Saturday, September 30, 2017

Postpartum Wonkiness

I have a birth story post brewing, but that has been put on hold by the demands of a newborn and the fog that still resides in my head.

Birth and its aftermath was fairly routine. In fact from a pain perspective, this delivery has been probably the easiest I have had. I finally found a pain medicine protocol that works for me; it only took five times. I had minor tearing and, I think, two stitches that healed very quickly. I was sore for a few days, but overall the aches and pains associated with post-pregnancy has been mild. If only that was the end of it.

During the pregnancy, I continued with my low blood pressure that I have always had. Normal readings for me stay around 100/70 and 90/60 is not alarming. I had an annoying high pulse, but was told repeatedly it wasn't high enough to be worrisome. It just pounded in the 90s most of the time.

Within a day after delivery, my pulse blessedly returned to normal.

Within five days of delivery, I had a continuous low grade headache. I first attributed the headache to too much screen scrolling while sitting with a baby. I was still basking in my non-pounding pulse. After several days of this dull headache, I decided to take my pulse to see where it was sitting. I was expecting something in the mid-70s. I got something in the mid-50s. Huh. That's weird. I immediately wondered what my blood pressure might be with such a pulse, and being the proud owner of a cuff, I went to find out. I had no idea what to expect. 135/85. What? That was somewhat alarming.

Over the next few days, I kept a steady eye on my blood pressure. While not technically actionable, it was a lot higher than my usual and my head was dull. I even had a migraine aura. Over the course of a few days, it stayed in that same range, and after I stupidly spent two hours in an unair-conditioned barn for a wedding reception, it got as high as 150/90. Officially concerning.

I consulted my doctor and started keeping a regular record. That high reading was as high as it got. Over the last week it has stabilized into a more normal range with my high readings being 120/80 and the others hanging around 110/75. So maybe I am not going to have a stroke.

My pulse has not recovered as nicely. It is still hovers in the 60s or 70s during the day and I am sure falls into the 50s (or 40s) while I sleep. This slow circulation does not help the dull headache. My brain is foggy and slow. I have to reach for words.

And! I am getting heart palpitations. I think I have figured out they are exacerbated by stress, low blood sugar, and the slow pulse. The palpitations are much fewer when I keep my blood sugar level. However, regular eating is not my strong suit. Regular eating with a newborn is really not my strong suit.

The fun thing about heart issues is that thinking about them can cause your body to react. I wonder about my pulse and can watch it slow down noticeably on the monitor. I think about a palpitation and then my heart starts flip-flopping. I have to keep up with what's happening while at the same time not dwell on it and make it worse.

I have an appointment on Monday for vitals and bloodwork to make sure all this is on the side of annoying, but harmless postpartum complications and not something more ominous. In my saner moments, I feel confident all this falls under annoying but harmless, but this hasn't been enjoyable either. Half the time I wonder if I shall have a stroke or if my heart is just going to quit beating.

Hopefully soon the fog will lift and I will be able to tell you about my 7.5 hour labor. 7.5 hours!?! All the others combined were only 10.5 hours. Stay tuned...

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