I didn't think I would need two parts for Lincoln's Birth Story, but by the time I finished typing it up it was rather lengthy. So here is PART TWO! And if you missed PART ONE click here.
The anesthesiologist said it indeed sounded like a spinal headache
caused from the epidural. I'd never heard of such a thing before but
apparently I was leaking spinal fluid out of the hole where I got my
epidural. And, that caused my brain to become unbalanced which results
in one hell of a headache. It felt like I had no strength in my neck to
hold my head up and it was a beast trying to look down at Lincoln to
nurse him. The anesthesiologist recommended that I get a blood patch which basically
patches the hole with a blood clot. I was sold on the instant relief
bit, but I had to wait until the following morning to get it done.
that point I was feeling weak and lightheaded from the headache so I
wasn't allowed to get out of bed especially if I was holding Lincoln.
The nurse helped me feed Lincoln on my side, which I'd never caught the
hang of while nursing Aria so that was a game changer. Thankfully
remaining horizontal kept the headache to a dull pain, so I did my best
to stay in that position until the next morning.
and Aria came up to the hospital in the morning so they could stay in
the room with Lincoln while I was getting the blood patch done. I got
wheeled away on a stretcher which was a new experience, and the overhead
lights were really awful since I was also light and sound sensitive.
a blood patch is similar to getting another epidural. Local anesthetic,
don't move, pressure, etc. However, the anesthesiologist could not find
the spot that he needed. He sure tried though...over and over. Then he
called in another anesthesiologist who tried a few more times before he
did eventually find the right spot. The right spot sent a shock up and
down my spine which made me jump a mile. And then I was promptly
terrified that I just ruined my spine since they strongly suggest that
you do NOT move. It was apparently fine.
For the blood
part of the blood patch they take blood from an IV and squirt it into
the spine...that "right spot" they found. I had an IV in each crook of
my arm (always fun). They didn't want the one in my left arm (I have no
idea why) and the one in my right arm bent so it was no longer functional.
Instead, they used the back of my hand which was another fun experience.
Then the anesthesiologist says to let him know when the pressure is
unbearable because that is the desired amount of blood he wants to use.
Have I made this sound delightful enough yet?
We got to
that unbearable amount of pressure and the headache just melted almost
totally away. I had just a slight headache remaining around my forehead.
However, my back, shoulders, and neck were all protesting. I could
barely move or turn my head. It felt like I had objects in my spine...I
even asked because I was scared to stretch my back. And then I sat and
sat, and waited to be taken back to my room. I have no idea how long the
blood patch took or how long afterwards I was waiting, but four hours
later I made it back to my room.
For the record, I am no expert on any of this. I'm just sharing what I was told, or even my interpretation of what I was told since the anesthesiologist explained it in much more detail. And the two anesthesiologists that performed the blood patch used all sorts of big words that I promptly forgot. Also, my ligaments in my spine are shorter than usual (I'm like 70% sure that is what they said anyway...) which is why it was so hard for them to successfully administer the blood patch. I hear that usually the blood patch is fairly painless and pretty much just takes the one try to find the spot. I'm just lucky, no?
I wasn't allowed to
eat anything before the blood patch so I was starving. My nurse brought
in a tray of hospital food that I inhaled while getting the paperwork
done so I could be discharged as soon as possible.
We eventually made it home as a family of four!
But, I could not move. Every position was uncomfortable. So, everything fell on Chris - taking care of me, Aria, and a newborn.
next day was Thanksgiving, and I tried to help out with the cooking but
I ended up back on the couch. And, while I tried to ignore it my
headache slowly got worse and worse until it was right back to a spinal
headache. I watched the Macy's Parade, snuggled both of my babies, and
Chris made a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, but I ended the day crying
from the pain.
Chris called the hospital's anesthesia
services because they said to call if the headache came back. Apparently
I wasn't discharged with the papers for 'what to do after getting a
blood patch'. No bending, no lifting anything over 5 lbs (Lincoln
weighed 7 lbs), ice your spine (which actually hurt too much for me to
keep up with), and take pain killers. I was taking pain killers but not
enough. So, I was back to staying horizontal and doing only the things I absolutely had to do.
my back was feeling much better by Saturday (Nov. 26th) and my headache
was almost gone by Monday (Nov. 28th). I was scared that the headache
was there to stay for the next 3+ weeks because the anesthesiologist
said that the hole will heal by itself but it could take up to 7 weeks. I'm not
sure if the blood patch didn't work or if it just took some time to
work. Tuesday (Dec. 6th) was the first day I didn't have a headache since the
day after Lincoln was born, and I'm pretty sure I will never be getting
an epidural again.
Talk about a challenging start to
being a family of four. I'm definitely glad to be on the other side of
that spinal headache. And, while Aria has been great with the transition
it was a bit much for her when mom was stuck in a horizontal position
and dad was juggling all the balls. She was feeling jealous and left out
which resulted in extra dramatics, but as soon as I could be a bit more
mobile she started feeling herself again. She has been super into
snuggling baby brother and holding him for all of 25 seconds and helping
with buttons and diaper tabs etc. She has also been copying me with her baby Stella doll - she's even borrowed the boppy so she can nurse her doll. =) I can only hope she continues to love
it especially as baby brother gets bigger and older and able to
interact with her more. Right now it is hard to even imagine that, but
I'm excited to see their relationship grow with each week and month and
year. Just not too fast please.