Posted On Thursday, January 27, 2011 by johanna
In August 2002, my husband and I found out I was pregnant. After miscarrying the previous year, this pregnancy was met with caution at first, then grew into complete joy when we saw the heartbeat.Â During my pregnancy, I loved seeing my belly expand.Â The doctor said I had a â€˜text-bookâ€™ pregnancy. I gained only 28 pounds, exercised regularly and waddled to and from work on the train.Â Despite the typical swelling of my hands and feet, and lower back pain, I loved being pregnant.
Sunday morning, April 20, 2003, I awoke to contractions. I was 1 week from my due date. Contractions had woken me before, but unlike the previous times, these contractions didnâ€™t stop.Â They got progressively stronger and more frequent.Â Once at 5 minutes apart, I woke my husband, Tim, and told him this was it.Â
When we got to the hospital, the contractions were 2 â€“ 3 minutes apart, and I was 3 centimeters dilated.Â Vicky, the nurse, checked my vitals, took some blood and pronounced me in â€˜active laborâ€™.Â I got settled in and called my family, who came with the Sunday paper to keep us company.Â My oldest friend also came for a visit.Â
Thatâ€™s when the textbook part of my pregnancy came to a shrieking haltâ€¦
3 hours after arriving, the nurse, Vicky, came in with the attending OB/GYN.Â She had suspected something wasnâ€™t right when I arrived, but didnâ€™t say anything.Â The attending physician explained that I had HELLP Syndrome, which was a rare form of Preeclampsia.Â She told me what HELLP Syndrome stood for and that I was at risk for seizures, liver failure, and/or a stroke, that could lead to brain damage or even possibly death to me and/or the baby. The only cure was immediate delivery. I instinctively looked at my father, a physician himself, for reassurance.Â He turned away from me, crying.Â Trying not to panic, I said the first thing that came to mind- â€œWill you do an emergency C-Section?â€Â With the low platelets and being in active labor, they felt the best option would be to break my bag of water, give me an epidural, start Pitocin to increase contractions and Magnesium Sulfate to prevent seizures and a stroke.
4 hours after receiving the news about HELLP, Macy Tess Aiken was born at 7 pounds, 7.4 ounces. Although she was healthy, I was in the high risk unit of the maternity ward, bed ridden with a catheter.Â I had terrible blurred vision and my blood pressure was still dangerously high. I wasnâ€™t able to hold Macy at first without someone else being in the room. 3 days later, I was able to go home and was put on partial bed rest for two weeks.
Once back on my feet and healthy, I scoured the Internet about HELLP Syndrome. After learning more and hearing what others went through, I am so grateful things ended the way they did.Â I will never forget that not everyone is as lucky.
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 ...