What just happened?

While we were on vacation in the Poconos with our Korn extended family (plus my mom), I got my very first bloody nose ever. I really don’t remember ever having a bloody nose before even as a child. It was heavy and gross. The blood went down my throat making me vomit clots and spit out blood. It lasted about an hour before it finally stopped and I breathed a great big sigh of relief.

Until the next morning. And again later that day. And repeatedly over the next couple of days. They started on Monday night. On Wednesday we were checking out to come home and decided we should stop in an ER on the way. In the ER, the doc said these types of nosebleeds are not something to worry about. He gave me some medicated nasal spray, advised me to pinch my nose for 30 minutes instead of 10 and wished me luck.

My nose bled again before we even got home. I used the spray and pinched for longer and tried not to over exert myself. It maybe seemed to help a little. On Thursday, I had one nosebleed and on Friday I had none! I was excited until about 2pm on Saturday when I sneezed while bending over to wash my hands and, as Patrick says, “I blew a gasket.”

On Saturday and Sunday I had repeated choking on blood nosebleeds, keeping me from sleeping at night and walking me up from those few moments of sleep I did get. Monday afternoon, I had an appointment with an ENT (ear nose and throat doctor). Of course, my nose bleeds right before the appointment but not while I’m at the docs. He does a thorough exam and finds no blood vessels that are good candidates for cauterization (burning them closed so they stop bleeding). He says that like most pregnant women, I have a lot of engorged blood vessels – called hypervascularization and it should go away after the baby is born. He packs my nose full of gauze and says to come back in a week.

No bloody noses on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, while putting in a load of laundry, I blow a gasket again. I think I get them under control, but that evening I have one of my worst while Patrick is away. My kids basically put themselves to bed. 

We go back to the ENT on Thursday morning. We see a different doctor who says the same thing as the other guy and packs me again. She says that if this doesn’t work, we should go to the ER at Carroll so they can put me to sleep and find the problem.

On Friday, I get a small nosebleed while taking a nap but I get it under control and think maybe it was a fluke. That night around 12:30am, my nose bleeds again for real (including the clots and gushing and gagging) so I wake up a very flustered Patrick. He calls the ENT who is on call at Carroll and he says to come right in. My mom comes over to watch the kids while they sleep.

Once we get to Carroll, we get checked right in to the ER and they prepare an OR. My nose is of course not bleeding anymore. Everyone is super efficient and sweet and kind. They have a nurse from L&D come to monitor the baby while I have my nose looked at. We joke about how her job should be easy. I kiss my husband after bragging about how wonderful he is to all the nurses and docs.

I get a bloody nose as I’m lying on the table in the OR and the ENT is super excited because then he can see where it’s coming from. I fall asleep pretty quickly as people fuss over me in all directions.

Fast forward to when I wake up. I wake up in flashes. I remember having a hard time breathing. I remember seeing Patrick and my mother. I remember someone telling me they delivered the baby and I think I remember seeing him briefly before I was whisked away.

Saturday was rough. My hemoglobin was 11.6g/dL at the ER in the Poconos. Low is defined as less than 12g in women. When I get to the ER at Carroll, it’s just above 8g. After my nasal surgery, it’s just above 6g. Half what it should be to be considered normal. I spent the day adjusting emotionally to the fact that I had been rushed into an emergency c-section and my baby is not in my belly anymore. I am so tired from the general anesthesia and blood loss that I’m falling asleep every five minutes, in the middle of sentences, during conversations, even when I’m nursing baby Finn.

Let’s take a minute to brag about how awesome my baby is. The reason they decided to take him by c-section is because his pulse kept dropping (starting in the 140s and dropping to the 40s) and his oxygen saturation levels were troublesome. They had already extubated me from the nasal surgery and had to reintubate me for the section. But on Saturday when I was barely holding it together, my Finn was beautiful and gorgeous and seemingly healthy. He nursed like a champ and especially so considering I wasn’t up for helping him. The cardiologist had concerns because his pulse was still low so he was kept in the special care nursery with the oxygen on.

Overnight, they decided I needed a transfusion and I got 4 units of blood over the course of the night and Sunday day. Sunday morning people kept commenting on how much better I looked but I was still feeling very fatigued. Add to that nausea, gas pains, uterine cramps, incision pains and general grumpiness. Not to mention the residual swelling, pain and discomfort from the nasal packing and surgery.

They were promising me that Finn would be able to come join me, but we were waiting for a follow up echocardiogram and then we were waiting to have the pediatrician read that echocardiogram. He didn’t join me until 7:45pm on Sunday.

At some point on Sunday, much of my discomfort passed. I threw up and the nausea passed. I napped on my side and much of my gas pains passed. I worked with my mom and nurse to get out of bed and sit in a chair. Then my transfusions ended so I didn’t have to drag that IV pole around. And they took out my catheter so I could use the bathroom on my own. Finally, I finished the antibiotic, so they disconnected the IV on my left side. 

So here I am, late on Sunday evening, holding my Phinehas Aquinas, listening to him make little baby cooing sounds thankful because it could have been so much worse. I can look beyond the stuffy nose and how much it hurts to cough when I realize how awesome it is that my Finn and I are both okay.

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Now….all I have to worry about are the pesky nosebleeds. Please pray with me that they won’t return.

And now let me brag about a couple of other people. My mother continues to amaze me. Here we are at a hospital where she doesn’t even work and most of the nurses and techs know her anyway. She’s spending the night with me tonight to make sure I can get around okay. She gives me her opinions, helps me make decisions and gets me the best care I can get. I really could not do this without her.

And last but not least, my amazing husband Patrick deserves some sort of medal. The night I was rolled into the OR, he sat in the family waiting room. Someone came out to tell him that the baby was delivered and was okay, but when he asked about me, they said they didn’t have any information about me at that time. Can you imagine what was going through his head? Then he watched me struggle through those first hours while I was still fighting the anesthesia and overcoming the blood loss. He arranged child care for the three big kids, taking a few shifts himself to put them to bed and cook them meals. He is an incredible man and I can’t believe God chose me to be his wife. Thank you God, for Patrick.