I've been asked to introduce myself to our local AZ group. My name is Rachel and I live in Gilbert. I have the craziest baby stories ever! For 10 years I struggled to get pregnant and the three times I did ended in miscarriage. So, we ended up adopting two beautiful, miraculous little souls. Suddenly, after moving here from Minnesota in 2001, I became unexpectedly pregnant. We were so surprised and so thrilled. Initially, I had horrible morning sickness - requiring hospitalizations, IV therapy, and Zofran. At about 20 weeks, I was finally starting to feel better, thrilled that I'd made it through my first trimester and began to actually hope for a baby. Just before my doctors appt at 23 weeks, I woke up at midnight with a headache so severe that I could hardly lift my head to wake my husband. (I have suffered from cluster headaches for years, so to say that it is the worst headache of my life speaks volumes for the intensity of the pain). I took some Tylenol, finally fell asleep about 3 hours later, and called my doctor in the morning. Because the Tylenol had taken care of it and my history of severe headaches, my doctor decided to wait for my scheduled appointment two days later to see me. At that appointment, I was spilling protein and my blood pressure was at 140/100. He sent me immediately to the hospital, where I spent the remainder of my prengnacy - a dark and lonely time. Because we live more than an hour from the hospital, I only got to see my older two kids on the weekends. Thankfully I did get to see my husband every day over his lunch hour. Although I continued to worsen, it was gradual and I made it another five weeks before my son showed too much distress and he was born via emergency c-section. At 28 weeks, he had severe IUGR and weighed just 1.6 pounds at birth. He spent three months in the NICU and came home on his due date weighing 5 pounds and requiring O2 and a feeding tube. He was rehospitalized - and re-intubated - six weeks later because of fluid overload (common with lung disease). He stopped eating after that and we have fought weight gain/feeding issues ever since. Today, however, he is a happy and mostly healthy three y.o. boy. He just started the preschool program, which we're thrilled about.
When he was almost two, we found out that I was pregnant again - while using birth control (which had seemed so unnecessary considering my history)! My pregnancy followed much the same, but symptoms of PE came later. My blood pressure started rising at about 29 weeks, I went on bed rest and kept it stable until 34 weeks when I started spilling protein. I was again sent immediately to the hospital for the duration of the pregnancy, this time only lasting another two days before my blood pressure climbed to 180/110 and proteins doubled in a matter of hours. Our daughter was born at 34 weeks, 2 days by emergency c-section weighing 4.5 pounds. She probably could have come home with me if my milk had come in. But since it hadn't, and they needed to make sure she could eat, they gave her formula. We later discovered that she had severe allergies to formula, but at the time they suspected NEC. So she was in the NICU for another two and a half weeks. Surprisingly, her hospital stay was harder on me than my son's. I got to the NICU doors and started bawling and didn't stop until I left, even though she was nowhere as sick as he was. When she finally came home, she had no problems with breast milk and did great. But whenever we tried to supplement with formula, she had the same reaction she did in the hospital - vomiting, blood in the stool, refusal to eat. Three and a half months later, she began to breastfed solely and is still going today at 11 months. She is also small, weighing just 13 pounds (not on the charts). But because she eats well and is continuing to grow consistently, there is no concern. Whew!
It's been a rocky road for our family, but I'm so grateful for each one of my children and I consider them each miracles in their own way.
[Hospital names edited]