August 21, 2008

Post-Partum Scare

About 4 days after PK was born, I had a bit of a scare. Up until that day, I hadn't seen any huge blood clots pop out of my uterus. And then, after going to the washroom on the Sunday after PK was born (she was born on a Wednesday), I started something start to trickle down from my nether regions. I was horrified to find a clot the size of a plum just pop out. Now, you're told to go to the ER immediately if you pass any clots larger than the size of a lemon. This was definitely nowhere near the size of a lemon, but it worried me all the same.

Unfortunately, that day, the hubby's parents had dropped by for a visit, as had his 93-year-old grandmother. Rude as it was, I wanted to get over to the ER to get it checked out, so I fed PK and went off with the hubby to the nearest hospital while leaving PK in the care of her grandparents. Since the clot I'd passed had fallen right onto my pad, I scooped it up and put it into a Ziploc bag to take to the hospital as "evidence".

When we got to the ER, we explained the situation to the triage nurse, and emphasized the fact that we had a four-day-old at home who needed to be fed in 2 hours' time. We were told that the wait shouldn't be that bad. I was called in to have some blood work done, and then shortly thereafter, I was called into an examination room. I spoke with a nurse and told her about the clot, waving it around to her at the same time. She was rather prissy about it and pretty much dismissed me as a paranoid nut. After she left, we just sat there, waiting for a doctor. And we waited. And waited. And waited. About 45 minutes later, the hubby started making a fuss to the hospital staff in the area, and I was seen within 5 minutes. The ER doctor was quite nice. I waved the clot around to him, and he seemed rather unconcerned by its size. He suggested that I do an ultrasound just the same, to put my mind at ease. That would be scheduled by phone for the following day. Since I was there, I also had the doctor check up on my episiotomy stitches, since I wasn't sure if I was healing up properly. Everything looked good, and we arrived home just in time for PK's next feeding.

The following day (Monday), I got a call for my ultrasound. They couldn't accommodate me that day, so they ended up scheduling it for the Tuesday. I was a little concerned after I got off the phone with the ultrasound people, however, since they talked about doing a transvaginal ultrasound. I didn't exactly think it was the wisest of ideas to be prodding down there so soon after delivering, so I called my OB's office to double-check. The secretary said I should keep the appointment, so I did.

On the Tuesday, I went for my ultrasound, while the hubby stayed at home with PK. I fed her before leaving, hoping that I'd be back before the next feeding. Fortunately, timing worked out just fine. As for the appointment itself, I was told that everything looked okay, they did suggest that I fax the ultrasound results to my OB just to be on the safe side. I did that as soon as I got home, and a couple of hours later, I got a call from my OB's office to schedule an appointment for the next day. Naturally I was worried. I figured that if everything was okay with that ultrasound, they wouldn't want to be seeing me the next day.

On Wednesday, we packed PK into the car and drove over to see the OB. We figured it would be good for all of us to go, in case she needed to be fed while we were out. I was seldom ever seen on time, so we figured it was better to be safe than sorry. Turns out that I was seen within 15 minutes of our arrival, which was great. I was actually really pleased with the appointment. First off, I was told that next time (if there was to be a "next time"), I would've been better off calling him directly if I had any concerns. I told him that since it happened on a Sunday, I had to go to the ER. He said that I could've just called him on his cell phone. What service! Secondly, he said that I actually lucked out on the whole thing, because many doctors don't know how to read post-partum ultrasounds and can wind up doing more harm than good. I suspect that that's probably even more so for ER docs, who have to be jacks of all trades, masters of none. In post-partum cases, these guys can tend to err on the side of caution, assuming that the clot is a piece of placenta lingering around, and may suggest doing a scrape of the uterus to get any extra little bits off. This can have very adverse effects. My OB cited a case where such a procedure ended up resulting in the woman having to have a hysterectomy because the ER doc goofed.

Double-take! What a scare! So I went to the ER to err on the side of caution, and could have wound up having my uterus screwed with as a result of it! At the same, time, I am SO INCREDIBLY IMPRESSED with my OB for caring enough to see me after getting my ultrasound results, to put my mind at ease on the whole thing and to make sure that I was okay. Plus the fact that he's available after-hours is just mind-blowing. If only other doctors cared as much as he does.

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