“Have you picked out a good dream?”
In my arms.
Never letting go.
Teeth are chattering.
Tongue is throbbing.
“Try to relax. Do you want another warmed blanket?”
Never letting go.
My teeth hurt.
My tongue is numb.
My throat hurts.
“I think I bit my tongue.”
Close my eyes.
Try to breathe.
What is happening?
Last thing I remembered was going into the OR. It was cold. The room felt big for my small baby. I was awake. They half smiled at me, shared a light hearted joke, moved me to the operating table.
“Have you picked out a good dream?” asked the anesthesiologist.
When I woke up in recovery, I had several nurses rushing around me. I was agitated. My teeth would not stop chattering. I was cold and shivering. My tongue was completely numb. My throat felt like shards of glass. For a brief moment, I didn’t know where I was or why.
But at least I could close my eyes and forget for just a moment.
In my arms.
Never letting go.
Waking up again, this time aching. A new male nurse was standing on my left charting.
“It looks like I have a release for you to sign. It’s for… products of conception. Sign here.”
My eyes are welling up. My voice cracks for the first time in hours. My new reality, new truth, is setting in when I realize they are letting me keep my baby. Tears are streaming down my cheeks.
My tongue is numb. My throat is like sandpaper. My teeth hurt from the pressure of clenching my jaw. Tears are trickling down my cheeks. And I am smiling ear to ear all because I get to bring my baby home.
My nurse, uncomfortable by my reaction, asked if my husband was waiting for me and quickly called down for him to come up.
He was not going to be thrown away.
He was not just ‘products of conception.’
He was my baby boy.
And they were letting me keep my 13 week baby.
Matt came up and found me half asleep, smiling. I told him about Porter. That we get to keep Porter. In 21 days we get to take our son home.
We were ready to go home but had to check off a to-do list to be discharged.
- Check vitals
- Check blood flow
- Take out IVs (I had two)
- Walk a lap around the recovery unit
- Get dressed
- Sign consents
- Receive discharge and RX instructions
- Wait for a transporter to push wheel chair to car pick up
My vitals were fine. My blood flow was light to medium. There were some gushes but overall not heavy. I had two IVs; one in the bend of my left arm (original placement) and a second in my right hand. We had no idea why I had a second one that was bloody but both were hooked up to fluids of some sort.
I slid my legs over to the left of my bed. Matt helped me put on a pair of mesh underwear. There is no dignity left post birth, whether you are holding an alive baby or leaving with empty arms.
We walked our lap around the unit. My legs hurt. My quads felt like I had held a squat for an hour. The pain was deep, deep down in my muscles. I ran my hand along my leg and felt tenderness. I asked the nurse, “Did I get an intramuscular injection in my legs?” Yep. Two shots in the thighs. Ouch.
Lap was done. Prepare for the real world. Time to get dressed. Matt pulled my clothes out of the clear plastic hospital bag. He helped me pull on my leggings and shoes.
I did not listen to the advice given to me. A sweet friend, kindly advised me to wear lose sweatpants for my surgery day. That morning I put on my loose and comfy pants but felt bloated and ugly in them. Just before we left the house I switched to a pair of leggings. I wish I had worn my sweatpants. The fabric was tight. My uterus hurt. My pants were unforgiving to my postpartum pad and mesh underwear.
We signed our consent forms for Porter and discharge papers. My OB prescribed me a few medications; an antibiotic, a pain medication and something for my uterus.
“Ok. Sounds fine.”
Matt left to pull the car up and I took my wheel chair ride down to the hospital entrance. No baby this time. Not like the previous three times I had left this hospital. Just me, my mesh underwear and my postpartum blood soaked pad.
I clenched Porter’s consent papers.
It was all I had left of him for 3 weeks.
This paper was the only thing I had promising his return.
My tongue is still numb.
My throat is still raw.
My jaw is still tense.
Prior to leaving the hospital I was chatting with the nurse about how hungry I was since fasting for surgery. We listed off food ideas: a burger, Mexican food, a salad or sandwich. My nurse chuckled and suggested soup.
He was right. My throat was sore from the tube they put down my throat. And my tongue was numb because I had been biting my tongue from the time I was out to when I woke up. My jaw was tense from clenching my teeth post anesthesia.
Can you guess what we had?
The warmth soothed the soreness, but my tongue could not taste anything. I tried to chew the bread roll but my jaw hurt so bad.
Around 8pm my OB called me. I had never received a late follow up call like this before. I answered, worried something was wrong.
“I just wanted to check in with you and see how you were doing.”
If that is not great medical treatment, I don’t know what is.
She filled me in on what had happened during surgery. Porter was taken out along with my placenta. But then my uterus would not clamp down. I started to lose blood fast. My body was starting to hemorrhage. I received two intramuscular shots in the legs to help stop the bleeding. They had to start a second IV to administer more medication to stop the bleeding. They packed my uterus and inserted a balloon to slow down the bleeding. My cervix was traumatized and needed stitches to help it close up and heal. She prescribed me a medication that would help my uterus contract back down. She said it could cause a bit of cramping and heavier bleeding since it is forcing my uterus to clamp down faster and more efficiently.
She wanted to make sure I was ok.
Was I ok?
Physically: I was ok. My body hurt. But I was ok. I was alive.
Emotionally: I was numb with a hint of despair and elation.
I bet you are wondering why the hell there was a hint of elation. Who feels a “hint of elation” after a d&c?
Me. I did. Because I was given a piece of printer paper saying “Consent to release products of conception.” And the hospital had a copy of this. It was real. It was proof my baby was alive and conceived. No one could forget his existence because this piece of paper said I would get to keep my baby.
“I’m ok. Thank you for helping us keep Porter. They told me as I woke up and it made my day.”
Never letting go.