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WARNING: This post can get me pretty emotional and may do the same for you. Please read at your own risk. If you have not read Part 1, it is here. birth obgyn pregnancy pregnant new mom neglect cherry hill caffeine & fist bumps baby newborn infant birth story
Little Dude was born at 10:30am on a Wednesday morning. He was perfection. He nursed with the most perfect latch right away. (maybe tmi, but with Big Dude, we had such a tough time getting started so I was THRILLED that he was doing so well) He was full-term, born ON his due date, and as healthy as could be. He was super chill and just happy to eat and snuggle. He had the most perfect little nose and lips. Cheeks for days. The Mister and I were in love with this little guy. birth obgyn pregnancy pregnant new mom neglect cherry hill caffeine & fist bumps baby newborn infant birth story
Those first few days in the hospital were great with no issues that we were aware of. I felt wonderful. Little Dude was great. The Mister has taken off from work so he was able to stay in the hospital with us and Big Dude seemed content with the fact that there was now another little person in the family.
We were discharged from the hospital early Friday afternoon. It was the dead of winter, so Little Dude had a little hat and glove set on that my brother and sister-in-law had given him. Ironically, the hat said “Dude” and his two gloves said “Hi” and “Five.” So stinking cute, right? birth obgyn pregnancy pregnant new mom neglect cherry hill caffeine & fist bumps baby newborn infant birth story
We got Little Dude situated in his car seat and drove home. At some point, Big Dude was either picked up or dropped off…that’s a little foggy at this point. Either way, we started settling in, as a new family of four, nicely that day. I cannot, for the life of me remember what we had for dinner or little details like that, but I don’t really remember anything negative happening that day. Night time, though? Completely different story. birth obgyn pregnancy pregnant new mom neglect cherry hill caffeine & fist bumps baby newborn infant birth story
Little Dude was awakened at some point in the night so that he could nurse. My milk was starting to come in and, for those of you that have nursed before, I’m sure you remember how tough the first few days can be. My milk was starting to come in and that entire area was hurting. I picked up Little Dude and started to nurse him. It was painful, but I persevered. I was chapped, so there was blood in the milk. This was unsettling to me and, honestly, made me feel like something of a failure. I even feel awful thinking about it, but need to remember that I was absolutely NOT a failure and this happens more often than we all know. (side note: can we please stop making talking about and discussing things like this taboo?). I started to feel ill, so I stopped nursing Little Dude and laid down in bed. Not long after, I started shaking uncontrollably. This had never happened before. What was happening? Was I having an anxiety attack? This was my second baby – I should know what is going on. Why was I freaking out like this?
The shaking continued for at least an hour. Unable to move, I just laid there, in my bed, shaking uncontrollably. My heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. I was having trouble controlling my breathing. My body was heating up. I was scared out of my mind. I don’t even know if the Mister knew what was happening. Being that this happened in the dead of night, I’m pretty sure he had fallen back asleep right after I finished nursing Little Dude. When the shaking stopped, I called after-hours number for my OBGYN office. I don’t even remember who I spoke to, but I described everything that had happened. The person on the other end of the line told me that I shouldn’t be worried. That all of this was normal. I was still confused, but, since I had been told not to worry, I just went back to bed. I trusted that person on the other end of the phone line because, after all, they dealt with new moms all the time. They know what kind of health issues to worry about and what to just shrug off. Right? Right?
I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something just wasn’t right so I called my brother shortly after and asked him if he could come over to stay at the house, while Big Dude slept, so that I could go to the Triage. We buckled up Little Dude in his infant carrier and drove over to the hospital again. We went to the Mother and Child entrance and I was seen pretty quickly. I gave them a urine sample and went to wait in the same room I was in just days before, when I was still pregnant. The nurse came in and I told her all of my symptoms before she left. She quickly came back into the room, said she had called my doctor, and told me that everything I was experiencing was normal. That “sometimes things hurt a little more after having a second baby.” I was sent home. I felt foolish and was embarrassed for making my husband drive me, in the middle of the night, to the hospital when all my symptoms were “normal.”
The next morning, I didn’t feel well when I woke up. My stomach hurt a little. It felt better when I sat down, so I chalked it up to just part of the pain of recovery after childbirth. I still felt warm, so I took some tylenol and continued on with my day. The Mister’s family was coming to meet Little Dude, so it was a pretty low key day. They brought Chick-Fil-A for all of us to eat. The chicken nuggets smelled SO good, but I had absolutely no appetite, so I ate *maybe* 2 pieces of chicken. Not being hungry was SO out of character for me especially since I was a new mom and had to eat to keep my milk production up. I remember thinking it was strange that I wasn’t hungry, but figured maybe this was just another normal part of post-partum recovery that I hadn’t remembered from the first time. I let it go and continued on with my day. My stomach ache didn’t go away, but only seemed to get worse as the day went on. Again, I let it go and chalked it up to things just hurting a little more after having a second baby.
That night, it happened again. This time, along with the uncontrollable shaking, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing, I also vomited and ran a fever of 104.1F. After all the shaking stopped, I got in the shower, hoping to get my fever to go down. Why did it happen again? I had no clue and, to be absolutely honest, it freaked the heck out of me. This never happened after I had my first baby. Why was recovery so different this time? What was going on? My stomach still hurt and I couldn’t stand up straight without being in pain. I also noticed that, even after the shaking stopped, I was still having some trouble breathing and couldn’t take a deep breath without my stomach hurting even more.
I honestly don’t remember if I called my doctor again this night. All I knew was that something was not right and that I needed to go to the hospital again. This time, I called a good friend of mine (the same one I was organizing produce just days before when my water broke) and asked if she could come stay with Big Dude. She left her family, her home and warm bed, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the dead of winter, and came over. The Mister, Little Dude, and I all got into the car again and drove to the hospital.
When we arrived, the same thing happened. We were sent into one of the little rooms and told to wait for a nurse. I gave a urine sample and described all my symptoms to the nurse again. We were sent home again and told to call my OBGYN in the morning to schedule an appointment for Monday. Once again, I was embarrassed because, surely, if something was wrong with me, I would’ve been admitted into the hospital again, right? Why was I experiencing these symptoms and being told that everything was normal? Uncontrollable shaking is NOT normal. Rapid heartbeat is NOT normal. Having difficulty breathing is NOT normal. Vomiting is NOT normal. A fever of 104.1 is definitely NOT normal.
But, they kept telling me this was all normal. I trusted my doctors. Was it all in my head? What was happening?
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This is the end of part 2 of my story. Part 3 will be published within the next week.