*Warning: This post candidly discusses the recovery process post-labour. If you are squeamish, do not read, although I will try not to be too graphic!*
On Saturday the 25th of November, the day before my son’s second birthday, I had a little bit of a scare. After waking up in the morning and feeling suprisingly well, I decided somewhat foolishly to drive to the supermarket on my own and do our food shop before we were due to go out in the afternoon. Thinking the labour recovery process was basically behind me, I sang all the way to the shop, in high spirits that I finally felt back to normal after a week of pain and struggling to sit down.
I did the shopping, feeling independent as I browsed the aisles, loaded up the heavy bags and carried them to the car by myself, driving home in the same happy mood that I had left in.
I still felt physically well, so I was shocked to discover that I had had an unusually heavy bleed whilst out, my mood quickly turning from happiness to fear as I tried to work out what was causing the excessive loss I was experiencing.
In a panic, I started to worry that my stitches had come out and proceeded to phone the birthing unit I had not long since given birth in. The woman I spoke to on the phone suggested she get in contact with the community midwife and get her to come and check me over before they decided what to do next. I was very upset with the idea that I might have to be restitched, imagining having to start my recovery again from day one. When the midwife phoned me, however, I quickly changed my point of view to actually wanting the stitches to be the problem, rather than what she was suggesting may be the problem. She didn’t use the word “haemorrhage”, but I could tell from her tone of voice and the way she paused and stopped herself from sharing what she believed was going on that was what she was thinking. She advised I went into hospital as soon as possible, the stress in her voice evident through the phone as she offered to ring the ward to tell them I was coming, advising me to get ready as quickly as possible.
My fear turned to terror as we prepared to leave, my boyfriend doing his best to reassure me that everything would be okay as I felt the onset of a major panic attack brewing in my mind.
On the way to the hospital, I was a wreck. I was afraid that I was losing a dangerous amount of blood and would lose consciousness. I was also deeply upset at the thought of being admitted overnight and missing Samuel’s birthday, which I had been planning and preparing for since June. All I could think about was my two lovely boys at home, and how badly I wanted to be there with them instead of in this horrible situation. Suddenly, the stress over lack of sleep and trying to cope with two children faded into oblivion. I was given a completely new perspective. As long as I could return safely to them, I promised myself would deal with the hardships without complaining. I would be grateful for every day we were all healthy and happy.
Entering the hospital and treading the same corridors I had walked down just nine days before served as a bitter blow. The last time I had been there, I had been on my way to take my newborn baby home, elated beyond belief and brimming with pride that I had successfully brought him into the world. Little did I know that I would be back so soon, and under such frightening circumstances.
After a very brief wait, I was seen to straight away, relief surging through me as the midwife checked me over and told me everything was fine. In fact, she informed me, I’d healed much quicker than most other women did. She told me the bleed was more than likely caused by overexerting myself and cited my trip to the shop as being the trigger. I was advised to rest and sent home, feeling a little bit sheepish for how scared I had been considering that everything turned out to be okay.
The ordeal most definitely taught me a lesson. It reminded me that I’m not invincible, and also snapped me out of my tendancy to get worked up about things that don’t really matter. So far, I have kept my promise to myself, and have been taking all the difficulties in stride. Ironically, Ive found that the less I worry, the easier things to seem to be, showing just how much of parenting comes down to state of mind. The next time I get in a tizzy, I intend to remind myself of the incident, and how much worse things could have been. After all, when it all comes down to it, the worst day with my children is still better than any day spent without them.
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