Originally posted Aug 23, 2009
Right after Morgan was born I felt incredible. In fact, I was experiencing such an emotional high that I couldn't imagine why anyone would ever seek that feeling from illegal substances. Wanna feel good? Wanna get high? Have a kid. There's no better feeling in the world.
But about an hour and a half after delivery I was hit with a headache that was so intense, it really felt like someone was stabbing a knife through my skull. It was one of the most painful things I've ever felt. And keep in mind that I JUST GAVE BIRTH! Turns out, the epidural gave me a "spinal headache". I was leaking spinal fluid from the tiny hole where the epidural was inserted. The treatment for this is what's called a blood patch. It's basically the same procedure as an epidural (HONKIN' HUGE needle in the back) but instead of using anesthesia, they fill that space with your own blood in the hopes that it will clot and stop the leak. About two minutes after the blood patch was given I felt 100% better and was able to go back to enjoying my newborn.
But the next day as we were getting ready to leave the hospital the headache came back. It was gradual at first, but by the end of the day it was almost as intense as it had been the day before. I was told that sometimes the blood patch provides relief but doesn't actually heal the leak, and if that happened to be the case for me I would just need to wait it out for two or three days which is pretty much the longest this thing is supposed to last. Well... eight days and one trip to the emergency room later, I still wasn't feeling any better.
(Something related: The doctor we saw in the ER seemed to think that the solution to my problem was simply taking a ludicrous amount of pain medication [two Lortab 7.5 and one IBUProfin 800] every four to six hours. Are you kidding me? It's no wonder people have prescription drug addictions.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, THE PAIN. Guys, I cannot even tell you how terrible this headache was. As long as I was laying flat on my back, the pressure on my spinal cord was relieved and I actually felt okay. But as soon as I sat or stood up the pain was absolutely crippling. I couldn't even take Morgan into the next room to change her diaper. I was suddenly a burden on everyone around me. I couldn't even take care of myself, there was absolutely NO way I could take care of a newborn. I only had the epidural in for about 40 mintues before Morgan was born. Looking back I can't help but wonder if I should have just dealt with the extra 40 minutes of pain rather than the eight days of hell that followed. Had I known things were going to happen so quickly after my water broke, it's very likely I would have skipped the epidural. The high I felt after she was born was replaced with a feeling of terrible inadequacy that I knew I couldn't shake until I was feeling better. Not the way you want to start motherhood.
Finally, after a second blood patch and about 19 cases of Mtn. Dew (I was told the caffiene would help), I'm feeling MUCH better. My back is still a little sore from having three needles the size of Texas stabbed into my spine, but the headache is completely gone now and I can actually take care of my baby... something that gives me a sense of satisfaction that is beyond compare.
On another note, I have a serious bone to pick with every woman out there who has ever given birth. Why did no one tell me just HOW MUCH it hurts "down there" after giving birth? Maybe it's common sense and I should have just figured it on my own... but, well, I didn't. It's like EVERYONE will talk about the pain of labor, but there's this cone of silence surrounding the subject of postpartum recovery. I mean, while I was pregnant nobody hesitated to tell me how terrible labor would be. In fact, one day, some completely random woman I'd never met before stopped me in the produce aisle of the grocery store and proceeded to tell me a needlessly graphic labor story that terrified me to the depths of my very soul. But no one ever once mentioned that after you give birth every sneeze and every cough will cause you to double over in pain and immediately start praying that none of those stitches tore. No one felt the need to tell me that I would seriously consider NEVER sitting down again because of how sore things are. And the first time you go to the bathroom after giving birth? Who knew it could be so terrifying?
Ladies, let's never keep a secret like this from one another again, okay?