There is something fundamental that happens to your body when you wake up from a nightmare, and discover it isn’t a nightmare, it is your life. An electric current courses through your body, your consciousness catches up to the rest of your brain and you begin to dissect. Your family and social history dictates your milestones, you hit those milestones and you still feel that something is off. The nightmare was something I wasn’t rinsing off with cold water, it wasn’t going away, I was constantly waking up thinking I was supposed to hit another milestone, and not really enjoying it.
The birth of my son was supposed to be incredible, it was, but I was plagued with pain and blood loss, I felt like I couldn’t connect with him. 2 weeks after I gave birth I went in for a regular D & C, a routine 15 minute under procedure. I had prepared, I pumped milk, my husband had our son in the Ergo, we kissed, and made a joke, and I was wheeled into the OR. I came out from the Anaesthesia, blurry eyed, happy to see my 2 men. The nurse bent down nonchalantly and said “you can get up in 15 minutes and get dressed”, but 5 minutes later, I called to her and said “something is wrong, I am bleeding.” she said “no that is not possible” – but it was, and it was not stopping, soon panic ensued, and the blood started to gush – they started to weigh the blood loss, faces started to go white, and they tried calling for the doctor. IV needles started to come out, and I was poked many times over, my veins were failing. The intercom started to go off every 2 minutes – I was the code red. I was wheeled into the O.R again, and the lights went out. When I finally woke up, I had 3 IV’s, a catheter, and a balloon inserted in my uterus to keep me from bleeding, and a heart monitor attached to me. My now 3 week old and husband were leaning over me. The pain was nothing I could describe, I groaned and started to whimper, the nurse asked me what my pain was like between 1 and 10, 10 being the worst. I looked up at my husband, and said almost inaudibly it was worse than child-birth. The nurse didn’t understand, my husband had to turn and yell at her to give me pain medication, and then say “She gave birth with nothing”, I went out again. I woke up in a dark room, my son was crying for food. My breasts were so full, they were leaking everywhere, the nurse looked at me, smiled and started to wipe my face with a damp cloth. She shooed my boys out. she gently turned me from one side to another cleaning me off. My eyes were slits, I asked why my eyes felt like they were injected with lead, she kindly replied that I was slightly swollen, I looked down, I was swollen all the way down, blood was caked all over me, my stomach was bruised from my breasts down, I had iodine all over me. I started to whimper, but no tears came out. The nurse quietly looked at me, and said “you have a lovely baby and husband, you have your life.” She then took out a monstrous machine, and I realized they had to pump out all of my milk. I tried keeping a sense of humour, that is all I could really do. I had 3 I. V’s stuck to me (I also had swelling all over my hands and feet from over a dozen attempts of getting the needles) in, I held onto one pump myself, the pain was excruciating. I felt guilty for having to pump out all of the milk, my newborn was now 3 weeks old, and breast-feeding just started to get easy. I lay there unable to keep my eyes open, and unable to sleep. There were so many people coming in and out of the room, that I got used to having my legs permanently spread apart, I was prodded and poked in places that no one needs or ever likes.
I spent a week in the hospital, had a blood transfusion, but had all my female bits still intact (had no idea that they try to save those for women in child-bearing years). A once fit, size 4 – was now a swollen mess, no muscle, beyond exhausted, I wasn’t able to pick up my child, walking was painful, and forget about pushing anything. 2 weeks after getting out of the hospital, I went in for a check-up. The OB asked “how are you feeling, you have a right to be depressed, you have been through a lot.”
I looked at her and smiled, and couldn’t help but retort back “What do I have to be depressed about, I am alive, and I get to spend time with my baby.” It would be in the coming months that I would learn that I had worked so hard, spent so many hours in an office, spent our measly 3 weeks a year travelling, but never feeling like I enjoyed it, or appreciated it, and realized I spent my whole pregnancy working long hours and not truly basking in the wonders of the gift I had inside me. I never took a moment to really appreciate any moments in my day no matter how small.
The first time I was able to walk around the block pushing my stroller, was the first time I really looked at everything I saw, and watched my infant trying to focus on the world around him.
To be continued