I’ve been trying to write this since the end of July this year, here it finally is:
Around 9:00 pm on April 1st, I felt some serious pain in my abdomen (different from the normal c section incision pain). I managed to lay down on the couch and finally was comfortable enough to fall asleep around 10:30 pm. When I woke up at 1:00 am needing to use the bathroom, I had no idea what I was about to find. I hobbled to the bathroom as best as I could because the pain was still there. Before I could undo my pants, I felt a large, warm wetness inside my left thigh. I rubbed the area over the top of my jeans and it didn’t take long for the blood to seep through…and there was A LOT of it. Really scared, I pulled down my pants and found blood everywhere. All over my underwear, my diaper-sized maternity pad was soaked and it had run all the way down my left leg to my sock. I was immediately horrified. I had never seen so much blood from one person in my life…and it was all mine. At that moment, I really didn’t know if I would make it. I remember at some point looking at my dad with so much guilt inside of me. I was bawling at him thinking, “Oh my God, here you are almost 70 years old and you’re going to have to raise my new baby for me because I won’t be here. I’m SO, SO sorry.” I screamed for my mom. She came to my aid as I was crying hysterically. I sat on the toilet, afraid to move an inch, wondering how I was going to get to my mom’s van so she could take me to the ER. I finally realized it was pretty much impossible to get to the hospital without getting blood all over her van, so I caved and told her to call an ambulance. (I say “caved” because I have a strong objection to using ambulances because they are so expensive, but I realized in this case, it was necessary).
I was still hysterical when the paramedics showed up. They were so nice and I’m so grateful to them for how they talked to me and took care of me. It was a quick ride to our closest hospital ER. They determined that the blood had come out of my incision and I need a transfusion. They gave me two units of blood and I started to feel more alert. I started to relax a little bit. They gave me an ultrasound and discovered a hematoma (basically a large clot of blood) in my abdomen. The doctors decided to transfer me back to the mother/baby unit at the downtown hospital while I finished recovering. This meant another ambulance ride and a longer hospital stay than I had wanted or expected, but I still expected maybe be discharged in the morning. I had no idea it would get worse and that I’d be there for TWELVE more days, not just one.
I spend the first few days in the mother/baby unit doing tests and trying to gain my strength back. The doctor would check my incision regularly to make sure it wasn’t still leaking and it had slowed down quite a bit, but I still had to cover it with gauze and change the dressing multiple times a day, still losing a bit of blood. Then around the fourth day I noticed some green discharge and I immediately knew something was infected. I showed the nurses and they agreed. Multiple doctors came in to “play around” with my incision, trying to figure out what wasn’t closing up and gave me anti-biotics for any infection. The anti-biotics, weren’t really helping (I’d had five different IV spots on my arms at this point because one of the anti-biotics kept blowing out my blood vessels. I COMPLETELY felt like a pin cushion, especially when they were taking blood to test my levels multiple times a day). On the sixth day, an OB came and prodded my wound with a Q-tip to make sure my incision was actually closed. WORSE than labor pain was all I got out of that. It was a deep, awful burning sensations like my incision and everything underneath has spontaneously combusted. So a third OB came in and decided the wound needed to be cleaned out and packed up. I was terrified. I didn’t want that burning sensation again, and all these doctor’s were doing was trial and error at this point, hoping something would work.
As I prepped my mental self for this procedure (not very well at all), I wondered if this nightmare would ever end. I just seemed to be getting worse and the doctors seemed to be getting more confused. Finally, we start the procedure and she even gives me Lidocaine to numb the incision spot, but it doesn’t help. It still burns like a wildfire. She ended up not being able to dislodge a small clot to finish the procedure and then she had the wonderful idea of calling in the Gynecological Oncologist, Dr. Perez. I believe he saved my life.
He finally shows up to examine me and gives me some great news: “You don’t have cancer,” he said with a smile on his face. It lightened my mood. He ordered a CAT scan to check the infection in my body. I finally got the CAT scan around dinner time and then it was just an anxious waiting game to see what the doctors had found. Around 8 pm that evening my OB/GYN walked into the room with a somber look on her face…
…To Be Continued