This follows on from Leo’s birth story and is about what happened when I was discharged from the hospital the day after Leo’s birth. I’m sorry if this is really boring, but it’s more for me so I don’t forget what happened! I find it quite therapeutic to write down things that have happened so I can put them behind me.
We got home the day after Leo was born. It was hard to move about as I was in a lot of pain with the stitches and I felt unsteady on my feet. I didn’t sleep that well the first night as Leo would not settle and was cluster feeding a lot. I stayed downstairs for the first half of the night then tried to go to bed. Every time I put Leo down he woke up. In the morning, my partner took him for a bit so I could get some sleep.
The following day, the midwife came with a student midwife. She commented on my legs as they were really swollen. She also said that Leo looked a bit jaundice. They were due to come back the next day to weigh him and explained we might have to go back to the hospital if he lost too much weight or if he still looked jaundice. After she left, she called and said she was meant to take my blood pressure but forgot and said if I got a headache or my swelling got worse I needed to call the triage ward.
I didn’t feel great again but thought it was due to the tiredness. I was getting hardly any sleep. I was up all night again that night and went bed at about 9 am when my partner took over. I was woken up an hour later by the midwives knocking on the door. They don’t give you a time when they are coming. I felt a bit bad because it meant I had to come down in a dressing down and I started having a hot flush and thought I was going to throw up. I even asked my partner to get a sick bowl, it was very embarrassing but I think it was clear to them I was not well.
Leo had lost 10% of his body weight so they said he had to be fed every three hours, which he was anyway. My milk was just coming in so I knew he would start gaining soon, I wasn’t concerned about it as I knew it was normal. She said he still looked jaundice so we needed to go to the hospital to get him tested to see if he needed light therapy. She also took my temperature which was high and my blood pressure which was also high and commented on my swollen legs again. She said I needed to go to the hospital to get checked over and I should pack an overnight bag for me and Leo in case we have to stay in.
I really didn’t want to go back to the hospital as I found it so hard before looking after Leo on my own, bending over to pick him up and changing nappies hurt. I had to go on my own because of Covid. My partner went to get me some painkillers from Tesco and some snack in case I had to stay in then went home to wait for me to update him.
I had my blood taken and did a urine sample. I also had to have my blood pressure monitored every 10 minutes for an hour. Every time it was taken it was getting higher and higher and ended up in the 160s. My blood pressure is usually so stable and had been during my pregnancy. They kept asking if I had headaches or pain in my ribs. I knew these are all symptoms of preeclampsia.
My blood tests came back and my iron levels were 64. They were 75 on Friday, two days before and when I had the infusion (the normal range starts at 110). The test also flagged something wrong with my liver. The doctor who delivered Leo came and said that the results must be corrupt because if my iron was that low I wouldn’t be able to walk and talk, so sent off for another test. The results came back the same.
When I went to do my urine sample, the midwives changed Leo’s nappy. There was a bit of orange/red in it, which he had a few days before but the midwives said it was normal. Because it happened again, they wanted to get it checked out. He also had his jaundice test and it came back okay and he didn’t need light therapy (phew). Someone came to put something over Leo’s penis to catch the wee so we could do a sample to check for infection.
The doctor came back and said that as my iron was so low that I needed to stay in as there was no way he could let me go home with iron so low and blood pressure so high. He also said they were conflicting symptoms as usually low iron equals low blood pressure so they didn’t know what was wrong. I called me a medical marvel. Woo.
My partner was able to come and visit me at this point and bring me my painkillers, snacks and nursing pillow.
The doctor wanted to examine me to make sure my stitches were heeling and there was no bleeding causing my iron to be low, they checked I had no internal bleeding. He also took this opportunity to put a suppository up my bum to help me go to the toilet as I hadn’t been since before labour. Glam.
The doctor said he wasn’t sure what was going on, but wasn’t so concerned about the preeclampsia as I have had the baby now – which is the cure – so it should correct itself but they wanted to monitor my blood pressure and other symptoms. They also wanted to do my blood daily to see if my iron was going up and also to see what was going on with my liver function – was it something that was correcting itself and going down or getting worse? So they would do them again tomorrow and I could possibly have a blood transfusion – but that means I wouldn’t ever be able to donate blood but it was an option.
He said my iron could have been lower as I was already anaemic before labour, or they could have underestimated how much blood I lost, or maybe my iron was still dropping and hadn’t yet reached its low point. He also wanted to some test on my red blood cells to make sure they were working correctly.
My partner got kicked out after two hours but a very short-tempered midwife, even though I had my own room. I cried because I really didn’t want to be left there. I was a bit scared as I didn’t feel well.
I had to keep checking if Leo had weed. He finally had so I called for someone to take the bag off him. A student midwife came but didn’t know how to remove it so went to get someone else. Leo was screaming and crying at this point and I couldn’t really do anything as he had pooed too and it was all over the bag. I was waiting for ages and getting upset and ended up crying because I couldn’t pick him up to comfort him. It was really stressful. I buzzed again. Eventually, someone came to take it off and do the sample and I could put a new nappy on and pick him up.
The midwife came back shortly after and said he had blood in his wee. At this point, I had a complete breakdown as I thought he had an infection and they would take him away from me for treatment. They said the paediatricians were on their way to see me. This was about 10 pm. I was waiting for ages and the midwife came back to check on me and I just couldn’t stop crying. I was so just tired, ill, hormonal and looking at my beautiful baby fearing the worst.
I cried for about 4 hours, just sat in the chair holding Leo while he was sleeping, I took the above photo at that point. The midwife said they kept buzzing fo the paediatricians but they weren’t coming. Finally, the came and said their battery had run out on the beeper. It turns out that they didn’t test the sample as there wasn’t enough urine. I thought that they had tested it and it had detected blood cells, but the midwife said there was blood in his urine based on the pink/red stuff she saw in it so I was really pissed off it had been communicated to me wrong. We had to do another sample as that didn’t work. The next day, one of the senior paediatricians had said that it was normal and what babies often have a few days after birth, it’s urate crystals.
So I had basically had a complete breakdown for no reason.
I did not sleep that night.
I had the most wonderful midwife the next day. She was called Marina and was so nice. She was very keen on getting me to go to the toilet though and I had many doses of laxatives. I had my blood done again and my iron was up a bit. My blood pressure was taken throughout the day and was all over the place.
My partner came at midday. My one goal was to have a shower as my milk had come in and was leaking everywhere and I felt pretty gross. I kept needing more tests and Leo needed feeding, so the time I got to the shower was about 3 pm. This midwife said my partner could stay as long as we liked as we had a single room.
He stayed until about 5 pm. I cried again when he left. The doctor who delivered Leo came back to see me and said I could hopefully go home the next day if my blood continued to get better. I was still feeling awful but would for a while as it takes a while for the infusion to work.
That night was another sleepless night. Was not helped by someone coming in at 5 am to ask when I had fed Leo last and telling me when to feed him next. The following morning someone came to take my blood but I hadn’t been given a wrist band with my name on so he wouldn’t do it. So I got one and he came back and did it.
A midwife came in to start doing the checkups my community midwives would have done as it was 5 days after Leo’s birth. This was the heel prick test on Leo and weighing him. Someone came in the room and asked her to go to the theatre. Another midwife came to take over about 30 minutes later.
She weighed Leo and he had gained some weight a back which she was really pleased with. She told me to keep doing what I was doing. She then did he heel prick test where she pricked the heel on one of Leo’s feet and squeezed blood out. He screamed. I cried and felt stupid as it just came on all of a sudden. She said it was normal because she was stabbing my baby. I couldn’t wait to get him back and hug him.
My partner came at midday. By 4 pm we were still waiting for the results. They knew I wanted to go home that day but it was a really busy day on the ward. They were a lot of emergency sections and the doctors were so busy. My partner went home. Without me.
9 pm the doctor who delivered Leo came to see me at the start of his shift. He said I could go home and come back later in the week for another blood test and also have an ultrasound on my liver as an outpatient.
I then had to pack all my things up while holding/feeding Leo and get dressed. Not an easy task. I was finally discharged and a nurse helped me with my luggage as my partner wasn’t allowed back in. It was quite stressful as Leo would not settle and I really needed to just put him down and get sorted. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten dressed and moved so quickly in my life. I was finally free!
The diagnosis on my discharge form was severe anaemia and borderline preeclampsia.
The following day I had a midwife visit and check we were doing okay. I then had a phone call from the hospital saying that Leo’s urine sample was contaminated so I had to do another one. I had to go to the children’s ward the next day to get one.
I had to go on my own (thanks, again, coronavirus) with him and they said it was better to do a clean catch. So I had to sit with his nappy off and his little willy over a bowl ready for him to wee in it. Of course, he pooed in the towel he was on, I finally managed to get it and we could go.
The next day I had to go for my ultrasound and then blood tests and other tests at maternity triage. I wasn’t allowed to eat before which I was a bit stressed about as I was still feeling a bit sick when hungry. The ultrasound took about 30 minutes and they scanned my whole abdomen from one side to the other. Nothing abnormal showed up. Then I went to triage with Leo for the rest of my tests. My partner was waiting in the foyer of the hospital with Leo while I had my scan and then I went and got Leo. I had to go on my own with him but knew it would be fine and I’d be able to comfortably breastfeed him there. I was put in one of the bays in the ward with a hospital bed and chair. The curtain was pulled around. I sat in the chair and then had to do a urine sample, had my blood taken done and blood pressure.
I thought I’d be able to go then and then have the blood results over the phone but they wanted me to wait. They said it would take 20 minutes. An hour passed. Then two hours. Leo had been asleep but I decided to wake him for a feed because I didn’t want him unsettled in the car. There was a bin next to the curtain and every time they washed their hands they were letting the metal bin close on the other side of the curtain and it was making Leo jump. It was getting really stressful. They kept saying the blood results were coming. After 5 hours I started getting upset and asked to leave. Then they said they lost the blood results so I needed to have them redone. They kept saying that on Friday the people at the lab are on ‘wind down’ for the weekend and that things are always like that on a Friday. I was able to go after the repeat blood test and they said they would call me. Being sat on the chair was making my legs swell and my partner was still in the car park waiting. I was really pissed off with it all as I thought it would only be a short time but it ruined the whole day.
Also, my partner had been to get me a McDonald’s a few hours before and I had to eat it cold.
We got home and I got in the shower, when I was in the shower they called me to say my liver function was getting better and my iron was now at 78, which was an improvement of ten from when it was done in the hospital three days before. They said I could get a blood test again with my GP to check it was still improving and didn’t have to go back to the hospital!
The following day, the community midwife came to visit me along with one of the student midwives who was at the birth. They were really nice, they weighed Leo and he was back at his birth weight so they were happy with that and said I was doing really well considering what I had been through. They said they would get someone to call to check on me at the start of the next week. They did and I said I didn’t need a visit so they would arrange one for the following week.
The health visitor came on Wednesday. She was nice, she asked to see where he slept and asked us lots of questions and gave us some information. She also weighed Leo and he had gained again. She was happy with everything and arranged a visit for a few weeks later.
The following Tuesday, the community midwife came again, she weighed Leo and he was 10lbs! We booked another appointment at the clinic and said that would be the appointment where I was discharged from midwife care. It was exactly a week later, he was weighed again and was 10lbs 11oz!
My named midwife came into the appointment too and they were saying how it was impressive that I carried on breastfeeding during everything that had happened. It really was the only thing that seemed to go right so I needed to carry on. I do think that the midwives were trying to encourage me so they were probably exaggerating a bit, but I’ll take it!
Now it’s a case of waiting for my doctor appointment and health visitor appointments.