(Part 3) Birth and Post-Birth Story

This portion will be extremely long.  I must include all the unnecessary details so if you really want me to get to the point then you should know that Abigail Grace was born October 29, 2010 via scheduled c-section.  I then suffered complications and was readmitted to the hospital, but in the end everything turn out fine.  But, if you think you can tolerate the extended version of the story then:

Throughout this story I want to praise God for His goodness.  All blessings are great, but I will try to highlight ones that stand out. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010 was our last day as a couple. Our plan was to enjoy a nice supper of grilled pork chops together, but unfortunately the grill wouldn’t work.  So it was baked pork chops instead.  Perhaps it should have been a sign that life doesn't always happen the way we would like for it to. It was a frustrating day as I had wanted it be my “nesting” day as it was my only free day after resigning from my job. Instead I had to make another trip to see my doctor, which was an hour's drive. It seemed a little excessive and put me behind schedule.  I had an appointment the day before, but Dr. M. was involved in an Emergency C-Section and was unable to see me. I had begun to get a sinus infection so I was able to see another doctor and she gave me a prescription for an anti-biotic. I wanted to feel my best when baby Abigail entered the world.

Abby was a breech baby who refused to turn.  I tried some of the exercises and I could feel her head occasionally move a little like a pendulum, but she never could get her body turned.  So Dr. M. had scheduled a C-section when she reached 39 weeks. 

I stopped taking the blood thinners 24 hours before the C-section was scheduled.  It was nice to have a break from the needle pokes.  (I was taking the blood thinners due to a large clot discovered in week 28).

Friday, October 29, 2010
I am not a morning person by nature and 3:30 AM  on Friday morning came too quickly. I took a shower and worked on doing my hair and makeup. Nothing to eat or drink for me. Jeff was so thoughtful and refused to drink his normal cup of coffee in front of me although I encouraged him to do so. We left the house a few minutes before 4:30. I closed my eyes and attempted to rest during most of the dark one-hour ride.  We didn't talk much. It's difficult for me to function without coffee and breakfast.

At the hospital Jeff took one final picture of my big belly. I was not as uncomfortable as I expected to be. The night before I checked and I could still touch my toes! Abby had dropped that Monday for a few hours and then bounced back up so I didn’t have the discomfort of having that immense pressure on my pelvis.  I am so thankful for the blessing of an easy pregnancy in spite of the blood clot.  I could deal with compression socks and needle pokes.

I changed into my hospital gown and then my parents arrived shortly after that. Yes, they were so excited about becoming grandparents.  For several years there had been hints that a grand-baby would be appreciated.  They actually arrived at the hospital right around 5:30 AM.

The nurse came in and gave me meds to neutralize my stomach acid and that nasty salty grape drink. This made me feel a bit nauseous and I was already dehydrated from a lack of fluids. Then they tried to start an IV and it took four tries and two nurses to accomplish that. My veins kept rolling. I felt a bit lightheaded as they struggled to insert the needle.

My sister, Sarah, arrived just a bit later.  Soon the anesthesiologist came in to ask some health-related questions. Dr. M. popped in wearing his scrubs and was introduced to my family. He is a lovely seasoned doctor with a smile that makes his face crinkle up.  We all prayed together and then I was sent off to the OR room.

Once in the OR I was seated on the operating table and given the spinal which took effect in just a few short minutes. I had been a little nervous about that, but there was no pain. Soon my arms began tingling as I was given just a bit too much anesthesia.  Dr. G., from my blood clot hospitalization,  was who I had selected to assist Dr. M.  I was really happy to have him assisting Dr. M. I appreciated his thoroughness and care of my blood clot and maintaining appropriate blood coagulation. 

Jeff was brought in with his surgical outfit and mask on. He relayed how my mom failed to recognize him as she stood next to him and asked a nurse to relay a message on to him. She thought he was one of the surgical team.  He was a medic in the Army, but I don't think I would trust him with a scalpel.  He was a bit disappointed that he wasn’t allowed to bring the video camera in. The staff told him he could take pictures of Abby in the nursery.

The surgery was supposed to begin around 7:30, but it was probably a little after 7:50 when Dr. M. informed the anesthesiologist I had passed the pinch test. I sort of laughed as I didn’t realize this test was being administered. There was calm quiet chatter and a bit of running commentary as Dr. M. explained what he was doing. I could smell burning flesh as soon as they made the incision. It was when Dr. M. mentioned they were at the uterus that Jeff asked if he could stand up and watch above the screen. I am so glad he asked as I didn’t think they would allow him to watch, but they did.  I was able to look up and watch his reaction as he saw what was taking place inside my body. I was really surprised at how much tugging and pulling it took to get Abby out. Dr. G. nearly knocked over an IV stand in the process and he muttered something about “Should have ridden my bike more.” (He and Jeff had several discussions regarding road bikes and cycling during previous visits.) I learned days later that they had to make a T-incision on my uterus in order to extricate Abigail. She was really wedged in there.

I was most nervous about hearing her cry right away. Jeff said she was out, but I heard nothing. One of the nurses immediately remarked “She’s got her mama’s eyelashes.” I was able to turn my head to the left and watch as they took Abigail to the warming table and stimulated her. I could see she was wiggling so that was a good sign. After what seemed to be such a long time she made just a little whimper. The nurses continued to work on her and slap her feet and then some stronger cries emanated from her little lungs. That little cry brought so much relief to my heart.  I was most nervous about something being wrong with her (as I would expect most moms are).

Jeff was called over to perform the secondary cutting of the cord. The nurses cleaned her up and wrapped her in a blanket and put a lavender hat on her head. Then they brought her over to me. I gave her a little kiss on the cheek and welcomed her into the world. Then she and Jeff were whisked away to the nursery. It was time for me to be sewn up. Dr. M. was kind enough to sucture me up instead of putting staples in. He later conceded I was one of his favorite patients. In the end the nice tidy stitches came out anyway and were replaced with 18 staples, but more on that later.

My oxygen mask was taken off once Abby was delivered. The atmosphere was more relaxed as the doctors chatted. Dr. M. was leaving on Monday morning to attend a “training” in Hawaii. One of the technicians was a woman from my hometown and I mentioned I knew who her dad was.  I did get really cold and my teeth began chattering.  Someone found some warm blankets (I love those things) and swaddled my head with them.  The nurses went through the final count of sponges and I was glad to hear none of them were left inside.

It was all over and I was wheeled rather quickly to my room. Jeff was standing inside the nursery holding a swaddled Abigail up against the window. My parents and Sarah were outside admiring this precious bundle.

Jeff and Abigail were brought into my room after I was situated in my hospital bed.  The nurse helped put Abigail on my chest and we patiently allowed her to attempt to breastfeed. It took some time, but it was exciting to see her instinctively latch on.  I was really blessed to have a nurse that knew so much about breastfeeding.  It's easy to read the books, but it's a bit more of a challenge to put what you read into practice.

Dad, Mom, and Sarah were brought into my room and introduced to Abigail Grace Reardon, born at 8:04 AM, 21 inches long, and 7 pounds and 4 ounces in weight.  I was given ice chips to nibble on as I recovered. I began to feel nauseated a little later so my family left. Unfortunately some pear juice triggered an adverse reaction and then my handy vomit bag had a hole in it and drained all over my gown and bed. A few hours later it was herbal tea that triggered more nausea. No solids that day.

We were grateful to get some sleep that night. The nurses took Abigail to the nursery and Jeff returned home that night. He had learned the hard way that it's difficult to get good sleep in a hospital room.  Abigail was brought in as she became hungry.

The next day the nurses helped me get up and moving. I was able to walk short distances in the hallway. A sweet older nurse took us to the nursery and showed us how to bathe Abigail. We were starting from scratch as we had never taken any of the parenting classes. The distance and time of day just didn't make it feasible, but I had done plenty of reading and research.  Abby continued to cough up fluid in her lungs. She also had problems with her legs wanting to point straight up. She had been in the breech position for as long as we knew about her. The nurses’ solution was to double diaper her. We did that for about a week until we decided we were using up too many diapers on her.   It was such a blessing to later learn that she did not have hip displasia!

I had hoped to keep Abigail in our room the 2nd and 3rd night, but eventually relented and allowed the nurses to take her so we could get some sleep. We just weren't used to hearing a baby cry. The nurses doted on her and the one night she was the only baby in the nursery. We were still learning a lot and weren’t burping her hard enough out of fear we would injure her.  Silly new parents. 

On the 3rd night I nursed and nursed and yet Abigail seemed hungry. Jeff finally asked if he could supplement with some formula.  Dr. G. had come in and chatted with us about his wife supplementing a little with each of their children and not to feel bad if this was needed. She guzzled formula down so fast she choked on it. I felt really inadequate at that moment as I felt I couldn’t meet all of her needs as a new mother, but this was actually a blessing in disguise. It was really important that she be able to switch between bottle and breast just a few days later.  

Monday, November 1st:
I woke up in the hospital knowing I was to be released that morning. Yet I was in much more pain than I had been the previous two days. I attributed it to being up and walking the halls more and assumed this had worn me out a bit. I asked the nurse about this and she checked the location of my uterus. It was about three fingers below my bellybutton and she mentioned that my uterus contracting could cause a fair bit of pain. Saturday I had started back on heparin and coumidin. An INR test revealed the coumidin hadn’t taken effect so I was supposed to have my blood drawn in Spirit Lake on Tuesday and continue taking heparin until Dr. G. advised me otherwise. My hemaglobin was tested on Sunday, but because it was normal it was not tested on Monday and they assumed it would be unnecessary to test again. I spoke to Dr. G. about my pain and that I didn’t think the oxyCodone would control it. I was told I could double the dosage of oxyCodone and add Ibuprofen for breakthrough pain. Since we weren’t being rushed to leave I told Jeff I needed to get back in bed and take a bit of a nap. I wasn’t up to leaving the hospital at that moment. After some discussion we decided to still make our stop in Estherville as my pain meds were beginning to kick in. I had Jeff go to Walgreens and pick up Ibuprofen as they couldn’t give it to me there at the hospital. Little did I know that this pain was extreme and was not normal post-c-section pain.  Lesson learned:  always speak up if you think something is not right.  Ask questions.  Mention any unusual symptoms or worsening pain. 

We stopped in Estherville and had lunch with my family and a dear preacher friend. I was still in quite a bit of pain and couldn’t stand straight up. We then went on to my mother-in-law's house so she could meet Abigail.  I kept watching the clock as I knew when my pain meds would wear off. I had to ask Jeff if we could leave as I knew I couldn’t handle the pain it if I waited much longer. He dropped Abigail and I off and went to Wal-Mart to pick up my pain meds. The wait took longer than I expected and I really felt horrible by the time I took my pill. I camped out on the couch and Jeff was kind enough to agree to sleep downstairs with me.

I don’t recall much about that night.  Due to the pain I tried to stay in a drug induced stupor.  I did go upstairs to shower and then came back down. When Abigail cried or needed her diaper changed I asked Jeff to help me out by taking care of her or bringing her to me. The next morning I still was in pain and I began noticing that I felt light-headed if I sat up straight or stood up. I thought my blood thinners were affecting my blood pressure or that it was something quite minor. Dr. G. had asked that I get my blood drawn that day. I went upstairs to do wash my face and do my makeup and couldn’t do anything other than foundation and I had to sit to get that done. Early in the morning I had eaten an apple and caramel dip with Jeff. He had given me orange juice later on and I had some hot cereal too. About 11 that morning as I was trying to finish my makeup, I just vomited everything up. It was like I just lost everything for no reason whatsoever as I don’t get sick easily (other than when I was recovering from the spinal). Jeff left a message for Dr. G. at that time. Later on I was able to eat a little yogurt and that was the last food I was allowed to eat for what seemed to be such a long time.

I knew I needed to get to the Spirit Lake hospital to have my blood drawn as I assumed that would explain what the problem was.  I was convinced that it was simply low blood pressure due to my blood thinners. I was slowly getting ready and went to use the bathroom. Jeff helped me walk in there and then left the room. I felt so lightheaded and then everything went black. Jeff came running in and asked what was wrong. I had let out a loud scream as I blacked out and fell into the wall. Jeff was initially thinking I was just having some sort of cramp, but I explained to him that I didn’t realize that I had screamed and passed out. He called Dr. G. again and left another message.

We went to the Spirit Lake hospital for the lab test. A kind volunteer wheeled me to the lab as Jeff brought Abigail. That was a little after 2:00 PM.  I just had no strength whatsoever.

Finally Dr. G. called back and spoke with Jeff as he had just received the messages. He said he wanted me to return to the hospital right away as it sounded like it could be internal bleeding. He didn’t expect to be there when we arrived so he explained the situation to a fellow doctor. Abigail was hungry by that time and I knew I needed to have bags packed for both of us so it took us a while to get going. I sent Jeff upstairs and explained what items I needed back in my bag and he did a great job reassembling everything. Unfortunately the only item he grabbed for himself was a toothbrush which he stuck in his back pocket.

I kept my eyes closed during the trip to hospital. I believe we arrived there around 5:00 PM. I knew Jeff was driving fast and that we were on the back roads. When we arrived Jeff had a nurse get a wheelchair for me. The nurse took me and began to wheel me inside the ER. Jeff left to park and bring Abigail in.

Everything went black.  I could hear what was happening around me, but it seemed to be in the distance.  A nurse was shouting “Code Blue!” I remember all these hands rushing to lift me up onto the hospital bed where I was then underneath these glaring lights in the ER. I was able to quietly give them my name and date of birth within a few seconds. And then I heard Dr. G. at the foot of the bed calmly explaining who I was and that I had recently had a c-section and what he thought the problem was. He happened to still be at the ER as a baby he had delivered had a genetic birth defect and he had to break this sad news to the boy's parents. This sad occasion was a blessing for me as he was the doctor who knew the most about my situation. He began ordering tests and reversals for my heparin and coumidin.

I had to ask for a pillow under my legs as my incision was very tight and so painful. They began trying to insert IV in and of course it took four tries again to hit my veins and this time it was 2 IVs.  I just didn't want any more pain, but that was not to be.

The head ER nurse asked me to wipe my white lip balm off.  She said this is what initially scared her when I passed out and she saw my white lips and when I passed out she assumed she had nearly lost me. I hadn't had the strength to finish putting on makeup so just grabbed my stick of Burt's Bees lip balm and it made my lips look very pale. 

The ultrasound technician showed up and took an ultrasound of my belly. Usually they are not allowed to comment on what they see, but she was able to tell us that it did look like there was bleeding in there.

I was asked if I wanted to go to Mankato or Rochester. I said Mankato since it was closer. Someone returned and said they refused to take me as they weren’t capable of treating a case like mine. So they called for the helicopter from Rochester.  I am so thankful that I opted to have Abby in a hospital that was part of the Mayo System.  I was so pleased with the care provided by the Mayo Hospital in Rochester, MN.

Dr. G. remained calm and assured us that I would be fine. Jeff was in and out of the room making phone calls to my parents and his mom. Thankfully the sweet nurses at the Birth Center welcomed Abigail back and watched her throughout this ordeal.

It took the helicopter 41 minutes to arrive from Rochester. They were scrambling at the hospital to try to find red blood cells for a transfusion. The sent two frozen bags of plasma with us on the flight.  I know they must have given me something for me pain as I do remember that I wasn’t in as much pain at the moment. I do recall that the nurse said that my heart rate was 139 when I initially got there and my hemoglobin was at 6.2.

The male and female team from the helicopter arrived. The man introduced himself as Norm and then the female called him Mark. That seemed strange. The helicopter cart was narrow and I had to straighten my legs as they transferred me to it. Ouch! They covered me in warm blankets. My teeth were chattering from the pain not such much from being cold. They tucked a blanket under my knees to help lift my legs up and relieve the pressure.

They wheeled me out into the howling wind. The ride on the pavement to the waiting helicopter was very bumpy. They apologized for the condition of the cement. Inside the helicopter it was dark, warm and tight. Both nurses were up right against my cart. Norm kept massaging the bags of plasma throughout the flight. He kept checking my vitals and asked me about my pain. About halfway through I did ask if I could have a bit more pain relief.

There was no fear. I was still in shock that all this had transpired. I just knew Jeff was so concerned about me. He had come beside my bed in the ER and was crying and prayed with me before I left.   I didn't realize my parents pulled up just in time to see the helicopter take off with me.  I can't imagine how they must have felt. 

Finally I could see light from Rochester and began to feel the copter descending. It was the most expensive ride I've ever been on:  $14,000! The nurses informed me the helicopter would still be running when they unloaded me. They wheeled me right into my small ICU room. Norm had Jeff’s cell number and was kind enough to give him a call from the room to inform him that I was at the Methodist Hospital not St. Mary’s and that I had made the flight without incident.

It seemed I had more tubes hooked up to me than ever before: oxygen, blood products, IVs, catheter, the electronic compression “socks”. The best part was the pain pump. Ahhh, every 10 minutes I could hit the button and have some pain relief. With tests and people in and out it didn’t take long for my family to arrive. I was so glad to hear that Jeff had ridden with Dad, Mom, and Sarah. I knew he was in no shape to drive to Rochester on his own with little Abigail. He told me how the nurses at the hospital packed a goody bag for Abigail with diapers, formula and wipes. The ICU room was just tiny, but they brought in a cot for Jeff and a little bassinet for Abigail.

In the morning tests began. They noticed some sort of irregularity with my heart rate and performed an EKG. Thankfully, I passed the test and there were no issues there! The best news that day occurred when a technician performed an ultrasound on my left thigh looking for any sign of my blood clot from August. Of course she couldn’t tell me what she found, but I later learned it was gone!!! My hemaglobin went back down to 7 even after all the blood products so they pumped another unit of blood into me.

The worst part of that day in ICU was being transferred onto a cart for tests. It was so painful. The staff members were so caring and considerate and used a body board each time. I had a CT scan done to see how much blood had collected. After this many various doctors began showing up in my room and introducing themselves: Dr. Bakkum, Dr. Nitsche, Dr. Watson (who I was familiar with since Dr. G. from the birth hospital had consulted with him after my initial hospitalization with the DVT in August), and later Dr. Rose. The only frustration I had was sometimes it seemed they couldn’t agree on the method of treatment for me. I was told the options were to insert a drain and try to remove the blood, to leave it and let my body “eat it up” or to perform surgery and remove it. Jeff felt so strongly about them performing the surgery, but they seemed hesitant on pursuing that option.

Mid-morning I was told that I would have the drain inserted. They transferred me back to a cart and I headed downstairs to radiology for the ultrasound. I was mentally prepared for the drain as they performed an ultrasound and then came word that the doctors had changed their minds: no drain. It was so frustrating as I had made the painful, bumpy journey for nothing. As I was being wheeled back up to the 10th floor we passed one of the consultation rooms and on the door was a sticky note with the word “Reardon” on it. I imagined the doctors gathering in their for a team discussion similar to those on the
show “House”. If only they could all agree on the best course of action.

I was told they thought the bleeding had stopped around 8 AM that morning (Wednesday). My hemoglobin had climbed over 10 and my blood had "re-thickened". I was hungry, but they wouldn’t let me eat as they were toying with the idea of surgery. I had only kept down a container of yogurt the day before and now I could only eat spoonfuls of ice chips.

Abigail was quite the attraction in ICU. Nurses and other staff kept peaking in to see her after hearing her cries. I guess it’s quite unusual to have a baby up on the 10th floor. She did so well during the entire stay.

During this whole ordeal I had no fear for my life. The pain was my biggest concern and I guess I was very reassured at the beginning when Dr. G. told Jeff and I that I would be okay.   He assured us that thanks to medical care this should not be life-threatening.

Wednesday afternoon they made the decision to transfer me to a regular room down on the 3rd floor. It was good to know I was improving. When I arrived, the nurse on duty seemed just a bit brusque. She didn’t want the kind man who brought me down to use a body board to transfer me to my new bed. I think she thought I was making a big deal about my pain and hadn’t seen any details regarding my my internal bleed.

They took my temp right away and saw that I was running a fever of nearly 103. I was told either the blood was beginning to get infected or I had picked up an infection from the blood products I had been given. Neither option sounded positive. They began IVs with three types of antibiotics to try to kick the infection. One of the side affects was a really weird metallic taste in my mouth. Late that night they told me I could eat something, but it was too late to order food. I had Jeff run to the nutrition room and get me juice and orange sherbet.

The nurse that night was Suzanne, with a positive aggressive attitude. She was kind enough to take Abigail out in the middle of the night as Jeff was passing out and reaching the end of his patience with her. She also brought her a pacifier, which she didn’t seem to mind. Bright and early in the morning she coaxed me to get up and go for a walk. It was really the last thing I wanted to do, but I reluctantly followed her instructions. It was the first time I had placed my feet on the ground since Tuesday afternoon. They brought a sort of wheeled walker from another floor for me. With the nurse’s assistance I was able to shuffle about 40 feet. She helped me wash my face, changed my gown and helped me feel like a human. It’s amazing how quickly you can feel like you’ve lost all dignity in a hospital.

In the morning they removed me off the “Nothing By Mouth” order and I ordered breakfast. I had just finished my two poached eggs and peach halves when the OB doctors walked in. They informed me that I would be going in for surgery that afternoon and not to eat anything else. It was quite frustrating to know they would be cutting me open again nearly a week after the c-section. I became more concerned when they mentioned they probably would not sew me up and that I would return home with an open wound that would require a home health aide to come in a pack it.

The tiny surgeon came in and talked to us about the surgery. She told me that the worse case scenario would be that they would open me up and discover my uterus was bleeding and would have to remove it. While that was unlikely, it was still a major concern.

They had taken cultures of my blood the evening before to determine the infection source, but those would not be ready for 48 hours. Jeff and I were both happy that they were finally taking action to remove the blood from my abdomen.

I was a little more apprehensive about this surgery than I had been about the c-section. At least for the c-section I was alert and able to hear the doctors talk about what they were doing. I just wondered what I would learn when I awoke from the anesthesia. Jeff was sent back to my room and off I went to the operating room.

The OR room was quite large and there were lots of people busy preparing for the surgery. I was told I would be introduced to all the surgeons before I went under, but I don’t remember that. I recall the anesthesiologist asking me to open my mouth as he peered down my throat. I found that rather odd until I later learned they intubated me during the surgery. I do recall the OR table being quite narrow and wondering how large people stay on there. I felt something warm being injected into my IV and that was the last I remember.

The next thing I knew I was being wheeled to the recovery room. I was very uncomfortable as I felt sharp searing pain throughout my abdomen. The nurse assigned to me must have seen my tension and I asked for more pain medication. She brought over someone who administered some sort of LSD derivative. She said I might be sent on a little trip, but I just remember it took effect quickly and made everything numb including my fingers. This felt so much better. When I saw Jeff he told me the surgeon had stopped in and updated him on the surgery and she said they removed nearly two liters of blood from my abdomen.  I thought for sure he misunderstood, but that was correct.  I had lost two liters of blood.  I am so thankful for the high fever that finally triggered the surgical approach to my situation. 

Amazingly, I recovered better from anesthesia than from the spinal. I was feeling great and drinking fluids and keeping them down. I believe I was fairly coherent also. The pain medications definitely affected my ability to focus and concentrate.

The next morning they began putting me on blood thinners again. I asked if we could stick with heparin instead of coumidin.  I was really nervous about internal bleeding again.

One of the worst parts of the ordeal was having an open incision. Initially they planned on leaving it open and allowing it to heal like that. I strongly was opposed to that. This would have required a home health aide to pack the wound two times a day.

Erin was the first nurse to pack the wound and she was the best. She was very apologetic and gentle. Thankfully she had worked as an RN in an abdominal ward so she had a better understanding of these type of wounds. I didn’t like to look at the wound much and the first 24 hours I also had a wall suction drain attached. This was soon switched to a bulb drain. It was all quite disgusting.

I made sure I was full of my pain relievers before they would start packing. They would soak the gauze in a sterile solution and then use a long q-tip to poke it down into the wound. It took about three trips back and forth to fill up the incision. The wound was packed and dressed three times a day until they sewed me back up. The worst part was when they pulled the dry gauze out. It would often catch on the edges of the skin. Ouch. Dr. Nitsche came in several mornings and changed the dressing himself. One nurse asked me for some direction regarding changing the dressing. That was not very reassuring, but she did a great job.

Having visitors was great. Mom and my sister, Sarah, returned on Saturday. It was kind of them to make the long trip again. They then took Jeff out for lunch again at Victoria’s, the fine Italian restaurant next door. Everyone raved about the food.  I was able to share a mango salad and then a Mediterranean salad with Jeff later and both were absolutely delicious.

Sunday was busy with Jeff’s mom, my sister-in-law and niece coming up for a visit. Marc and Deb, whom we consider family, also drove all the way from Wausau, Wisconsin. It was really wonderful to have so many visitors that day. Everyone took turns holding Abigail and she really did quite well. My only scare that day was when they came in and said they had detected staph in my culture. Thankfully it was the regular ol' skin-based staph and it didn’t cause an internal infection. 

That day I learned that a friend who had her baby the same day Abby was born, suffered through 45+ hours of labor and then delivered a precious baby girl who has Down Syndrome.   This put my situation into perspective.  I would recover and not suffer any ill effects from my complication, but mom and daughter would deal with physical injuries from the delivery and the challenges of raising a child facing many challenges.  You can learn more about their story and the journey God has led them on at her blog:  The Uplook.

Monday morning I was able to have my incision sewn back up! I had to go under anesthesia again. They also removed the little bulb drain that was still attached.  This time I was sent to the OB operating room. It was a much more relaxed surgical procedure. The anesthesiologist was a big Hawkeye fan and really hit it off with Jeff. Imagine that!

The pain was really an issue for me.  I had never had such severe pain.  My sister told me that once when the nurses asked I rated my pain at a 10.  I don't remember that specific instance.  I do remember one nurse trying to get me to cough with a pillow over my chest and that was sheer torture.  I tried to make a cough that was more like clearing my throat.  That was literally all I could tolerate even with the pain meds going full force.  It was very difficult to give up the pain pump and switch to pills.  I was so afraid the pain would be more than I could handle.

Tuesday,  November 9th I was released from the hospital.  It was Jeff's last day of vacation so it was a blessing to have paid time off just long enough to get me home.  It was a wonderful sight to be outside again.  I can't imagine those who are confined to a nursing home and aren't able to get outdoors catch a glimpse of the outdoors.

It was an adjustment to suddenly become the sole caregiver to Abigail.  Jeff had mostly taken care of her throughout my hospital stay.  He seemed to understand her needs and cries more than I did initially.  But I soon adjusted to the role of full-time mother.

I was extremely weak and lost a lot of weight during this ordeal.  Two weeks after I had Abby I weighed less than my pre-pregnancy weight.  And I was trying to eat as much as possible.  No skimping for me!  I know breastfeeding drained me of a lot of my energy and calories, but I stuck with it through those first couple of weeks.  We tried supplementing with a bottle for the first few weeks and then this was no longer needed.

I later had genetic testing done and discovered I have Factor V Leiden, a blood clotting disorder.  It doesn't affect my day-to-day living, but will become an issue if I would be able to get pregnant again.  The doctors at Mayo assured me the complications I had were very rare and would most likely never happen again.

I don't know why God allowed this complication to happen. I don't think I will know until I reach heaven. I am grateful for the time Jeff and Abby were allowed to bond.  I am so thankful for the excellent health insurance we had.  We paid nothing out of pocket for all the post-birth complications, only the minimal cost for one pain med. I am grateful for my full recovery and for my beautiful little daughter and a good husband.  God is good!

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