A Year Later

Post On Wednesday, April 16, 2014 By Hilary

A Year Later

The past two years have been a series of ups and downs.  I got married in August 2012 to a wonderful man and my best friend.  We started settling into our life together when our town (and house) was struck by Hurricane Sandy.  Our house was flooded and we lost everything.  We just rented the apartment, so we moved in with my in-laws until we could figure out what was next. 

Around Thanksgiving I suspected that I had become pregnant and this was confirmed by a home test.  In early December I had an appointment with my OBGYN now that I was at about 6 weeks and for full confirmation. The pregnancy progressed normally, although there was some high protein levels found in my blood work, no one was worried.  I have a very physical job, which requires heavy lifting and has no light duty option. After speaking to my doctor she decided that I could work until my 20th week, which is what I did. 

Around the same time my husband and I purchased a house, so although I was not going to be working, I still had plenty to keep myself busy.  A few days after I stopped working, I started getting headaches that felt like my brain was pushing against my skull; it was what I imagine migraines to feel like.  I called the doctor's office and they said to take some Tylenol, which helped some.  The next day I didn't have a headache but threw up that morning, and just chilled out on the couch, napping mostly. The next day the headache was back and I called the doctor's office again and they had me go directly to the hospital and specifically labor and delivery. 

When I got there I went to their triage section and my blood pressure was through the roof, this was extremely unusual and up until this point I had normal, if not very good, blood pressure.  I was admitted to the hospital. They did a lot of tests to make sure that this wasn't just a blood pressure issue. 

There is a history of preeclampsia in my family both my mother and my maternal grandmother suffered from it, but not this early in the pregnancy, so we were all worried but not freaked out.  As time progressed it was fairly obvious that this was not just a blood pressure issue, and at 21 weeks and a few days this was not a good thing. We did tests and a sonogram and everything seemed to be progressing, but the doctors were worried, especially since I was on medication to lower my blood pressure. As my stay extended, my headaches were not fully going away and they decided to have me get an MRI.  At first glance, everything looked fine, but when the doctors looked again they found a small spot of what they thought was PRES (Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome) a reversible brain damage that can happen in people with high blood pressure and in cases of preeclampsia.  This is the point where everything changed: I was in severe danger of seizures or a stroke.  My husband and I knew from the point of admittance to the hospital that there was a chance (maybe even more than likely) that I would not be able to carry the pregnancy to a point where the baby would be able to live outside of the womb. We were still 2 weeks away from that even being a possibility, but now there was no chance of pushing the pregnancy. 

We knew we were not going to make it to 40 weeks, but we were hoping to prolong it even if this meant me staying in the hospital.  So we made the decision that wasn't really a choice, we couldn't have a family if I wasn't here to be a part of it; and what kind of life would it be for anyone if I had a stroke and was unable to help care for a baby, and let's be honest the chances of a healthy baby delivered at 24 weeks is minimal.  I miscarried the baby at around 22 weeks; I did a natural delivery although I had an epidural the whole time.  The labor was a very long process and I think was harder on my husband than myself.  I couldn't bring myself to see the baby, but my husband did and said goodbye for both of us.  The healing process has been long and even a year later there are times when I am unbearably sad. I am hopeful for another chance for a family.

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