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Post On Wednesday, July 02, 2014 By Catie
I had a perfect pregnancy. My doctor told me time and again "Cate, you can't mess this up. Your body is amazing and you'd have to work really hard to hurt her", always with a smile. It made me feel very confident in my pregnancy and I completely credit his confidence in me for my extremely positive attitude during the whole thing.
I was due July 31, 2009. On June 16 I went in for my first bi-weekly check up. By this time I knew the drill, take blood pressure, pee in a cup, Dr. Folley will feel around and measure, then I'll be on my way.
The nurse had a strange look on her face when she took my blood pressure and checked my urine. She asked me how I was feeling, if I was dizzy, had a headache, or anything. I told her no, I felt fine, just a little pouffy. She found me a quiet dark room and had me lay down on my left side for a few minutes before she checked my blood pressure again. She never told me the number; I didn't know I should have asked.
Dr. Folley came in and after feeling and measuring my belly, placed his hand on my knee and said "Cath (my name is Catherine but he always called me Cath), I'd like you to go to the hospital and get checked out. Your blood pressure is a little high and you're leaking protein into your urine. Bypass all the check in desks, and head straight upstairs to Labor and Delivery. Tell them you have preeclampsia. I'll them know you're coming" all the while exuding complete calm.
I absorbed his calm and cheerfully drove myself to the hospital. I called my mom, my dad, and my fiance. When I got to the hospital I finally got the vibe how serious things were. They immediately hooked me up to Magnesium Sulfate and told me my pressure was over 200/110 and I was right in line to have a seizure. It seemed odd for them to tell me this because I felt perfectly fine. Never did I have a headache or feel dizzy or any of the other signs I should have had telling me something was wrong.
I was admitted into the OB Ward's Special Care, which I now know is what they called the special ICU for mom's-to-be. I was on bed rest and a strictly liquid diet. That night I got the steroid shot to boost my daughter's lung function and told in 12 hours I'd get another one. Everything was prepping for a c-section soon, although I didn't see it at the time.
I saw the practice on-call doctor the next day, Wednesday. She said since I was not at all dialated and still 6 weeks early she was going to recommend another week of bedrest in the hospital. I was devastated. A week on bedrest? I would be bored to tears! Lucky for me my doctor knew me and my baby. I got the call later that evening that he would be over on his lunch break on Thursday to deliver my baby girl.
Early on Thursday morning the head of the NICU came in to talk to us about worst case scenario; she isn't breathing and has to be rushed to the NICU where she would spent lots of time. Everything came down to if she was breathing.
That afternoon I swear my entire extended family showed up. They kept me company until surgery time, telling stories and jokes. Just after 1pm I was wheeled into the surgery room and the epidural was put in. At 1:29pm, my 3lb 10oz screaming baby girl was born. She was crying; we were out of the woods!
I wasn't allowed to leave my bed to see her that night, so they brought her to me hours later. I remember it had to be around 8 or 9 pm because it was dark out. I marvelled at her beauty and how serene was after her rough, abrupt entrance into the world. She progessed like a champ. She only spent 13 days in the NICU; I was only in the hospital for 5.
Reading the stories of the other parents with similar experiences makes me realize how incredibly lucky we were, and still are. Elizabeth has absolutely no lasting effects from being premature, other than she is just a tiny little thing. She was only in the 30th percentile for her age group at her 5 year exam a few weeks ago, but she is sharp as a tack.
God blessed us beyond words.
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