Warning: This post isn’t for everyone. Mentions of blood and other things related to postpartum recovery. I like to be transparent about pregnancy, postpartum and motherhood because its not always the cute pictures you see on social media. It’s real, raw and sometimes dangerous.
If I hadn’t known what to look out for postpartum, I could have died.
Let me rewind a bit. I delivered my daughter on July 2nd. Easiest birth. Pushed her out in 15 minutes. Everything was going well until I noticed I was bleeding with huge clots but it’s hard to decipher what’s considered “normal” and abnormal after birth because there’s a lot of blood in general.
10 days later I was experiencing what’s called “postpartum hemorrhage” (PPH) and the chills. PPH only happens to about 1 to 5 women out of 100. It all happened so fast. I had never experienced the chills before and I just could not stop shaking. I decided to call my doctor and she told me I needed to come in. I went to the labor and delivery ER. My chills went away by the time I got there but my fever was at 104. I’m not sure how I got in the building because they checked my temperature for Covid 19 before I even went into the ER. Which makes me think those temp checks for Covid are super unreliable. That’s neither here nor there. Let me get back to my story.
I was admitted into the hospital because my fever didn’t go down, I was still bleeding like crazy and I was in pain. I knew it was serious when my husband looked worried with how much blood I was losing and he NEVER worries about anything. The staff thought I had a kidney infection when I was admitted and it took them two days to figure out what was going on. My friend advised me to ask for an ultrasound. Can you imagine having all these tests ran, blood taken from you and hooked up to an IV for two days without knowing anything?! It turns out pieces of my placenta were still inside of me. I had to have a D&C. I spent about four days in the hospital — away from my son and my newborn 😭.
It was the worst experience I had ever been through. Pretty traumatic actually. I was scared I was going to lose my life at the hospital during some of the intense moments. The pieces of tissue coming out of me were massive. Scary, huh?
If you are expecting KNOW the warning signs and when to call your doctor or 911. They briefly go over what to look out for when you are discharged but listen to your body. They don’t put enough emphasis on postpartum recovery. If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s probably not.
I recently learned that Asian women and Hispanic women are more likely than others to have PPH. So again, know the signs!! I feel incredibly blessed to be able to be back home - nothing but the grace of God.
I have listed important red flags to look out for from @drsterlingobgyn
Heavy bleeding (saturating 1 pad/1hour for more than an hour)
Shortness of breath
Change in vision - seeing stars or dots.
Upper abdominal pain
Leg swelling or pain
Thoughts that your family would be better off without you
Inability to sleep even when the baby is sleeping
Fatigue that does not improve with rest
Rapid weight loss
I hope this helps someone out there as much as it helped me to know when to call for help!