I am a 28 year-old mom who was excited to learn of a second pregnancy.
I am a 28 year-old mom who was excited to learn of a second pregnancy. My husband and I were thrilled that we got pregnant so quickly again! We have a beautiful daughter who was 1 1/2 years old when we found out the news. I had a perfect pregnancy with no complications and even less exciting delivery. I felt like a superhero after her birth and couldn't wait to have that experience again!
I was 33 weeks pregnant and not due to see the OB again for about a week. I looked at my husband on Tuesday night and said, "I just want you to know I have been timing contractions for the last hour and they are not regular, but I think I'm going to go to bed." With worry in his eyes he asked, "should you call the doctor?"
"No, we went to the doctor's so many times last time -- it's probably Braxton Hicks." That night, painful contractions woke me up twice. Both times I took a sip of water and went back to sleep.
The next day my best friend (also pregnant, 4 weeks behind me) insisted I call the doctor's office. When I talked to the nurses line they did not seem concerned but recommended that I come in to be put on the monitors.
At the OB's:
It seemed to be a normal visit to the OB. Many pregnant women sitting in the waiting room, some glowing with excitement and others looking more miserable than ever. I was somewhere in the middle this pregnancy. I was so happy to meet my little baby boy, but I didn't really like being pregnant either time.
The nurse called me back and we chatted. She asked me if I could pee. My normal response, "of course I'm 33 weeks pregnant... I'm lucky I don't wet my pants!" She giggled. I handed her the urine sample and went into the room. She came in behind me and said that I had protein plus 2 in my urine and then took my blood pressure as she usually did. (it was normal) I was seeing a nurse practitioner that day. Helen. (I learned later she saved my life!)
I told Helen all of my ailments; the contractions, the weight gain, the swelling, carpal tunnel and the exhaustion. I told all of the doctor's that I talked to previously the same things. They all answered that I was pregnant and I should expect to feel lousy at times. The missing information that they had never had before was the protein in my urine. On Wednesday Helen said she wanted to write me out of work and send me for some testing. She diagnosed me with mild preeclampsia. I pleaded with Helen to allow me to continue working until the results came back.
On Friday, I returned to the doctor for my test results... now 33 1/2 weeks pregnant. She said that the bloodwork all came back normal. Upon an internal check I was 1 cm. dilated. The baby looked fine on the NST (non stress test) but I was having contractions. Helen ordered me a sonogram so that we could see how big my little guy was weighing in at... 4lbs. 5oz. "He'll be little, but fine if you have to have him early" What?!?! have him early?? I don't even have a bedroom for him... not just his stuff. An actual room!!! We live in a 2 bedroom apartment and both rooms are occupied. We had a plan to begin "building" a room in the next week, but the construction hadn't started yet!!
Helen insisted that I be on bedrest until they find the problem, "I don't think it is, but it could be HELLP Syndrome" she said. She gave me the definition and some things to look for, including upper abdominal pain. I was instructed to go to the lab so I get the stuff for a 24 urine test and to come back in on Tuesday.
Later that day:
I went to the lab but didn't go home after. I went back to work as I scrambled to get my stuff covered. I called the person who deals with disability claims and explained I was on bed rest until further notice. I told my husband everything was fine and that I could have this thing called HELLP Syndrome, and I have to be on bed rest and do an annoying 24-hour pee test! He panicked when he google-searched HELLP and learned that it can be fatal. I assured him again that I was fine, the baby was fine and I would see him at home.
7pm on Friday evening on my drive home from work the contractions began again. I entered my house and was greeted by an excited 2 year-old in her footed jammies... "Mommy, I missed you... will you rock me and tuck me in??" of course I couldn't miss out on an opportunity to snuggle! We did our nighttime routine, "snug as a bug in a rug... I love you and I will see you in the morning..."
The pain began. I felt sick to my stomach. I sat down and moved from side to side in an effort to get comfortable. I told my stomach of a pain that I had and that it wouldn't go away. He insisted that I call the doctor this time. When I talked to the nurse practitioner on-call and told her of my symptoms and what seemed to be going on tonight I was told, "you can go to the hospital if you want to. The NP that you saw today is kinda a fatalist and if she thought you had something serious she would have sent to you to the hospital from the office... you're probably fine..." my response was, "I think I should go"
At the Hospital
In labor and delivery among women excited and in pain about to give birth I sat in a wheelchair wondering the outcome of our visit that night... February 5th, 2010. My little boy wasn't due until March 24, 2010. A nurse said, "just so you know we are really backed up tonight... you won't be seen for hours after we triage you." my husband and I looked at each other bewildered... what were our options exactly?? "okay" we responded.
I was brought into a triage room and went straight to the bathroom and vomited. I wasn't sure if I was feeling sick or if it was nerves. I gave a urine sample and the nurse left. 10 minutes later she came in with the resident doctor and a sonogram machine. They looked at my baby and said that he looked good, but I didn't. I was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome and was going to have the baby tonight. They called my OB and started me on cervadil to soften the cervix before giving me pitossin.
I don't remember much else... my husband would have to submit his story to give the details but sometime in the night I was put on Ambien for sleeping, and Magnesium Sulfate. My blood pressure had gone up to 195/135 and they were very concerned about seizures and brain damage. In a groggy slumber I looked at my husband with tears in my eyes and said, "If anything happens to this baby, I don't want us to get crazy..." with tears in his eyes he promised me that we wouldn't. His tears were worry for me -- I didn't have a clue how critically sick I was at that point... and he did.
At about 6am, my doctor came. They handed my husband scrubs and 2 anesthesiologists came into my room. All the lights over head were abruptly turned on and the nurse began shaving me to prep for surgery. Apparently I had a critically low platelet count and they couldn't wait any longer for the transfusion (I had been waiting for 10 hours already) It was time for a c-section. The doctor's took my husbands scrubs away and a nurse instructed me to call my daughter and say good morning and that I was going into surgery. My heart melted... my little girl. I promised I would see her in the morning -- what if I died in surgery... I already wasn't going to be there for days and I knew it...
I had an emergency c-section under general anesthesia with a platelet count around 40,000. Normally you have 300-400 thousand platelets. I later learned that my doctor prayed the entire car ride to the hospital.
After surgery and a platelet transfusion I stayed on the Mag for a day. I had 24-hour nurse coverage for the entire day on Saturday. I only had reports of how my new little baby Owen was doing... he was off oxygen and seemed good. The NICU brought him down to see me and my husband... he was so little. 4lbs. 8oz. days later I learned that he was huge in the NICU world.
Although I was recovering, I felt traumatized. I failed to have a birthing experience that people can smile at and feel excited about. People visited in the hospital and they all wondered, would Owen live... would I be okay. I pumped milk like a crazy person so that I felt like I could do something to contribute to his wellbeing. On the day I was discharged I felt deeply saddened to leave without him. Owen stayed in the NICU for 3 weeks. He was discharged and home for 2 days. After not eating well I knew something was wrong. After visiting the pediatrician they rushed us to the hospital where he was intubated and monitored for several days due to respiratory failure.
My little guy is 4 months old -- just about 12lbs and smiling all the time. He is a little bit behind for development but the doctor's are confident that he was catch up... I know that I am blessed and that my family is blessed... but sometimes it is still hard not to feel robbed. This was my last experience pregnant. We will not take the risk in having the same complications again... and I am sad my pregnancy ended the way it did.