Emergency hysterectomy after having a baby – Tasha’s Story

I was twenty four years old when I went into labor with my first child. My water broke as soon as I woke up that morning, but after that labor was slow. After nearly 23 hours my doctor decided we should do a Cesarean, because the baby was stuck and wasn’t descending through my pelvis the way she should. I was so exhausted that I agreed right away and they whisked me off to the operating room. Everything seemed to go fine, and after a few days in the hospital we were sent home.
Exactly 14 days later I bolted out of bed in the middle of the night, feeling like my water broke all over again. I rushed into the bathroom to find bright red blood filling my pad and underwear. I called out for my fiancé and told him to get my mother, who lives with us and is an emergency room nurse. She saw what was happening and quickly called an ambulance.

In the E.R. the doctor inspected me and I felt a gush of blood let loose from between my legs. The nurses were racing around, trying to get blood from the blood bank but it was taking too long. The technician panicked and didn’t understand their orders for O-, the universal donor blood. Finally they got me hooked up and pushed the cold fluids into my body. I was shaking uncontrollably from the chill.

My doctor showed up, looking so sad and scared. They called in a surgeon and I was taken into the O.R. so they could put a medical balloon in my uterus in the hopes of stopping the bleeding for long enough to air lift me to a bigger hospital. They also would do a D and C inspection to see if there was a piece of placenta left over in my uterus causing the bleeding. I awoke from the surgery and my doctor said that I was still bleeding and there wasn’t time to take me to the city. They put me under again and cut along the barely healed line where the C-section had happened. When I woke up I no longer had a uterus, but the bleeding had finally stopped.

I was in the ICU for a few days. I can hardly remember. The pain was unbearable and I had to constantly be on the heaviest pain medications. The maternity nurses came in and helped me with a breast pump in the hopes that I could resume breastfeeding soon. Once I was a bit more stable I was able to go back onto the maternity ward so that I could keep my two week old baby by my side. It was hard to believe that this little baby would be the only one I had, but I was still so grateful to have her and be alive.

Breastfeeding was a challenge after all my body had been through, but we kept up with it. I couldn’t hold her in our normal cradle position because of the pain on my torso, so breastfeeding required lots of pillow arrangements and baby rearrangements. The nurses were very zealous in their support of breastfeeding, which was good because otherwise I would have given it up. My daughter had to be supplemented a few bottles of formula a day at first but slowly my milk came back and by the time she was three months old we were on all breast milk again.

It was really hard once I got back home (about a week later). I couldn’t believe that I had a hysterectomy. I was overcome with grief at times. Holding a newborn baby makes you think you could do it all again in a heartbeat, but that was never going to come again. I was still in a lot of pain. Because the surgery was an emergency procedure they didn’t have time to really make sure I would be comfortable. The skin around the surgery site was completely numb, though right where the numbness stopped there was a stabbing nerve pain. As I write this, six months later, my skin is still a little bit numb, but the pain is long gone.

In the first few weeks back at home I spent a lot of time looking at adoption agencies. It helped me to think that someday I could help out a little baby or child who needed a home. It took about a month before I could sleep next to my fiancé again. The surgery site hurt so bad that I was afraid to sleep next to him, for fear of him brushing against my stomach and accidentally causing me pain. It was good to be next to him again though, it was a step towards our normal life again. The doctor okayed sex about 8 weeks later, though it still took me some time before I was comfortable being intimate, and it was even longer before I could truly let go of the fear.

I went to a counselor a few times to help me let go of the anxiety that was constantly with me. It really helped to talk to someone about it, someone who was completely disconnected from my family and friends. Journaling my feelings helped me a lot too. I never held onto any anger at the doctors for what had happened, but the fear from coming so close to death still gripped me. Nightmares of it happening again plagued me, and I was left with a shadow of grief and fear. I was so grateful to be alive, yet a piece of me was gone.

Now, six months later, I feel normal again. Going for walks and getting strong helped me realize that I could depend upon my body. Journaling helped get the fears out of my head and onto paper, where it could be contained. I am so thankful to be alive and united with my beautiful little family.

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in my own words book coverNow available on our online store and all other online book store’s. In My Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy is full of many other real-life stories from women the world over.

Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.

12 comments

  1. Hi, I haven’t searched for a few years now for other women like me, I don’t know what made me look today but glad I did. 10 years ago I went into hospital to have my first child, being a mum was the only thing in my life I knew I wanted to do. Everything that could go wrong during labour did go wrong. I always knew I wouldn’t be able to give birth but no-one listened. I had an emergency c-section and they stitched me back up with an internal bleed after accidentally splitting my womb. I will never forget the pain ever. I was rushed back into theate where I spent 8 hours, lost 28 pints of blood and woke up in icu on life support with a complete hysterectomy. They had even began my hrt treatment via a patch stuck on my leg. Absolutely no hope of a brother or sister for the son I had given birth to who was in another hospital as I had been rushed by ambulance to a hospital with an intensive care facility. When I left hospital I weighed 6 and 1/2 stone and without any femininity at all. I feel lucky to be alive but still mourn for the children I never had and will never get over the horrific experience that was supposed to be the happiest of my life. Reading all the stories above helps a little so thanks for that ladies.

  2. I too had an emergency hysterectomy after a c-section, this was after loosing about 8 pints of blood and many transfusions….I was always told the risks of the section but I never ever thought that it could happen to me.
    It’s been five months now and I feel loads better, every day I look at my little girl and feel so lucky to be alive and grateful to be a mother. I have found my hormones still play havoc with my mood though….most of the time I feel fine but every now and then it feels like a total bereavement….I thought I was young at the time 28 but seeing other women’s posts on here who are younger….I cannot believe how incredibly strong you must have all been.

  3. Hi, I’ve just read your thread. I had placenta praevia and in April I had a c section which ended in an emergency hysterectomy. I also lost 5litres of blood and they also kept my ovaries. Yes, you will still continue to make eggs and the hormones your body needs as a woman, but your body will just absorb the eggs like it did before you got pregnant. I hope you’re doing ok. This really has been a nightmare for me and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But in the next breath I’m so happy to be here! Take care xx

  4. Hi lucy, the same happened to me on 22nd June 2014, I had placenta accreta as well 🙁 my lil girl was delivered 5 weeks early and was in special care for 2 weeks after she was born, I’m only 22 but fortunately have 2 Beautiful little girls. In answer to your question yes you still have your eggs so technically if you found a surrogate you could have more babies, or there’s adoption, these are what my doctor said to me, there are options out there. First time I’ve commented on anything like this so sorry if it’s a bit of a waffle and well I guess take care (feeling a bit awkward now lol) if u do fancy a bit of a chat then we can swap emails or whatever, everyone keeps saying how I need to talk about it and it’ll help me deal with things etc so gonna give it a go! xxx

  5. Sorry to hear your story. I also had a hystectomy at 21 after my first child. You will not have any more periods but you won’t experience the symptoms of menopause as you still have your ovaries. I feel your pain as only someone in same situation can and I hope things go easy for you. Enjoy your time with your little girl

  6. Gosh, I’m really sorry to hear of the problem you had during your labour. It will take some time to sink in. Your body has all it’s eggs already, they just won’t be released.

  7. Hello , I came on this site just looking for people that I could relate to , 15 days ago I had an emergancy hysterectomy as I had a condition called placenta acreta when having my first baby girl , I’m only 20 , to be honest I don’t think its sunk in yet , my surgeons saved my life , I lost 5 liters of blood during my c-section and because of that they struggled to stablise me after , I was home after 5 days with my beautyful baby , they left my ovaries behind does this mean my body still makes eggs ? :S thank you

  8. I had a c – section with my 1st child, then just over 2 years later was in labor with my 2nd and started bleeding, they rushed me in for a c – section, then put me to sleep, my old c – section scar on my womb had ruptured and I was bleeding dangerously, they tried stitching it but they kept tearing, so I ended up having my hysterectomy, I was just 19. That was nearly 15 years ago and its probably harder now than it was back then. 🙁

  9. Hi I have just read your story through tears. The same thing happened to me 12 years ago when I was 21 and it is still as raw if not more today as it was 12 years ago . I am greatful to God for being blessed with my child but to go through this at a young age takes alot out of you mentally . There are going to be times when your child asks you why she Aint got a brother or sister and you will hide your tears and answer. Also in the playground when fellow mums ask the same question you only will feel your pain inside …. I hope that you do get on in life and be happy with what you have and I hope one day in the future my pain and sadness gets less… Thank you for sharing your story

  10. So glad you are able to share your experience with others.
    I too had the same problem after having our son, but my doctor was able after many hours and blood transfusions to get things under control. We were blessed with a healthy baby boy and we didn’t have more children. Our God is in control and blesses us in so many ways. Love that beautiful little one of yours.

  11. I’ve just read your story. Thought wow you area so lucky to be alive . Your journey puts things into perspective , I’m sure you will Cherish your child and maybe one day help another. I wish you all the best. Please enjoy your family.

  12. Im so sorry for you but im so glad you are getting better.
    Your story really touched me.
    Best wishes
    Di xx

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