I've never had a single complication post partum, so I guess it was my turn. Monday night I heard a gurgle sound in my chest. I thought I might be getting a chest cold. The next day or so I realized that each time I would lie down, I'd be short of breath. Tuesday night the shortness of breath and gurgling increased to the point that I spent most of the night sleeping upright on the couch so I could breathe. I was scared. I knew I had fluid on my chest at this point and thoughts of congestive heart failure crossed my mind. With the fog that comes in the middle of a scary night, I wondered if whatever was happening would lead to my children not having a mother. Of course I didn't tell Shane about my fears until it was all over-he was not happy with me!
I'm not going to go into the psychological reasons for not going to the ER at 3am, but lets just say I'm a little neurotic about not bothering people (like my doctor, a grandma to watch the kids) and I didn't want to be wrong and humiliated when turned away from the hospital with a chest cold.
Once we got past my OB's receptionist who wondered why in the world I'd need to be seen with shortness of breath, we were told to come "right now" to the doctor's office. After she assessed the symptoms, she told me she suspected one of two things-a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs) or pulmonary edema (fluid around the lungs/heart). Hearing the word "embolism" is not a good way for an exhausted mom with a new baby to start the day. The fight to keep back the tears started. I'm not really a cryer, but by the afternoon every hospital staff I came across saw me sob.
Shane, Audrey & I headed to the hospital for a chest x-ray, CT scan with the contrast dye to look for a blood clot, an EKG, and an Echocardiogram. Audrey couldn't nurse for a while after one of the tests but we coped-with tears.
The tests showed it was not a blood clot-praise the Lord! Basically, several factors from the C-section led to my heart getting backed up on it's job to rid the body of the fluid, so fluid was accumulating in my lungs and throughout my body. My wonderful doctor prescribed 4 rounds of Lasix in about 2 days time, which brought many liters of fluid off my body. I was so delighted to see my ankles again this morning! My maternity clothes I had to wear to the doctor's office were pretty saggy when we came home today. I'm about 15lbs lighter than before I went in. Crazy.
So Audrey & I made our residence in room 4203 for a couple of nights. She brought many visitors to our room since the nurses on that floor don't get to see many babies. I bet they don't see many girls night out parties either, but we had one-complete with Mexican food, Starbucks, and girl talk late into the night!
This event made so many things more real. Life can change on a dime. None of us are exempt from health problems. All of us will have some event that ends our lives. I know that's a downer, sorry...
On a brighter note, we've never felt more blessed by our friends & family than in the last 9 days. Between Audrey's emergency arrival and this week's crisis, God must have tired of hearing our names lifted up to Him! Even though it was all scary, I took great comfort in knowing so many people were praying. On top of that, many people offered to help with the girls or to bring me anything I might need-one friend even stayed the night with me so Shane could go home and give the girls a "normal" evening. There were more offers to help than we had needs to spread around! We had many visitors who brought encouragement and prayer-I've lost count of how many times people circled up around my bed to pray. I'm in awe & greatly humbled.