Monday, June 22, 2009

Roller Coaster

We welcomed Emily Elizabeth into the world on June 15th! She weighed 7lbs 11ozs and was 20 inches long. She has a full head of dark, dark hair (like her dad) and seems so tiny! When she came out, Dr. T announced that he cord was wrapped around her neck twice, which scares the shit out of me. I'm so glad it was a planned c-section. Here she is!

M's mom came down to help and Luke seemed to do ok. He had moments where he seemed a little off, but he was quite a trooper. As soon as they could unhook me from all of the IVs, he came to visit and our little family was complete.

I checked out on Thursday and we headed home. Then, the roller coaster started.

Friday I noticed that my swelling, which got worse after Em was born, was not improving at all. I also noticed that when I took a nap it felt like there was a weight on my chest. I turned to Dr. Google, of course, and saw some things that convinced me I should call my OB. The on call Doctor told me to go to the ER. We left Luke with my MIL and M, Em, and I all went to the emergency room. As they took my vitals I nursed the baby in triage, convinced that this would be taken care of quickly. If only that were true.

M left because all of this was a little too much for Luke, so he took Em with instructions on how to feed her the formula. (I just want to say that I normally make fun of the formula samples that the companies give you when you leave the hospital, but never again). One hour passed, then two. They called me back, gave me a room and hooked me up to measure my heart rate and O2 levels. My O2 was fine, but my pulse was low. They gave me a CAT scan, a chest x-ray and an ultrasound on my legs to check for blood clots. In the mean time, my phone was dying. I left my charger in the maternity room and hadn't had a chance to fully charge it. I was alone, cold and cut off from the world. After receiving a diuretic, the ER Doctor came in and told me that I had some fluid around my lungs and it looked like everything I received post C-Section was just a little too much for my system to handle. Oh, and they were admitting me. It was something about my heart.

As soon as he left I burst into tears. I couldn't call M because there was ZERO signal in my ER room, so I waited and waited. There was no room on the maternity ward, so they took me to the general surgery floor. Around 1am I arrive in my shared room, next to a poor older lady who was obviously in a lot of pain and on a lot of pain killers. SHe talked in her sleep constantly with bits of conversation from her everyday life.

"Are you going to the mall? Sour cream."

All I could think of was that my little girl was at home without me. I should have been up feeding her, but I was in a freezing hospital room with someone who pooped the bed every half hour and had to have her sheets changed all night. Lights were coming on and off and even with the curtain drawn there was no chance of sleep. At about 3am I went to the nurse and told them I was checking myself out. The charge nurse told me that I could do that, but 1) insurance wouldn't pay and 2) they really needed the cardiologist to check me out. They wrote "congestive heart failure" on my chart. Congestive heart failure?? WHAT???

So I cried and waited until morning. When morning came I met my day nurse and begged her for answers. When will I see the OB? When will I see the cardiologist, AKA the only person who can sign me out? After two doses of diuretics I felt much, much better. M brought me a new charger and held me while I cried my eyes out. I missed home. I missed my children. I missed my brand new baby. No one could tell me when the Doctor would be there. God forbid anything happen to you on a weekend because no one seemed to give a shit. My friend Maura, who has twin girls of her own, took Luke for the morning so that M could visit and I will always be so grateful for her help. My MIL took Em and we are so lucky she was there. I just don't know what we would have done.

I saw the OB around 3pm Saturday and she said that she thought everything looked ok, but she wanted the cardiologist to rule out postpartum cardiomyopathy. It dawned on me that when I said my chest felt tight, they may have thought I meant pain, as in a heart attack symptom. Swollen ankles is another symptom, but I hadn't been passing out or having shortness of breath. At 5pm, as Luke and Emily were visiting (with Maura's help) the cardiologist finally came by and released me. He said that he didn't see anything wrong with the low pulse since it went up when I walked around. He thinks that it's normally low. I don't really know since the only time I've really monitored it was when I was pregnant.

Almost exactly 24 hours after I walked in to the ER, M came and got me and we headed home. There is nothing that will give you an appreciation for your life like an experience like that. Being apart from my newborn was one of the worst experiences of my life. I've never really liked roller coasters and getting up for night feedings is all that I need in the way of excitement at the moment. Breastfeeding is right back on track and out family is intact once again. The swelling hasn't gone completely from my ankles, but it's much more normal. I am making more of an effort to put my feet up and appreciate this time at home. Life is good and I am trying to enjoy every minute of it.

(If you have ever had a postpartum experience with swelling or anything like that, let me know. I would be interested to hear what you were told by your Doctor...)