My name is April and I was 22 years old at the time I gave
My name is April and I was 22 years old at the time I gave birth to my daughter, Allison. I am half caucasion, and half asian-pacific islander. I am a heavy-set girl, although no medical problems have ensued from that fact in my entire life. This was my second pregnancy (my first resulted in a miscarriage at 15 weeks). I had had no problems or issues at all during either of my pregnancies until I was 28 weeks along with Allison.
It all began on Friday, April 12th when I was to be seen by my doctor for a re-check of my high blood pressure. The nurse came in and took my blood pressure--three times in 5 minutes--before excusing herself. The doctor came in a few moments later, and asked me to pull up my pant legs. He checked for edema. Present. He handed me a urine sample cup. Turned out, I had protein in my urine. He checked my blood pressure himself...198/95 when my norm was 120/79.
I came out of the doctors' office with a note for bedrest at least for aweek. I wasn't having vision problems or headaches. I felt no nausea orstomach pain, although I had experienced it earlier in my pregnancy and the doctors had chalked it up to esophogitis.Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (which was Easter) passed uneventfully. I was bedridden until the pain in my stomach drove me from bed to call my older sister at work and let her know that I needed to go to the ER. My husband was a three hour drive away for business, and I had been staying with my sister to have someone watch over me. My sister came home immediately and took me to the ER. By this time I was having problems breathing and their was intense pain in my abdomen area. They hooked me up to monitors galore, including, of course, a fetal monitor.My husband arrived a few hours later, just as my family practitioner doctor came in with results from my blood tests. My platelet count was down to 69,000 from my norm 130,000(a normal person's count would be between 150,000- 200,00+), I still had protein in my urine and this was very serious. (I was diagnosed with what manifested itself as a juvenile blood disorder called Idio Thrombocitic Penia/Purpura when I was 14.
Although it has a variation on names, ITP is the standard abbreviation and the outcome is the same. ITP is where your body attacks itself; an immunological disorder. Your white blood cells (which normally fight off infections and disease) are re-programmed into thinking your platelets (which help your blod clot) are the enemy--an infection/disease. Well, without enough platelets, you can very well bleed to death in either a minor or a major accident.
I was diagnosed with ITP when I was 14, and was, I thought, cured by a massive dose of steroids when I was 18. Preeclampsia aggravated the condition into existence again it seems.) They started me on Magnesium Sulfate which continued throughout the night with every half hour automatic blood pressure cuff readings. I saw a nurse every half hour throughout the night and into the next morning. I was informed that my condition wasn't getting any better and that I needed to be moved to another hospital where I might be for a few days, or weeks until my condition stabilized. I was transported to a hospital in the Twin Cities area, about a two hourdrive, by ambulance. Once there a bunch of doctors and nurses came in and brought an ultrasound machine with them. They whispered amongst themselves.
All the information I recieved was, "Well, the baby is small, but we'll have to get it out now before something bad might happen to you." After blood draw, an arterial line was put in, then a line into my carotid artery. My platelet count had dropped again and so I would need a platelet infustion. They needed one line to run the platelets and plasma into and one line for the magnesium sulfate.I was transported by guerney to the Operating room around midnight on April 17th. My arms were strapped down, my body positioned, and the oygen mask placed over my face. "Count back from 100"....I made it to 97.
The next thing I remember is being wheeled out of the OR and smelling the McDonald's fast food commisary they had on that level. Then I blacked out again. I woke up in the ICU around 4 am. My husband was by my side, "We had a girl. Allison." I passed out in a morphine induced haze. Allison was born 28 weeks gestation, at 1:39 am on April 18th, 2001. Weighing in at 1 pound, 11 1/2 ounces she was 12 3/4 inches long. I remember little of the next week, but seeing her in her little isolette in the NICU, the NG tube that fed her, the 28 staples in my stomach (they had to do a vertical incision to guarantee Allison's safety), and how the road loomed ahead so uncertain. Allison three weeks in the NICU then was upgraded to goto the Special Care Nursery where she stayed for another 4-5 weeks.
During this time, I read through my medical file and Allison's that sat by the isolette side. I learned what no one had told me. I knew I'd had preeclampsia...but not once had anyone mentioned the fact that I had possible liver damage due to HELLP syndrome. No one even mentioned HELLP to me or how my liver was starting to shut down before they did the c-section. No one told me how close I had come to dying. I felt such anger towards the doctors who had kept me in the dark. I realized though, that what they didn't tell me, might have saved my life. When people are distraught, things tend to slide downhill from there. Who knows.
Allison was released from the hospital weighing in at 4 pounds, 3 ounces. I was terrified. My first child, and she was a preemie.Things were slow going at first, but as time went on, she grew and progressed developmentally. She will be one year old in April 2002, and is just about walking. She's my angel-girl. She has come so far. She now weighs nearly 15 pounds and amazes me everyday. Thank you for letting me share my story. It has helped some of the anger and pain go away.
I know I missed out on a typical birth, and worked through that anguish when I realized that however she is here, Allison is here, in my arms, happy and healthy. That's all that really matters at the end of the day.