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Post On Tuesday, July 23, 2013 By Sara
Our story starts out like most of them.
We found out we were pregnant, and were very happy. We researched birthing options, and decided to have a birth center birth with a midwife. We went to all of our prenatal visits, and everything always checked out healthy and our pregnancy was "textbook"... until it wasn't.
Around 32 weeks I noticed severe swelling. So much swelling that I couldn't bend my legs without extreme discomfort. I remember crying because my feet were so big and puffy, and I could barely walk. I had no idea about pre-e until I googled "extreme swelling in pregnancy" and it came up. I read a little about it and was scared.
At our next pre-natal my MW looked at the swelling and seemed concerned. While she was taking my blood pressure she made a weird face, and then said "How are you feeling? Are you nervous?" And I wasn't... until she asked me that. She told me that my BP was high (it went from 101/55 at 12 weeks to 128/89 at 36 weeks). She asked me to come back in two days for another BP check.
When we came back for the BP check it was still high. She took some blood, and did a non-stress test for the baby. The baby was great, but we had to wait for the blood work to come back in a few days. She told me signs to check out for (blurred vision, headaches, etc), and then sent me home.
The next day I had a horrible headache that was getting worse. I had trouble eating, and I vomited all over the floor. I kept telling myself that it was all in my head-- because I have a history of over thinking and having panic attacks -- I started having trouble breathing. I remember pulling at my chest, and going outside for air. I thought I was panicking, but I was actually short-of-breath.
That night, the headache got really painful and felt like no headache I ever had before. I decided I would get some rest, and then call the MW the first thing in the morning. I was 37 weeks when I called. I told her about everything and she asked me to meet her at the hospital for tests.
I hate being in hospitals. And I really wanted a natural birth, so I didn't want to go-- but I knew I had to. When I got there, I didn't know what was going to happen. They admitted me, did a 24 hour urine, and blood tests. They ran a BP test and a non-stress every 2 hours. My husband stayed with me the whole time. If it wasn't for him, I would have gone crazy.
The results came back the next day. My kidneys were failing, my liver was starting to fail and the MW told me that the protein in my urine shouldn't be higher than 300, and it was 7,000. My jaw dropped. She told me that I had extreme pre-eclampsia, and I had to be induced immediately. My mind flashed around-- I was scared for my baby (I didn't know the sex, so I didn't have a name for the baby), I was scared for my life, I was scared to get induced and have pitocin, I was scared for a c-section. I was just scared. My husband too.
My husband and I cried together for a few minutes, accepted what was happening, and did what we had to do to survive. The MW put something in to help dilate me (I was already 2cm and 85% effaced). Then, I was told to get some sleep because it would take 12 hours. Between the screams of women in labor, the beeping of the monitors, and the constant tests they were running on me, I got about 2 hours of sleep.
The next morning, I woke up and took a shower, and got ready to give birth. I was very focused, and was determined to not let this turn into a c-section - or to let my BP raise from stress. My water broke at around 9am. I was excited, and scared. There was meconium in the fluid so my WF advised me that they might have to take the baby away at birth if s/he can't breathe.
The MW started pitocin (which made the contractions go from a 2 to a 9 very quick). After that I remember a LOT of pain, a LOT of pressure, and tuning out the world to deal with the pain. I felt my baby move her way down my body. My WF let me touch her head as she was coming out. One last push and it was over.
There was no cry. The MW gave the baby to the nurses before I could see her. They kept her for what felt like forever, as I watched her on the table from across the room. That's when they said she was a girl. They got her breathing, and brought her to me. We started breastfeeding and it was beautiful. We named her, and then I blacked out.
The next thing I remember is waking up with an oxygen mask on my face, my clothes were changed and the baby was gone.
I had a seizure, they told me. Then I felt the pain - my back was in deep pain, and of course my pelvic area.
I couldn't see straight. I asked why. They said they started me on MAG to keep me from having more seizures. They brought the baby back in and I held her again - but her face was blurry.
Everything gets fuzzy here. I remember hating being at the hospital and the nurses were mean. I remember having to fight to keep my baby with me, and that I couldn't use my arms. I remember feeling very ill, and in a lot of pain -- and trying to take care of the baby and breastfeed her.
When we finally went home 3 days later, I was so weak I couldn't walk. I couldn't hold the baby, and I couldn't do anything except nurse her (which was NOT going well), sleep and eat. It was the hardest time in my life. I was very upset with how the hospital staff treated us, and I was upset that I was ill and couldn't take care of the baby.
For the following weeks I felt like I couldn't move or do much. I felt very ill and it was upset with not being able to take care of the baby. I remember feeling sad, and wanting everyone to leave me alone so that I could heal. I was angry when people wanted to meet the baby because I didn't want to share her. I almost lost her. I missed bonding with her because I was sick.. and now people wanted to come over and take her from me.
I feel guilty writing this knowing that so many women lost their babies, and I was blessed to keep my angel. But, I am having feelings tooâ€¦ as a â€œsurvivorâ€.
Anyway- our baby girl, Kaia is 17 weeks today and she's very healthy. She was born at 37+3 weeks and was 7lbs 2oz. My blood pressure is back down, and I have recovered (mostly), besides a pinched nerve.
I think about the birth everyday and how I afraid I was. I thought Kaia and I were going to die, and I had to push through the hardest time in my life. It wasn't for my husband and my MW I don't know if I'd be here. I'm so grateful to have my baby with me, and I feel for every woman who went through this and lost their life or their baby. I can not even imagine.
I've been coping with what happen to me, and I know it's not anything like what could have happened, but I feel like I need to talk about it. I feel like something has happened in my life and I need to get support from other women who understand how I feel. And, to let other women know they arenâ€™t alone.
I am a physician and the mother of a 2 year old daughter born after a long struggle with... Read More