When I was pregnant with my first son, I found out at 24 weeks he
When I was pregnant with my first son, I found out at 24 weeks he was missing half his umbillical artery, called "SUA" or single vessel cord. The fact that he was missing the cord was reason enough for alarm, as my body would have to compensate for the rest to get him through pregnancy. I was terrified and warned that chances for my pregnancy to continue were not good. The, at about 28 weeks, I started having unusual swelling of my hands and feet - so bad I could barely wear flip flops. I started gaining water weight and felt like I had a water sack hanging on my belly. I contacted the doctor, who told me to stay off my feet and try to do as little as possible. I hun in for another 3 weeks. Finally, I started getting horrible headaches, my heart was pounding and I felt like I was sufficating. I called the doctor and was told to come in immediately. I took a urine test and the urine was so dark it look like pressed apple juice. I sat in the patient room waiting for my doctor to come in an talk to me and could hear commotion going on out in the hall. Everyone seemed really panicked. The nurse came in the check my blood pressure and it had soared to 190/100. I knew something was wrong and began to cry. Just then, my doctor and another doctor came into the room - I could tell they pulled my doctor from surgery prep, as he was dressed in scrubs and was in his surgical gear. The other doctor had a scared look in her eyes. The told me I was in distress and they needed to admot me immediately. I started sobbing. I asked them to call my husband, as I knew it was bad. The asked me to get up off the examinign table very carefully and transferred me to a gurney an had an emergency team assembled outside the door to rush me over a floor to the actual hospital. They wouldn't even let me walk or anything out of fear something would happen. Next thing I know, I was on the labor delivery floor with a fleet of ICU and critical care nurses mixed with delivery nurses fluttering around. They hooked me up to the monitor and my blood pressure was now soaring and was at 240/100. They were shoving needles into my arms, brining in crash carts, trying all along to explain to me what was happening. I was really scared. They started me on magnesium sulfate drip and my husband arrived. They took him outside to explain what was happening so as to not worry me further. He came in with tears in his eyes and I could tell it was not OK. They tol him that unless they could get my symptoms under control, there stood a chance that I would die before I could deliver our child and that the baby was in jeopardy too. He sat there and held my hand as they injected all this stuff into me and increased the mag drip. It burned so bad I felt like my body was on fire. They also started me on dilation drugs to see if they could get me into to labor. I got scared, as I knew my son was only 31-32 weeks and would be severly compromised and would be very small. But, I knew what they were doing for me had to be done to save our lives. I had two nurses assigned to me who sat in the room with me for first 24 hours, never leaving my side. The monitored me at all times. Aftyer getting my thirsd dose of piutocin, they decided that vaginal birth was out of the question, as the dilation didn't work - not even softening my cervix. The doctor came in and explained my options and said I could take the mag for 4 more days and they could try to stablize me enough to delivery vaginally or they could do a c-section. I had wanted to deliver vaginally, but knew the c-section would be best and hopefully stop the damage being done to my body. At that point, I was having severe mental confusion, blood clots dropping out of my nose and felt like I was being smothered by my heart. Plus, my blood pressure was still extremely high, only dropping to 180/95. They delivered my son about an hour later - Conor came into the world weighing 5 lbs. 2 oz. and was 18 inches long. When they finally were able to extract him from my womb, he wouldn't cry. I panicked and started begging to know if he was alive or well. Then I heard his cry - it was shear joy. I cried sp hard. He was so tiny and had no body fat - but he was healthy and had good APGAR scores. After that, everything kind of goes hazy. My blood pressure was high, my kidneys were taxed and my liver/gall bladder were in bad shape. I spent 7 days in emergency care after the birth - with blood tests and monitoring every hour on the hour for several days. It was painful, but I knew it had to be done. Also, I wanted to nurse, so the nurse taught my husband to climb on the bed behind me and latch the baby to my breast for me, as I could barely lift my arms due to the magnesium sulfate. On the sixth day, which was my birthday, I finally started feeling a little better and my blood pressure was down to 125/80. I stayed afew more days in the hospital, but it was clear I was having some problems. I was mentally confused and was having short term memory issues. Also, had a hard time with stating the common names for things. I would see a cup and say pot. I knew I meant cup, but pot would come out. I was frustrating and hard to deal with. It took me several months to get back to normal. As for my son, he was able to go home on time and had no residual issues. He was small and has been since being born, but he will catch up one day. I ws fortunate enough that I didn't experience this with my second pregnancy and now pregant with my third child, I am watching very closely.
Especially since a few weeks after I had my first son, a friend of mine who was also pregant experienced the same condition. Only she went over into eclampsia and had a stroke while delivering her baby. She almost died and spent several weeks in a come, along with relearning common every day things. I consider myself very fortunate to have had a doctor that caught it before it became life threatening.
Well...that is my story. I now know what to look for and have spoken at length with other women about HELLP syndrome and the warning signs.
Ethan will be turning 3 at the end of this month (October). The month of October always brings up some scary memories and emotions for me... I never thought I would have a difficult pregnancy or labor. After all...