My story began on February 27, 2000. I was 26 weeks along in my first
My story began on February 27, 2000. I was 26 weeks along in my first pregnancy, my husband and I were thrilled to become first time parents. I was working, and every night I would come home and put me feet up, as they had been swelling for about 2 weeks. By morning, the swelling was gone, and I would be off to work. However, today, Sunday, when I awoke, the swelling in my ankles and feet had gone down, but not by much. We were to have dinner with my family that night at a nearby restaurant, and, come to find out, I could not get my feet into any of my size 7 1/2 shoes! We went and bought a new pair, just for the occasion of going out. I left the store in a size 9 1/2, which just barely fit!
The next morning my feet still were swollen and I went to work in a pair of houseslippers because I could not get the new pair of shoes to go back onto my feet. I kept my feet up at work and called the doctor. She told me to keep my feet up, and if the swelling did not go down to call her the next day and they would have me come in to check my blood pressure. My husband picked me up from work that day and I told him what the doctor said. His reply was to take me to the drugstore and have my blood pressure checked on the way home. We did, I don't remember the exact pressure but it was around 180/120. Way higher than it should have been. I went home and relaxed a little and got out my pregnancy book and started reading about high blood pressure. Words like Preeclampsia and Eclampsia keep coming up in my reading. The high blood pressure and swelling were two of the symptoms. I called my doctor, around 6:00 PM sure that I would get her voice mail, but wanted to let her know what was going on. Her nurse picked up the phone, much to my surprise, and told me I needed to come to the hospital right away and get admitted to labor and delivery for tests. Labor and delivery at 26 weeks? They had to be wrong. I went.
I was hooked to a monitor around my stomach that monitored contractions, I did a urine test, and I was hooked up to a blood pressure monitor. What was going to happen? I was then told, after about an hour on monitoring, that I was going to be admitted to the hospital until my blood pressure went down. I had never been in a hospital in my life! I was admitted to my room where a high risk OB came in to check on me. He did an ultra-sound and said that my baby was about 3 1/2 pounds. I was also given a catheter to measure my protein levels in my urine. The next day, I was sent home. I had a scheduled appointment with my OB that very same day. When I went to her office, also located in the hospital, she was shocked to see me and said that I needed to still be in the hospital. Needless to say, she re-admitted me right then and there.
The next few days, the doctors checked my blood and urine daily. I was told that I would be on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy, in the hospital! I could not believe it. The doctors prescribed steroids for the baby so that the lungs would develop properly. If I was on bed rest, I thought, why would they not develop? Come to find out, these doctors had seen these symptoms so many times, they knew what could possibly happen. I had no idea how I would handle bed rest for 14 weeks.
My husband and I were seen by a doctor and asked to sign a form for an emergency c-section, should it be necessary. We agreed and signed it. The doctor also brought with him a neonatologist who explained what could happen should the baby come early. He took my husband to the NICU for a 'tour' of the facility. I never dawned on either one of us that our baby could wind up there. I am on bed rest, everything will be fine.
My husband was great this whole time. He would spend the night on the weekends in the hospital with me and during the week, he came every night on his way home from work. It was Sunday March 5th and he was going to go home since he had to work the next day. I begged him and cried for him to stay. I had no idea what had come over me. I just felt that he needed to be there with me that night. I can't explain it, other than someone was watching over me that night.
March 6, 2000. In the early hours of the morning, not much of it that I remember, I went into a seizure. My husbands recollection of the morning was about 10 doctors and nurses in my room, hooking me up to IV's and prepping me for an emergency c-section. They did not allow my husband to go with me, so he called family, who were all there immediately. My step-mom is a nurse, and so she explained some details to the family and said that since the baby is around 3 1/2 pounds as of a week ago, that the baby would be fine.
I don't remember being in the delivery room. I do, however, remember hearing my baby cry. When I awoke out of the anesthesia, my husband and my family were there. They told me that we had a baby girl. I then went to sleep and woke up later that day. When I was coherent enough, they said that the baby was in the NICU and showed me a Polaroid picture of her. She was hooked up to all kinds of wire and looked small. It did not occur to me at that point what was going on.
I saw my baby two days after this whole ordeal. She weighed in at 1 pound 10 ounces and 11 1/2 inches long, born at 27 weeks. Such a fragile looking thing. Hooked up to monitors, a ventilator and a ton of other things. I was told that I could not hold her until she was bigger, but I could put my hand into the isolette. The NICU nurse told us that she was doing good, no brain bleeds, no need for oxygen at birth. She was on the ventilator for only about a week, but stayed in the hospital for 2 months. 2 of the longest months that parents can ever go through.
I feel so blessed that we had an awesome group of doctors that helped us through this. I am happy to say, Ashley has just turned 6 and is a very healthy child. We thank God for her everyday. What a true blessing.
I just hope and pray that by the time she wants a family, that there will be more people and doctors who know that symptoms and that there is a cure.
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 ...