Friday morning I got up and had a little puss coming out of each side of the incision so I called the doctor and he said he wanted me to come in. By this time I could barely lift my leg to get in the shower, but I really didn't think anything was really wrong. I had my mom come pick me up since I still wasn't allowed to drive and we headed to my appointment.
We all settled into the exam room and as soon as my doctor came in and saw the incision he didn't look too happy. He told me it was infected and that he had no choice but to open it back up again. He said he would open one side, drain the fluid, clean it, and pack it with gauze. He gave me a shot to numb the right side of the incision and told me to take my pain meds and he would be back in a minute. He came back with two nurses and proceeded to cut open the right side of my incision. My mom said that fluid just came pouring out, like if you were to take a full glass of water and dump it over. The OB then shoved one of those big long Q-Tips in the incision, and started pushing on my stomach to try to get all the fluid out and clean the inside.
I seriously thought I was going to throw up right there, lying on his table. I've never felt pain like that. He finally stopped cleaning the right side, looked at me and said he would have to open the other side too. There was no way I could sit through that ordeal again so I started to panic. My OB started asking me when the last time I ate or drank anything was and then gave me the option to either go back to the hospital or have him open up the other side in his office. I decided I wanted to go to the hospital so he called ahead and got everything set up. He then told me I would be going back to the hospital where we had Kimber and I wasn't too thrilled at the idea that I would have the same nurse anesthetist so he called back to make sure I wouldn't have her... so nice of him :)
I tried to call Pat, he didn't answer. I text his co-worker who said he was at lunch so I tried to call him again. Finally I got ahold of him and hysterically told him what was going on. He left work to meet my mom and I at the hospital. The plan was to put me under, open up both sides, get all the fluid out, clean it really well, and pack it with gauze that I would have to change twice a day and send me on my way. I was emotionally and physically exhausted now and just wanted to feel better. I got ready for the procedure and they, once again, wheeled me into the OR.
I was pretty confused when I woke up, and even more confused at the tube that was coming from my stomach. I was then wheeled up to my room, whoa, what? Why did I have to stay? I couldn't imagine being away from Kimber when she was only a week old, and the thought made me lose it. I guess they took pity on me and got an exception to the rule and told me that Kimber and Pat could spend the night and they even got one of those carts from the maternity ward for Kimber to sleep in. They then explained that my OB decided to use a wound vac instead of packing me with gauze in hopes that I would heal faster this way, but since my insurance was closed they couldn't get me a portable one to take home until Monday. Ummm, what? I have to spend the entire weekend in the hospital... again!!!
Ultimately we decided Pat and Kimber would not spend the night with me. The room was tiny and only had a chair for him to sleep in so they left Friday night and I was absolutely beside myself. The hardest part of this whole ordeal was being away from my newborn, and feeling so helpless. I decided I would go to bed early so that the next day would get here faster and I could see my baby again. I got the nurse to get my pain meds and went to bed.
A couple hours later they decided to switch nurses and at 2 am I woke up in so much pain I couldn't move. Apparently I had to ask for my medicine and they didn't just automatically give it to me every 4 hours... that would of been really nice to know BEFORE I went to bed and went 10 hours without medicine! I called my nurse because I needed to use the bathroom and get some medicine. She came and unhooked those little leg things and helped me out of bed but I hurt so bad I couldn't go so I asked her to get my meds. About 30 minutes later she was back with them and I was able to go back to sleep.
Pat came and brought Kimber the next day and he would stay until like 10 at night, he did that Saturday and Sunday... poor guy had to spend the entire weekend in the hospital, but at least I got to see the baby:
Monday morning I finally got my portable wound vac. The wound specialist came to change the dressing before I went home. I had thought I was done with the worst part but getting the dressing changed was almost unbearable. My OB was there and kept reminding me that this would heal faster than just using gauze and that this only had to be changed 3 times a week and not twice a day like the gauze. So they changed my dressing, while I cursed profusely, and hooked up my portable vac and sent me home.
Wednesday my home nurse came to change the dressing again, and they informed me that since I had to have a nurse come to my home that meant that I was 'home bound' and wasn't allowed to leave the house. I was allowed to go to church, to get my hair done, and to the doctor, but that was it. So here is what happened three times a week when they came to change my dressing:
First they have to rip the drape off, which feels like they are ripping my skin off. Then they pull the foam out from my incision, which feels like they are ripping my insides out. They then cleaned the wound and started to put the dressing on again. Super pleasant experience... NOT!
First they shove the Q-Tip in to measure how deep the wound is and then they cut thick pieces of foam to that length. They then take the Q-Tip and shove the foam in each side so that a little piece is sticking out of both sides.
Then once the foam is inside they place the black foam over the whole incision and form a 'bridge' between both pieces of white foam.
Once the black foam is in place they put a piece of drape over and press it on my skin. Then they put the sticker with the hose on and connect the hose to the wound vac. Once the vac is turned on it creates suction and creates a vacuum seal with the drape on my skin.
The wound vac constantly sucks all the fluid out of my incision and stores it in a canister that is attached to it... pretty nasty, huh? The suction that the vac makes on the black foam causes the white foam (that's inside the incision) to suck all the gross stuff out.
I had the wound vac from October 1st until October 20th and then I was discharged from my home health nurse on October 22nd. After that I had to pack both sides of the incision with gauze because they still weren't all the way healed but the openings were too small to use foam with the vac.
I became paranoid about me being the only one looking at this thing. I just knew something bad was going to happen again. I was afraid that if I stopped packing too soon that the opening would close and leave a hollow cavity inside that would get infected again... however, if I kept packing the openings and shouldn't then I would just be keeping the wound open unnecessarily. I had a doctor appt on November 4th and was told I could stop packing the right side. Finally about a week later the left side was shallow enough that I stopped packing that as well and by my next OB appt on November 26th I was told I was all healed!
The incision is still sore sometimes and the two ends that were opened again are making a nasty looking scar but there's not much I can do about it and it super sucks that I spent 2/3 of my maternity leave recovering! I'm really paranoid that if I have another c-section that I will have another infection. My doctor assured me that just because I had an infection this time doesn't mean I will have one next time, but I do know it happens. It's just a risk with surgery, but the worst part is not knowing. I can't do anything to prevent an infection and I don't want to assume it will happen again and prepare myself to deal with it. I want to be optimistic if we decide to have another, but honestly, there will always be a part of me that worries that I will have the exact same experience.
Between the awful birth experience and subsequent infection, it's amazing to me that I'm actually considering going through it all again!