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Post On Thursday, October 06, 2011 By Janel
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 honest, preeclampsia tends to put a damper on a mother's hopes for carrying other children!
The health risks mean that many of us in the preeclampsia community state "one and done" with certainty that it is the correct choice for our own health and family. In fact, this was my own personal mantra until I was 'surprised' after my firstborn son turned one to find the signs of an unplanned pregnancy.
First and foremost we were having another child! This was a blessing in and of itself because not only would my son have a baby brother or sister, but it is quite possible that I may NEVER have planned a second pregnancy after the health crisis of the first.
My second pregnancy went far smoother, though not without complications: between my own heightened awareness of preeclampsia and closer monitoring for my high-risk stature, I was placed on bed rest fairly early and maintained steady communication with my providers to help get my second child to around 38 weeks (shortly after my second official preeclampsia diagnosis).
The first component to my smoother second pregnancy was the monitoring. I was in the doctor about once a week from week 5. My blood was taken weekly, urine checked, blood pressures followed... I even checked them at home, keeping track of all the numbers and my activity levels. It was a chore, especially seeing that I still had a young, unruly toddler that still suffered developmentally as a result of his prematurity (and to this day as a three year old, continues to have neurological issues). So needless to say, I could have forwarded my mail to the doctor's office as much as I was there!
The second component, bed rest, is becoming relatively known as a false way of giving a woman hope of recovering during pregnancy issues, but in my second instance, it really helped me by allowing me not to overdo anything. I KNEW not to overexert, not to exercise more than some yoga or walking...I knew that this pregnancy (a second chance at a hopefully, normal pregnancy!) could and would end badly if I kept up at an obscene pace. My body did not take to pregnancy and I had to treat my body as if it were glass-liable to break at any moment.
The final piece to my 'calmer' second pregnancy would certainly be the help that I enlisted. Again, trauma and experience from my first pregnancy helped me see that yes, I will need and should take all of the help I could use. Neighbors, siblings, grandparents, parents, spouse and even a close friend...I was kind and always tried to reciprocate in my daily life, so I did feel close enough to these individuals to ask for help. Some areas in which I asked for help (or people just so kindly KNEW to help) were with cooking dinner, buying groceries, putting away the groceries, cleaning high traffic areas in my home, painting the new nursery, letting my dog out and feeding him, and even just someone to come and play with my older son.
My induction day for my repeat c-section was March 21, 2010; then moved to March 16th; then moved to March 10-the day my doctor noted I became preeclamptic once again. Trusting my instincts, I asked her to delay it until the next day, March 11, 2010, knowing that I wanted to eat a good meal and rest up for a potentially difficult day. Compared to my first delivery, my second turned out to be a dream. I am so very happy to report that my little hearts are now 18 months and 3 years old and together, we are all thrilled that my mantra was NOT "One and Done."
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