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When Postpartum Depression is a Family Affair – Background

April 24, 2015

It was supposed to be exhausting, sure, but also the happiest weeks of our lives.  There was exhaustion and there were moments of happiness, but there was also pain, sadness, and side effects that would last years.

My wife delivered my son via cesarean.  It could have gone better.  But, by the time we got home from the hospital 3 days after my son’s birth, things seemed to be going as expected.  My wife was sore, we were tired, our son adorable but we were doing OK.  A couple days after we got home though, the pain in her abdomen started getting worse.  We thought maybe she had done too much.  She had very little energy and she started sleeping with 3 blankets because she was so cold.

That was when we realized she had a fever to go along with the new pain.  Concerned, I called the doctor.  He said it sounds like she may have a minor infection and that I should go get her antibiotics.  After panicking that we wouldn’t find a pharmacy open on Thanksgiving day, we found one and she started taking them.

What happened next is one of those memories that will be forever etched into my brain.

I had gotten up to feed the baby on Friday morning so my wife could sleep.  She called in from the bedroom that her back was wet.  We both thought “yuck, she peed the bed.”  Then a few minutes later she called in from the bathroom, voice quivering: “umm, honey, can you please come here.”

The tone in her voice immediately sent me in fight or flight.  Something wasn’t right.  I laid the baby down, and went in to check things out.

***The following section is, NASTY.  If you are eating, or have a weak stomach, you may want to skip down to the next set of ****.

She was on the potty and she asked if I could check out her incision.  She still had pregnancy belly obviously, so she had to move it out of the way so I could see.  Once she did, white puss poured out of her incision.  I can still see it ejecting out.  Of all things I expected to see, that was NOT one of them. The smell was even worse and it still haunts me to this day.


I am not proud to say, but I had a momentary panic.  I think I blurted something like “wholly shit!” I backed away, probably white as a ghost.  Just then the baby started crying.  My wife, has no idea what I saw so now she is panicking, afraid her guts are falling out.  I ran out of the room to get my son and as I picked him up, I got a hold of myself.  My family need’s me to have a level head.  I got my head together and went back to see my wife.

I told her that it looks like the infection is maybe coming out and that I think everything is OK.

I did NOT think everything was OK. This was most definitely NOT OK.

I called her doctor, thank god he called back within a minute.  I told him what I saw and his response was both comforting and infuriating.

In the world’s most casual tone he says “Oh, it sounds like she just has a little secondary hematoma.”

WTF is a hematoma, and what is a secondary one????

Bottom line, she had an infection in the incision, but not internal, that grew a nice bubble of puss.  The antibiotics started doing their thing and her incision burst open real nice to let it all out.  It turns out one of the reasons they use staples is for these cases, as its better to allow what happened to happen to avoid having to make a new incision.

So yeah, that was horrible.  Then I had to help…get the rest out.  Finally, It stopped, we cleaned her up, went to the doc, he verified all was well, and we went home with care instructions.

This is where things went from bad…to worse.

Since my wife could not really see down there, it became my job to clean the incision site 3 times a day with peroxide and gauze.  I won’t get into all the details, but suffice it to say it was NOT in any way pleasant for either of us.   The story continues in When Postpartum Depression is a Family Affair – Part 1

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  1. It would have been nice if they told you such a thing might happen. It would have taken the scare out of the situation.

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  1. When Postpartum Depression is a Family Affair – Part 1 | Dadcapades

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