As I wrote in my post last week, I am now a mother of two. As my due date approached I thought I had delivery and postpartum care pretty figured out. Shocker! This year, in addition to learning that Mother’s Day with two doesn’t mean a double portion of breakfast in bed I also learned all about hematomas-a fairly rare birth injury-first hand.
Rewind one month
After pushing out Alice like a champ and moving into my room in the maternity ward I had my first check with the nurse and I got some reality. Vag reality.
Nurse: “Wow, you are really swollen”
Me: “Oh ok, probably because of that baby I just pushed out my vagina”
Nurse: “Yeah, but I’ve been doing this a long time, and this is the worst I’ve seen in awhile…”
Me (thinking): “Well glad I have my Mom Friends kit then”
Throughout the day, I was checked numerous times and the swelling was getting worse. It was clear that something was wrong. It felt like a revolving door of nurses, students, residents and doctors taking turns gawking at my vagina. Eventually I was told that I had a hematoma (blood clotting in my vag tissues-I recommend you DON’T Google image that) and would need surgery to remove the blood clots. Yikes! I still felt positive though - at least I had a diagnosis and at least they would be able to fix it.
Day in the life of a maternity ward patient awaiting surgery
- 7AM: Alice is out and looking good. My in-laws know the way to my heart having brought a nice, wholesome breakfast (also known as McDonald’s). Yep fine by me you played the McDonald’s card to get early access to your new granddaughter...
- 10AM: Doctors tell me that I am going to be in the OR, possibly under general anesthetic, and can’t have food or water until after the surgery. With a fresh egg mcmuff still swimming in my belly I can easily go until noon…
- 11AM: Feeding Alice is working out better than I could have imagined but the breastfeeding on no food and water is getting tough… Was that egg mcmuffin a dream? Stay cool Aviva, real cool.
- Noon (aka breaking point): Doc tells me that my surgery is moving to 2PM. WAIT SO YOU’RE TELLING A HUNGRY AND SLEEP DEPRIVED NEW MOM THAT SHE CAN’T EAT OR DRINK FOR ANOTHER TWO HOURS WITH A HUNGRY BABY ON THE BOOB?! *uncontrollable tears* *feeling guilty for crying uncontrollably because I need these tears to stay hydrated!!*
- 2PM: I demand ice chips and an IV!! So hangry…
- 6PM: Finally made it to surgery So weak...
- 9PM: Out of surgery and finally able to eat DINNER!!!!!
How anyone would feel after a hunger strike
Thankfully, despite my hanger, the surgery was a success and the pros were able to do what they needed to do. Now it’s back to vaginal healing… healing baby (isn’t that how the Marvin Gaye song goes?).
Now I’m at one month postpartum and starting to feel back to my old self! Healing over all did take a bit longer this time around…. Had some days where I was up and moving and some down days where all I could do was lie in bed, cry uncontrollably, feed baby, sleep, repeat. Those days happen.
The point of my story is to stay as well fed and hydrated as you can after having a baby. There is a lot going on but staying fueled is key to recovering and not having a total meltdown in the maternity ward. We include a water bottle in all of our postpartum care kits so that you have a way to carry around extra water-you’ll need it. In the chance that you have surgery after birth it’s ok to be hangry, surprised, sad and overjoyed all at once. You’re probably on some trippy post-birth hormone cocktail courtesy of your body that is magnifying all those feelings at once. It’s nothing your healthcare providers haven’t seen before so just go along with your feelings and draw on your birth supports to help you pass the time (shout-out to my husband who went on a hunger strike with me that day in solidarity!)
Feeling all better!