Sunday, May 24, 2015

May is Preeclampsia awareness month..

So I decided to share my birth story with my youngest son. It's very sensitive to me. I wrote this shortly after he was born. I'll add updates at the end.

It started on Monday, Dec. 6 at 4:30 a.m., when my water broke. At 7 I called my midwife, D, & told her. She told me to keep an eye on it & she'd be over later. When she arrived, all looked fine. But no contractions. Tuesday baby had turned posterior. I ended up having back labor all day. We went to the chiropractor trying to get baby to turn back to proper position. It didn't help. We tried some other methods, they didn't work either. He was staying posterior, which accounted for all the back labor. After all day Tue. & into the wee hours of the morning on Wed, & still no “real” contractions, we decided to try castor oil.. Vile, nasty horrible stuff.. Which my body rejected. I threw up most of it. By 4:30 my 48 hour time limit was up and real contractions still hadn't started.. A decision had to be made. We decided to head to the hospital for a c-section. Due to my prior c-section, going to the hospital automatically meant another one. By that time, I didn't care. I was done & wanted baby out. NOW. And I didn't care how. So we headed to the best hospital we have nearby, a 10-15 min. drive. That's when things got interesting......

They sent us to the ER to register first. The whole way I had to urinate, but couldn't. Come time for a urine sample for the ER & nothing. A couple of drops, maybe. They send me to labor & delivery & hook me up to monitors & all looks great with the baby. Then they insert a catheter to get a urine sample. They got 2 drops. My kidneys had shut down. Blood tests then showed that my platelets were dropping, my iron was super low & my whole body was shutting down. And my blood pressure was dangerously high. We didn't even have time to finish registering when I was wheeled into the OR. On the way there, Dr. P asked “so, are we tying tubes?” I looked at him like he was crazy & said no... I'm wishing now I had said yes.. I just didn't realize how bad off I was at the time..

In the OR, all got started as usual. Everything went smooth. At 10:31 a.m. On Wed. December 9th, Samuel Michael was born. The anesthesiologist was standing behind my head narrating for me while they pulled baby out. It was so nice to have him there. One of the first things he said was “wow, look at that hair!” and I said “Hair??? My baby has hair?? No way!”. I was shocked b/c Cias was totally bald at birth. They pulled him out, cut the cord & he started crying.. A beautiful sound.. I asked to see him and they brought him around the curtain for just a second.. The sight of his perfect, messy self made me cry.. I couldn't believe he was finally here.. It was wonderful. I listened to him cry while the dr. finished his stuff.. Soon Dr. P says “are you a praying person? Because if you are, you're prayers have been answered”. I said “yes, I'm a praying person”. He then went on to tell me that I had a VERY thin uterus & one real contraction would have caused it to rupture. God has saved our lives by turning baby posterior & thwarting our efforts to start contractions.

When I got back to my room, after only an hour in recovery(vs, 2.5 hours in recovery when I had Cias), baby was already waiting for me in my room. Mike handed him to me & I got to hold him while he was still alert & awake. It was wonderful. We were given the opportunity to opt-out of the eye-goop, so he could see clearly. It was amazing. He was perfect. He looked like Cias, except with hair. Beautiful blue eyes. Fuzzy little head of hair. Perfect round head. 10 fingers. 10 perfect toes. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I asked Mike “so, have we figured out a name yet?” and he said “I was thinking of Samuel.” I said “Samuel sounds good.. It sounds perfect”. And so he was named. Later that afternoon Mikes parents brought Cias by to see us. Cias was thrilled, but still not too sure.
But he liked the name. Now to figure out a middle name. Thursday I decided on Michael. It just sounded good to name him after his daddy.
There was some concern about infection because my water broke so early & there was meconium in it. His white count was high initially, but he wasn't having any other symptoms, so they just kept a close eye on him. It went down to normal by the next day and he was out of the woods.
We were also given the choice of what we wanted done. Did we want the hep. B? Did we want him to have a bath right after birth? Vitamin K? Did we want him in the nursery or in my room immediately after surgery? In my room, of course. It was wonderful to be giving the choice. The hospital was wonderful, as was the staff.. Even the food was delicious there. And the sound proof rooms were GREAT.

Sadly, that wasn't the end though.. I was put on magnesium sulfate to bring down my blood pressure. It's horrible stuff.. Made my mouth dry up, I stopped producing saliva. I was groggy. It was horrid. I felt terrible. But apparently it worked. A little bit anyway. By that night I was producing urine again. By Friday they took the catheter out & I was able to go on my own.. I forgot how nice it was just to be able to pee again. I hadn't done it in so long. But I wasn't quite out of the woods just yet. *edited to add: My hemoglobin was only 6.2 when I was admitted. Friday I had a blood transfusion & after 2 units of blood, my level was 8.4. It's been slowly rising since then, I hope.. I've been on iron supplements since then. My blood pressure was still up. My legs were still VERY swollen. So swollen that when I walked, they didn't even feel like they were connected to my body.. It was scary. By Saturday some of the swelling had gone down. I was able to walk better and I was urinating on my own and doing very well at it. By Saturday afternoon, we were home. What a wonderful place to be.

Too bad that still wasn't the end. Sunday night I couldn't breath. Just could not catch my breath, mostly while lying down. Off to the ER we go. The closest one, which is 5 min. away, not the good one up the hill where I delivered. There we find out my blood pressure is dangerously high(165/110). They run a bunch of tests to check my lungs & many other things. Things like a chest x-ray, ct scan, etc.. Then they decide it could be my heart & they want to do a cardiac echo. And they want to admit me. Since I had barely been home with my boys, and it was Cias' first night home in almost a week, I refused. I wanted to be home. That was the longest I had been away from my newborn & I didn't want to be there any longer than I had to. So we went home. By 5 a.m. Monday morning, we were back. Yep, should have just stayed. This time I felt like I was having a massive asthma attack. They determined that it was fluid on the lungs & they started diuretics to drain it. It worked, eventually. They also gave me meds for my high blood pressure. They hooked me up to an EKG machine to check everything. The EKG showed all was fine.
This time we agree to be admitted. At least 24 hours. It was devastating, but I knew it was necessary. They admitted to the post-postpartum unit, so I at least had a breast pump. I had been breastfeeding Samuel until I went to the ER on Sunday night. I also had the choice of having Samuel room-in with me, but due to the fact that I had a massive headache, was extremely tired & that Mike would have to stay too, we decided he would be better off at home. My mom, Mike's mom & Mike were there to take care of him. He would be in good hands. Plus I knew there was no way Mike would get any sleep there & he was going on almost a week of very, very little sleep, lots of stress & lots of emotion. He also needed to be home so he could rest. I spent all day Monday fighting a headache, desperately wishing for sleep & being hooked up to a blood pressure cuff every hour, sometimes every 15 min. They gave me IV blood pressure meds, which helped some. But they needed to find an oral medication for me to go home with. They also did the cardiac echo that day, which showed that my heart was pumping great. Nothing wrong with it. There was a little bit of fluid around it though. That was something that would have to be watched. Tuesday at 1 a.m., I started an oral medication. It worked! My blood pressure went down. Not to normal, but it wasn't at super dangerous level anymore. About 145/92 or something. Not great, but tolerable. By that afternoon, after having several good readings, I was allowed to go home. Praise the Lord!

On Thursday I went for a follow-up visit with Dr. P. He raised the dose of my high blood pressure medication & put me on bed rest. So far, that's where I am now.

So, updates:  It's been 5 years and that baby is now a precocious, wonderful, brilliant, clever, loveable 5 year old. I can't imagine life without him.  As for me, I'm doing better. I get dehydrated extremely easily and I can tell when I am because my kidneys start hurting. I'm still on the same high-blood pressure meds, which I'm not thrilled about. I'd love to be off of it. Maybe one day I will be able to. I'm also still anemic, and have been since then. 
   It's taken a lot to process everything that went on during that time. I realized that this didn't start suddenly like we thought. It was something that had started weeks before and was missed. My midwife didn't do routine urine checks. If she had, she may have caught that I was spilling protein. She brushed me off when I told her I wasn't able to urinate.  When I brought my concerns to her, she kind of brushed them off. I am not happy about that at all. Dr. P also said that if we had waited 24 hours longer(if that), we wouldn't have made it. I was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, an extreme form of toxemia. Click here for more information about it.

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