Hello everyone. Unfortunately I am new here and sad to make my first post in the grief and loss forum. This is my long story.
I have chronic hypertension and PCOS. My dh and I conceived our daughter after my second round of Clomid, with timed intercourse. Going into the pregnancy I thought being overweight (5'2, 205) was my biggest concern. I was so nervous about gaining 50+ pounds because it was my first pregnancy and it seemed like that's what happened to all of my friends during their firsts. Noone counseled us on the dangers of high blood pressure during pregnancy, if so I think I would have tried to lose more weight before conceiving and made sure my bp was normal. I did lose about 15 pounds while I was on Metformin before my bfp though.
I never really started to "show". I was one week ahead of a girl at work and she started showing at around 13 weeks. Dh and I thought it was just because I was eating better- you know, gaining baby but losing fat. My 18w anatomy scan showed us a baby girl, but the tech said that I wasn't 18w, I was closer to 16. I knew that wasn't possible because I knew the exact day I ovulated because I was taking OPKs with the Clomid. During a vacation to Hawaii I was hospitalized (19w5d) because my bp was 176/128 on my home monitor (I brought it with me on vacation because my bp was creeping up before the trip.) They gave me medicine through an IV to lower it and it finally came down to my normal range, which was 130s/90s. They increased my medication and discharged me. When dh and I got back to California, I saw my peri that day. He checked baby and said that everything looked fine but did say, "Oh, she's going to have your height. She's small." Apparently she was measuring less than 19w and I was at 20w3d. He said it was fine.
That night I started having the worst pain ever. I thought it was contractions, but dh thought it might be gallbladder pain. They triaged me at L&D and gave me pain medication. After the pain subsided they still had me fast all day until I had an ultrasound, which confirmed the presence of a large gallstone. I was told to watch what I eat and they discharged me a few days after monitoring my bp, which had soared to over 220/150 (I thought it was due to pain). I was given that week off of work and the following Monday I had my follow-up anatomy scan. The tech seemed sketchy the entire time. He never said much and seemed hesitant to show dh and I the baby. Afterwards he had me to to see an OB nurse where they said I had to go to L&D because my amniotic fluid was 4.64. They checked to see if my water was broken, it wasn't, so they sent me home and told me to rest.
That Wednesday I had another follow-up with another peri and another ultrasound. While the tech was performing the US, the peri said that the decrease in fluid may be kidney problems with baby or caused by an increase in my bp medication. After the tech finished the US he saw how far behind in growth she was and diagnosed IUGR. He explained that she also had absent diastolic flow and told us what could happen and what our options were. Because it was still too early for steroids because she was so small, dh and I decided to go home so I could at least be comfortable. I stayed on bedrest that entire week and dh did EVERYTHING for me, he's so wonderful. The next appointment the following Monday was fantastic- fluid doubled, her heartrate was holding steady and she was catching up in size, now only a week or so behind. My dh and I were so excited. I continued bedrest the next week, but I had what I thought was gallstone pain every night that entire week, though not as severe as the previous time. I figured because it wasn't as severe, it may be heartburn or indigestion. On Thursday night, the pain intensified and kept me up all night long. I finally fell asleep around 7am while watching the news about the Japanese earthquake. When dh came to see if I was okay, I decided to eat breakfast so I could take my bp meds. Bad idea. The pain started again, but stopped by the time we got to L&D. We went home and semi-fasted the rest of the day. I was pain-free the rest of the weekend.
Although the next appointment on Monday wasn't as spectacular as the week before, we were happy that things had stayed the same. Her growth was continuing and fluid stayed the same. My peri was even optimistic that we'd make it to at least 28 weeks. That night the pain returned. I finally let my dh talk me into going to the hospital. I figured I'd get a pain shot and sleep a night in the triage. Wrong. Around 530am the morning of my 25th week, a doctor came in and explained that my liver enzymes were very high and that I had too much protein in my urine. An ultrasound machine was wheeled in and she said she had to check the position of the baby. I lost it because I knew what was happening- they were going to take my baby. The peri I had been seeing came in to consult with me and I begged him to let me wait. He explained to dh and I that we would be risking my life if we did and that by looking at my labs, they were going to have to do a c-section as soon as possible. I asked about steroids for baby, but my peri and Dh were adamant that we did not wait. The worst part of it all? While I was crying and begging them to let me wait I felt her moving from the outside for the first time. She was on my left next to my bellybutton and was pushing out. I put my hand on my belly and in my mind I was convinced she was also asking me to wait because she wouldn't make it if they made me deliver that day. I cried right up until they made me walk into the operating room.
The surgery is a blur. I remember the epidural, I remember them putting the catheter in, I remember vomiting several times during surgery. March 15, 2011 at 5:27pm, my daughter was born. I remember hearing her cry the tiniest cry. They took her away and she was in the NICU until I finished surgery. Dh went to see her and took pictures. All of the nurses said we should name her Miracle because she was doing so well for being so small and premature. She even breathed on her own for an hour! After recovery I was so uncomfortable and incoherent from the magnesium and anesthesia that I couldn't see her that night. The next morning I was wheeled to the NICU where I saw her for the first time. I cried because she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She was so small, but absolutely perfect. She had daddy's eyebrows and long fingers and my dark hair and Filipino nose. She moved her arms and legs when I called her name. The nurse who watched her overnight told us how strong she was, so did the other nurses. I was in so much pain but we stayed with her for an hour before we went back to my room. Dh and I started making plans to visit her everyday after I was discharged. We talked about packing picnic lunches and spending all day with her, everyday.
Later that morning he went back to see her. She was still doing fine so he decided to go home to shower and shave (so he looked his best for her) and pick up supplies since we'd be staying the night. I called my mom and told her about our miracle baby and told her about how almost everyone was amazed with her. I called my job and stepped down from my position. I tried to nap but couldn't because the family in the next room had a crying baby. I was so anxious to see my baby again. When my husband returned I sent him to see her again. I figured the hour he was gone was just daddy/daughter time. I knew from the look on his face when he returned that I was wrong.
She stopped letting the machines breathe for her and they were having a hard time intubating her. We cried and prayed for over an hour until the NICU doctor finally came. He said she wasn't doing so well. One of her lungs collapsed. The other was too small to keep her alive. Her oxygen had dropped dangerously low for too long. Her heartrate was slowing down. He gave us more options. My husband and I knew what we had to do. After the nurse took me off of the mag and took my catheter out, we rushed to the NICU. My little daughter was surrounded by doctors and nurses who were about to give her another shot to get her heartrate back up. We asked them not to, that we wanted to let her go in peace. They unhooked all of the wires and tubes and wrapped her in a blanket. The first time I held my daughter was the last. One day after I became a mother, my firstborn daughter was taken away.
I cried while writing this. Tomorrow will be 4 weeks since she was born. Sometimes it feels like years since it happened, other times it feels like it was just yesterday. I thought I did everything right during this pregnancy. I didn't eat fast food, stopped drinking soda, I didn't even take Tylenol. I exercised up until being put on bedrest, I slept at least 8 hours a night, I read tons of books. I'm not sure why this happened to me and my husband. I'm terrified of the possibility of having it happen again, but I still long mother a baby. I want to experience all of the beautiful things mothers do. I almost lost my mind when my milk came in because I knew it was the perfect nourishment for a baby that I no longer had. I still have a few weeks of leave left but I am not looking forward to returning to work. I am afraid to see the woman I worked with who was pregnant a week behind me. I am afraid of answering questions that people will ask. I am afraid of how I will react when Gracie's due date comes around.
I hate myself. I hate my body for betraying my Gracie. I hate that my wonderful husband was only able to father his daughter for one day.
Mommy to Gracie- born at 25 weeks 03/15/11, 11 inches, 1.1lbs, and absolutely beautiful. Became my sweet angel the next day.