Read part one and part two.
The consequences of a speedy labor, though, started soon after Shea cut the cord. Little Henry was placed on my chest and we focused our attention on adoring this bundle of perfection.
My midwife was stitching me up for what seemed to be a long time. I don't remember the blood but Shea said there was lots of it. In a chain of events I can't really remember, my face turned white, and my blood pressure dropped to 70/20. I didn't know what that meant exactly except a lot of people rushed into the room including the anesthesiologist and an oxygen mask was placed on me for what Shea describes as a scary 20 minutes.
We found out later that I tore across a major artery combined with the fact that due to my labor being extraordinarily fast, my uterus stopped contracting once Henry greeted the world instead of continuing to contract to shut off the flow of blood. All this led to me losing more than double the amount of blood of a normal laboring woman.
There's a lot of time in between that I can't account for but the next thing I remember is Henry weighing in at 7lbs, 4 ounces and measuring 19 inches long. Then ordering a cheeseburger, fries and apple pie from the hospital cafeteria which did not live up to expectations.
Later, they asked me to try to pee, and I fainted in the bathroom. Once again triggering a rush of nurses into the room along with a horrifying torture device - ammonia. The nurses all joked what a champ I was during labor and now my body was falling apart afterward. I ended up needing a catheter but eventually I was able to focus on our sweet little son and our first visitors.
The next 24 hours were full of visitors, learning how to use my bathroom spray bottle, falling in love with the mesh underwear, and meeting with the onslaught of nurses, pediatricians, photographers and visits from random lab people taking my blood at 3 a.m.
Just 12 hours before we were supposed to head home I started complaining of dizzyness and vision clouded by a million little stars. After a quick blood draw we determined my hemoglobin was at a 7. When I checked in, it was 13. Another fact I don't completely understand but it's something my medically inclined friends hear and get wide eyed. That night I got even more visitors including my midwife who came in at 11 p.m. because she couldn't sleep without checking on me. Have I mentioned how blessed I feel to have her? I also got another IV of fluids and a pelvic exam (hi, terrifying) to check for internal bleeding.
Saturday morning a nurse from the blood conservation team came and explained that basically my body had no more iron and my choices were 1. get a blood transfusion, feel better right away but deal with possibility my body would reject it; 2. Get venafer (iron) infusions that help my body make its own blood over two to three weeks and feel better in a month or; 3. Do nothing, and feel better in six months. I opted for option two. I received one infusion in the hospital and then later, two outpatient treatments over the last two weeks.
Finally, Sunday morning, we got to take our little man home.
Now two weeks later, it's all getting better. My energy levels are returning despite the expected sleep deprivation. And the other healing required some vicodin and a large collection of new-to-me bathroom products. Everyday gets a little better. And if it meant having to do it all again, I would. As long as we get Henry in the end.