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I have to admit that I had a very easy pregnancy.  Not all women are blessed with an easy pregnancy, so I was very thankful.  Throughout the nine months I was free of any complications, I didn’t gain too much weight, I continued to exercise, and I felt great.  My doctor often said that I was making his job too easy, that was until my daughter was born.

As I mentioned in my post about our daughter’s arrival, she decided to enter this world with her one arm up beside her head causing some pretty significant tearing.  By the way she still loves to have her arms and hands up by her face!!  My doctor said after he had stitched me up that it was some of the worst tearing he had seen in a long time, not too comforting to hear.  He reassured us that he had taken his time (it took almost 2 hours) to make sure that every thing was stitch up well and that it should all heal just fine.  While he and another OB worked on stitching me up I did over hear something about a hematoma developing by the one internal tear but I didn’t really know what that meant.  I was told it shouldn’t cause any problems, and that I would just need to take it easy for a while.

Before I left the hospital my doctor and his partner both paid me a visit to check on me and make sure that everything looked ok.  Reassured that everything should be fine and equipped with the details on when I should call them I headed home.  Everything was great for the first few days.  I was, of course, in pain and taking the prescribed medication, but by the third or fourth day home I was off the heavy duty stuff and felt pretty good.  My husband and I decided to take our daughter for a quick little walk to the grocery store (which is two blocks away) so we could pick up a few things.  The walk went well and I continued to feel good for most of the day.

Around 8pm that night, the sixth day after our daughter was born, I began to notice I was bleeding a little heavier than I had been in the last couple of days and that the blood seemed to be pretty bright red (both signs of a potential problem).  I didn’t think too much about it at first figuring it was just because of the walk that day and decided I would just keep on eye on things.  As the evening progressed I continued to have the heavier bleeding and noticed a few small clots, I still didn’t think it was that big of a deal.  By the time my daughter got up to eat at about 11pm the bleeding had gotten increasing worse and I was going though several pads an hour.  I read through my information and determined that it was probably a good idea to call my doctor.  I woke my husband at around midnight, gave him the baby, and called my doctor’s exchange.  While I was awaiting his call I passed a very large clot (about the size of my fist) and was bleeding heavily.  Understandably I was pretty freaked out, as was my husband who doesn’t do too well around blood.  I explained what was going on to my doctor when he called and told him I was really scared.  He advised me to wait and see what happened over the next hour, if it didn’t slow down or got any worse I should head into the ER.  He explained that bleeding does sometimes happen and that it probably wasn’t anything to worry too much about.  I felt a little reassured after talking to him but was still freaking out a little.

So we laid in bed and we waited, by 1am I was still unable to stand without gushing a lot of blood so we packed up and headed to the ER.  By the time we arrived I had already bled through my pants and was feeling a little light headed.  I advised the ER nurse of this and she quickly got me to the bathroom where I could clean up and change and then into a bed.  The ER doctor came in to talk to me about what was going on and checked me out.  He determined, after much poking and prodding, that the bleeding appeared to be coming from one of my tears.  He advised they would send me for an ultrasound to make sure that the bleeding wasn’t coming from my uterus and he would call my doctor to let him know what was going on.  I couldn’t have the ultrasound right away cause my bladder wasn’t full so I was hooked up to an IV for fluids and waited.  Within minutes my doctor arrived at the hospital.  We talked a little bit about what the ER doctor had seen and he said that unfortunately he would have to check me as well.  Sure enough he found the same thing, bleeding from the one tear.  He packed me full of gauze to help slow the bleeding and made arrangements for emergency surgery to repair the tear.  Yikes, not exactly what I wanted to hear!

By 5am I was in the OR getting ready to have surgery.  The next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room all fixed up (the wonders of modern medicine).  I had lost a lot of blood both prior too and during the surgery so my doctor requested blood work to determine my hemoglobin levels.  Normal for a woman is 11, my results came back at 5.6, not good.  Since my levels were so low and I had lost so much blood it was determined that I would need a blood transfusion.  Later that morning I was hooked up to my first of two units of blood.  For the remainder of the day we sat around and waited while the transfusion was completed.

My doctor checked on me several times.  On his last visit he said that once the final unit of blood was complete and my blood was draw for another hemoglobin test I could go home.  He didn’t think I would get the rest I needed at the hospital and trusted my husband and I to be smart about things and call him immediately if something happened.  He said he would call me the next day with the blood test results and that I should come in to see him in a few days to get checked out again.  So we waited while the final unit of blood was administered and then by 9pm on the day our daughter turned one week old we were heading home, again.

So, it turns out that the hematoma that had developed under the one tear began to bleed when the swelling in the birth canal started to go down, that was what caused the hemorrhaging.  There was nothing I could have done any differently, and I was assured the walk I had taken that day had nothing to do with it.  The tear has now been repaired and on my follow up visit a few days later everything looked good.  It was a very scary thing to have to go through but I had a great husband to help me through, and an outstanding doctor.  I really can’t say enough about how important it is to choose the right caregiver for your prenatal care.

I’ve learned the hard way that things don’t always go the way you hoped after the delivery, sometimes complications come up.  The important thing is to know what to watch out for, to have good communication with your doctor, and to know yourself enough to recognize when something isn’t right.  It has now been two weeks since my little scare and everything seems to be ok.

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4 Responses to My Pregnancy: Postpartum Complications

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