There are a lot of questions about my recovery. It is something that I tend to skirt around or forget in the greater scheme of life. Currently, understandably, my world revolves around Charlotte, her development and how astonishing and resilient such a tiny little person can be.
So, I thought I’d take a minute and chat about cottage cheese, butterflies and, of course, me. Now doesn’t that sound selfish?!
When the dust surrounding my illness, the subsequent caesarean and my stint in recovery started settling, I was informed that I would be transferred back to my original doctor, who had played absolutely no positive role in our treatment, delivery or recovery. Not wanting to step on toes I agreed to the handover and regretted my decision not too long thereafter. I am happy to report though that I have officially made the transfer back to the most amazing doctor. Someone I have no way of ever being able to thank for all that she did for our family. Honestly, how do you thank someone for saving your child’s life or your own?
Anyway, back to cottage cheese and recovery. Strange combination you may think, but it’ll all make sense in due course.
I spent the better part of a month on bed rest, a few days at home and the rest of my incarceration spent in the maternity ward. The only form of permitted exercise was to get up and pee, once a week, that got eventful when I would be handed a 5litre container, a styrafoam cup and was told to collect every single drop of urine and store it in the bottle. ‘Do not waste a single drop’ you are commanded. The ‘peepee challenge’ as I fondly called it, is a 24 urine test to check protein levels, these levels will indicate how well/not well your kidneys and liver are functioning. The peepee challenge becomes an oddly exhilarating challenge in a world where you lie in bed all day watching crap on TV, stare at ceiling tiles and attempt to calculate how many bed sheets you would need to tie together to escape over the balcony and you’ll be very surprised at how much peepee you are able to generate, oh and a styrafoam cup is not nearly big enough for a pregnant woman.
Spend a month ‘resting’ and strange things start to happen to your body, you don’t notice them at first, I only noticed them after my operation and on the first evening I was allowed to shower myself, (sorry chaps, but a bed bath by nurses, not nearly as sexy as you think it is).
When I looked down in the shower I was horrified at what I felt and saw. One of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia is swelling in your face and lower legs, after the op I was given water tablets to get some of the water out of my body, thing is though, all of me had swollen up during my illness, so subtly that one almost didn’t realise it, until I woke up one morning and everything was hanging. I have Oprah arms, if I jiggled my arm fast enough now I could knock you out. My legs are unrecognizable, I used to have calf muscles and, while they made buying knee high boots a mission, I was quite proud of them, well, they no longer exist, in their place are standard calf muscles, skinny out of place little things that I’m not familiar with. My stomach is still recovering from the op so there is still a fair amount swelling there, and I was pregnant, that takes a while to settle I’m told, but my thighs… My thighs and hips are not mine, I’m almost sure someone placed them on me at some point while I was sleeping. While I was on the squishy side of life in terms of weight, I never had cottage cheesy thighs, now there seems to be an entire cows worth of cottage cheese down there, what’s even worse is how Oprah arm syndrome has spread to my thighs as well, and there is a bit of extra squishy just above them, at butt level, on either side of my hips that wasn’t there before, it too jiggles, if I had to sway sideways fast enough that I’m almost sure I’d create that ‘butterfly effect’ you always hear about, create an earthquake in China or something equally horrific.
Since delivery I have lost a total of 11kg, I now weigh less than when I first fell pregnant, with the added ‘bonus’ of the preggy belly still being present. I’ve lost one and a half of the 3 chins I had when Charlotte was delivered. My kidneys shut down immediately after the operation and thankfully they kick started themselves shortly after, otherwise we would have had to have placed me on a dialysis machine. My liver function showed contradictory recovery results, but it was established that the paracetamol I had been prescribed for pain management, was counter productive to liver recovery, go figure. My blood pressure took a while to start stabilising and dropping, so I’m on a month long course of medication to assist in reducing it. The odd rash I developed from the mystery allergy I got during my incarceration is also healing. Yesterday I was given permission to give up my sexy compression socks!!!!!!! The ten thousand needle marks are also beginning to heal, those are located predominantly on my ass and thighs, where the numerous Steroid, Buscopan, Anti-Nausea, Anti-Clotting and whatever else was placed in my system.
Overall recovery is slow, I’ve got to recover from HELLP syndrome, which is something that can develop in severe cases of Pre-Eclampsia, my caesarean was also not a standard because we had to deliver so early in pregnancy, the combination of medication that I was on (or a newly acquired allergy to seafood) or a combination of both, caused a lovely angry rash all over my body that has now dried up, leaving me to look like an elderly European tourist that has turned to biltong while tanning on our beaches (you know the look). I still have acne all over my chin and an intolerance to my former cosmetics, so there’s no hiding it. But I’m alive, Charlotte is alive, I got to go home to my husband and family and in the near future, we’ll bring Charlotte home. Coming home was overwhelming, at one point I felt as though that would never happen, I don’t think I made it 2 steps away from the car before I dropped onto the driveway and wept, and then got showered with love from our 4 beautiful woofs. I’m not the same person I was when I was admitted, but I’m alive and I’m recovering slowly. And now you’ll have to excuse me as its 5pm and it’s time to transform back into Daisy the Dairy Queen and get milking for my child who is developing a serious appetite and is out drinking my supply!