Our story begins with a life that was wanted so dearly and ends with a
Our story begins with a life that was wanted so dearly and ends with a life taken away from us too early.
My name is Alicia and my husband's name is Ralph and we are the proud parents of a little angel named Jakob Raphael (Jake) stillborn October 9, 2005. Here is our story of the day preeclampsia stole our spirit.
It was Friday, September 30, 2005 and I was to meet my husband at the doctors for my routine check up and the dreaded glucose test. I was 24 weeks pregnant. Three weeks earlier we had our BIG ultrasound and found out we were having a boy. My husband's eyes were gleaming with happiness. We asked the tech to take a picture of us holding a sign that said "It's A Boy". That is how we told everyone the good news. But there was one detail I wished I had paid more attention to that day and that was that my baby was measuring a week and a half later than our original due date. I figured since I didn't know when my last menstrual cycle was that it was okay, especially since the tech reassured us that as long as it was within the 2 week mark than we were fine. All his organs looked good and his brain activity was fine.
For the past four weeks I had been experiencing swelling on my feet, ankles, and hands. I would call the doctor's office and the nurse would just tell me to prop my feet and lower my salt intake, but it was a normal pregnancy symptom. During the last week before my appointment I had swelled so much that it began to hurt and I began to see some little stars, which I thought was from the sun being so bright. I also had some pressure headaches and again the nurse would just tell me to take Tylenol. I also found out later that I had some trace of protein in my urine during my BIG ultrasound. All of these symptoms put together were a dead give away for preeclampsia and the only thing I was told was that it was a NORMAL pregnancy symptom.
Back to September 30th, the nurse brought me into the room and took my blood pressure and said it was high, I was so scared because I knew that was a symptom of preeclampsia. My husband was running late and there I was in the room waiting to hear back from the nurse as to what was going on. Finally my husband came in and I started to cry. When the nurse came in she said she wanted me to take a urine test. It wasn't good...I had high amounts of protein in it. She said that we were to be admitted right away to the hospital. We were so shocked, I couldn't stop crying. Then all of a sudden I got this severe pain in my abdomen (another sign). I thought it was just from being stressed. I lay in the bed while they got me the paperwork for the hospital. On the way to the hospital my husband just kept telling me not to worry until we got to the hospital and found out what was going on. We both had no idea how serious this really was.
At the hospital the pain in my abdomen got worse, it felt like I got kicked in the stomach. I remember laying on the couch in the waiting room. There were people there but I didn't care I was in so much pain. I finally got to my room and they put me on a Mag/Sulfate drip and gave me Aldomet for my blood pressure. The immediately told me to lie on my left side. The doctor came in and told us that I had pregnancy induced hypertension/preeclampsia and he was worried that I might also have HELLP Syndrome. He told us that the only cure was delivering my baby and that because I was still so early the outcome was grim. That was not what we wanted to hear but i'm glad he prepared us. Our goal was to stay there for at least 2 weeks to give the baby more time to grow. They have me a series of steroids to help with his lung growth.
Every day was a miracle and one day closer to a healthier baby. I was determined to make it. I did exactly what they told me to do with no complaints. I couldn't really have visitors because they wanted me completely at rest. My husband stayed with us and we spent our first anniversary there. The nurses checked on us regularly and everything was going well. His heartbeat was strong and I could feel him moving all the time. Then on Saturday October 8th, I felt a weird sensation as I turned to my right side for a little break. It felt like a ball sliding to my other side, I had never felt that before. I told my husband but since this was my first pregnancy we had no idea what it was. When the nurse came in to check his heartbeat, she couldn't find it. They tried the doppler which is what they used most of the time because I was still so early and we were able to hear it easier. Nothing. Then another nurse came in and tried it, then she said, "I'm so sorry, I can't find the heartbeat." She went on to tell me that she also lost her first baby and that she went on to have three healthy girls. She also said that I should wait to get the final word from my doctor because she was just a nurse and she could make mistakes. I am an educated person I know that a nurse is practically a doctor without the degree. I just looked at my husband and cried.
My doctor ordered the final ultrasound and the tech confirmed that we lost our little Jake. It was THE worst day of my life. My doctor came in and told us what the next step was and that was to deliver him naturally, since having a c-section would be much worse for me. Since I was so early he needed to give me a series of three suppositories to induce labor. I called my parents and they came right away as well as my grandmother.
At 7pm they gave me my first suppository and immediately I felt some cramping. I didn't think anything of it because they said that it would take at least two before anything happened. So I stayed like that until they gave me a second suppository. All of a sudden I was freezing cold. I was shaking so hard it hurt. They gave me heated blankets to help but I was still cold. Then this is where I blanked out. My husband said I had a fever of 107 and they were trying to cool me down. He said my nurse just told him that it was a normal side effect of the suppositories. My husband tore off all of my blankets and put cooling pads underneath me and he put cold towels on my face and neck. He said that he needed to do something to help me and he wasn't going to let me die. I remember him yelling at me to wake up and look at him. I was angry because I was sleeping so peacefully, I now think I was giving up. I couldn't talk right, I started mumbling. They finally got my fever under control and the labor came on hard. The anesthesiologist came in to give me an epidural and every time he would try to put the needle in it would hit my bone. I was so tense from what had just happened that it took him 7 tries before it actually worked. The last time I just told him to forget it I didn't want it, but it was in. The anesthesiologist was angry when the nurse told him afterwards that I had a high fever, I guess I wasn't supposed to have the epidural.
The nurse kept coming in to check on the progress and to see if Jake had dropped. I told her I thought my water bag broke and I was right, he was ready to be delivered. That moment was something I will never forget. The room was so quiet. The doctor asked me if I wanted to hold him after and that a lot of mothers don't want to right away. I was so distraught that I told him,
After surviving a very traumatic first pregnancy with a nightmare delivery (30 hours of magnesium-induced hell, ending in an emergency c-section) and even more debilitating recovery, one would think I was DONE having children. Let's be ...