You may have noticed it’s been pretty quiet around these parts. I’ve only posted a few times since Timothy was born and those were sponsored posts I had lined up while I was still pregnant. It was not my intention to leave you all hanging. This postpartum period has been really rough on me though. Rougher than my entire pregnancy actually! I don’t even know where to start so I’ll just jump right in. Sorry in advance for the long post!
I was released from the hospital on a Friday (Timothy was delivered via c-section on Wednesday). I climbed in bed on Friday night, laid down on my back because it’s the most comfortable position after having a c-section and I immediately felt like I couldn’t breathe. I decided to sleep sitting up in my glider. I had a few bouts of shortness of breathe throughout the weekend so I called my OB on Monday. They told me to go to the ER immediately. It was impossible to go immediately (2 kids!) so I had my mother-in-law drop me off later in the afternoon. They ran a ton of tests – EKG, chest x-ray, heart ultrasound, blood work etc. After waiting around for what seemed like forever, I was hooked up to an IV because my blood pressure was elevated. I had an IV of blood pressure meds and was released with a new prescription for Labetalol (the same BP meds I was on when I was pregnant).
I was told to lay low, which I was doing anyway because I was recovering from surgery! 4 days later on Friday, Timothy was scheduled to get his circumcision. All that day I had not been feeling well. I had serious pain in my neck and at one point I was even seeing stars (yes, this should’ve been a major red flag!) but I went on with my day. I went to Target and then took Timothy to his doctor’s appointment. Luckily I did not drive myself because I started feeling worse sitting in the waiting room. The nurse at the pediatrician’s office just happens to be my husband’s cousin so I had her check my blood pressure. It was 200/105! Normal is 120/80. It was pretty late in the afternoon by this point but I decided to call my doctor’s office, who once again told me to go to the ER immediately. It took another 30 minutes or so to finish Timothy’s procedure and by then I was freaking out and feeling really sick.
This time the ER was dead so I got right in. I hated sitting there by myself but I had my MIL take Timothy home so he was more comfortable. I had the same tests done because they take high blood pressure and any heart symptom very serious! Finally my husband showed up as I was being moved to a room. The doctor came back and had me leave a urine sample because he was concerned about preeclampsia. I had preeclampsia with my first but didn’t think it was possible after delivery. The major signs of preeclampsia are high blood pressure and protein in urine. Also common are blurred vision, headache and swelling in extremities. All of which I had but I thought were from the high blood pressure or side effects of surgery. After another hour it was confirmed, I had preeclampsia. I was hooked up to an IV and given a heavy dose of Magnesium over an hour. Magnesium does weird things to your body. I was hot and then cold. My vision was blurred and my muscles got really weak, all in an hour! After the initial dose I was moved to the mother/baby unit, since I was breastfeeding. The nurses told me I could have Timothy in the room with me (he was 9 days old at this point). We live an hour away from the hospital and it was after 8 pm so I decided to wait until the morning. I thought it would be nice if my husband and I both got a good night’s sleep! HA. Have you ever tried sleeping in a hospital? Anyway, after I got settled in my new room I was hooked back up to the Magnesium. It was administered slower this time over a 24 hour period. The next morning, Luke went home to get a few things for us and to pick up Timothy. After the 24 hours of magnesium, I needed 24 hours of monitoring to make sure the meds were working. My BP was down a bit but still elevated. I was sent home on Sunday night on Labetalol twice a day and a new med called Nifedipine once a day.
After being released from the hospital, my OB was monitoring my blood pressure. I made the 45 minute trek to my doctor’s office 3 times a week! For the next 30 days I was a hot mess. My blood pressure was all over the place. Every evening I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My vision was blurred, my muscles were weak, I just didn’t feel like myself. I even thought I was having panic attacks because my heart was constantly racing. It was affecting my ability to be a good wife and mother actually. Eventually my OB weaned me off the Labetalol and my blood pressure was controlled on the one med. At my 5 week postpartum appointment my doctor dismissed me. She said she could no longer treat me because it was past the time-frame for being related to pregnancy. I was devastated. Here I was thinking I was dying because I was having chest pains constantly and she dismissed me! She recommended a family practice doctor in the same complex. I made an appointment for the following Monday.
At this appointment I explained my history and showed the ARNP my blood pressure log. She decided to keep me on the same meds, even though I was having a ton of side effects, and sent me on my way. Later that night I was feeling so defeated. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I decided to stop pumping (this is a story for another time, but I was exclusively pumping since Timothy was born). On top of feeling like death, I was pumping every two hours. I wasn’t bonding with my son, my daughter was acting out for attention. Honestly, deciding to formula feed was one of the best decisions. I wish I had done it sooner! After another 3 days of feeling like crap and one whole night of not being able to breathe, I made ANOTHER appointment. I asked to see a different doctor. They got me in right away with an actual doctor this time. This doctor was really attentive and actually seemed to care about what I was going through. Hallelujah!! He did blood work and switched my meds to something called Hydrochlorothiazide. The next day was my birthday (35!) so I took the kids to meet my mom for lunch and shopping. I was having hot flashes the entire time but felt ok. I checked my blood pressure when I got home and it was high! UGH. I laid low the rest of the day and by the next morning it was lower but all day I was having weird heart flutters. During bath time I told my husband I wanted to go to the ER the next morning if it didn’t go away. Every 5 minutes or so my heart would skip a beat. It made my whole chest flutter and took my breath away. Well later that night it was worse! I told my husband to get dressed because I wanted to go to the ER. He looked at me like I was crazy. He told me I was probably having a panic attack!
We left the kids with the in-laws and left for the hospital around 9 pm. For the third time, I had ALL the tests done. The hospital billing office must love me! They also ran a full metabolic panel on my blood. After just a couple short hours they determined my potassium level was really low and I was slightly dehydrated. The ER doctor explained that this could be from the new medication. They gave me 4 giant potassium pills and told me that low potassium causes heart palpitations and can lead to high blood pressure. She told me to stop taking all my blood pressure medications and start a high potassium diet! What?! She was certain that once I got my potassium level back up all my symptoms would go away. And guess what? They did! At 7 weeks postpartum I was off all my blood pressure pills and finally feeling better. The next weekend we actually left the house as a family and visited friends. No more chest pains, no more rapid heart beat, no more feelings of anxiety! I was so glad there was actually something wrong with me or my husband probably would’ve had me committed! I’m kidding. But it was good to know it wasn’t all in my head.
Today I am 9 weeks postpartum and feeling great! I am watching my salt intake and eating foods high in potassium. I am at a higher risk of having high blood pressure so I’m doing everything I can to keep it down. I’m so glad I stuck with my guns, found a doctor I like, and took my health serious. Timothy and I are bonding more, Parker isn’t worried about mommy going to the doctor every other day and life is good.
Thanks for reading. I know this was a long post! I look forward to jumping back in and connecting with you all again.