Kassie Wiggs

Survivor

The afterbirth of Sawyer isn’t something I talk about much, hell, to be honest it’s not something I remember very vividly. I remember family and friends coming to visit in the hospital. I remember worrying about my baby fighting low blood sugar in the NICU and trying to muster the energy to walk to him down the hall or watching the clock til they brought him to me for a feeding. I don’t remember anything after surgery. I don’t know if they told me I lost blood, I don’t know if they said anything about Sawyer or me or either of our lives being on the line during it. All I remember is being sad Jordan wasn’t with me, my mouth being insanely dry, and me asking for water and the mask on my face and me praying for Sawyer and I to be okay, for me to please wake back up. (Sepsis and Pregnancy & Childbirth)

I woke up in recovery next to Jordan in a chair. They brought me my baby and laid him on my chest but all I could do was place my hand on his back. He had the most perfect face and the most perfect eyes. I saw two nurses sitting at their computers and watched Jordan feed Sawyer a bottle. I don’t remember going to our room. I remember getting mad at a NICU nurse for not wanting to help me breastfeed Sawyer. I remember Sawyer not wearing anything I brought for him to wear during our stay expect his going home outfit. I remember feeling miserable and looking miserable as I tried to dress myself so we could go home. To think I was going to wear my jean leggings out of there 😂

When we got home I was so excited. I couldn’t stand to hear Sawyer cry. Jordan was the most amazing mom and dad the first two weeks of his life. I seriously couldn’t have done it without him. Feeding, burping, changing, skin to skin, dressing me, showering me, changing my underwear pads, and pants because I couldn’t lift my legs. I should have known something was wrong when Jordan and I saw that yellow pus coming out of my vagina (TMI) but this is my real PP story and it could save a life. Or when I couldn’t stay awake, carry a conversation, or couldn’t get up off the couch myself. I’ll never forget all the docs at the hospital telling me I was fine.

During Sawyer’s first baby check up, running in to one of my OBs in the hall and my PP check up. They all told me I had a massive surgery and it was normal to feel like shit and to be swollen to a pulp like I was. I won’t forget leaving the hospital crying and telling my mom that they really sent me home. Saying it was all normal. That night at home I fell asleep on the couch. I thought I had to go to the bathroom but when I did it was more pus. But the pus I was seeing was on the floor and on the toilet. I knew this wasn’t coming from where I thought it was and when I lifted my shirt Jordan and I both realized what was happening. I didn’t want to go back to the original hospital. When we arrived at another hospital, I seriously walked inside, I told the nurses I had an emergency C-section and my incision came open at home. I’ll never forget the horror and shock on their faces as they examined me and started telling me diagnoses and told Jordan that he was lucky I kept waking back up.

They informed us that I was in septic shock, that my bladder was on the brink of rupture from not being able to empty itself and my kidneys were shutting down. They told us I couldn’t stay awake because I had obviously lost so much blood during surgery and my body didn’t have enough energy to remake the blood I lost (I would receive three blood transfusions and they would test the pus that had been coming out of me since I arrived at home with Sawyer). I would spend three days in the ICU and two days on the infectious disease floor. To our surprise it was a E. coli infection. Then the fear sets in – where did it come from? Is something left inside? My abdomen was swollen, and they ordered a CT scan. Thankfully nothing was left inside. Did this infection come from a dirty tool or someone not following procedures? They were working so hard during my emergency C-section to save our lives.

I had blood clots that formed in both of my legs after surgery from not being able to move at home. Lovenox shots were ordered and I would be given them twice a day for my whole week stay. Before being discharged Jordan would learn how to give me the shots in my stomach and how to set up my med line for a home nurse to come give me my antibiotic to kill the infection because a pill antibiotic was not strong enough. For weeks I would go see different doctors, an infectious disease doctor to test my blood to make sure the antibiotics the home nurse gave me killed the E. coli infection for good. A blood clot doctor to check my INR every week (the thinness of my blood) and a urologist to see if my bladder would gain function back. Fingers crossed it did, but it’s so scary to have a catheter taken out and then fill a syringe with water and then shoot it into your urethra so they can measure how much you can pee back out, and that will determine whether or not you can have your catheter taken out or not. Looking back at this story I realize I am so strong.

I really did get super sick after giving birth to a baby and come out on the other side. I was amazingly lucky to have such a strong and supportive partner so our baby could thrive while I healed. Doctor neglect is a real thing and real women like me suffer the consequences of them not doing their job and not caring about the mother once the baby is born. I will say though, I am incredibly thankful for the staff in the NICU at Truman the year Sawyer was born. Because of them he is healthy and thriving and was my motivation of healing and being strong. I’ve learned that pregnancy isn’t all rainbows and butterflies – sometimes it can be really hard, scary, and traumatic. I’ve come to the realization that C-sections don’t make you less of a mother; if anything they make you stronger. And I don’t mean that in a negative way, but us mothers went down a road less traveled, a road filled with fear and sacrificing our birth plans or lack thereof out the window. To bravely lay down and be sliced in half to have our babies taken out to have a safe chance at life. To wake up in the hospital with a wound so fresh and place our sweet baby on top of it and try to breastfeed them and feel our uterus contract again. To go home and be told not to drive, not to lift, to take it easy but sometimes you don’t have all the people around you really need for that. To see your wound for the first time, the gauze, the blood, the scar, the PP stomach you didn’t think would look so crazy and you pray it doesn’t stay forever. The belly binder you have to wear because you feel like your insides are going to fall out if you walk too long. And then just like that your baby is two months old and the hell I just described doesn’t matter because Christmas Eve came and you celebrated your baby’s first Christmas. After Christmas you got your catheter out. At two months you didn’t have to go see the infectious disease and urologist anymore because your bladder woke up and your blood was healthy. At six months they cleared me of blood clots and took me off my blood thinners and I got to grow along with my baby. I got to grow healthy and strong while watching Sawyer learn all his firsts, and for that I will be forever thankful. I came out on the other side to be one hell of a strong mother.