I became pregnant at 22 years old. The first several months of my pregnancy were
Posted On Monday, November 11, 2002 by Jodi
|I became pregnant at 22 years old. The first several months of my pregnancy were picture perfect. I had the usual symptoms, nothing alarming. At about 22 weeks, I had my first high BP reading in the doctor's office. The nurse asked me if I was nervous, and I said no. The exact same thing happened at my following appointment, a month later. Again, I was asked if I was nervous and I said no. At this time I was about 26 weeks along. I had began to have some mild swelling, but I had no protein in my urine at this point. Three weeks later I went to the doctor (a week before my next scheduled appt.) because I was not feeling well. I had some trouble breathing and felt as though I had a bad cold or sinus infection. The doctor tested my urine...I had a small amount of protein in it. Alarmingly, I had gained 20 pounds since my last visit 3 weeks ago. Which was odd to me considering I had gained consistently through my pregnancy, so that large leap was scary. My blood pressure was somewhat high, I don't recall the reading. I was swollen badly at this point, but the doctor never checked my swelling. Not once. She also never listened to my lungs or chest sounds. She simply told me the protein was likely from a UTI I had, and that the "cold" was probably allergies (I have never had allergies in my life). So she gave me a prescription for Zyrtec (a common allergy medication) and sent me home, and told me to come back in 4 days. That appointment was on Friday, so I was to come back on Tuesday. Over the weekend, I continued to feel badly. On Sunday night my breathing was so bad that several times during the night I awoke panting, as if I had stopped breathing for several seconds in my sleep. I thought it was an odd feeling. Monday morning I told my fiancee that I was very sick and I needed to go to the doctor a day early. He assumed it was just normal pregnancy complaining and called me a "wimp". Its funny now, he had no idea how sick I was and neither did I. I walked downstairs and my sister (who was living with us at the time) saw my face and neck and told me how very swollen I was, and how it didn't look good. I agreed and continued about my day. Monday night, the breathing problems were the same. On Tuesday morning, I awoke eager to go to my doctors appointment. This time I saw a different doctor who told me I had protein in my urine, she checked my swelling and said I was badly swollen, she also looked at my high BP and my sudden weight gain, and she could not believe I had not been diagnosed 4 days earlier. She told me I had preeclampsia and needed to go to the hospital right away. Even then, I had no idea how sick I was or that I would be having my baby that very night. At the hospital, I was monitored, blood was drawn...it took them a long time to draw my blood since I was so dehydrated. Apparently all my fluid was going other places. I casually mentioned my "cold" or "sinus infection" to the doctor at the hospital and she ordered an x-ray of my chest to be sure I was not having pneumonia. They came in and took the x-ray, and then a few minutes later they did an ultrasound to check on the baby and see how the fluid was looking. The baby looked great, but my amniotic fluid was a bit low. The moved me to a different room, and by this time my family, mom, sister, etc. had arrived. Everything from this point becomes blurry. I remember being put on the mag sulfate, which didn't really have any major affect on me other than making me very hot, like I was on fire! Still, it was bearable. I was chatting with my family when a lady came in and checked something on my ankles. She pulled my foot forwards and then released it, and my foot did something weird. She left the room, and my sister who is a paramedic said "this is NOT good". About 5 minutes later the doctor or someone came in and told me that the chest x-ray showed I had pulmonary edema which means fluid on the lungs. He said it was very serious. They briefly explained that the only cure for preeclampsia was to deliver the baby, and they were going to perform an emergency c-section. For some reason, in my mind I was thinking they meant a week or even a day or two from then. I asked "When, tomorrow or next week?" And the doctor said "In about 30 minutes". It was at this point that I went into shock. It was like the room became dark and I was awake and aware of everything and everyone, but I could not hear them although their mouths were moving. I don't recall even saying bye to my family or my fiance. The next thing I know, I was wheeled into the OR and given an epidural, then my daughter was born! 2 pounds, 3 ounces at 29 weeks. This was January 9th of 2002. After an 11 week NICU stay, she came home in March. She's now a beautiful 10 month old, and she is developmentally delayed as would be expected, but she's expected to catch up by age two. :) I am now 10 weeks pregnant with my second child, and this time around I know what to watch out for, and I know that if I see preeclampsia creeping up on me, I can take steps to help slow it down, such as bedrest. I even have a BP monitor that I will be using daily to check myself for potential increases. My heart goes out to all who have experienced this terrible disease. I consider myself very lucky that I survived, and so did my baby. If I had waited another week, maybe even one day to go to the doctor about my "cold" I might have died in my sleep, or ended up having a seizure. I now know how very important good prenatal care is, and how very important it is to educate yourself on potential complications in pregnancy. If I had known the symptoms of preeclampsia beforehand, I may have been able to at least give my baby another week or two in my womb.|
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 ...