The last 6 weeks have been the most frightening of my life and i am struggling to find people to talk to who understand how i feel. I thought by joinging this support group and talking about it emotionally it will help. Here is my story.
At 32 weeks pregnant at a routine midwife appointment i had four raised blood pressure readings all around 162/108. I was admitted to the maternity assessment unit at the hospital for further monitoring but released after 3 hours as blood pressure stabilised and no protein was present in my urine.
At 33 weeks pregnant i went for an additional midwife appointment to check that my blood pressure remained stable, this time i had 6 readings with the lowest being 178/118 with +2 protein in my urine - again i was sent to the maternity assessment unit whereby they kept me in for 48 hours and completed a 24 hour urine collection. On saturday 20th April the midwife told me she was waiting for the drs to do their rounds but i would be discharged and monitored but in the meantime they would put me on the ctg machine to monitor the babys movements (as i had an anterior placenta and felt very little movement).
Whilst hooked up to the machine babies heartrate kept droping from 134 to 60 then back to 134 then back to 60. Once the midwife noticed this a doctor was by my side within minutes. I have explained i had been getting headaches but assumed this was due to work stress, my fingers had swollen as had my face and feet but everyone kept telling me thats normal in pregnancy. Within 5 minutes of talking to the doctor she told me that i needed to deliver the baby within the hour... needless to say i was shocked! luckily my husband had just got to the hospital (thinking he was going to take me home) whilst he called my mum to put some bits together for me i had two nurses undress me, take of my jewellery whilst i just stood there numb. An anethsetist told me i would need to be put to sleep as i had just had breakfast and that i have received some extremely high kidney readings 12 hours before - i persisted with him that i needed to be awake so my husband could be there. It wasn't until i was sat on the operating table waiting to the anethsetist to give me the general that my earlier blood work came back which was stable enough for me to go ahead and received a spinal.
Whilst being wheeled to the operating theatre so many people came and spoke to us about what was going to happen and most importantly what to expect of our baby... we were told the baby would be between 4-5lb, probably blue and flopping and may not cry but this is normal due to babies prematurity. We were told we would not see our baby and it would be taken straight to intensive care.
37 minutes after the dr made the decision to deliver our baby and 3 minutes into the procedure our little girl was born at 33 weeks 5 days weighing 2lb 12, and worry set in when the surgeon said ' this baby is alot smaller than it should be' we caught our first glimpse of the baby and she was taken away. Then it was time to remove my placenta which was the size of a tennis ball and black, i was immediately diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia and the baby had an obvious uterine growth restriction.
I was taken to recovery and eventually up to the ward. The midwife managed to talk to NICU staff into letting them wheel me through the NICU on the hospital bed so i could see my baby for the first time, my visit lasted no longer than a minute before i had to be taken to the ward for hourly observations.
our parents arrived shortly after and the midwife told my husband that he could take the new grandparents to meet our little baby girl, they were so excited and they all scuttled off eager to meet the new arrival leaving me alone on a ward still in shock. That was the most painful part of my whole experience the fact that other people got to meet my baby properly before me, i had to put on a brave face whilst they told me how beautiful she was and what colour her eyes and hair were whilst showing me pictures when i should have discovered all those things myself, i should have been the first.
I got to hold our little girl the following day after surgery and that was the first time i got to see her properly, she was in an incubator in high dependency but had as much skin to skin contact with her as possible. We were then told her size was that of a 26-28 week old baby not almost 34 weeks. We are extremly lucky that she could breath unassisted, after 4 days she was able to regulate her own temperature and didn't need any other assistance other than antibiotics (as i didnt have steriods to mature her lungs before birth.)
In total we spend 10 days on the NICU, and 3 weeks in hospital in total. We have been home almost 3 weeks now and shes almost 5 weeks old and now 4lb 13oz.
Our experience is only just starting to sink in, and this has terrified me of ever wanting to fall pregnant again. It would be great if i could talk to some other lovely mums with a similar experience to help get my head around it all.