November 18, 2009

Lesson Learned

Well I'm officially a terrible blogger. I'm smug and obnoxious if I post about how life as a family of four is just grand and I'm a drama queen if I only post to tell you about the minor catastrophes. This one, though, seems worth telling because I learned something that could help someone else, and that I found very little info about online.

It happened in Target. I'd gotten my Starbucks, chatted with a friend in the holiday aisle, and was well on my way to finishing my errands for Piper's second birthday party. I could feel the clot come out. And then the gush. I hoped the jumbo pad was enough while I headed to check out. I realized pretty quickly it wouldn't be and while I waited behind the woman whose card was declined five times, I tried to disctretely check that at least the leak was small and well hidden. It became clear it wouldn't be as I grew faint and queasy. The baby was crying in her carseat so I picked her up with her blanket draped down in front of me to help cover up. I managed to pay and push my cart to the car with her in that position but by now I noticed people noticing. No one offered to help the crazy bloody woman with the crying infant.

At my car I saw that the leak had expanded to roughly the size of a red diaper over my khaki cords. I got us all in the car and returned a call to my sister. She lives in another time zone so as I felt fainter I hung up and called my husband and told him to stay on the phone with me while I drove home and to meet me there. In my garage I stayed in the driver's seat to avoid passing out while I pulled the still crying baby up front to nurse her and called my OB. There is a lot of multitasking with a newborn.

My OB said I should have a sono to check for retained products of conception. I remembered that the placenta hadn't delivered naturally and the OB had to reach in and yank it out. J was home in minutes and with the baby fed, we left her and Piper with the sitter and went to wait in the ER for 12 hours. My heart rate was very high when we got there because of the amount of blood I'd lost and had been losing for weeks. They put me on IV fluids and I fought to keep from passing out.

Eventually I had the ultrasound in the same room where I'd had so many during my hospital bed rest. It revealed a rather large peice of placenta still in place. When we realized they would keep me there until they could remove it, J went home and got my pump. Pumping in triage wasn't exactly the sort of "me time" I'd been dreaming of. About 9 hours in they got us ready to head to the OR. On the way in for the D&C a nurse asked if I had kids and their ages. When I said five weeks I could tell she thought I was confused about the baby she assumed I'd lost and felt sorry for me. I figured they don't have many post-partum D&Cs and after fretting all day about having to leave the infant I was still nursing every few hours, I counted my lucky stars knowing my baby was safe at home.

There is a lesson here. I should have known. I should have called my doctor weeks before. When your doctor tells you to call if your bleeding continues heavily for several weeks, do it. If you pass a softball-sized clot after leaving the hospital, call. If you're going through 5-6 pads a day a month after delivery, this is not normal. Be particularly suspicious if there was anything abnormal about delivery of the placenta. It's true that postpartum cramping is much more intense with subsequent pregnancies, but this doesn't mean you should have excessive bleeding. You may feel perfectly fine, but If you continue to have large clots for several weeks, just call. Maybe it's nothing but at least ask. Don't be the crazy bloody lady with the crying baby in Target. Lesson learned.

18 comments:

JJ said...

Good gravy, lady! Glad you are OK!! Sending you get well hugs

bb said...

oh my so glad you are OK!!!!!!!!

Lorraine said...

Yikes! At first I thought the big scary thing was just going to Target with a newborn in the first place...

I suppose it's "all's well that ends well", but that is one serious cautionary tale. Glad you're okay!

Thalia said...

oh how awful. Thank goodness you're fine now. Retained placenta can really interfere with breast feeding so it's good it hasn't in your case. Hope you're back to 'normal' soon

And PS please just write what you feel like writing rather than mentally editing. I'd like to hear what you have to say.

serenity said...

Oh no. Scary. Thanks for sharing. And I'm happy that you're okay.

I agree with Thalia though - would love to hear more about how being a family of four is grand.

xxx

Sara said...

So scary! I'm glad everything turned out OK, but what an awful experience!

Furrow said...

YikeS!! I will mentally file that lesson away. I hope you at least had a good book with you at the hospital.

And I would love to hear how being a family of four is a series of minor catastrophes. I like to be prepared for the worst.

niobe said...

Omigosh. Minus the at-Target thing, this is almost exactly what happened to me a few weeks after Gray was born.

AshPash said...

Sarah-
Thanks for the encouragement. You are so right, our little exc-exc blast on ice has so much potential. Sadly, my fairy tale mindset is all gone...just assuming failure with him, too. That doesn't mean I won't give him the best shot possible at succeeding!

Glad yosur unexpected health issue has been resolved...scary!

My Reality said...

So glad you are ok and hope it is all behind you now.

Red said...

How scary! I can imagine how things like your own personal health get forgotten when you have 2 kids. Take care of yourself, and glad you are ok.

Kate said...

Even though I knew the story, it still gave me chills. So glad you are OK, Sarah.

Hopeful Mother said...

I'm glad you are OK too... scary!

Also so glad to see you updating here.

Coffeegrl said...

Oh my goodness. I'm so glad that everything worked out!!

mekate said...

HOLY SHIT SARAH!

So, here's a thought, please post, please be smug and obnoxious I beg of you. I miss you terribly and love to see you here but
gosh darn lady, next time without so much blood!
that sounds horrid and scary and I am so glad you are ok. Oh my my.

Happy thanksgiving to you and your family,
I hope you are healing well and well on the road to your new non-bloody normal.

xox
Kate

Nearlydawn said...

Ah... I did this too. Mine, however, was a bit more extended - 3 months of bleeding. They aren't sure now if it was placenta or a miscarriage gone badly. Either way, I couldn't get anyone to take me seriously... until it finally passed, and I could tell them the result was a stopping of my "extended period". Ugh. Then, and only then, did anyone seem to have any thoughts that maybe they should have done something to treat me sooner - even though I made 2 trips to the ER for what was later determined to be shock due to blood loss. Idiots! Ugh.

Sticky Bun said...

OMG!! I remember seeing your status saying something about the hospital, but I didn't realize the depths of the problem! Wow! I'm so glad you're okay.

Tinker said...

Oh my goodness! How very frightening! I really hope that you're okay now and that life in your sweet family of four is good. Please feel free to be obnoxious or a drama queen -- I'd love to read about it all and not think any less of you.