I read, I researched, I planned, I prepped. I saw doctors and midwives and nurses. I had three inductions: one c-section, and two vaginal births. An IUGR baby and a LGA baby. A NICU stay and shoulder dystocia. Two post dates babies and a “preemie.” We had gotten pretty good at educating ourselves on the “what-ifs” and being able to go with the flow, because labor often has its own plans. We have always been lucky enough to have a good team at the hospital. They have always provided us with the best information and support when we need to make split second decisions. The one experience I was never prepared for was a postpartum hemorrhage. If, despite all of my research, I was still not aware of this, I think if needs to be talked about more.
Hundreds of women die each day from postpartum hemorrhaging. It is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the world. Overall, I was very lucky and situation was never that emergent. Still, the effects of the blood loss are there and mamas should be aware of the risk.
For the first time with this baby, we had a doula and I also had my placenta encapsulated. These two things have made a world of a difference in my recovery but it’s still a slow and steady road ahead. It’s also been so frustrating not being able to “bounce back” and go back to our normal daily activities like I was able to with the girls. Mostly, I feel so guilty that the girls haven’t been able to enjoy the last month of the summer and all of the activities we had planned. We are trying to get out as much as we can but it’s not easy. It also breaks my heart that I we don’t have a first picture of the five of us in the hospital, and that I couldn’t allow many people to visit us there. It’s no surprise that with feelings like these, there is also a link between postpartum hemorrhaging and postpartum depression and anxiety. There are definite mental/emotional symptoms along with the physical ones so I have to try to be extra in-tune with how I’m feeling and look out for those signs. This is important to talk about because there is still such a stigma with PPD and anyone suffering from postpartum hemorrhage symptoms shouldn’t be afraid to talk about ALL of the symptoms; not just the physical ones.
There is also social media. It appears that anyone who has a baby can go back to their normal activity and appearance the next day; which we all know isn’t actually real. So I’m spreading awareness to tell other moms that it’s okay to admit that we are feeling terribly and that it’s okay if we haven’t left the bed or the couch or blow dried our hair. All we are “supposed” to do in the early days is make sure the baby is clean, fed, and rested, and then make sure we are clean, fed, and rested. All the social pressure to do MORE needs to go.
So, here is an info sheet on postpartum hemorrhaging. Take the few minutes to read it. If someone you know experiences this in the future, you’ll appreciate knowing how to care for them. And mamas, you’ll appreciate knowing all of your feelings and symptoms are completely normal; even when no one talks about them.