My daughter Abby was born on March 7, 2002 and the two of us were
Post On Saturday, May 31, 2003 By
My daughter Abby was born on March 7, 2002 and the two of us were discharged the next day with a clean bill of health. I noticed my legs and hands seemed pretty swollen but the nurses assured me that it was normal and would go away on it's own.
For the next few days I felt ok - a little tired and sore although I was sure that was all normal. I was still puffy and swollen and none of my clothes - not even my biggest maternity would fit. I went to church on Sunday morning and felt horrible but wanted to show my new baby to everyone. We came home and rested during the afternoon.
Sunday night came and I tried to sleep but everytime I would lay down flat I felt as if I were being suffocated. I tried laying on my side and even propping myself up with pillows but nothing helped. I decided that if I could get through the night I would call my OB in the morning and see if I could get an appointment. Abby slept in her carseat and I tried and tried to get comfortable but started getting a pounding headache. I took some Tylenol but it didn't help at all and I still couldn't breathe.
I didn't want to go to the hospital - it was 2am and 19 degrees out and I would have to take Abby since I was nursing her. My husband and the boys were fast asleep and I didn't want to wake them. But something inside of me was telling me that I needed to go or else something bad would happen. I finally bundled Abby up and woke my husband to tell him I was going to the ER - I thought her heard me beacause he mumbled an ok.
Once the cold air hit my lungs I had even a harder time breathing. There was also a very strange pain right under my breasts. I was sure there was nothing wrong and I was just making a useless trip to the ER which my insurance wouldn't even cover since it wasn't an emergency. Abby was sleeping and didn't even notice how cold it was. Since it was so early on a Monday morning there was absolutely no one on the roads and I made it to the hospital in about 10 minutes.
I went to the same hospital where Abby was born - it's not a huge hospital so there was no one in the ER that night. They took my blood pressure right away and at the time I didn't pay much attention but it was 145/92 which is very high for me. I never had any problems with it during my pregnancy or any of my other pregnancies so it seemed very strange. My oxygen level was only at 80 which once again wasn't any concern to me because I didn't know any better. They begain taking blood and did an EKG which turned out to be normal. They were concerned about a blood clot so they did x-rays and other tests that I can't even remember. I was told I couldn't nurse Abby for 24 hours because of something they put in my IV and I lost it. The nurses were wonderful, holding my hand and telling me everything would be ok. My headache was so severe at that point I couldn't even try to bottle feed Abby so they did it for me. They passed her around and she was very content to sleep away in their ams.
After I was given something for my headache I was told that the x-ray had shown fluid in my lungs and I possibly had pnemonia. They put me on an antibiotic and told me I would probably be admitted to the hospital. Once again I started crying. I had two boys at home plus a newborn and my husband needed to go back to work. There was no way I could stay in the hospital any longer. But then things got really weird.
I was wheeled over to another room where they took my blood pressure again and it was 171/109! I knew right then that it was worse then I thought. The doctor came in and told me that I had post-partum pre-eclampsia. I never knew it could happen AFTER the baby was born but he told me it could happen up to 7 days after birth. He went on to tell me that they were going to life flight me to a bigger hospital where they could treat me. WHAT?!?!?! I couldn't believe that it was so serious I needed to be helicoptered out. Even worse was that they couldn't take the baby on the helicopter with me. The doctor called my husband and was told he had the wrong number - my husband had never heard me and thought I was still home. There was no way he could come get the baby since all of the carseats were in my van and that's what I had driven. I had to call my mom who lived an hour and a half away. It was 5am and she was very worried but promised to drive up and watch the boys. Abby would have to stay in the ER until my mom got there and my husband could come get her. The nurses promised me they would take excellent care of her until someone got there. The scariest moment of my life, however, was before the helicopter arrived when I asked the nurse if I was going to die and she said "we'll do the best we can". I guess I realized that anything could happen at that moment.
It was hard to leave Abby but I knew she would be just fine. I was terrified to ride in the helicopter. I had never flown in anything my entire life and was sure the helicopter would fall out of the sky. Thank goodness it didn't and I arrived safely at the hospital. They loaded me into the ambulance and I asked the doctor what they would do for me since the only cure for preeclampsia was delivery of the baby and I had nothing to deliver. He asked me how in the heck I knew that and I told him I learned it from all the baby shows I watch on TLC. He laughed and said he knew medical students that wouldn't know that. LOL Anyway, he wasn't sure what they would do and kind of left it at that.
The nurse in the ICU said I looked better then she thought I would. She helped the helicopter crew untangle me from all the things I was hooked up to and get me in bed. The doctor came in to see me a little while later and was all business. He asked me a million questions about all 3 of my pregnancies and told me not only did I have preelampsia but also some symptoms of HELLP syndrome which was why I had that pain under my breasts. My oxygen level was still pretty low so they had me on oxygen. I was also started on Magnesium to lower my blood pressure. They put me on lasix to help get all of the water out of my body. I lost 5 pounds of just water overnight.
My husband brought Abby up to the hospital and she was allowed to stay with me. I pumped for 24 hours while she took a bottle and after time was up she went right back to nursing with no problems. My husband stayed with me for a day and then my mom came up and stayed. After two days in the ICU I was moved to the regular L&D floor and watched for a couple days before I went home. It was a scary experience but I am happy to say there was no lasting damage. They did a scan of my heart to make sure there was no damage done and everything checked out fine. To this day I haven't found a doctor that can explain why this happened. It is such a mystery espeically after 3 uncomplicated pregnancies. We plan on having one more baby despite what happened but this time I will know what to look for.