My ob/gyn was determined to get me up to my baby. She made sure by Wednesday night they finally took me upstairs to the Labor & Delivery department. I had to go to L&D as my needs were too great for just going to the Postpartum department. In the ICU, shortly before I left, I was taken off the Dilaudid and started on an oral hydrocodone for pain meds. It made a world of difference. I finally “woke up” and was actually feeling hungry and ready to eat.
Within a few minutes of getting into my room, the NICU nurse wheeled my sweet baby in so we could meet for the first time. All I could do was cry. My husband started crying too. It was finally settling in that I had made it out alive. I was even able to nurse Ivy for the first time, and my fear that she would have a hard time was totally wrong. She latched on like a champion nurser.
Then the pains started. At first I didn’t know what was happening, but I was in a TON of pain. Hydrocodone wasn’t cutting it, and I could barely breathe. I finally realized it was my bowel finally waking up, and gas pains were killing me. It was so embarrassing.
By Thursday night, I could walk slowly around the hospital corridor slowly and could get to the NICU without holding onto someone and while dragging my horrible catheter bag with me. In the NICU that night, they were doing a car seat test on our baby for an hour to check she could maintain her oxygen on the ride home the next day. This is a normal procedure for all preemie babies. I was crossing my fingers she would pass — which she did with flying colors.
By Friday morning, I was feeling pretty good and I was able to take a shower, which I hadn’t had since Sunday. I was able to walk around the room, while dragging that stupid catheter, and I felt like I could make it home and be okay. I could even stand up and change baby diapers. I was starting to feel like an average new mom and not like I just survived with my life.
Everything was going well until I went to the doctor 4 days later for my sutures to be removed from the incision. They removed them and added steri-strips. Then, I got up from the examining table and bent over to get dressed and my incision ripped open and liquid started dripping all over me, the floor – everywhere. It was so embarrassing. I made a huge mess in the examining room. My husband had to run out of the room and grab the nearest nurse for help.
My doctor had literally just left the office for a surgery, so her partner came rushing in with three nurses, and they fixed me all up. Then, a few hours later, my doctor called me and set up a home health agency to care for me at home.
This happened to me with my 3rd baby as well. When the incision opens up, they can’t just stitch it back together because it will close up the infection inside. At this point, you need a wound care specialist who comes every few days to clean and pack the incision with gauze and tape it all up as it heals from the inside out.
In the beginning they came daily, but soon it was once every 2-3 days as my incision was healing quickly. They would measure how deep it was by using q-tips. With a gaping wound like this, it’s hard to bathe regularly, which I hated. Showers were my relaxation. So, my nurse had a plan. He would call me 30 min to 1 hour before he showed up, so I could take a shower and then he’d immediately change all the wet dressing and clean my incision. It was wonderful!
It took about 8 more weeks to heal. Thankfully by middle of July, I was finally completely healed up and my doctor finally discharged me.
It’s now 9 months later, and I still look at my baby sometimes and cry because we made it out alive. For the second half of pregnancy, I honestly didn’t know if I would make it, or she would make it, or either of us would.
I’m still getting strength back from this ordeal. I know I’m not the same person I was. I have lost something, and I’m not as strong as I used to be. I hope to get it back eventually. My mom says it can take a year to feel back to normal again after being unconscious in an ICU for days.
Now we’re just looking forward to Ivy’s first birthday coming in a few months.