This article was first published by Heather Von St. James. To follow her journey and read more insightful articles, check out her blog here.
August 4th, 2005, 3:00 a.m. I sat up to get out of bed to walk around after a couple of hours of fitful sleep. We had already gone to the hospital earlier that day thinking THIS IS IT! SHE IS ON HER WAY!! Sadly, my contractions stopped once we got there and we were sent back home. As I stood up from the bed that night, all of the sudden, I felt a “pop” and a “whoosh”! My water broke! This was it! I yelled out to my husband, Cameron to hurry because our baby was coming.
Once we finally arrived at the hospital things began to move quickly. They checked me to make sure everything was okay and to make sure Lily was in the right position for delivery. Unfortunately, it was determined that she was frank breech. Delivering a baby who is a frank breech is extremely dangerous, not only for the child, but for the mother as well. Due to this, I was immediately scheduled to have cesarean section. I remember saying in my happy, but drugged up stupor that I was glad because now I knew our baby would have a nice round head. This is how I think when I hear bad news. I have to remember that things could be much worse. I always find the bright side no matter what the situation may be! Lily Rose came into the world at 5:18 a.m. Out she came squawking like crazy, letting us know that she was here, and, dammit we would know it.
Lily was pink, chubby, and yes, her head was round. They let Cameron hold her, while I stroked her little, downy head. After I saw and touched my baby for the first time they took her to the nursery, in order to finish my surgery. Everything went wonderfully. I was the proud parent to a beautiful baby girl. I healed well from the c-section, Lily took to nursing like a pro, and 4 days later we were sent home. At the time I was told I was a little anemic, but to eat some protein and all would be well. I had no idea that anemia was one symptom to my fate.
The first few weeks of parenthood flew by. I was getting used to having a baby around the house. I healed from surgery and was left to figuring out all the snaps of baby clothes in the middle of the night. All things considered, I was learning and living like any other new parent. However, I did this with even less sleep than most new moms. I spent many nights sleeping in the recliner with Lily, both of us falling asleep as I nursed her. I was exhausted, but what new parent isn’t? Before I knew it maternity leave was up and I had to go back to work.
I worked full-time behind the chair of the salon I was partial owner of and managed. Most people get 12 weeks off for maternity leave. However, not in my industry, I took 4 weeks off, yes only 4. I had a full book of clients waiting for me and although I only worked part time the first month, it was still challenging.
The great thing about working and breast-feeding was I started losing weight. Not only was I losing weight, I was shedding the baby pounds fast. Actually, I was dropping a couple of pounds a week. I was not a small girl when I got pregnant; I am 5’10″ and weighed 225 pounds when I delivered Lily. During my pregnancy I only gained 5 pounds. Looking back I should have known that that was not normal!
At any rate, the doctor chalked up my weight loss to healthy eating. My doctor was not concerned, so naturally neither was I. My weight continued to literally fall off over the next few weeks, but instead of feeling better, I felt progressively worse. I had no energy, I was short of breath, and I had a low grade fever every night. In addition to these symptoms I was rather pale. I just continued to blame all of this on being a new mom.