Fear and Frustration
Posted On Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by Debra
I got pregnant with my first son at 19, I always wanted to have kids young (mainly because my parents were older when they had me and my younger twin brothers and I wanted to be able to have fun with my kids). The pregnancy was not planned but Ive found that babies come when they want to, not when you want them to.
The pregnancy started completely normally; I never even experienced morning sickness. The only thing scary about it was that I was a tiny baby (5lbs 13oz) and my twin brother were both just under 5lbs and I was only 4ft 10in and 90 lbs when I got pregnant and yet some how I was told I was going to have a 6 or 7 pound baby. I told the doctors that it was not possible for me to deliver a baby that big and that all the babies in my family come early and I just knew he would be early. I guess technically he was he was due June 12th and on June 8th after only 5 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing (his shoulders got stuck) my Anik Eli was born weighting 7lbs 9oz 22in long!
Fast forward 3 1/2 years later. When Anik was 2 1/2 I decided I didnt want him to be an only child and that It was time to have another baby. I started taking vitamins and got check by the doc to make sure everything was good to start trying and that's when I found out I had cervical cancer. Thankfully we caught it very early and after a minor surgery I was fine. I was told that due to the scaring from the surgery I might have a little harder time getting pregnant or have a higher risk of a tubal pregnancy or once I was pregnant have a harder time dilating in the early stages of labor.
After the surgery I noticed that my periods were getting further and further apart once I had gone 2 1/2 months without one I figured ok, this is NOT normal. the doctor put me on a low dose birth control pill to try to even me out and a month later, I was pregnant.
Let me start by saying that this pregnancy was COMPLETELY different than my first. I started off day one with morning sickness and it lasted through out the entire pregnancy. It was so bad that I actually lost weight the first 3 months. Everyone joked that I was having a girl because I was so sick.
I was constantly exhausted but it was written off because I had a 3 year old.
I had terrible Migraines which i was told were normal especially because I had a history of them.
I had every "symptom" of pregnancy there is, light headed, mood swings, swollen feet, cramps, you name it, i had it. I was miserable. My friends and family all joked that it was because I bragged about how easy the first time around was.
At my 3 month check-up I started having contractions. I was admitted and given drugs to stop them. They couldn't really figure out why I was having them and they weren't actually causing me to dilate to I was sent home with a prescription and told to take it easy. I hated that medicine, it made my heart feel like it was going to fly out of my chest, 2 weeks later I went back to the doc and told her how I was feeling and she said I could stop taking them because I was having such a bad reaction, but I was but on modified bed rest. being required to sit more helped it the weight gaining department, and I was swollen everywhere. my hands, my feet, my legs even my face. Turns out that's not a good thing and I was told to eat less salt and drink more water.
At my 4month appointment as the medical assistant took my blood pressure using the electronic machine she got a weird look and said "that cant be right, I'll be right back" she went and got a manual BP cuff and took it again. She shook her head and left the room and came back with the doc. I was confused but not worried. My doc took my BP and asked me if I was stressed about anything. I told her not really and asked what was going on. She told me that my blood pressure was a little high but that it was probably just a an off day and that everything should be fine. That I didn't fit the normal standards of hypertension so I shouldn't worry about it. 2 weeks later I was diagnosed with preeclampsia.
I had to come in every 2 weeks after that and every time my blood pressure was higher. I was put on strict bed rest and I was still experiencing all the other symptoms including the contractions that baffled everyone they said I had a irritable uterus. I was in and out of the hospital from that point on. I had blood and urine tests every 2 weeks, and had to sit in the labor and delivery room every so often hooked up to monitors that checked my blood pressure, my contractions and the baby's heart rate. That's when we discovered his arrhythmia.
At this point I'm thinking "what else can possible go wrong!" at 30 weeks I was given steroids to boost the babies lungs just in case we had to do an emergency C-section. Every time I came into the hospital with a new or worse symptom I was admitted for 24hrs then sent home. Every time I was admitted I was scared that this was it, and every time I was sent home I was frustrated that nothing had been done. I was a waiting game, my favorite nurse (i knew the whole staff by now) told me its like walking a tight rope, we want him to stay in there as long as possible to give him the best chance, but we also cant push it too long to give you the best chance. Every time I was sent home i was told "one week, try to make it one more week, a week mean so much"
At 33 weeks I was rushed to the ER with terrible chest pains. my lab work came back that I had a blood clot somewhere and they were afraid it could be in my lungs. I had EKG's, X-ray's and a CT scan and I didn't have a clot anywhere in my chest, what I had was a hiatal hernia (a hole in my diaphragm that my stomach was pushing up through). I was admitted for another 24 hr watch and my protein urea levels were test and they were really high so even though I was sent home I was told that they were not going to let me go more than 36 weeks, that if I my continuous contraction didn't start my labor on their own that I would have C-section at 36 weeks.
They were going to keep me in the hospital for a week but I want to go home and have Halloween with my son. I was depressed because I felt like I had abandoned him because I couldn't go do fun things with him any more. I took him to buy his costume the day of and we went just around our block because that's as far as I could go before I started feeling unwell. I rested the whole next day because I felt so terrible.
My whole family was on edge and angry with the doctors. I remember my grandma cornering the doc one day with her finger shaking and tears in hers eyes saying "now you listen to me, if it comes down to saving her or saving that baby you save her! she has a little boy at home that needs his mama!"
After my day of rest I figured it time to get things ready for this baby (I hadn't done it before then because I was so afraid that either I was going to lose him, or that I wouldn't be around to do it) I spent the whole day shopping and setting up the room, in truth I probably over did it and went to bed around 8pm.
At 10:30pm I woke up startled, something was wrong. That's when I realized I was wet... I laid there for a second thinking maybe my brother had played a trick on me, or Anik had spilled a drink or something but it was warm. Then it hit me; ,y water broke! I got up and ran to the bathroom yelling down the hall to my grandma to get my things my water just broke! and when I got into the bathroom to change I saw it wasn't my water... it was blood... my shorts were soaked and as all of this it hitting me my grandma knocks on the door and said Deb, what all over your bed? are you ok? I immediately called the hospital and they said I needed to get down there with in the next hour. I grabbed my things and got in the car and called my boyfriend on the way (he was still at work) to let him know what was going on. He made it to the hospital before us and they had my room and everything ready to go. I was hooked up to IV's and monitors and examined by my midwife (I wanted a natural birth just like my first) and she couldn't find out why I was bleeding so she called the specialist and she couldn't figure it out either. I was still only at 1 1/2 centimeters so it wasn't labor, and I had no visible cuts and tested negative for amniotic fluid, but the ultrasound showed that there wasn't very much around the baby.
At midnight I was told to try to rest and that if my contractions didn't start doing their job by the morning that I would be induced. (This is when I remembered that after my cervical surgery they said I might have trouble dilating) by 10:30 in the morning I was on a pitocin drip. I was allowed to sit in a rocking chair or lay in bed and that was it because I was at such a high risk for seziures. I remember looking at the moniter once and my BP was 180/120. thats when I was told I had to get in bed and I wasnt allowed to get up after that.
The pitocin wasnt doing much and they kept upping the dose after spending all day with intense contractions I had only made it to 3 centimeters. They told me then that they could break my waters to see if that helps or they'd have to do a C-section. I chose the first option and thankfully it worked only an hour later and I was fully dialated and ready to push.
At 10:30pm Ryder James was born weighting 5lbs 7oz 18 in long. He was perfectly healthy. I on the other hand wasnt doing as well. It turns out the bleeding was coming from a tear in the placenta where it had started detaching early. They couldnt really give me anything to help with the bleed because I was at risk for clots so I had to stay on the pitocin to try to get my uterus to contract enough to slow it down.
Once we were moved to recovery I had to stay on a magnesium drip for 48 hrs to make sure I didnt have a postpartum seizure. let me just state for the record that that is the most unpleasant IV ive ever had, it makes it feel like your blood is on fire. I was in so much pain from the pitocin that was still in my system that all the pain killers they were giving me didnt make any difference.
Me and Ryder were in the hospital for a week. He had dropped down to 4lb 110z because my milk to so long to come in and had to get back up to 5lbs before they would let him go. I had started passing silver dollar sized blood clots and pieces of tissue left over from the torn placenta.
All in all it was a very nerve wracking time in our lives.
Ryder is 17 months old now and is a healthy happy boy, you would never know he was a preemie by looking at him. I never fully recovered. Im still in and out of the doctors office and the ER, Im constantly in pain and my immune system is shot, I never gained by my energy levels and even though we would like to have 1 more child(a girl) the fear of "will this happen again" and "will I survive next time" keeps us from trying.
I guess the moral of this story is, don't let the doctors tell you your symptoms are "normal" every woman is different and the truth is, there is no "normal" when it come to preeclampsia. If you feel like somethings just not right, stand up for your self, it could be the thing that saves your life, and the life of your baby.
I agree with the moral of your story
Posted On Saturday, August 03, 2013 by Ashley
You are right, sometimes the swelling gets passed off as normal... as do other things. Sometimes it is NOT normal. I'm glad you are ok. You said you still have medical issues and see doctors. I do too. What are your conditions if you don't mind me asking?