I felt hopeless I wanted to be a mother more than anything. With two previous

Post On Friday, March 12, 2004 By

I felt hopeless I wanted to be a mother more than anything. With two previous
I felt hopeless; I wanted to be a mother more than anything. With two previous miscarriages, I felt apprehensive about starting another pregnancy. Would this one work? Would I get a baby in the end? Or would I have to endure another loss? I was 25 years old and pregnant again. Things were great with the baby. I was having a perfect pregnancy. I didnt have any sickness. I did feel tired and was starving all the time, but I felt wonderful and happy. My doctor said things couldnt be better. I knew things were going to work this time. The first trimester passed without any incidences. I was home free. They say once, you get past the first trimester; you have nothing to worry about. The second trimester was even better and more exciting than the first. The baby was moving and just started to roll around. I LOVED being round and having that little life inside. I was starting to think about our birth plan and began to get a little goo goo about everything. In my third trimester, I began to gain some weight. Everyone said it was normal. I was a bit worried about gaining 6 pounds in one week, but it was summer they said swelling and weight gain is part of pregnancy.I had to go out a buy a pair of flip flops because none of my shoes would fit my swollen feet. One Monday morning in June of 1999, I woke up with a terrible pain in my upper right quadrant. I tried everything I could think of to get rid of it, but nothing worked. After hours of excruciating pain, I called my OB and he said to go to labor and delivery at the hospital to make sure the baby was ok. He told me it probably was pregnancy induced gallbladder disease and not to worry. I went in and was checked. Things were all normal with the baby, so they sent me over to the ER where I had blood work done and an ultrasound. Things were fine. They gave me a ton of pain meds while I was there and they advised me on the types of foods to avoid and then sent me home. Within a few hours the pain vanished. One week later, it was again on a Monday; I woke up in the middle of the night to the same type of pain. It was 100 times worse. I went downstairs after a few hours and sat on the couch, as not to disturb my sleeping husband. After about 10 minutes on the couch, I crawled up the stairs to wake my husband because the pain was so intense, I thought Id rather die than sit on the couch and endure the pain. I couldnt walk or even talk. It was horrible. We immediately went to the ER. I had more blood tests and another ultrasound. They said everything was normal. (But my ultrasound wasnt and the labs did indicate a problem) They gave me lots of morphine and sent me over to L&D to check on the baby. Just when they were going to send me home, I started having heavy contractions. They gave me a few doses of Terbutaline to stop the contractions and then they scooted me out because the contractions stopped and my pain vanished. My doctor told me to follow up with him in his office in 3 days. He, as well as the nurses, told me there was absolutely nothing they could do for me and I must stop eating fatty foods! From that day, all I ate was applesauce and saltine crackers because I was afraid the pain would come back. Two days later the pain returned despite my new diet. I just kept telling myself There is nothing they can do, it will go away and I tried to go about my day. After an hour or so the pain did go away. I went to my follow up appointment on Thursday the pain was back in my upper right quadrant. It was there, but mild. I told my doctor about it and he just blew me off and explained again about gall bladder disease. I said that I was worried about porking on the pounds and he replied.  Yeah, youre doing a good job of it, youll just have to work harder after delivery! He told me that if the pain became intense again, I was to go straight to L&D. He warned me that the nurses might be mean to me or irritated because there is nothing they could do until after I deliver. He also mentioned that if the pain returns, he would admit me to the hospital for a few days. His intent would be to starve me, to see if it would calm my gallbladder down. and after I was done with the pregnancy, he would get the surgeon to take it out. There was nothing wrong with my gall bladder. My gallbladder was FINE! There wasnt one test that confirmed his diagnosis. The next morning the pain started again as a slight ache and then turned into a roaring out of control fire. I actually went to work that morning. I dont even remember driving there because the pain. I was crying. The doctor that I worked for told me to walk over to L&D to get the baby checked, but I felt so stupid. I felt embarrassed, like I was being a hypochondriac. I thought I would call L&D first, so I did. I spoke to the same OB nurse that took care of me the other two times that I was in the hospital. She was so kind and reassured me that I wasnt being stupid or over reacting. She told me to come over right away. The nurse checked the baby and monitored me for a while. I was on morphine on a regular basis and it wasnt even working. She called my OB and he did admit me that day. The pain was so intense! I never saw my OB again. He never came to check on me, nor did he call to see how I was. I spent the night; they wouldnt let me eat or drink anything. It was a very lonely and painful and restless night. I didnt tell anyone that I was in the hospital, for all I knew, it was just gallbladder. I didnt realize what was about to happen. The next morning was Saturday. My doctors female partner came in to visit me. She asked me to tell her about the problems I had been having. When she asked me about my pain, I told her about the intensity and how it lasts for about 4-8 hours and just vanishes. She asked me about my ultrasound, and I told her it said I had a fatty liver. Her eyes popped out of her head and she excused herself. Meanwhile, the phone rang and it was my husband checking up on me. We were in the middle of our conversation when she rushed back into the room and scolded me. She said,  you need to get off the phone, tell the person you will talk to them later! I remember thinking she was quit snippy, but now I understand why. She said that she had called the paramedics, they are coming to get me and I was going to go to LDS Hospital (which was downtown Salt Lake City, Utah) to have the baby now. She said I was very ill and the only way to make me well was to deliver the baby. I was so shocked I couldnt speak. I had 2 months to go! I just flopped back onto the bed and she reached over and grabbed my hand and asked me if I understood what she was saying. I couldnt even think straight to ask any questions as to why. She had my labs in her hand and told me that my ultrasound and labs confirmed my diagnosis! The labs and ultrasound I had 5 days earlier! She didnt know why I was still there at Cottonwood Hospital and how this was overlooked. I had HELLP Syndrome. Within minutes, I was on my way to LDS Hospital in downtown Salt Lake City. I didnt even know where the hospital was and why I wasnt able to deliver at Cottonwood. I rode in an ambulance that had flashing lights and sirens. They ran all the red lights. I didnt have any idea that this was a serious life-threatening situation. No one took the time to educate me on my condition. The paramedics were talking with me and making me feel confident and happy. They were rocking out to Pearl Jam. The one paramedic worked with my brother in law so that helped break the ice a little and we just chatted the whole way as if nothing was wrong. Once I got to LDS Hospital, they moved very quickly and didnt tell me anything except I had to have a C-section because my baby was breech. I said ok, that was fine, but I can be awake right? They said NO! I said, ok, but my husband can be there right? they said NO! I just cried and cried. I couldnt believe this was happening. There wasnt enough time to spare and it was too risky. They didnt want my husband to see the struggles that were lying ahead. This is not the way pregnancy and childbirth was supposed to be! I hadnt even attended my childbirth education classes yet! (Which they wouldnt refund my money) I had just had a baby shower and bought 3 new maternity dresses for summer. I wasnt ready. There was supposed to be so much more time. My husband walked quickly down to the OR with me and he watched the birth of our daughter threw a tiny 12 x 6inch window. The last thing I remember was glancing up to the window to meet my husbands anxious gaze and then I heard the surgeon say, how much longer? and then the anesthesiologist said, not mu&. When I woke up, I felt like I was still pregnant because of all the bloating I had from surgery. When I realized what had just happened, I was so sad and confused. There was no closure to my pregnancy and I wanted so much for that baby to be back in my tummy. I didnt even know what was happening and why. When our baby arrived, she weighed 4 pounds 5 ounces and was 18.5 inches long. The doctors were very happy and surprised with her birth weight, although not happy with her apgar scores. My husband was able to be with her from the moment she was put in the NICU. After 3 days I was able to see my daughter for the first time. What an experience that was! It was weird having to rely on medical staff to show you out of all those critical babies, which one was mine. I was nervous and anxious to meet her. We named her Nicole. She did very well. She was on ventilator for a day and on oxygen for about 5 days. The doctors said it was remarkable that she was doing so great. She stayed in the NICU for 3 weeks. While I was in the hospital they had me on Magnesium and steroids for my lungs because I had problems breathing. I was on antibiotics and oxygen for many days. When I woke up, I had a bag of blood hanging at my bed. It was very overwhelming. The new doctor told me that I lost a massive amount of blood. Turns out that not only were my platlets almost nill, the surgical team accidentally severed my uterine artery. I lost over 2 liters of blood. (I just learned that they did this 14 months after it happened!!! They never told me.) I was in the hospital for 5 days and every day, my new doctor would tell me how lucky I was to be here. I asked him what would have happened if I had gone to the hospital on that Friday morning; he told me that my baby and I would have been dead by Sunday. Right then, I developed so much anger toward my original doctor. I cant believe he was so ignorant about things. He could have done more. Things could have been different if he would have been more thorough. I hate the fact that he just told me what he thought was wrong with me and didnt rule out the worst case scenarios first. He couldnt even prove his diagnosis. He just guessed! I was discharged on a Wednesday and that night I ended up back in the ER, because my incision burst open. I walked around for 7 weeks with gauze hanging out of my abdomen. Then the doctors tried to close the wound up 3 times! The first two with tape and then steri-strips, but that didnt work. Then the last attempt that they tried sutures, but they became so infected after a few hours that I couldnt move or walk so I walked around with more gauze for a few more weeks. The healing process was so long. The doctors think the incision burst open because my body was so compromised from the HELLP, and it just couldnt deal with it all. As the days passed, I tried to put pieces together. My original doctor never called me or came by while I was in the hospital or at home. It didnt seem like he even cared that he screwed up. I felt like he abandoned me. I really had bad feelings toward him for quite a long time. I called his female partner, the one who diagnosed the HELLP, a week after I was discharged. She answered a lot of questions for me. She told me that since my baby was going to be born so early, I needed to go the LDS because they had the facility to host ventilator babies. If I had delivered at Cottonwood Hospital, they would have had to Life Flight my baby to LDS, so they just sent me there because time was so critical and she as well as I would need immediate medical intervention. That hospital was the only one in the area who could help us. I asked her how she knew the seriousness of my situation. She said the ultrasound that my doctor overlooked as well as my labs I had, confirmed the condition. She also told me that there have been many times that she didnt think patients were ill because they didnt look ill, but the minute she sees them, she gets this strong feeling. She said, she just knew I was in trouble the moment she walked in my room. She saved my life. She saved my daughters life. I am so eternally grateful for this female partner. She was my angel and I made sure I told her that. I also called the OB nurse, the one who told me to come right over, because if she would have been irritated with me, I probably wouldnt have gone in that day and things could have turned out a lot worse. I told her how grateful I was to have been under her care and that she helped save our lives. We truly were watched over and blessed. Almost a year later, I was still having problems with the harsh feelings I had toward my doctor. I felt bad for having them because it wasnt as if he gave me the HELLP. There was a little neglect involved there, but people make mistakes. I know things happen for a reason, so I try to give him the benefit of the doubt and say: If my baby was born a week or even 2 weeks earlier, she may not have lived or had more complications. She needed more time in the womb and the Lord just sent me an angle to tell everyone it was time for my little one to come down to earth. I needed some spiritual, mental and emotional therapy. I needed help in forgetting and forgiving. I wrote my doctor a long letter eleven months after it happened and told him how I felt about the situation. I told him what it was like to be so close to death, seeing angles, and what it was like giving birth under general anesthesia. I explained about shattered dreams of a beautiful birth experience. I told him how scary it was to be in a different environment without a familiar face around or someone to even hold my hand like my husband when I was under or when our little girl came into the world. I told him what it was like to not being able to see or hold, or touch my baby. I told him about how heartbreaking it was not being able to take her home when I left the hospital. I told him everything. I even told him about my ultrasound and that he missed the ball on that one. I told him that things could have been different if only he would have taken me seriously or even checked my urine for protein. The signs were all there and he missed them. Then, I apologized for my harsh feelings and told him that he didnt deserve them to the degree that I was having them. I just wanted him to realize what an important part of my life he was. This was a very exciting important event in our life and we trusted him and put my life as well as the babys life in his hands. When he wasnt there for us, even after his mistake, it hurt. After writing the letter, I felt so peaceful. It was a beautiful letter. When I stuck it in the mail, a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders. Maybe it was the guilt about the hard feelings that I had been carrying along for the past months. Yes, my only wish is that I could have been awake for it, but I spend a lot of nights awake watching her sleep, walking the floor or just holding her and I will have a life time of that. I finally have the closure I had been searching for. I have a beautiful baby girl and nothing but good feeling toward all people and medical staff involved in helping her arrive safely and in helping me live so I can be her mother. I just dont need hellp anymore.
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