Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What you don't know CAN hurt you.

It can even kill you.

It's common procedure in the hospital, after the birth of a baby, to have people in and out of the room on an almost constant basis. After the birth of my daughter, and again after my son's birth, I remember feeling a bit irritated at how often they came in to check on us. It seemed it always happened when we had finally gotten a moment of quiet or a chance to sleep. One thing they did, that I never really understood, was take our temperatures constantly. On some level I suppose I knew it had something to do with infection, and having had stitches after both births I assumed that was the reason.

What I did not know was how serious the reasons for taking my temperature were, how important it was to continue doing that at home and what it could mean if I spiked a fever. I didn't realize that women still, today, in the time of modern medicine still die of postpartum uterine infections. When I was discharged, there was info buried in the paperwork about taking my temperature and calling if it was above 100, but when I say buried I mean buried - and there was no information about WHY it was important.

It was only after my infection had been rampant for at least several days, after I'd had a weekend of high fevers (but put off calling until Monday afternoon) , after I'd not gotten a call back from the OB and happened to take our son to the ER that night, that I realized just how badly I was hurting. My uterus HURT, and it's not supposed to. I didn't realize that even after a harsh vaginal birth, your uterus should not be in pain.

It was Tuesday morning, when my son was 12 days old, that I mentioned to our doctor when he came to check on him that I was running fevers. He asked about my pain level, and it was only then that I realized that even a brutal vaginal birth, one a nurse referred to as a vaginal cesarean, was not reason to have an excruciatingly painful uterus. I'd been so busy trying to concentrate on my family that I just put it off. It was when the dr told me I'd have to leave the my son to be seen by the OB clinic and I said I didn't want to that he pointed out that if I got really sick and died, I'd leave him forever. My normally laid back family physician was the one to bring it home. This was serious.

I shudder now to think of what would have happened had I put it off any more. As it is, almost 9 weeks later I am still fighting this infection. I went in today due to increasing pain, cramping and discharge. After a brutal physical exam (the doctor was gentle but everything is so tender it didn't matter) it became clear that things are still not ok.

They're the opposite, actually.

I was given instructions to take another round of antibiotics - two weeks to be exact on napalm in a pill (Augmentin) and if that doesn't clear things up, a D & C in my future. The thing is, this wasn't my regular OB I saw and frankly I'm distrustful given that it was someone other than my regular OB who first saw me for the infection, gave me the wrong antibiotic and failed to give me something to make me expel the clots that showed up on the ultrasound. The doctor I saw today pointed out that my last ultrasound showed things were clear but they clearly are not. As a matter of fact, when I got home and used the bathroom the next time I passed a whole lot of what is not supposed to be in my uterus.

Perhaps the little left some furniture behind?

Chances are really good there were pieces of placenta left behind, or perhaps some of the packing material used to try to stop my hemorraghing after his birth.

Or, maybe my doctor left behind his wedding ring when using the move shown above?

1 comment:

Carrie said...


I am involuntarily crossing my legs right now. You poor thing.

A D&C is not so bad (have you had one before? - I can't remember), but... who needs to deal with that when they have a new baby in the house?

Sorry you're going through this, and I hope this round of medication is all you need.