Looking back, I see very clearly just how much I was unaware of when I
Posted On Wednesday, November 18, 2009 by Angelica
Looking back, I see very clearly just how much I was unaware of when I had my second child. Although I'd been pregnant before and knew a little about preeclampsia, I really didn't want to admit that I had it. Frankly, I just didn't -- even when they started me on an IV with magnesium sulfate. Denial is a dangerous thing.
My story: I wasn't due for another OB checkup until Friday and was feeling fine. At 37 weeks at a Monday allergy shot appointment, on a fortuitous whim I ask if the nurse can take my blood pressure. Imagine my (and the nurse's) surprise and concern when it was ~165/110. I call my midwife who has me come in, checks my BP, has me lounge around, checks it again, draws blood and sends me home for a nap. A few hours later she calls and says to meet her at the hospital. Do what??
I drive myself to the hospital thinking they'll just send me home later. They don't, and suggest inducing right then. No, thanks, I'd rather not, I say. I bargain for a reprieve and we settle on a 24-hour urine check, and getting blood draws repeatedly. I'm stuck on BP and baby heart rate monitors. The BP monitor alarms at 180/120 or some other horrid numbers periodically during the night. It dawns on me that this isn't good. I try to sleep only on my left side and don't sit up.
In the morning, it's clear I'm spilling proteins and start on magnesium sulfate, then pitocin. I don't realize what the magnesium is for. Or if I do, I don't register that things could be serious. Happily, I give birth to our healthy baby girl a few hours later, welcomed by her big brother, her dad, and her grandparents. Everything is wonderful!
Until later. I try to use the toilet and nearly pass out. Every time. Smelling salts are nasty. They run out. I am not thinking clearly. Thankfully, the nurses get me a commode for next to the bed. I am weak and drained. I stay in the delivery room for another day so they can get to me quickly. When I finally graduate to the recovery room around the hall, I cannot walk there like I did with my first child, but am wheeled around in bed. The next day I awaken and desperately want a shower but realize I can barely stand up. I sit in the shower instead, and crawl back into bed.
My blood pressure is still high, but five days later they let me go home on "couch arrest" for the weekend. I relish in snuggling and sleeping with Kaylee on the couch, and wonder at the power of new life and new love. Alas, I need care too, and have trouble with the 6 steps down to get to the car to go my followup appointment on Monday morning. Thankfully, my blood pressure is back to normal, but it takes many weeks to regain my stamina. I read up on preeclampsia, and am absolutely terrified in retrospect.
I feel incredibly fortunate, and my heart cries for the families who have not been so lucky. If not for a quirky request that popped into my head, we might have had a much different outcome.
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 ...