I started to write this post from my hospital bed as I was recovering from a D&C surgery. This post is about trusting your instincts.
Let me start from the beginning (and this post is very TMI, so if that’s not your thing, I recommend skipping past this one). Postpartum, I had three tears and very heavy bleeding, which is to be expected for the first week or two. By 1.5 weeks postpartum the bleeding had tapered off and for two blissful weeks I wore a thin liner and that’s it (it was the most amazing downgrade ever from diaper-sized hospital pads).
Then, just as I was beginning to think I had the most OMGawesome recovery ever, I started to bleed a little bit again. No biggie, I just went back to normal pads and dealt with it. I wasn’t in pain anymore and a little bleeding wasn’t too much to handle.
During my mom’s visit at four weeks postpartum, my bleeding became a little heavier, but nothing too intense. I did pass a small clot when she was here as well, but again, I didn’t think too much of it.
The night my mom left to return to Toronto, I woke up in the middle of the night and suddenly I felt gushes coming out of me. I was so shocked that I got up and ran to the bathroom, waking my husband with my “oh shit!” reaction (didn’t wake the baby though, thank God). Blood was streaming down my legs and got all over our sheets and carpet.
On Monday, at exactly five weeks postpartum, I called my OB’s office and spoke to the nurse, who assured me it was “normal” to bleed gushes and clots at five weeks postpartum. She said it likely happens when I breastfeed or pump because the contractions were pushing it all out. Though the gushes were awfully uncomfortable and, not gonna lie, horrific, I convinced myself that it was okay and that it would soon pass.
Tuesday night I once again started to have gushes of blood as I was breastfeeding Harper in the middle of the night. I passed her to my husband and ran to the bathroom again, this time I was smart enough to sleep on towels so I didn’t do any damage.
On Wednesday, I had some minor gushing in the early evening and before bed at night. I wore an extremely heavy pad to bed “just in case” and went to sleep. I woke up at about 3:30 a.m. to pump some breast milk for Harper’s next feeding. As I was pumping, I felt a massive clot come out of me and tons of gushing blood—more than ever before. I once again ran to the bathroom, once again ruined my carpet and passed another large clot. My poor husband came into the bathroom and saw the blood running down my legs and how much was still coming out of me and he just told me I needed to call my OB’s emergency line and that this was not normal. I felt in my heart the entire time that it wasn’t and I knew he was right and that I had to make that call. I called the emergency line and the OB on call agreed that is was peculiar to be bleeding so much at five weeks postpartum and told me to go to the women’s assessment center to have an ultrasound to check my uterine lining.
We called Kevin’s parents and bless their sweet hearts, they drove down to our house in the early morning to take me to the hospital so Kevin could be at home with Harper. We got to the hospital, I was admitted, and was seen by the hospitalist who performed an u/s. She said my uterus did appear to be thicker than normal and that there was probably some placental retention. She ordered radiology to come and perform a more in-depth, higher quality ultrasound.
I began to wonder what would happen if they found something in my uterus and when I asked the question, I was met with a word I’d heard before: D&C. I immediately texted my mom who let me know that the procedure would require general anesthesia.
Once again, just like when Harper was taken to the NICU after she was born, I was just in complete and utter shock that this was happening. We were finally settled in at home and had our little routine and I was starting to feel back to normal in many ways (until the gushing began, of course) and suddenly I was at the hospital about to possibly undergo a procedure to remove something inside of me.
The radiologist looked at my updated u/s scans and sure enough, he agreed that there was something in my uterus and that it needed to be removed. The D&C was scheduled for 3:30 that afternoon and I waited (and waited) until that time came.
Fortunately, I had brought my pump to the hospital and I was able to pump breast milk for Harper three times before I went into surgery. That made me feel good since I felt absolutely awful being away from her. I wondered if she would be upset that I was gone all day, but everyone reassured me that she is too young to notice. She is mostly eating and sleeping (and pooping) these days so it made me feel better that she was napping a lot because she could just have sweet little baby dreams. My father-in-law brought my EBM to the house for Harper before I headed into surgery.
I was in good spirits before my surgery, joking around with the doctors and nurses and overall trying to keep myself feeling okay about everything that was happening. I knew I was going to get great care and my wonderful OB would be doing my surgery which I was grateful for (I also joked how nice it was of me to not ruin a second holiday for her since our baby was born on Memorial Day and the following day after my procedure was Independence Day).
I remember waking up and seeing my mother-in-law and some of the nurses in my room. I remember feeling really cold and they used this amazing hose that blasted heat under my blanket for me. It was the best thing ever and so warm and cozy since I was shaking a bit and my lips were blue from the cold. The day after my surgery my nurse told me I looked pretty bad after surgery and was as white as a sheet.
The nurses told me everything had gone well. My OB called my husband while I was still asleep and filled him in on everything that happened. Later, when my OB visited me in my room at the hospital, I learned that they had found a small piece of what they think is placenta in my uterus and they removed it and sent it to pathology for analysis. My OB said it was kind of an unusual circumstance and we would know more once the results came in on Friday as to why it didn’t come out with the rest of my placenta, which, when delivered, looked healthy and intact.
Because of some clotting issues that are part of my family’s medical history, my OB decided to keep me overnight so I could be monitored and so that my CBC levels could be taken every several hours.
I also continued to pump during my stay at the hospital, every three hours. I was worried about my supply tanking due to the general anesthesia but I called lactation support at and they told me I was doing everything right. The saddest thing was having to “pump and dump” after my surgery, for 24 hours. I ended up pouring over 500ml of breast milk down the drain. The nurse actually did it because she saw that I had the bottles all set out by the sink as I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I was also able to FaceTime with Kevin and Harper at the hospital which was wonderful and helped me with the sadness of being away from her.
I’m still trying to cope with what happened and with the horrific images I still have in my head of seeing myself bleed that heavily. After my surgery, I kept thinking I would eventually just start gushing blood again and I was afraid to get out of bed and scared every time I had to pee or pump that it would just start all over again. In my head, I knew that they had fixed everything during the surgery, but my non-rational side was still having “flashbacks” about all of the blood loss I experienced.
Candice picked me up from the hospital when I was finally discharged the next afternoon and when I got home on the fourth of July, I snuggled my sweet little girl and was just so thankful that I was home and that everything was okay again. I missed her so much when I was in the hospital but her daddy took amazing care of her, of course.
During my stay at the hospital I received so many incredible and supportive comments from so many of you who follow me on Instagram and I appreciate each and every person who took the time to send thoughts and prayers. I’m so lucky that everything turned out the way that it did and that I get to be home with my family now.
I guess the point of this post is to trust your instincts and if something feels wrong or abnormal—call…and call again. It’s better to get checked out than to let things get more serious.
I hope everyone had a great fourth of July and thank you again for the well-wishes and support, it really brightened my spirits during such a difficult time.