Post On Friday, June 21, 2002 By
I have never been so scared in my entire life. It was March 1999 and I went in for my normal weekly ob appointment. These were weekly because after two late miscarriages due to PROM, it was finally determined that I have incompetent cervix and had a cerclage put in at 15 weeks.
I was not scheduled for an ultrasound on this particular day, so the doctor spent a little more time with me. I complained of some swelling and minor headaches, but nothing else. The doctor, being a little concerned about my hand and facial puffiness ordered a non-stress test to check the baby and it's movement. Well, several minutes into the testing, the baby just wasn't moving like normal.
We became very concerned when the doctor then decided to admit me to the hospital for observation. My husband and I went home, gathered a few things, called our parents and headed back to the hospital...., from there, it's basically a blur. My blood pressure was increasing rather quickly, I had a 3+ protein in my urine, and the swelling just wouldn't stop. I was told at one point during that first couple of hours by a nurse that, "you are not going home without delivering that baby." In other words, I was going to be there awhile.
I was exactly 33 2/7 weeks along when I was admitted. As my husband and I grew more and more concerned, I received magnesium sulfate, as well as antibiotics, while the baby received two doses of the surfactant to aid in developing his lungs.
In the meantime, I was annoyed. I didn't feel that bad. I really thought that the doctors and nurses were going overboard, and to top it all off, I felt as if I was catching a cold. Well, my condition seemed to stabilize and the magnesium was ceased.
Then, on Sunday, four days after first being admitted, I woke up to more hustle and bustle all around me. It seemed my bp was up there again and the baby's heartrate had jumped. An emergency c-section was imminent.
The doctor removed my cerclage then wheeled me into the er, where they delivered our baby boy at 33 6/7 weeks. His apgar scores were 6 and 9, he weighed 4lbs 12oz (big for a premie). After the delivery I could only look at him for a split second when they sent him to the nursery for emergency care. His lungs were still very underdeveloped and he was put on a respirator.
I continued to recover, loosing over forty pounds of water weight just after surgery. I continued to lose over the next several days. I began coughing from what I assumed was that silly cold and just feeling out and out lousy. By the way, a rather violent cough along with trying to recover from a c-section is not fun.
Just when I thought the worst was over, the doctors decided that I needed a heart specialist as my bp just wasn't going back to normal. I eventually ended up in the ICU after a day or so. What was going on?
During the evening on the day I delivered, our pediatrician told us to brace ourselves as they were transporting our son by airplane to a bigger, more equipt NICU over an hour away. I nearly lost it.
Doctors finally agreed the next day that I would do better closer to my son and I was then transported to the same town and an adjoining hospital by ambulance. My son was in the NICU exactly 3 weeks, while I was released after a total of 1 1/2 weeks.
I had several follow up visits with heart, lung and kidney doctors. All was fine. In the end, it was determined that I had aspirated my lungs as a result of receiving the magnesium. Aspiration pneumonia they called it. I received several breathing treatments, and was sent home with a strict regiment of lasix (for water weight), bp pills, and albuterol to help clear up my lungs. Wow, what an experience. One not soon forgotten.
By the way, our son, Noah Daniel, is great. After being on and off of the respirator and trying to do a little growing he went home with zero ill effects of his prematurity. He was discovered to have a very minor case of hydrocephalus at one year, but after some repeat visits and head CT's, it proved to be stable and not a concern at all. Thank the Lord.
Well, my story doesn't end there. My husband and I recently found out that we are pregnant again. This was a planned pregnancy. Had we not been told that we had an over 90% chance of not developing preeclampsia again, we probably would have had an only child. We went to our first doctors appointment with our MD to confirm the pregnancy and get the blood work done. This doctor also told us that we had an over 90% chance at not developing preeclampsia again. He then referred me on to a high risk ob at the hospital I would like to deliver. We saw her this past Monday. She in turn agreed that our chances were only about 8% to develop preeclampsia. However, she also added that she would rather look at how severe my first case was, and administer a test later before determining a better observation for my preeclampsia chances. I do not remember what the name of this test is, but am very anxious to know it's results.
In the end, I now realize how very, very dangerous preeclampsia can be and would not have entered into another pregnancy without this knowledge. However, I do believe that with strict monitoring and excellent baby care, this pregnancy will be a joyous one throughout, and in the end.