Hello, my name is Simone and I am 27 year old single mom. My son
|Hello, my name is Simone and I am 27 year old single mom. My son is now eight months old and was born on 02/27/02. I mostly copied and pasted from my on-line journal located at www.thelaboroflove.com. It all started at my 34 week checkup. They checked my blood pressure, and it was high - about 160/95, when it has been running about 120/65. They had me relax a few minutes, but the lower number (diastolic?) didn't go down. I ended up being in the office for 45 minutes, when I was usually there for five. Dr. M is a woman, and I found her very easy to talk to. I was the last patient of the day, and she sat with me for 20 minutes or so while I was resting on my left side. She had me do a urine test, and I did have a small amount of protein. (+1 for those of you who know these things, apparently it runs from zero protein to +4). She asked me about headaches, etc. She told me she wanted me to go to the hospital for overnight observation!! She said I was "knocking on the door" of preeclampsia!! Best case scenario, I get to the hospital, my blood pressure is back to normal, they let me go. Worst case, my symptoms worsen, I have preeclampsia, I get induced! I was like, "oh my gosh, I can't believe this!" So I ended up at labor and delivery from 6 PM to 11 AM. I called my parents and my roommate, and a couple friends. They put the baby monitors on all night, took blood, and collected my urine all night. They also did periodic blood pressure checks. My blood pressure did slowly improve. Originally, the doctor said I was to be on bedrest all weekend until I came in on Monday or Tuesday for a BP check. In the morning, the nurse came in and asked me where I lived and if I had anyone to pick me up. I said I drove myself and I lived about 20 miles away. She asked me if I was married. I said "no". Obviously I would have mentioned my husband if I had one. (I know she meant well.) I couldn't think of anyone close by to pick me up besides my parents. My roommate Jen was also going on a ski trip up North with her boyfriend. The nurse was reluctant to let me drive so far by myself without checking with the doctor. The doctor on call, Dr. N.A. (my doctor's father), wanted to see me before they would let me go. It ended up I am glad they made me wait, because he checked my labs and BP checks and said I didn't have preeclampsia! My last BP reading was 111/73! Yeah! He said I could go but to take it easy and make sure I come in on Friday (1 week) to get a BP check. He also said I could go to work. He asked me if I had McDonald's recently (half jokingly) and I said guiltily, "...yes." So he told me to try to eat less salt. Apparently one Big Mac has enough salt for your whole daily allowance. I only had a chicken sandwich and fries, but I get the idea!! I even said to my friend Nancy when we were at McDonald's (she is my friend from work who is 24 weeks pregnant), "I can hear my doctor saying one trip to McDonald's.... (can cause my fluid retention to go up.)" So that was my little scare for the week. I always think, nothing is going to happen to me, I am young and healthy. But it is best to be on the safe side. You just never know. I had hoped to avoid bedrest because that would take away from my time after the baby is born. But you do what you have to to be healthy and have a healthy baby. I went in the following Friday like the on-call doc told me to. My BP was around 135/88 or so. This is not considered high overall (I read in my Mayo book on pregnancy 140/90 is generally considered high), but it is higher than my baseline of 120/78. Anyway, they checked my urine, and it only had a trace of protein. They put me on an monitor for about a half hour. Dr. A said everything looks good, but they were still concerned about the elevated BP and said I should really be on bedrest and what did I think of that? I said that I would rather not if not absolutely necessary because I want the time off AFTER the baby is born, but if he felt it was needed, I would do it of course. He said we could try to do bedrest on weekends and evenings and I could continue to work, and we'll assess as we go along. I then had to go in twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I went in for my 36 week checkup and I thought my BP would be high because I checked it at the store Monday eve. Monday it was 150/95. But, it was only 118/86 at my appointment on Tuesday, and my urine test was fine. However, my ankles were extremely swollen and I felt a little dizzy all day. I also have had a pain in my lower belly, it feels like a pulled ligament or something, but it hurts to walk. I mentioned both to my Dr. He said the pain in my abdomen was probably not due to the BP problem. Well no kidding, I just wanted him to know but he didn't seem very concerned about this. He just said as I get closer, the pressure of the baby will be felt, etc. He also agreed to continue with the plan of bedrest on nights and weekends, although he was not happy when I told him about going to the store. I know bedrest means rest only (on my side of course), but it is hard when I need groceries and stuff. I am going to try really hard to follow this so I can stay at work as long as possible. He said either I will "declare" myself as toxemic and they will induce right away (sometimes that happens with BP like mine) or they will most likely induce at 39 weeks. So...only three weeks away and baby would be here for sure! I was glad because the Dr. was supposed to be on vacation for the week I was due. So much for my plans of a natural as possible birth! He did a cervical check too and I was 1 centimeter dilated. He was on his way! I told everyone at my baby shower about the high BP and they were then worried I was going to have a stroke or something else equally bad. My mom and aunts kept calling me to see how I am and make sure I am resting. It was driving me nuts. I was under a physician's care for goodness sake! I was still doing well at 37 weeks! I had another Dr. appointment and this time the doctor was pleased with my numbers on paper. Shannon (my friend and labor coach) came with me and they put me on the fetal monitor right away for about 1/2 hour. We had to drink some cold OJ to get him moving. My BP was about 135/84 so that bottom number was slowly going down. No protein, either. I also actually lost a pound of weight, which was water weight, this was also a good sign. So I could continue as I had been doing. That was good. He did another cervical check, but there was no difference. He said we would probably be doing those weekly from now on. I would spot a little afterwards, which seemed strange, but from what I had read was perfectly normal. He gave me a size estimate of 5 1/2 to 6 lbs. Wow, hard to believe he could have been born then and been an OK size and age. At my next appointment, they checked my blood pressure, and it was high again, like 135/98. While I was waiting for the results from the urine test, Shannon came in. We sat and talked. The next thing that happened was the nurse came in and started taking me off the monitor. She said my protein was +3 and I would need to be induced. The Dr. checked my cervix and I was still at 1 cm dilated. He explained what would happen and asked if I had any questions. He would be unavailable for the induction the next day, as Wednesdays he was just not available. He said Dr. M. would probably oversee the induction. Which I felt fine about, she was the one who had me admitted earlier in the month. Shannon drove me to the hospital and stayed overnight with me. When I got to the hospital, they started an IV with a magnesium sulfate drip which was to hold down my BP and prevent seizures. Dr. said I had preeclampsia. The drug made me feel sleepy and flu-like. I was hot but shivery. During the night, the older Dr A. was on call and he had them put a higher than usual dose of Cytotek in my vagina to I think ripen my cervix. He said sometimes it will cause contractions. The higher dose was to counter the effect of the mag sulfate, which tends to slow contractions. Well, the Cytotek caused some uterine irritation: small contractions in a row with no breaks. This was causing the baby to be in some distress. They took out the Cytotek and gave me terbutaline to stop the contractions. (Argh.) By early morning, I was having "bloody show". I wasn't expecting it to be so bloody. It was more like a heavy period. The night nurse said they would start me on Pitocin in the morning. If the baby did not respond well to that, it was a possibility I could have a c-section! She said she just wanted me to know what could happen, but not to be alarmed. Around 7 am the next morning, old Dr. A came in and I told him about the bloody show. He proceeded to break my water, and said he would check back in a couple hours to see where we were at. Contractions began within ten minutes! They weren't too bad at first, but got increasingly worse. I opted for the epidural. Because of the drugs I was on and the high BP, I couldn't get out of bed anyway. Nothing was going the way I hoped! By 9:30, I was almost 4 cm dilated! At 2 PM, the nurse said I was to start actively pushing. I could feel the baby coming, it hurt so much. Once the Dr was called, things went really fast. I heard the nurse say, "We need a Dr. in here!" and they were telling me to take it easy and breathe. Just as he came out, a Dr. from a nearby room was pulled in to deliver Gabriel John at 2:54 PM on 02/27/02.(Although it was really the nurses that delivered him!) They had put a sheet on my chest to put the baby on right after birth, but instead they brought him to the warmer right away. By this time, the room was swarming with people. The unknown Dr was massaging my uterus, because I was hemmoraging a bit. The placenta came out. Then I was fine, but the baby was still not with me. They were worried that with being a bit premature (36 weeks and 5 days), and the mag sulfate, he might be a bit "floppy". They finally gave him to me all wrapped up. He was so little- 5 lbs and 13 oz. Old Dr. A was there by this time. Gabriel latched on right away, nursing for 30 minutes on on side and 15 on the other. They had to take him to the special care nursery becuase his blood glucose was low. I didn't know it was such an issue until later. He had some fluid in his lungs and also was a little labored in his breathing. I found this out when I went to visit him a few hours later. The breathing and the fluid Gabriel worked out on his own, but was in the nursery an additional two days for a total of four days until his glucose was stable. After we got home, there were some nursing issues that were an indirect result of preeclampsia: Gabriel was 3 1/2 weeks early and was in the special care nursery for four days and so did not room in at all because he had low glucose and was on an IV. I was lucky in that I was able to nurse within one hour of birth, and the hospital did not give him pacifiers, sugar water, or bottles. What we did at the hospital was nurse every three hours OR I would pump if he was too tired to nurse, and then supplement with formula using a SNS with the tube either on my breast or finger or they used a givage feeding tube . I would usually skip one night nursing to get some sleep. Knowing what I know now, I would have tried to nurse more often! At first the ped was going to send me home w/o any formula and just BF. The nurse got him to change his mind (since they were giving him the formula in the hospital they didn't want to quit cold turkey I guess!) so they sent me home with some formula and SNS. I was SO frustrated!!!! He was also sleepy and I couldn't get the dumb tube in his mouth same time as my nipple. I had a great home care nurse who really helped me out. She also told me studies show BFing is MORE LIKELY to bring up glucose levels than formula! She weighed him and came back three days later to weigh again. I also went in every week to the Dr. for a month until he started to really gain weight. We almost had to go back to supplementing with formula, but didn't have to. Just watch his diapers for wet diapers. I had a scary day or two where his diapers weren't very wet when I stopped with the formula, but my body quickly caught up. That's my whole story. His low glucose/other issues may have been caused by the PE/drugs I needed to take. It was a very scary, unexpected situation to deal with. I mean I read a lot so I "knew" about preeclampsia, but wasn't at all prepared for the reality of what it meant to me, or my baby, or in relation to breastfeeding.|
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...