Lately I have been sitting at home freaking myself out pretty horribly. I'm 31 weeks into my 3rd pregnancy. My first was in 2003 and I was induced at 39 weeks due to my daughter being 10 lbs!! Unsurprisingly, I failed to progress and had a c-section. After having been in labor for 9 hours I couldn't care less what they did as long as it just ended. Unfortunately, about 5 days after she was born I had to go back into the hospital for what I thought was going to be bronchitis. Turned out, I had severe preeclampsia, pulmonary edema and pneumonia. I got to spend the first week of my baby's life in the ICU. After that I waited quite a while to have another baby. Last March, yes - March of 2011- I had my second child. After having had preeclampsia with my first my doc was vigilantly monitoring me for a re-occurance. The pregnancy was pretty meh, until all of a sudden at 37 weeks my blood pressure shot up and my office dipstick resulted in a +2 for protein. I had been tossing around the idea of a vbac, but once the preeclampsia hit it was obviously off the table. I had a c-section the next day. My doc decided that to be safe, I needed a mag drip after delivery. Unfortunately, the drip caused my uterus to be unable to contract and about 24 hours after surgery I had a post-partum hemorrhage. It was like the scene in the shining.. you know, the elevator doors parting and all the blood came pouring out.. Anyways! Sorry TMI, I know.
I was given pitocin to stimulate contractions and spent a horrid few hours with a full medical team hovering over me debating whether to give me a blood transfusion of not. Thankfully, the pitocin worked and I immediately recovered.
So here I am.. 16 months later and 31 weeks along. And let me tell you.. I am NOT doing well at all. And I believe, as does my doc, that I am doing this to myself. Ever since finding out I was pregnant I have developed severe anxiety and the panic disorder I have been struggling with for the past 15 years has escalated to monumental proportions. Every time I so much as see my blood pressure cuff at my OB office I start to feel like I can't breathe and can't stop shaking. I stay up at night having night terrors the night before an appointment. I am so terrified that I will develop preeclampsia and have to have an emergency c-section every time I walk into the office. I'm just not ready. I am so afraid of having another c-section that I hyperventilate and cause my BP to shoot up. When I am at home, and relaxing in bed, I will check my BP and will often find it runs about 100/55. Then, I start to think about the c-section and the preeclamspia and my office appointments, and in about 2 MINUTED after having a low/perfect reading my BP will be in the 160's/80's. Then I go and sit in my closet in the dark and force myself to breath and calm down. Sure enough, it plummets right back down to my normal 100's/50-60's.
EVERY single time I go to my OB office my reading are so high my doctor fears that I am getting preeclamptic. She put me in the hospital last week and was stunned to see my automated pressure readings being so low when I'm left alone and have a chance to calm down. She says she feels that if I was given BP medicine, I would bottom out for sure. She says she has never seen someone with white coat hypertension as badly as mine. Lately, after being hospitalized, and having my due date drawing closer, I am doing so much worse at home. The periods where I am freaking out are getting worse, and my panic attacks have become debilitating. My husband has taken leave from work, and stays by my side 24/7. If he is not within visual contact with me I start panicking. I am TERRIFIED of being left alone. He even found me sleepwalking (something I have NEVER done before) to the bathroom with my blood pressure monitor screaming that I had to kill it. As it stands, I am certain that I am slowly building up my stress levels to threat level midnight.
I am just at such a loss as to what to do. Sometimes I feel like I would give anything to run away to some hotel somewhere and give birth in a bathtub. The thought of the hospital, and the epidural is more than I can take. Funny thing is, it's not the pain. I laugh in the face of pain! My pain tolerance is epic. But I absolutely. cannot. under. any.circumstances. handle. numbness. It's not the surgery, or the after effects I am worried about. It's the epidural and the buildup I know is coming when I lie there waiting for them to give it to me. With my daughter last year the anesthesiologist was worried I was having a heart attack when he was giving it too me. My heart rate jumped to the 200's and my oxygen levels dropped dangerously low. I have a known heart murmur that I need to pay close attention to, and the medical staff was unsure of what to do with me. With hidden reserves of strength I had no idea I had I managed to calm down long enough to go into surgery. And then as soon as my daughter was out I started panicking to high heaven and couldn't stop screaming at the surgical team. Last thing I remember, my anesthesiologist gave me a super strong sedative without asking me for my "own protection". I barely remember the rest of that day. And I honestly don't mind.
I suppose the moral of my story and my question is this: I truly feel that if I was given a choice, I would choose to do a vbac with a midwife, and in a birthing tub. With a doula with me to help keep me calm. I'd do it Au-natural as well. No epidural. Things done on my terms, with me in control. The thought of that calms me down and makes me feel strong. Like I could put my chin up and have some sort of control of my own body. I'm trying to reach out to this community, because every woman here can relate in some way to my situation. Maybe not the panic attacks of my level, but the fear of preeclampsia. We all know how truly terrifying it is. I feel like it's ruining my life right now. I wonder though, vbac after 2 c-sections aside, what are the chances of being able to accomplish something like this with the preeclampsia risk. I know if I told my doctor about this she'd laugh in my face. And trust me, she's a GREAT doctor. She takes all of this very seriously. I just don't think she can put herself in my shoes and see how much this c-section is killing me. She see's things from her physician perspective and not from a terrified patient's.
Does anyone know the chances of a successful vbac after preeclampsia twice? I just can't help but feel that the preeclampsia is creeping up on me quickly because of my fear. Am I insane for even considering exploring this option? As a reference point, my mother tried to vbac with my sister and had a full uterine rupture. She almost died and my sister still has heart problems. Poor thing was in the NICU for 2 months!! She was the biggest baby there. Even after experiencing this rare occurrence second-hand, I would still rather vbac. I just don't know what to do... I wish someone would sneak up behind me, douse me with ether and I'd wake up post-op. I just can't handle the fear and waiting. I believe in my heart that this time I won't be able to keep it together, and I will have a full blown panic attack right before.
Hopefully you ladies can relate, or give me some good advice. No one else in my life seems to get it. I am breaking down more and more every day and I just keep getting worse.