That’s right mama it’s one month later, after what I thought was an uncomplicated delivery (in my opinion) and my pregnancy test is still saying POSITIVE!
Wait, what, how can this be? So many thoughts rushed through my head as I sit and rocked my sweet 5 lb 10 oz baby girl…and hemorrhaged. I don’t care how many times you read “What to expect when your Expecting” or any other maternity book for that matter, nothing can prepare you for something like this. Here’s your hospital checklist, comfortable pajamas (you know the ones that are an extra size bigger), water wipes for that newborn meconium and don’t forget to double-check your placenta? Exactly…nowhere did anyone tell me I needed to double-check to make sure they got all the placenta. I was warned about the sticky tar poop, but no one told me this was even a possibility. At this one moment, I wished I had done those placenta pills I read about, you know, the ones I felt like were a bit crazy. Maybe if I paid someone to come and harvest my placenta for those pills, they would have surely realized YOU MISSED A SPOT!
Oh well, fast forward to today, after my delivery I’m here to tell you my complications flared a month later and almost killed me. Now during this month, I felt like I had post-partum and wasn’t sure how to feel or how to handle being a first time Mom. What’s normal? Should I feel this way? Why do I feel this way? I have a beautiful baby girl, I should be on top of the world. No one expects to return to the hospital a whole month after delivery for a DNC and wake up in ICU with a breathing tube and asking what happened? Yup, that’s what happened! You see while childbirth can go amazing right, it can also go VERY wrong long after the BIG DAY. I thought I was fine, my breastmilk will come in…eventually. I thought I was fine…I’m going home with my baby. After all, I did deliver and spent my two days in the maternity suite and was released to figure it out as a new first-time mom. Well, I’m here to tell you to be careful and pay close attention to your body. Two weeks after delivery I drove myself to the emergency room in an extreme amount of pain. They told me I had an infection, here are some antibiotics…you’ll be fine, follow up with your OB/GYN. I did, I went back to my OB/GYN that Monday and they told me well those antibiotics aren’t strong enough, here’s some stronger ones, take these you’ll be fine. I did, and I trusted and I didn’t listen close enough to my body. Fast forward another two weeks and I start bleeding. I called my OB/GYN and they said oh it’s the return of your cycle, its “normal” don’t worry about it. Well, as I was driving back to my house I felt weak, something wasn’t right. I immediately called my neighbor to drive me to the emergency room, I knew I didn’t feel right. After an examination, the ER doctor insisted it was a bladder infection. Knowing this just wasn’t right and even after presenting a report from when I was there last for an infection which clearly read “retained products of conception” I was dismissed. I returned home, now I know more than ever something is just not right! I called my doctor back and insisted they see me, again! No, it’s not my period and it doesn’t feel like a bladder infection. I have no idea what’s wrong and I don’t know what “right” feels like, but I know something is definitely WRONG! Listen to me please…that was going to be my next words to them as I lay there undressed waiting to be examined then I hear a knock on the door. Please get dressed Mrs. Mackenroth, we need you and your husband to meet the doctor in the consultation room. There I sit with my husband holding my hand and we knew it wasn’t good. The same doctor that delivered me walked in and said: “I’m going to need you to report immediately to the hospital for surgery.” It’s already been scheduled and they are waiting on your arrival, the on-call doctor will need to perform a DNC…WE MISSED A SPOT!
Now my story doesn’t stop there, unfortunately, I suffered several seizures after surgery which turned into a breathing tube, stabilization, a trip to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a very HARD recovery, and even harder mandate of no driving for six months per Florida law! Talk about life-changing on top of figuring out how to be a first-time mom. I mastered the car seat installation in what seems like every UBER driver’s car in Broward County and made sure my husband assist with every bath, and always changed her on the floor as a precaution. Yes, this became my new norm. Looking back I believe it was the perfect storm of removing and releasing the toxins from my body (I did have a piece of dead placenta marinating in me for over a month), mixed with low blood sugar, and almost a twelve-hour delay in my surgery actually being performed. Yes, I believe this was the right mixture which I blame for the seizures. I’ve learned a few things from this experience. Nothing sucks more than FaceTiming your one-month-old from the hospital, there are more things in life that you can not control than you can, and what doesn’t kill you truly does make you stronger!
Almost a year-to-date I can finally share my story. The most important takeaway is to listen to your body. While every birth story is different, you are unique and you know your body. No matter what a doctor may tell you, don’t stop until you get answers and someone digs deep enough to find out what’s wrong. In today’s world of fast-paced medicine, it’s easier to dismiss you because “it’s so rare” or “highly unlikely”. I’m here to tell you that you have to be your own advocate for your health. No one knows your body like you, even if it’s changed by childbirth and it may feel like a stranger. Listen to that inner voice, deep down inside…you are the owner of your “normal” and demand answers when you know something is “off”!