipples. I am sure many of you can picture these moments... after a great struggle to hoist myself out of bed (especially that first 12 hours because I "packed" full of gauze. Yes ladies, you read that right - I was PACKED full of gauze. Something about the prevention of a hematoma after the much needed repair work that I endured (20+ stitches from a 2 inch tear from the top of my "baby exit" all the way up to the c-spot... don't make me say it! You know what I am talking about.... epidural with the next delivery? YES PLEASE!! I digress :)... So - I would slowly hobble my way to the bathroom, trying to hold in the padded contents of my "mesh cutie" as I like to call those pathetic undies they make you wear. Desperately needing two more arms to support my walk to the bathroom and hold my shirt out from my chest so it doesn't rub against me. Oh - the dignity! But more on dignity later...

Graphic enough for you? Just wait - it will get better.

After the extreme pain of cracking and peeling started, I was dreading each feeding. It just hurt SO bad! To top it off, in the first two days of life Jackson had lost more than 10% of his body weight so the nurse wheeled in an electric pump. She told me to start to pump out all I could and feed it to him with a syringe. This was the only nurse I did NOT care for. She wasn't much older than me and talked to me like I should have known what I was doing. She clearly had no idea herself how to work the electric pump and pretty much told me to figure it out. With these tender nips? I don't think so!! I believe I was able to pump about 3 CCs and fed that to him from a dropper (no milk had come in yet).

When we got home, I crashed on my bed and slept for about 4 hours. I was OUT! When I woke up, my milk had come in and was staring me in the face! Literally - holy cow!! Over the next week, Jackson was beginning learn how to latch on appropriately. The engorgement from the milk wasn't making things any easier so I decided to pump out the whole initial supply and start from scratch. This allowed him to latch on properly - so that helped. The worse thing was that my nipples never had time to heal - with being nursed upon constantly and then to go in pads (that where milk soaked within seconds), they just didn't heal fast. One thing I will say, is those Nipple Shells worked great! They literally a shells that fits inside your bra to prevent anything from touch you. The only bad thing about it was when my milk came in, they would fill up from the leaking and spill out when I bent over :) JOY!

One week post partum, I had experienced some very heavy bleeding. I mean a full on gush that filled up 2 pads within 30 mins. I called the clinic and they instructed me to see the on call doctor. Paul went with me, baby in tow as I was taking to the "procedure room". I was so scared! I had just delivered a baby one week prior and now I was taken into a room with a lot of unfamiliar machines and pokey objects. I was almost in tears. The OB walks in, an arrogant good looking older man who didn't have much compassion - see I came in during his lunch break :). He said he needs to make sure the bleeding isn't from the internal stitches... only way to conclude that is by performing an internal exam. You can just imagine how thrilled I was to have this man use a specula on me with my soreness and stitch work down there. He resulted that the bleeding was not from the stitches, good and bad news. He told me I needed to an internal ultrasound to determine the cause of the bleeding. Are you kidding me?! He said it was most likely some "material" left over from the delivery and it would be expelled or a D&C would be needed. When I heard him say "a D&C" - I got freaked out. I cried the whole way home.

I wanted to be done with it all. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired! I was tired of being in pain all over. I just wanted to be able to feed my son the way a mother should and I wanted to the stitches out of me!

The next day, I went in for the ultrasound. The technician was wonderful, she had a lot of sympathy for the position I was in and actually let me put the probe in and pull it out. All in all, I still had a portion of the placenta left over. A portion that was called an extra lobe. The placenta was delivered in tact with no evidence of an extra lobe. So it wasn't expected that something would be left over. I was put on medicine that encouraged cramping of the urterus in hopes to rid the material. The following afternoon after I finished feeding Jackson, I felt something very weird down there! It felt like an enormous blood clot coming out. I ran to the bathroom and out fell this ... get ready ladies!... junk of placenta. I was horrified! That is just something that you should NOT experience in your own bathroom. It had fallen out my underwear as I about to sit on the toilet. I was topless from having just fed the baby, my mom was there for the week to help out so she was holding jackson. I was shocked, crying naked on the toilet trying not to stare at the hunk of "liver" on my bathroom floor. I think I started laughing at one point, looking at the streaked blood all down my leg, my boobs had started to leak again and was dripping everywhere. My tears streaming down my face. Ladies - it was the single most humiliating moment of my life - I didn't feel human. I was this being, who had absolutely zero control over her body! My poor mother, being the wonderful mother she is started cleaning my floors, helped me into the shower and took care of everything that I never wanted to see again. Talk about dignity? WHAT dignity??

It doesn't end there...

Five weeks into breastfeeding, I noticed that I had been experiencing extreme pain in my nipples after each feeding and upon taking my showers. This was no longer associated with the soreness of cracked nipples, thankfully - I was past that point. At first I just thought this discomfort was a part of breastfeeding. Until I noticed that my nipples were turning white when this pain would come. It was so intense, I would actually have stop what I was doing and breath through it. It was like taking your fore finger and thumb and clamping down on your nipples as hard as humanly possible.
I started researching online and discovered I might have vasospams. It's a blood contradiction disorder of the extremities. A lot of people experience it in their fingers and toes and sometimes their nose. However, I never had. I called the lactation consultant at the hospital (who had known me by name now) and said it was very uncommon. So I said that sounded like me, uncommon. My delivery tear was uncommon, my left over lobe of placenta was uncommon - so this vasospams felt just fitting for me! We tried the first suggested steps - Vitamin B pills, nursing in a warm area, getting myself warm right after feedings. All this did nothing for the pain and there was just so saving yourself from getting cold after a shower. And the nighttime feedings were horrible too because I would get out of bed to feed the baby - crawl back into bed and I would just be freezing. We had turned the heat up at night to help me, plus I slept with a heating pad across my chest. It would take me over 30mins - 1hr to fall back to sleep. So I did the next thing and just started myself on the prescription medicine. It worked! Within a few days, the pain was completely gone. I took the pills for about 2 weeks straight and didn't need them anymore. The pain never came back. My nipples would still turn blue every now and then (and still did up until this month) - but I cured~

By my 7 week check up, my stitches had finally dissolved. Those were horrible! I would get poked from a thread if I moved the wrong way. That hurt!! I had noticed alittle sore down there where the stitches had dissolved and asked my OB about it at my check up. She called it a granulated... something. She said it was from the stitches and it wouldn't go away unless she cauterized it. Lovely!! So - she touched me with a little lidocaine and cauterized the spot. That was REAL tender for a few days - going to the bathroom was horrible! But it didn't come back, which was good.

Early February, that was alittle over 3 months post partum - I got mastitis!! I had suffered from painful clogged ducts before, but this was too much!! I was put onto antibiotics to take away the infection and fever. I was told to continue to feeding my baby on that side, to try and rid my breast of the clogging/infection. In doing so - I only pumped on the other side and so that side got a clogged duct. Thankfully, that side didn't turn into an infection as well - but the clogged part was more painful than the infected one! What was going on?!? :)

And that includes my post partum woes!! All of these contributing to my breastfeeding experience. I am so happy to have lasted as long as I did. Now back to the original post at hand!



Kelly said...

Wow! That's all I know to say. Bless your heart! You went through sooo much! I cannot even imagine. Now I really have much more admiration for you making it to 10 months of breastfeeding! So awesome.

AFD said...

So, you're ready for another one, right? :)

Holly said...

Oh gosh you had to go through so much!! You def had it worse than me. I had an episiotomy and I only had a plugged duct and mastitis once. I can so relate on the nipples being sore. Kyndra latched on just great but gosh darn it my nipples hurt! I actually took the pain meds for my nipples instead of my episiotomy! lol

I really, really hope that the next go around is better!!!

Jennifer said...

April, You need to give yourself a huge pat on the back! Jackson is fortunate to have such a wonderful mommy! Glad that you made it to this point and are happy with all of your decisions.

Spitfire_Wheels said...

Bless your heart is right. Wow honey! I am even more proud of you for breastfeeding him for this long!