Those of you that follow my blog regularly will know that I have been on quite the journey to say the least! The last 3 weeks have been the biggest rollercoaster of my entire life, and I consider myself to have had my fair share of ups and downs in the past!
I never expected that just a few days after having a baby, it would be me having to learn how to walk again!!!
On the positive, just over 3 weeks ago, we welcomed our beautiful healthy baby girl to the world – slightly earlier than planned, and not in quite the way I’d hoped, but she is amazing – a perfectly formed little 6lb 6oz bundle of joy. http://realmumreview.com/our-birth-story/.
My section experience, although an emergency due to going into labour naturally with a breech baby prior to my elective date, was calm and controlled, and I felt relatively at ease throughout, despite having a few issues with my womb and losing a fair bit of blood.
I was in hospital post section for 3 days, but I felt much better than I expected to. I got up out of bed and moving relatively soon after I regained the feeling in my legs, and although I was tentative on my feet and aware of the wound, I was able to move relatively easily and felt MUCH better in myself that I did after my first labour with Erin (36 hours and no sleep for 3 days!). Unfortunately, during my observations my pulse rate was a little high, which they felt may have been to do with the fact I was anaemic, – my iron count had suffered a little bit due to blood loss. I also however have a bit of a white coat syndrome, so as soon as I knew the pulse rate was what was stopping me from going home, I almost always inevitably felt anxious whenever they came around to check it. In the end, they suggested I have an ECG before I left to double check everything looked ok, and once there were no concerns, I was allowed to go home.
We had three wonderful days at home. Erin LOVED having Mummy back under our roof, and was super excited that her baby sister was at home with us. We slept through both of our midwife visits (not hearing the doorbell!), but eventually managed to see both of them, give Neve her heel prick tests, and get Erin accustomed to life with a newborn baby in the house.
On the first day at home, I started to get the odd sharp pain in my right buttock – I assumed this was a bit of sciatica, bought on by getting up and down from the sofa. It was painful but just annoying rather than debilitating. As the days went on though this pain got progressively worse. By the third day, I was in quite a lot of pain, and felt like my whole bum was cramping up and preventing me from walking without holding on to my leg. I started to feel quite unwell with it, and on the Wednesday night, I decided that this “wasn’t normal” and went to the walk in centre in Solihull to get checked (the same walk in centre that saved my dad’s life!! – http://realmumreview.com/when-fate-steps-in/).
By this point, I was in agony, and had to keep moving my leg in the chair to ease the pain. When I saw the doctor, she seemed quite concerned. She asked me to get on the couch and checked my reflexes and responses. She also asked to check my wound, and that’s when she advised me that I was poorly and that I had an infection. My skin around the wound was red hot to the touch, and looked quite red and inflamed. She took my temperature and it was 38.4, and my pulse was over 125! She advised me that I needed to go to hospital as I could have sepsis, and therefore I needed to be admitted that night. This was all very traumatic, particularly as Erin, Mike and my 6 day old baby were waiting outside. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t panic – every thought went through my head from “oh my god what if I die?” to “I’m not stopping feeding my baby!” – I was very upset. Erin then got upset because I was upset – and started crying “i love you Mummy!!” which obviously didn’t help!!
Mikes mum came to collect Erin & take her home and we drove straight back to hospital – Neve thankfully was allowed to come too – for this I was unbelievably thankful, as I couldn’t bear the thought of stopping breast feeding so soon.
I spent 24 hours on the High Dependency Unit – having half hourly observations and regular blood tests before starting on an iv course of antibiotics. It was scary, but I was VERY well looked after. They also gave me pain relief which helped a great deal. The following day, I was transferred onto the ward, and they were kind enough to put me on the same ward that I had been on first time around, so I recognised some of the midwives, and I was in a side room due to being a re-admission, meaning that when Neve slept, I was able to get some well needed rest.
The wound infection was treated with antibiotics, but the leg pain was still a bit of a mystery and they weren’t sure whether or not the two were related. After seeing a number of consultants, they were a little concerned that I may have a collection under my wound that was pressing on a muscle, or worse some internal bleeding. I was terrified that I may have to go back to theatre. They sent me for a CT Scan, which was a bizarre experience, and thankfully this ruled out the bleeding, but showed that I did have a ‘collection’ around my wound.
A few days later I was sent for an MRI scan, which was to check for any nerve or neurological damage. Unfortunately for me, the process of having the MRI itself was quite traumatic. I really struggled to lie flat and wasn’t sure I would be able to do it at all, as my leg was really cramping up and extremely painful. I finally forced myself down, but had to hold my leg in spasm for 20 minutes whilst the tests were done. I knew at the time that it didn’t feel good at all, but obviously I was keen to have the feedback from the test as I was also concerned that there may be some permanent damage.
That night, I could barely get out of bed. I tried to go to the toilet and when I went to bend down my leg went into complete spasm – it was agony. I could barely move.
The next week was fairly traumatic, and I went from having to use a bed pan (horrific) due to not being able to stand out of bed, to moving around with a wheelchair, then gradually to a zimmer, and finally a pair of crutches. I was referred to osteopaths and physiotherapists. The good news is there was no nerve damage, and the pain appeared to be caused by a swelling in my lumber pressing on my piri formis muscle – which runs very close to the sciatic nerve. The prognosis was that the swelling would reduce with time (and movement ironically), and that therefore the more I move, the better the swelling and immobility would get.
Although their was progress every day, I was struggling emotionally, mainly from being away from Erin for so long, and feeling like I was stuck within four walls of the hospital. The midwives and staff on the ward were quite simply amazing, and I felt like I made some real friends in there, as they all went above and beyond to make sure that I, and my “lodger” Neve were ok, despite my symptoms not really being pregnancy or baby related anymore!
Despite my turmoil, Neve was absolutely fantastic. She slept relatively well, was very calm and content, and caught on to the knack of breast feeding with no issues at all, just a little greedy perhaps lol :). Her calm nature really helped, and we bonded very well during our 1 on 1 time together!
I was discharged last Friday, 21 days postnatal, and have returned, initially, to my mother in laws bungalow, as at the moment, I am still on crutches. I am having daily physio sessions and today, managed to walk a flight of stairs up and down using the handrail and one crutch for support. This is massive progress. Night times are the hardest, mainly because I am used to a super duper hospital bed and the mattress I am on now is very soft. I have a bed rail to support me in and out, and a step to get in to the shower.
Having a newborn and a threenager whilst on crutches is no easy feat, and its very frustrating not to be able to carry anything or move around freely. However, I will say one thing for certain, it is amazing how much you appreciate the simple things in life once you have had a period of time without them. For now, I am enjoying being able to watch my eldest play with her toys, read her a bedtime story, and have a morning cuddle. I am enjoying having dinner with the company of others, and not on a wooden tray alone in a darkened room. I am enjoying carpet, and daylight, and being able to go outside whenever I want. I am also enjoying not having to confirm my date of birth or hospital number, and not wear a medical wrist band!!!!
The journey to full recovery could be long, but I am half way home, and I am back with my family where I belong. Fingers crossed I will be back on my feet soon and pushing my daughter around the park in her pushchair. For that, I simply cannot wait.