Tonight is one of those nights that I’ll regret in the morning. I can’t sleep again, and my mind is racing. My hubby lies gracefully along the couch, having not made it through the movie he put on (again). Our tiny angel rests peacefully and perfectly in her crib. Hell, even the loud puppy snores are quiet tonight! For me, tonight is full of reflection and anger. I wish I could just live in the present, and feel fine now that everything is “somewhat okay”. The truth is that exactly five months ago, I was dying, and my baby had to be ripped out of me 11 weeks early.
My husband and I decided that if we were going to start a family, we’d better get to it. My health had finally been in order after a surgery I needed to fix a chronic pain issue, and we weren’t getting any younger. We had no problems becoming pregnant. Using a cheap ovulation testing kit, I knew I was pregnant at 3 weeks and 6 days. Knowing for sure on February 10th, I waited for a confirmed blood test and Valentines day to tell hubby.
I loved being pregnant! I puked the entirety and had to take medicine, but every bit of that was worth it as I began feeling my daughter move. Our first ultrasound was on my 31st birthday. The nursery was well on its way to being functional because I loved every minute of even thinking about it. Our 20 week ultrasound was a huge event, in which my mom, dad, and mother-in-law were able to join. Much to their dismay, we chose to not find out the baby’s gender. After confirming all looked well with baby, I told HR at work so we could begin planning our maternity leave.
My employer created a position that was already 90% of my job duties, plus a huge promotion, and gave it to someone without experience, while demoting me. I only add this to our story because it brought huge stress for me. The position was created 6 weeks before my daughter was born. I was officially denied the position two weeks before she was born, and demoted to the same title as the two others that I managed just one day before I had her.
I didn’t understand why I was being treated this way. Every appointment I had was scheduled after work hours, and even though I was sick, I never missed a day or arrived late. I was supposed to have a conference with an attorney about this the day after my daughter was born. Needless to say, that never happened. Work was very difficult, but I stayed positive because I just needed to ride it out for a few more months, and then I’d get a break. So I thought…
My pregnancy had been perfectly normal. I dealt with sickness throughout the pregnancy, and swelling, but those were normal concerns. I was also having headaches, and my ribs were hurting, but those are normal symptoms, too. During my 28 week appointment on a Thursday, my blood pressure was high. I passed my glucose test, but was told that my urine was abnormal. I was told that I’d need to collect my urine for 24 hours in a jug (cute) and keep it on ice. They put me on a blood pressure medicine that day to be safe. Our last prenatal class was that night.
The following day, I felt terrible. I associated it with the new medicine making me feel “off.” I was very uncomfortable, dizzy, and was puking despite taking my medicine. Getting through work was hell, but I was short-staffed, and didn’t want any more drama. It was a Friday, and I knew I could go home and rest soon. I told hubby on that Saturday that I felt terrible, and my back was really hurting. I stayed in bed for the day. On Sunday, we decided to check my blood pressure at Walmart. It was still 152/103. I also noticed my pulse was high at 153. These numbers are only known because are I took a photo and decided to call my OB office.
It’s never a good thing when your OB calls you back personally to tell you to go to the hospital. He said they’d likely give me medicine and just monitor me for a bit. I remember words about an “injection to prepare the baby’s lungs” and I only remember crying after that. They doubled my blood pressure medicine dose, and sent me home. I was to return to the office the next day to recheck the values. They were still waiting on my urine results that I collected for 24 hours. They prepared us that this meant the baby might have to be delivered early, and that I needed to be transferred to a hospital to be monitored. We would be able to travel ourselves, as we had pets to bring with us and family that would be closer.
At the office the next day, they decided to admit me to the local hospital, as my blood pressure was out of control. My labs were looking bad, but they were still waiting on the urine results. The hospital started magnesium, and eventually they tried five different blood pressure medications. They transported me via ambulance for the two hour drive, and my hubby drove with the pets and met me there. While I was on the ambulance, they received my urine results. The protein is expected to be over 300 in preeclampsia, but mine was over 10,000.
That was a long ambulance ride, and I remember the paramedic calling my doctor to inform him that he had given me all that he had on the truck. We arrived at the hospital shortly after. They brought in the IV team to finally insert a second IV. A bunch of doctors and students I don’t remember kept coming in and out. An ultrasound was performed. I was told there was a lot of fluid in my abdomen that shouldn’t be there. The baby was head down, my labs were only getting worse, so they were going to induce me.
The induction process was very violent, and my body wasn’t ready. They ruptured my membranes, put a pill next to my cervix that was supposed to thin it. When it didn’t work as fast as they wanted, they shoved a catheter in my cervix and dilated it to try to speed the process. I was relieved when I was told that my labs were too bad and that they needed to do a c-section. It would be days before I found that several of my values were critical, and that if they gave me any more magnesium, it would have killed me. Our daughter was born at 1:53 at 2 lbs 2.5 oz, and 14 1/4″ long.
Because everything is okay now, I’m expected to act okay. Screw that.
It’s very surreal to sit here at home with my health, my baby peacefully sleeping, and to know what hell we went through. I was robbed of the rest of my pregnancy, the delivery by a doctor I like, to hold our baby, to nurse her right away like we wanted. It was three days before I held her, four weeks before I got to nurse her, and she was in that hospital for 60 days. There are no words to describe how I felt when we left her in that hospital.
My only hope is that someday, I can look at this as five months that we survived.