Back in January, just a week after having Arthur, I had a random excruciating pain in my abdomen out of nowhere. Typically, it was the one time I was alone with newborn Arthur as Mr M had taken Ted out for a run around, so I called my friend to come over and be with me as I felt like it was something serious. It was the strangest pain – it felt like I had broken a rib, or like one contraction without a break.
It died down eventually and I thought nothing of it. Days later it happened again, and again and again, until one night in March I found my lounge full of paramedics whilst I writhed around on the floor in pain. After having a scan it was confirmed that I had developed postpartum gallstones, and would go on the waiting list to have my gallbladder removed. Lovely. In this time, I had a bout of Cholecystitis, which involved me vomiting hummus all over the kitchen, then laying on the floor whilst Ted climbed all over me until Mr M got home from work.
Fast forward to the beginning of June, and I had been controlling the pains through diet changes and hadn’t really had much bother. BUT WAIT. The evening of Mr M’s birthday, sat watching TV, the pain struck again and it was horrendous. I took painkillers and paced around the house, wondering what was going on. I went to bed but the pain remained, and by 3am an ambulance was dispatched to our house. I was taken to hospital and hooked up to an IV and given anti-spasmodic drugs.
The pain subsided and I was sent on my merry way again. Sadly, the next morning, the pain struck again, my ribs felt like they were being crushed and I could hardly speak. We rang 111 who again, wanted to send an ambulance but none were available, so I got a taxi to the hospital, crying all the way whilst the driver listened to Sam FM and cut buses up. When I got to the hospital I had to be triaged and there was a sign on the reception desk that said ” 2 Hour Wait”. At this point I broke down in tears and I am pretty sure I was just saying “HELLLLLLLP MEEEEEEE” I was taken straight through and promised painkillers. Imagine my disappointment when I was given paracetamol. Thankfully a consultant came to see me (still wailing like a banshee) and hooked me up with some rather wonderful morphine. He told me it was looking like a stone was stuck (I know, gross) and they would try to get me in for emergency surgery. They took me to a ward and continued to pump me with morphine until a slot became available in theatre, which ended up being 24 hours later!
The surgery was done laparoscopically under a general anesthetic. I was so nervous waiting to be put under and kept asking the anaesthetist stupid questions to put my mind at ease. When I woke up, sans gallbladder, I chatted a load of rubbish and felt very sore, but the operation had been a success. The recovery process has been tough – having two small children to look after, but my parents and Mr M have helped as much as they can. At first it hurt so much to lay down that I slept sat up on the sofa!
I have since found out that it is really common to develop gallstones after pregnancy – the hormones released cause muscular tissue to relax, and the release of bile slows or even halts. That is when the stones develop. I had no idea that this was something that might happen after pregnancy – much like when I developed Hypothyroidism after my first pregnancy. It has been a really testing month whilst I have recovered, but I am really glad that it is now over and hopefully things can go back to normal!
Have you heard of postpartum gallstones? Let me know in the comments below! Xx