It has been officially 16 days since I’ve given birth to my second daughter, Victoria (Tori), so needless to say I am still in my postpartum recovery journey. However, I wanted to share the immediate symptoms and trauma I underwent from within the first few hours after giving birth. It was quite a scary experience for me, and I know there are other moms who may have experienced this too, or could experience this, so I hope my story resonates in the sense that just like every labour is different, so can your postpartum. And that’s ok! There are always ways to help with your recovery, and for this journey I am definitely learning new things every day.
Before I start, I suggest you read my birth story here (if you haven’t already) as it segues completely into this post.
Ok — so it is 1:22pm, and I just delivered Tori. What a huge relief for that to be over!
When my midwives took Tori to get her weight and do all of her normal checks, I noticed that I couldn’t stop shaking. I must have looked like a mad woman as it was my entire body, right down to my fingers and toes! This was from all of the adrenaline in my body from the crazy fast and painful labour I just underwent. This was new to me because for my first born, I had the epidural and was in labour for a total of 16 hours; so it was a long and somewhat smooth road for that delivery. Once the adrenaline left my body, I felt ready to nurse Tori for the first time. It was beautiful, and thankfully she latched very well!
Fast-forward a half hour or so, we made our way (with a wheelchair) to our recovery room. I was feeling like I was coming back down to earth, slowly but surely, so I was taking advantage of enjoying every minute with Tori. We were asked to stay at the hospital for 24 hours to monitor Tori’s blood sugar levels, so we made ourselves as comfortable as we can in our private room.
Fast-forward another 3 hours, the nurses came in to insert an IV of saline in me. I had just finished nursing Tori and she was sleeping on my chest. As they were inserting the IV, I felt very light-headed, then quickly very heavy headed. I spoke out loud and told the nurses what I was feeling. The next thing I remember is seeing colours. After that, the next thing I remember was seeing my husband standing over me, holding Tori and asking the nurses, “Is she good? Is she good?”
I thought to myself, wait a minute, Tori was last on my chest, and there weren’t as many staff in the room as there are right now. I then realized I had passed out. I was completely out of it and blinking very heavily. The nurses were calling my name and asking me to keep my eyes open and stay with them so that they knew I was ok. Over the past few hours, I had lost a lot of blood as I suffered from what is known as a postpartum hemorrhage.
This can happen to women who went through a precipitous labour, which is a labour that lasts for less than 3 hours. My labour was very fast. My midwife recorded it as being 2.5 hours long. She counted from when my contractions became intense, to when Tori was delivered. With my hemorrhage, I passed several blood clots. We didn’t do a count, but because I manually felt the nurses removing them, it felt like I passed about 50 clots the size of tennis balls, and then one big one that was the size of my placenta. That is a lot of blood loss, so my body reacted accordingly.
The nurses paged my midwife 911 to hurry back to help with my crisis. After several tests, my blood work came back in the good zone showing that I did not need a blood transfusion. Hallelujah! Glad I didn’t need surgery just a few short hours after giving birth.
I must say I am very impressed with the staff at that hospital. They responded so well and was so comforting to me and my family the whole time. Before I blacked out, they were closely monitoring the number of clots that I was passing. They had seen this before many times, and were helping my uterus contract manually, since it was not doing it on its own. However, by time the time I passed out, my clots kept forming, and I had just lost too much blood by that point to stay awake.
I’ll end this story now by saying a few short hours after this crisis, I regained my energy and was able to hold and nurse Tori again. I have to continue to take iron supplements to help rebuild my red blood cells, but overall, I am feeling much like myself again.