My First Few Days

13 Jan

After Atticus was born via cesarean in the hospital, my recovery the first few days was less than spectacular.  My husband and I enjoyed being in the hospital because we had a lot of help during recovery.  However, the experience was far from over.

Less than 24-hours after he was born, I started developing an intense headache.  As a chronic migraine sufferer, I simply tried to ignore it.  However, the odd thing was that I was doped up on so many painkillers that I shouldn’t have been feeling it.  I mentioned it to the nurse and she gave me some Percocet to take the edge off, which it did, but it didn’t get rid of it.

48-hours after the birth, only a few hours away from being discharged, my migraine was much worse.  I was having a difficult time focusing, let alone listening to anybody, and especially taking care of a newborn.  The fact that Atticus and I established breastfeeding within the first 30-minutes after his birth without any complications really helped the situation, since I wasn’t struggling with getting that figured out on top of everything else.  I was given another dose of Percocet and sent home.  Home, however, happened to be an hour away.

At 72-hours postpartum, I was instructed to have my blood pressure taken and then reported to the hospital, because when I was still there, my blood pressure seemed to be trending upwards and they were concerned.  When Steve took it, it was 140/100.  He was not concerned, but I still phoned it in a few hours later after he left for work.  They informed me that I would need to come back in to be monitored.

I cannot tell you how stressful that was to hear.  Not only is it a challenge to take care of a newborn, but I was feeling miserable from the migraine, and the hospital was an hour away.  I had to have Steve drop the car off at home so my mom could drive me.  When we got there, I was taken back up to Labor and Delivery where they put me in a room to monitor my blood pressure.  During the stay, when I wasn’t nursing Atticus, my mom held him and kept him calm by letting him suck on her pinkie finger.  It was nice seeing my mom taking care of my son.  After they got me set up, I mentioned the migraine and they gave me a cocktail for it that consisted of morphine, phenergan, and benadryl.  It made me the most loopy I’ve ever been.

I was monitored for several hours, my BP spiking at 160/110 before the Labetalol they gave me started lowering it.  I was instructed to take the Labetalol twice a day until my blood pressure returned to normal.

At one week postpartum, I had my first postpartum  checkup with my midwife, Kate.  My blood pressure was still high.  She told me to phone in my blood pressure, at which point the hospital told me to come back in.  Steven was in class at the time, but I was able to get him to come home, and he skipped the rest of the class to take me so that my mom wouldn’t have to.  Off to the hospital again.  Oh, and my migraine still wasn’t gone.

They monitored my blood pressure for another few hours, which felt like forever.  Then they prescribed another med, Procardia, and had me on both.  This was when they informed me that the migraine I was experiencing was called a spinal headache caused by the spinal they gave me during the cesarean.  The spinal headache occurs when the hole that is created during the spinal does not heal, and CSF starts leaking.  In order to fix it, a blood patch would need to be done.  A blood patch takes blood from somewhere else and is inserted in the hole so it can heal over.  However, when I had my spinal done in the hospital, it was by a resident.  (This is one of the aspects of my birth experience that infuriates Steven the most.)  The resident poked me no less than 10 times trying to find the right spot to administer the spinal.  There was no way they would know which hole was leaking, so I declined the blood patch so that it would heal on its own.  Spinal headaches usually last around ten days, and I was already seven days in.

Steven and I returned home, and within a few days both my migraine and the blood pressure returned to normal.  All in all, it wasn’t the postpartum experience I anticipated.  With my pregnancy being full of complications near the end, and then my emergency cesarean, I was hoping for an uneventful recovery.  It is ironic that the one thing that worried me throughout my entire pregnancy, my ability to breastfeed, was the one thing that worked out perfectly.  I would gladly endure all of these complications again if it meant Atticus would be just as healthy and beautiful as he is now.

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