post-labor complications

As promised, I wanted to tell you about the little scare we had after my amazingly “easy” and short labor. I’m not doing this to scare anyone but I also don’t want to give the impression that my labor was completely free of complication.

About two hours after our little sweetheart was born, I asked Hubby for a Kashi bar from our labor bag.  He handed it to me, I had eaten about half, and then I started to feel lightheaded.  The pediatrician was in our room, examining our baby for the first time in the hospital basinette.  I told Hubby, “I don’t feel so good” or “I don’t feel right” — something like that.

The nurses had been monitoring my blood pressure which had been a little higher than normal after birth and since the midwife had left.  Now my blood pressure dropped rapidly to about 70 (or maybe 60?) over 20. I felt very strange, like I might black out, and I felt like I should try to stay awake.  Everything seemed to go into a kind of fog where I was aware of what was happening around me but I wasn’t fully present. 

The nurse started bustling around and other nurses and techs were called into the room.  First they gave me a bag of fluids and then they catheterized me to take any pressure away that my bladder might be putting on my uterus.  My blood pressure remained low.  I had felt like maybe I was bleeding too much (the midwife had given me a shot of pitocin in the thigh after labor because she said I was bleeding a little more than was typical, which I agreed was good for her to do — my number one priority was to stay healthy). The nurses seemed to be taking forever doing other things and just kind of moving around the room and I finally reminded them to check my bleeding.  When they did they were concerned with the amount they saw, and started more pitocin in my drip.  I also got a shot of methergen to help my uterus contract.

Although my midwife had done it after birth as well, the nurse started compressing my uterus to try to move any clots that may have still remained.  I have to admit that this was the only part of my labor or post-labor that really frightened me…the beeping from the machines, the interventions (that I felt were completely necessary), the growing number of hospital staff in the room. Finally the nurse asked me to raise my hips off the bed as she compressed on my abdomen. As I did that, two LARGE clots shot out of me. Hubby said they were as big as probably a small bunch of bananas…wow!

As soon as that happened, my blood pressure began to stabilize.  They monitored me in the room for a few more hours and then our little family was finally able to go to the recovery room on the sixth floor where we spent the next night before we went home.  While all that was happening, Hubby was calm and I was calm and focused on staying alert and awake, but after we were settled back at home he and I cried about it together and admitted that it really scared us.  We heard from several that it is somewhat common, especially with fast labors.

The experience did make me wonder whether I’d be a good candidate for a home birth, which Hubby and I have talked about having for future births.  My bleeding did not classify as a hemorrhage — it was about 350 mL lost, I heard from my midwife later. I’m not sure what classifies as a hemorrhage, and I think perhaps a home birth midwife could handle that circumstance just fine.  If anyone is reading this who might know, could you let me know your opinion? I’d love to hear it.


labor and birth packing list — what we REALLY USED

Some of you may remember our labor and birth packing list I shared with you before our little one was born.  The amount of items we actually used during my short, five-hour labor and afterward in the hospital was incredibly short, so for fun I thought I’d share with you what we REALLY used. My original list is below, with tems that were not used crossed through and notes in color:

To pack for me:

  • Focal point (this is the beaded necklace that was made by the women at my shower — I will try to use it as my focal point while breathing during labor) (I used this until we were in the hospital and I was about to push/pushing…then I just used a focal point on the wall and/or bed)
  • List of last-minute items to pack — I will affix this to the outside of our bags I’m packing today so we don’t forget any of these last-minute items:
    • More perishable snacks, like fruit or fruit bars
    • Cell phones
    • Wallets/purse (with ID and insurance info)
    • Coats
  • Water birth certificate (used even though I didn’t get my water birth; but we had to show it for them to start filling up the tub)
  • Birth plan (given to the nurse in the delivery room, although she barely referenced it — our midwife is VERY natural birth friendly though so everything was still perfect)
  • Hospital registration confirmation (turns out I didn’t really pack this…all I got from the hospital was an automatic email saying “you’re registered” but no confirmation number or anything, but you may want to include this)
  • Call and email lists (I didn’t really pack this but have already drafted a “baby’s here” email with the recipients ready to go) (I tried to use the email list I made but there was an error with an email address that I couldn’t fix from my iPhone, so I was never able to send out my mass email to everyone!)
  • Labor tools list and birth affirmations list
  • Pediatrician info (programmed into my phone, not packed)
  • Lip balm
  • Hair brush
  • Toothbrush, floss, toothpaste (Um, BARELY used the toothbrush! HA)
  • Deodorant, face wash, moisturizer, makeup (for me this will include just my “essentials” of concealer, mascara, and eyebrow pencil…which I may not even touch!), shampoo/conditioner, lotion, ponytail holders
  • Change for snacks from the vending machine
  • Cell phone charger (I happened to have an extra one, so I am going ahead and packing that now)
  • Camera/charger
  • Going home clothes
  • Heavy flow pads (I used the hospitals; trust me — theirs were WAY better!)
  • Birthing gown (I am bringing my own) (I did use this, and thank goodness it was made to be thrown out because after birth it SURE had to be! After she was born I essentially spent the rest of the weekend naked, in just the hospital’s mesh panties and with a blanket over me and usually the baby!)
  • iPod with relaxation CD and any other music selections loaded (in my case I loaded a playlist onto my iPhone) (This was our favorite thing we packed for labor and I’m so glad I had it. We played music from my phone.)
  • iPod or iPhone speakers
  • 2 pairs socks/non-skid
  • Robe
  • Nursing bra/pads (I don’t think I’ll need the pads one day into breastfeeding, but I just threw some in just in case)
  • Birthing ball
  • Undies (Okay, I know everyone is different — but there’s no WAY I’d wear my own underwear after labor!)
  • Pen/notebook (I stuffed all my labor tool sheets, water birth certificate, etc. in here) (other than a storage space for the water birth certificate and birth plan, I didn’t need this)
  • Kashi bars/nuts/any other non-perishable snacks you may want
  • Floaty pillow/swim ring for my water birth
  • Antibacterial soap, which we may or may not use before getting in the tub
  • Fish net (take a guess what that could be used for)
  • Cord blood storage kit

To pack for hubby:

  • Swim trunks
  • Change of clothes
  • Hygiene items (for what will hopefully be a one-night stay, he really just needs toothbrush and toothpaste, and can use my shampoo, etc.) (all he used was his toothbrush/toothpaste…and barely, like me! yikes!)

To pack for baby:

  • Blanket
  • Hat, socks, warm going-home outfit (I am packing in two sizes — newborn and 0-3)
  • A few diapers and wipes, just in case

Do I wish I had packed less? No…I had no idea what I’d use! Next time I might use more of my labor items if I have a longer labor, but I have an idea now as to what the necessities are for me when it comes to having a baby. I just found it amusing how MUCH we packed and how LITTLE we used. We came to the hospital with a huge birthing ball and three bags. We could have come with a duffel bag and left it at that! 🙂

three weeks with our little miss

All last week I didn’t post a thing! What can I say — time passes infinitely slow and quick with an infant, seemingly simultaneously. It’s hard to focus on more than a few things each day, and those always involve nursing and caring for her, and then almost always a shower for me and maybe one other thing.  Today was a good day because I got her comfy in her mei tai carrier for the first time, so I feel mobile! I just packed up my maternity clothes and put my pre-pregnancy clothes back in the closet.  She is sleeping on me in the mei tai right now, as a matter of fact.

There’s so much I want to share with you — the story of the little experience we had a couple hours after her birth, where my blood pressure dropped really low and I passed a couple of huge clots, and the list of the items we REALLY used at the hospital (versus the HUGE amount that we packed — but my focus is on this little girl right now.  I promise I will be back to share with you.  In the meantime, here’s a three-week photo my dad took of her this Saturday.

Three weeks old