My recovery story

We had a lovely day and a half at home trying to relax and feel a sense of normalcy…

before I was readmitted to the hospital with symptomatic preeclampsia. For me, that included a severe headache, chest and back pain and a high blood pressure reading of 145/97 at home and 150/100 at the doctor’s office, despite being on medication. So, off we went back to the maternity center. When you have preeclampsia and your blood pressure goes too high, you’re at risk for seizures so depending on the situation, they’ll do a magnesium IV. They warned me that the Magnesium IV makes you feel awful, but I wasn’t prepared for how awful.

At first it wasn’t so bad but as time went on and it accumulated in my system, it worsened. Between the hot flashes, drowsiness, muscle weakness and more, I felt like I was hit by a truck. It makes you feel so bad that they said I wouldn’t be able to hold Yael unassisted and I wouldn’t be able to make it 5 ft to the bathroom. They oh so generously brought me a bedside commode – how glamorous. I used that twice and it was actually hard enough to get in and out of bed while on the Magnesium that I actually requested a catheter. Never in my life would I have guessed I’d want a catheter but here I was – desperate for some sleep and unable to keep getting out of bed due to how awful I felt. I was on this IV for 24 hours and 10/10 I do NOT recommend.

They also added another blood pressure medication to try to manage it better – but the combination of meds caused my blood pressure to drop too low. It was a Goldilocks situation and we kept trying to find the right dosage of meds. After the new meds and the Magnesium IV, my blood pressure was more under control but I was still symptomatic so they didn’t want to discharge me yet.

The next day we tried an anti-anxiety medication in case my chest/back pain was physical anxiety but a few hours later I broke out in full body hives. We thought I was allergic to the anti-anxiety medication so I didn’t take that again. I was an absolute mess so the following day they ordered blood work, an EKG and an Echocardiogram to rule out any major heart issues. Luckily we got the all clear from cardiology and my blood pressure meds were figured out (so we thought) so despite the chest/back pain and hives, I was discharged. 

Hives like this on most of my body

Just two days later I had a follow up with my OB at the office and since I still had hives, we agreed that I was likely allergic to my blood pressure medication. I switched from one to the other and we decided to try adding another anti-anxiety medication (through my psychiatrist) in case that was the cause of my pain.

By this time, we were two weeks out from our original admittance date and my biggest recovery issues were not related to the C section surgery, at least directly. My chest and back pain became more frequent and severe and the hives were not going away as fast as I anticipated when we stopped the blood pressure medication. My pain has been impacting my ability to care for Yael, which I’ve absolutely hated, but my mom has so generously stepped in on my behalf. It has also impacted my sleep, so it’s been a real struggle.

Thanksgiving was spent at our house with our parents. That night, however, was the worst night thus far for me with how severe and consistent the chest/back pain was. When Friday evening came around and I felt severe pain again, I wasn’t sure what to do. I knew I couldn’t do another night of this pain and no sleep, so Ilan offered to take me to urgent care, something I honestly hadn’t thought of myself. Because they were closing, I ended up in the ER where they gave me IV Morphine and did a CAT scan to rule out a pulmonary embolism, cancer recurrence, and other serious possibilities. While getting the all clear was reassuring, I was still concerned about the pain because the morphine only helped a little bit and seemed to be wearing off. They ended up giving me an injection of Toradol, which works like magic for me. It was the best I’d felt in the last 3 weeks, hands down. Unfortunately, it only lasted a few hours and I woke up in the middle of the night in pain again. 

The next morning we picked up prescriptions to get me through the next couple of days – a muscle relaxer, an anti-inflammatory and lidocaine patches. While the medications worked the first night, they certainly did not the following night. I was in such severe pain that I couldn’t sleep and nothing helped. Every minute felt like forever and I was miserable yet again. 

Luckily I had an OB appointment the next day and he prescribed two new medications to hopefully help. The ER doctor thought it may be Costochondritis (inflammation of the chest wall) but that can’t be found on any of the scans I’ve had thus far, so he couldn’t be sure. This is our new guess as to what’s going on and I’m working with all my providers to figure it out since there isn’t really a diagnostic tool for it but rather it’s a process of elimination.

All in all, we’re 3 weeks out from when Yael was born and I’m still struggling with physical recovery in ways I never could have imagined. I will say that I’m thoroughly surprised at how well I’ve been doing mentally, despite all the challenges and feeling like I can’t care for Yael in a meaningful way while I’m dealing with all of this. I am so grateful to Ilan and my mom for doing such an incredible job with Yael while I try to figure out my own recovery. We’re all just taking it day by day.

Pregnancy and childbirth are no joke and it’s a time when you really will need to rely on your family and friends for help. That can be hard to accept but I promise you, it’s worth it to not have to go through it alone. They say it takes a village and in my experience so far, I cannot agree more. Huge thank you to my village. ♡

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