I haven’t written a blog post in a little while. Another of my short, unannounced hiatuses…
This time I’ve agonized over the post I would write upon my return to the blog. I’ve thought over and over about what I would write, how I would explain things, how much I would say… I even agonized over the title.
Here are some of the titles I’ve considered: “The worst night of my life”, “Live! From the ICU!”, “How come no one ever mentioned Pulmonary Embolisms?” and the very upfront, “The time I almost died.”
At this point of writing the blog, I still don’t know what the title will be or really, any other answers to those questions I’ve been agonizing over. But, Margot is upstairs napping in her hammock (I just went up and checked on her and she’s smiling in her sleep which, ohmygod, just makes my insides turn to liquid) and I find myself without a baby in my arms and I’ve already made a pot of soup and baked some cookies and Todd is at work today and… well, I guess now is as good a time as any to try to get this stuff down on paper (screen?).
Since I already gave away the exciting twist to this tale with my suggested titles… I’ll come right out with it. I had a Pulmonary Embolism. I almost died. I didn’t die. It was awful. I am alive.
It started with a kind of annoying pain in my side. That, coupled with some oversupply issues with my milk production, made for a few days of discomfort for me and Margot. We did our best to snuggle our way through our troubles.
Soon, the oversupply issues were working themselves out, but the pain in my side was getting worse. I called my midwife and asked for her advice and we agreed it was probably nothing major and decided to go along without alarm. Well, the alarm set in when two days later I was curled up on the floor crying in the worst pain of my life. (Yes. It was worse than labor.) Mr. Moore took charge and said, “We are going to the ER.”
Now, this was the beginning of the worst. Not just the pain, but the decision to bring my newborn baby with me to the Emergency Room in the middle of the night.
We did what we had to… what we felt was best for our family.
In the ER they supposed that I had gall stones and sent me home with a referral to see a Gastroenterologist. The next morning, we called a few different doctors and they all said, “We can’t see you until next week.” So… as I was once more doubled over in pain, Mr. Moore said, “We can’t wait that long, we’re going back to the ER.”
As I pulled my baby girl out of her car seat to go into the ER for the second time in less than 24 hours, I turned to Todd and I said, “Am I being selfish right now? Bringing her here? Should we just wait until the GE can see us next week?”
Thank God he convinced me we were doing the right thing. In the ER I was put through a full battery of tests and they found nothing wrong with my gallbladder, and nothing wrong with my chest x-ray, and nothing wrong with any of my blood work, and a complete lack of symptoms of any major ailment aside from the stabbing pain in my side which was sometimes terrible and sometimes not. The doctor seemed fed up with me and I was convinced they were going to send me home with no diagnosis and no relief from my discomfort.
Then they ordered a CT scan.
The doctor who only 30 minutes earlier had all but rolled his eyes at my complaints came bursting into the room with a very serious look on his face and announced, “We found multiple blood clots across both of your lungs.”
And, the air went out of the room.
Suddenly, I wasn’t going to be sent home with no diagnosis… I was going to be sent up to the Intensive Care Unit… and Margot wasn’t coming with me.
That little girl who I grew inside of me. Who had never been out of my sight for longer than the length of a shower… Who had never known any food source other than her mother… Who had never slept away from my arms…
I take it back, the pain in my side was nothing compared to this.
I had been pumping milk for Margot all day in anticipation of the possibility of us being separated for a while or in case my treatment required medicine which would have been harmful to her. So, after my family arrived, my mom went home with Todd and Margot and a cooler full of my milk and my Dad stayed with me until they kicked him out.
And, it was the worst night of my life.
I ached for my baby. Emotionally and physically.
I kept pumping milk for her, but it never relieved the pain of being apart from her.
Todd sent me photos of her, but it hurt to see her in anyone else’s arms but mine. We hadn’t had enough time yet… we were supposed to be still in our babymoon, snuggling and nursing for days on end.
But, instead of being with my little girl I was in a hospital bed.
The happy part of this story is that Margot never had to go without her mother’s milk.
I insisted that my treatment be consistent with continuing breastfeeding and between Todd and my father running back and forth from the hospital with milk deliveries, she had a constant supply.
The other happy part, the happiest part… is that I am okay. My diagnosis was very bad. But, my recovery was very swift.
The PE was seemingly brought on by the hormones of pregnancy and childbirth. I will be continuing treatment for at least 6 months and will have to be treated during any subsequent pregnancies to avoid another PE.
But, I’m okay. I am still reeling from the whole ordeal, and still trying to process everything that happened. My physical recovery is still in progress and so is my emotional recovery.
I came home from the hospital on Thanksgiving morning. That day I posted this picture of me holding Margot on facebook and the caption said, “Thankful to be alive and thankful to have this beautiful baby in my arms.”
And I guess that really says it all.