The morning following William's birth was more eventful than either one of us were prepared for. I will warn you before you read my story that I do share a lot of details - and use words like "blood." If that might bother you, don't read it!
Throughout the night, I had gotten light headed and felt faint any time I had to stand up to go to the bathroom. The nurse advised me not to go alone, to either have Chris help me or to call a nurse. I had also been bleeding quite a bit, which at the time I thought was to be expected. (No one actually shows you how much you're suppose to bleed or not!)
On Wednesday morning I started to sit up in bed and felt completely dizzy. My vision was fuzzy and I was really clammy. Chris asked me how many fingers he was holding up and I said something about my eyes being closed so I couldn't see. Chris told me later that my eyes were wide open and my skin was as white as the bed sheets! He immediately called the nurses and they came running in. I don't remember all the details but eventually I was given an IV and fluids and they drew some blood for tests. I was told to remain in bed and was hooked up to a catheter.
My hemoglobin tests came back low (7 if that means anything to you), but the doctor said they weren't low enough to require a blood transfusion although it was an option to consider. I had lost a lot of blood during delivery and through the night. I really didn't want a blood transfusion so I said I'd wait to see if the fluids were enough to get my system back up to speed. They had also given me some medication to help stop the bleeding.
After another blood test (every time they drew blood I was pricked at least three times!) my hemoglobin came back at a 4! What! How could they be lower than before!? Apparently I was also dehydrated and that can mess with the test results. The doctor tells me that I'm at risk of having a heart attack and need to have the blood transfusion right away. She would start me out with two pints and see after that if I needed more, chances are I would.
Having a blood transfusion wasn't something I ever thought I'd need after having a baby. I hadn't realized just how much blood I was loosing after the delivery. A midwife later told me that I had quite possibly lost half of the blood in my body and if this were 50 years ago, I would have died as they didn't have ways of treating blood loss like that back then. If my emotions weren't in high gear yet, they were after hearing that. And I would cry every time I thought of this fact for the next two weeks. I was terrified, scared and deeply saddened that my delivery/recovery wasn't what I had hoped for.
The thought of my husband's greatest fears (that something horrible would happen to me) had almost come to pass also brought an overwhelming sadness to my heart and streams of tears to my eyes. I hated that he had to see me so ill.
After the first transfusion they decided I needed one more the following day. And the day after that I opted to have another one. My levels still weren't in the normal range and the staff advised me to take the 4th pint as going home to take care of a newborn was going to be hard work and I needed to be better than I was. They told Chris that he would have to do everything. My job was to feed my baby, bathe, sleep and eat. He took that to heart and has changed nearly every diaper, burped him after every feeding and prepared every meal and snack for me as well.
William also suffered from my loss of blood. Not only was I unable to get up to comfort him when he cried (Daddy took amazing care of him though), but my milk supply was a lot lower than it needed to be and was a lot slower at coming in. His blood sugar dropped pretty low because he wasn't getting enough to eat and he lost a lot of weight. The pediatrician started supplementing formula to get his sugar regulated. This was another blow to what I had hoped for. I knew breast milk was best and that introducing a bottle this early on could cause some confusion for the baby.
No one really told me why I had bled so much, but the day after the first transfusion I had passed a larger blood clot that actually had a piece of the placenta in it. I was told that was probably why. Once that was out of my body I felt so much better.
So five days later, on October 5th, with my hemoglobin at a decent (but not great) level and William's blood sugar back up to a normal number, they let us all go home.