Woohoo! Who has two thumbs and is being booked for her second surgery? This guy!!
Now, why in the heck is this crazy woman getting all psyched for an invasive operation, you might be wondering. Well, 8 months ago I was right there with you. Fluctuating between states of anger, depression and denial that my body was going through such a crummy post-natal recovery process, I wasn’t ready to get on board with the “we should cut you open again” talk.
I suppose I should start from the beginning and explain briefly (if that’s possible) what I’ve been going through since birthing my little love via C section over 15 months ago. Please bear in mind that my experience is not a common case, and should you be or become pregnant it is very unlikely this will happen to you.
I’ll try to keep it simple.
So. At the end of November in 2013, overly-itchy skin resulted in the need to induce labour at Victoria General, a week before the due date, to avoid complications because my liver was so done with being pregnant. Although the induction wasn’t the reason for the cesarean (my daughter flipped breech right before labour, oh happy day), it probably didn’t help. Inductions have a much higher rate of resulting in a C section. (If you want to know more about my experience of birth and how it didn’t quite go as planned, read this post.)
I’m not sure people take C sections as seriously as I do now. It is a major abdominal surgery, after all. You are being cut open through different layers of muscles and tissue, then having at least one major organ sliced open, and every thing being stitched back together, one layer at a time. *Public notice* If you are a father whose baby has just been surgically removed from your wife’s massacred body, when the doctor instructs you to peek behind “the curtain” to see your new baby, be aware you are going to see parts of your significant other that she herself will never see. Be warned.
After 3 days bedridden in hospital, followed by 6 weeks of feeling frustratingly useless and sore, I spent the next 14 months (up to the present) in and out of the ER and doctors’ offices, dealing with really random, unfortunate ailments. Here are some of the weird and seemingly unexplainable problems that came up:
My Post C Section Problems
Sore abdomen that felt wrenched when I coughed, sneezed or laughed for at least a couple of months after birth (okay, so a lot of women experience this, but it still sucks to have to make sure you’re not humoured by anything more than smile-inducing).
A giant red, protruding lump just below my belly button, that grew, protruded, got all inflamed and red and itchy, and sent me running around for ultrasounds and specialist appointments (everyone thought it was a hematoma – Hint: it wasn’t).
The sudden loss of use of my feet due to the EXTREME pain they were in when any pressure was put on them. It took me a long, utterly painful and tearful stagger to walk 10 steps to the bathroom from my bed. Remember, this is long after my husband’s time off when she was a newborn, so I was by myself. With a new baby. This suddenly went away when…
The big, angry red lump on my tummy “spontaneously drained”. I won’t go into disgusting detail, but it wasn’t pretty, and resulted in multiple ER trips where I was cut and VERY painfully had the wound cleaned out and packed (then emptied and repacked every couple days) with silver and gauze. Without painkillers. I would have chosen to give birth again, had I been given the choice. That %#*¥ sucked.
Weird twinges of random pain in my abdomen and pelvis.
Number 1 was far from making me feel like #1.
A second “spontaneous drainage” (thankfully this time they decided not to pack it). This got me my very first MRI (which is actually like a spa trip to a new mom with a needy baby. Close my eyes and lay still for 20 minutes? No problem, Mr Doctor, sir!).
And finally, when blood started showing up in bodily fluid that should normally be yellow, another ER trip and consult with my doctor got me an appointment with the OBGYN who originally did my delivery.
This recent appointment was amazing. Finally, I felt listened to and taken seriously. Finally, I got some understanding of what was going on with me and FINALLY a plan to “fix” me was put in place. (Not that the doctors I’d seen before didn’t seem to care about me, but I sure didn’t leave their care feeling as satisfied with our meetings as I did this time.)
It seems that (for whatever reason – a possible “nick” of my bladder during the incision?) a bit of an infection built up between my bladder and uterus. Which apparently happens, sometimes, and takes care of itself. However, it appears that I am a rarity, which has caused some problems because of it.
In utero, our bladders develop outside of our bodies, then migrate inside through our umbelicus. In 95% of people, the opening between the bladder and umbelicus closes. I have always wanted to be somewhat unique, I suppose, so it seems I continued forming without closing the old drawstring to my belly button.
This allowed the collection of fluid to go up and out of my fascia through my herniated belly button (which no one seemed to notice until this last Dr felt it immediately). The fluid then tracked down the huge separation between my abs (diastasis abdominus rectis, which I like to refer to as “abdominus wrecked-us”), that resulted from growing an enormous belly (seriously huge, compared to everyone else in my prenatal class who was further along than me). With nowhere left for the infection to go, it forced it’s way out through my abdomen.
So, there is reason – good reason – why I’m thrilled to be looking at going under the knife again in the near future. I just want all this to be done with. I want to feel completely healthy and normal again. I think my body may have forgot what that feels like, and I don’t even realize the discomfort my body is in and the other weird things that are being effected because this IS my new normal.
But not for long.
I WILL be healthy and whole again. This year. Maybe by the summer even. I’ve had enough of this bull-junk and I’m ready to take the steps to becoming healed.
I’m ready to move on with my life, and see what adventure comes next.
Here’s to wellness!
Have you experienced something similar? What was the C section recovery process like for you?