I suspected something was wrong when I started bleeding more at 6 weeks post partum.
All my post partum experiences before Roo had been uneventful with lochia diminishing gradually and disappearing almost completely within a month or so. But this time, I was still bleeding at 6 weeks and when it turned bright red, that’s when alarm bells started ringing in my head.
It wasn’t heavy enough for me to decide to make a trip to the doctor yet and when my grandmother passed away that week just a few years short of her 100th birthday, I was determined not to miss the wakes or her funeral.
I wondered if perhaps I had been pushing myself a little too hard at 5 weeks, doing school drop offs and some occasional pick ups. I was accustomed to swinging back into things early on but maybe this was a sign the years were kicking in! After the funeral, I decided to rest in bed as much as possible for a few days to see if things would improve.
It did, and when we made it to the mother-and-baby clinic for Roo’s belated 6-week check up (postponed to her 7th week because of the funeral), the doctor suggested that the sudden bleeding could have been a period. I was doubtful, seeing that after every birth my periods had returned only 18 months later due to exclusive and extended breastfeeding. Anyhow, the bleeding had lessened greatly and I left the clinic without being too concerned. I did, though, resolve that if things continued the way they did for another week, I would go back and get it checked.
Things did get worse in Roo’s 8th week and I got concerned. I promptly popped back into bed for a couple of days and hit Google. Apparently it was exertion or a retained placenta. I really hoped that it was something as simple as the former!
It wasn’t, and an ultrasound at the hospital showed the culprit – 1 cm of retained placenta!
The doctors put me on a two-week course of antibiotics and fixed another appointment in March.
I’m blogging about this bizzare (and rather private) topic because it’s interesting to note that less than 1% of women experience this kind of rare post-partum complication and I’m fortunate enough to fall into that statistic.
I say fortunate enough because I feel very blessed to be able to nurse Roo successfully without much difficulty (aside from mastitis) despite having this complication. Reading some online forums, I found quite a number of women who had problems breastfeeding whilst having retained placenta fragments. I don’t know the exact correlation between the two, or if a correlation really exists at all.
When I called my lactation consultant to tell her the story and check if the antibiotics prescribed by the ob-gyn were compatible with breastfeeding, she okayed them and asked if I had problems nursing. I said no, but on hindsight I remembered the incidence of mastitis. I never had mastitis before so could that have been caused by retained placenta? I didn’t call again to find out.
Whatever it is, I’m quite glad to be finished with medication. It made me feel tired and sluggish for all that time and it was the last thing I needed with 3 kids starting school again and a 2 month old baby.
I still don’t know if that niggling bit of placenta is still there and I sure hope I won’t have to endure a D&C to get it out. Hopefully the fact that I’m no longer bleeding means that the matter has resolved itself or will have resolved itself by the next doctor’s visit and I can put this prolonged post partum season behind me.
In the meantime, Roo is 11 weeks old but I still feel like it’s New Baby season with so much bliss and exhaustion in it to keep my mind free of placenta dreams.
I also decided to blog about this because I want to share a prophetic word from God that I received two weeks before Roo’s birth: A “tough time” lies ahead. But God’s promise is that we can walk on the water amidst the storm, if we have faith and fix our eyes on Jesus, not on the wind and the waves.
Isn’t that a wonderful promise to receive in advance of an uncertain time? I can’t wait for the next doctor’s visit to see what appears on that screen again but I am also at peace knowing that God has gone before me and is now carrying me every step of the way.
This kind of peace isn’t limited to placental woes. It has a significance for anything that lies ahead.
Have an incredible week, my friends!