Monday, September 3, 2012

War Wounds: a post-natal PSA

We talk a lot after the birth of a baby about the joy and happiness that event brings.  And rightly so, because there is a lot of that to go around.

What we don't talk about is the other stuff that goes along with having that baby. And, my dear internet peeps?  The other stuff is a doozy (I'd substitute a word there, but I hope someday my kids will read this, and I don't want them thinking I used foul language.  But really, the word I'd like starts with a B.)

So for the sake of documentation, and just in case we have any fans of 16 and Pregnant out there who think childbirth is all fun and games (until somebody loses a vagina), here's a little look-sy at the Truth behind having a baby. 

We'll start with the easy stuff...

  • TDAP vaccine.  The T makes your muscles a little sore and your two and a half year old ask why you're wearing a bandaid.
  • Loss of skin from the tape they used to attach my catheter (oh yes, I'll talk about the catheter too.  You've been warned).  Seriously, I have like three little scabs on my inner thigh - because that's a tough part of your body - where that darn tape came off.  It actually bled.
  • Bruise and incision point from first IV.
  • Bruise in two locations along my spine from first and second Epidural point.  Oh yeah, and also two local anesthetic shots to go along with.
  • Mystery pain in my abdomen where the epidural didn't cover.  Why it hurts now, I have no idea.  But it feels like an ongoing cramp right in that same section.
  • Bloating of the entire body.  Yup, because they didn't get my catheter in all the way during labor, but they kept pumping me full of fluid anyway.  Turns out, all that fluid has to go somewhere.  After Logan was born, I kept saying, "I can't keep my eyes open!"  I thought it was because I was exhausted, but I literally couldn't keep my eyes open because my face had swollen so dramatically.
  • Trouble going #1, because after they had taken the first catheter out, I was so swollen that I couldn't pee.  At 3 a.m. with absolutely no medication, they had to re-catheterize me, which was about as fun as it sounds.  (If you need a visual, picture a straw and then just start shoving...)
  • A very messy undercarriage.  I'm not completely sure what happened down there, but I know it involves stitches and the fact that even my hemorrhoids have hemorrhoids.
  • Bruises and a VERY sore stomach from where the nurse all but jumped on me trying to get my uterus to contract after delivery.  I bled a very, very long time due to the fact that my uterus was "overtired" and wouldn't contract on its own.  As it turns out, it was also due to the fact that there was so much fluid in my bladder that it was occupying the space my uterus should have been contracting into.  Good times.
  • Not one, not two or three but four incision points from the failed attempts at putting a second IV in.  And a blood draw from my hand.  I mentioned this was 36 hours after being discharged from the hospital, right? 
  • A return trip to the hospital after running a fever of almost 102.  Diagnosis?  A urinary tract infection and endometritis, an infection in my uterus.  (You did read all that crap they did to me, right?)  Logan, Casey and I stayed another 24 hours as I got a round of IV antibiotics to address all the fun we had during my "natural" labor.
And that, kids, is what it's really like to have a baby.  I mean, you know, probably not for everyone, but certainly for some of us. 

I'm writing it now because even as I'm writing it, it's starting to fade.  With my beautiful son sleeping peacefully on my chest, it's tough to imagine anything not worth going through to get him here.  The joy of having a baby truly is overwhelming, because it cancels out all that other stuff.  Which, in my case, is really saying something.  And there is zero doubt in my mind that, given the chance, I'll do all this again.

But I may well elect to have the c-section next time around, though.  :)

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