Recovery has its ups and downs. The first week I dealt with terrible pain in my abdominal and tailbone. The following week was a debilitating back pain that expanded to my shoulder. The third week was indigestion and poor nutrition. This week I’m just physically and emotionally drained. I’m within to five pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. I’ve never felt so physically weak for so long. The yo-yoing just doesn’t seem to stop. Some days I feel good enough to walk a few miles while other times I can barely get out of bed. We took a longer walk on a paved neighborhood path on Tuesday. I felt weak and stayed in bed on Thursday. We walked Friday and Saturday and now once again I’m bed ridden. It’s definitely has been a very frustrating one step forward and two steps back kind of process.
We took our first trail walk with Owen yesterday, the same trail we took when I went into labor almost four weeks ago. Somehow last night I was so sick we contemplated going to the ER. I felt fine all day except a little warm. I carried Owen mostly by hand because he was fussy in the K’tan for once. I suspect it was the heat, upwards of 70s and with more heat generated from me moving around. I got tired so we sat in a picnic area for a while. It was nice watching Owen finally getting some tummy time outside. We walked the same way back while I nursed Owen to keep him calm. The rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful except around 8pm I suddenly got a chill. There were goosebumps all over my body even though it was a warm evening. I asked Peter to take Owen for a minute and quickly went into the bedroom to throw on a thick bathrobe. Immediately afterwards I felt an intense burning sensation in my palms and feet followed by uncomfortable body shakes. I sat down on the bed unable to move or to get Peter’s attention. I moaned. It was like nothing I’ve experienced before. Soon after Peter came into the room asking where it hurts. “Nowhere,” I said, “just cold and shaking.” Peter rushed to get the thermometer and checked my temperature, 99.6. It wasn’t that high. Still I was shaking so badly I could barely sit up. “Can you walk?” he asked, “we need to get you to the hospital.” I have never seen him get so worried all of the sudden. I looked to Owen, who was starting to get fussy in his arms and said, “Let’s wait. I can feed him now. Warm up the little bit of expressed milk from the fridge and take out the bag of milk from the freezer.”
I had no idea how long I would be like this or if I will be able to continue to feed Owen. It was so difficult to hold and nurse him. “How can we go to the hospital now?” I thought, “how would I feed Owen?” All of the sudden the voice of Morgan Freeman appeared in my head saying, “when the seal takes the live of the mother, he inevitably takes the life of the chick.” Babies can’t survive without their mothers. At least not in the old times. That’s one of the reasons they say it takes a village. There is no one in our village. For the first time I felt slight regret to not have my mom involved in the birth. She is a doctor after all. She would know what to do. Instead, I have a worried and confused husband. “Call the midwives,” I said, “maybe they would know.” Peter called and texted them. By now my temperature had gone up to 101.8. I was worried and scared, not of what was happening then but the fact that this could happen at anytime anywhere without warning. What would we do if we were traveling? What if we’re out in the back country days away from medical help? The midwife responded but didn’t have much insight to offer considering I had no other symptoms. I had no discomfort in my breasts or while peeing or excessive bleeding or strange vaginal discharges. No blurred vision. No shortness of breath. My heart rate was accelerating and my headache was intensifying. I took some Advil and once again told Peter we should wait before going to the hospital.
While I continued to feel awful, the shake stopped. I could feel my body burning up. I drank water. I took an electrolyte replacement tablet. I drank more water. I continued to nurse Owen. The midwife suspected mastitis but I’m not convinced. Four hours later I took more Advil. I slept and woke up in a pool of sweat at 2am. My temperature had gone back to normal. I still had no idea what caused this episode but I was relieved that we won’t have to go to the hospital.
Today I stayed in bed, never walked further than the bathroom. I felt weak and lethargic with a pulsating headache that just won’t go away. “This is parenthood,” I thought to myself, “there is no stop, no break from taking care of your baby.” Someday I would like to build a village, not for me but for Owen.