I never thought I’d be so happy to hear about a fart. At least not since I was like eight years old.
I was at home last night experiencing one of the worst and scariest days of my life.
Carolyn had given birth to our fourth child, Max, on Monday, two days before. She had lost a good amount of blood during the C-section delivery. An artery was lacerated in addition to the normal blood loss during a major surgery such as this.
Post operatively, Carolyn had a consistently low red blood cell count (hematocrit), was displaying an increasingly distended belly, and was not moving anything through her bowels. At one point, her blood pressure dipped so low that they had to transfuse her with two bags/units of blood. The worst part was that she was in a lot of pain, both in her belly and a sharp referred pain that shot up into her shoulder and neck area.
The wonderful doctors at University of Virginia Medical Center explained the possible reasons for the symptoms and it was looking a lot like there was either a postoperative ileus (a sort of paralysis of the intestine), a bowel obstruction, or a twisted bowel. If you Google bowel obstruction or twisted bowel, you can see why we were all so worried. Things like perforated bowels, high risk surgery, necrosis of the intestine, and life-threatening are mentioned.
It didn’t allay my fears when I read that singer Maurice Gibb died of complications resulting from a twisted bowel.
Unfortunately, I had to leave her that afternoon to care for the other three kids at home.
Meanwhile, Carolyn was moved back to the Labor and Delivery Ward to be closer to the operating room and was visited by the general surgeons.
The medical staff performed a couple of x-rays that identified gas pockets in the bowels and she was put on NPO (nil per os or “nothing by mouth”) in case there was a blockage which could lead to a rupture. A three dimensional CT scan was to be done early Thursday morning to check for any obstruction or twisting. The regular 2D x-ray would not see those evidently.
I was about 20 miles away and it could have been 20,000. I felt sick and helpless.
My saint of a Mom called me around midnight and told me that her and my Dad were getting in the car and driving from St. Louis immediately. My Dad had insisted. My Mom, by the way had flown over several days earlier and returned to St. Louis when everything seemed to be getting better.They arrived about 15 hours later, with no sleep. They’re the best.
Then, I got the magical phone call from Carolyn around 1 am Thursday morning.
She had farted!
Gas was indeed moving through those bowels. After almost three days of inactivity. The best sign that her intestines were not blocked. I can’t explain what a relief that was, pardon the pun
That’s why this fart was so amazing and incredible.
Our prayers were answered.
The CT scan was called off and Carolyn has been improving (and farting) ever since.
She should be discharged with our newborn son, Max, on Friday afternoon.
Thank you to everyone for their prayers and support. I may ask for continued prayers because Carolyn may want to murder me for this blog post.