Julia and Will: Team Strong WILLed

Post On Wednesday, May 18, 2016 By Paige

Julia and Will: Team Strong WILLed

I found out I was pregnant in the middle of everything. I was finishing graduate school for my MSW and had been together with my boyfriend at the time for almost a year. We had literally just talked about getting married and planned on having our first child within a year of our marriage. I started feeling sick constantly so I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I worried about us being ready for this huge, unexpected change, but when I called my boyfriend and told him I was pregnant, he was really happy. We got engaged the following month. We were martied in June, when i was 5 months pregnant. My pregnancy was an exciting, happy time, and seemed very normal... until I hit my seventh month of pregnancy. I was working and it was summer, so I figured feeling tired and having swollen feet was normal, but at my 28th week check up, it was discovered I had extremely high protein in my urine. I did a 24 hr urine test to be sure, but it came back showing that I definitely had preeclampsia.

I had never heard of preeclampsia until the moment I was diagnosed. I read up on it and I was very scared. Once I got admitted to the hospital, nurses had a hard time getting blood from my veins, I was so swollen from fluid retention. I got put on mag sulfate and was told I'd be hospitalized until it was time to have my daughter. My husband and I were hoping to get to 34 weeks and it seemed like we were going to make it because doctors said I was responding well to the medication. I got up the next morning and I started bleeding. It was confirmed that I was having an abruption. Julia arrived via emergency csection at 29 weeks weighing 2lbs. 14oz. She was super feisty, and aside from having some spells, she just needed to grow. She received surfactant therapy and spent 4 weeks in the level 3 nicu and 3 weeks in the stepdown "growers and feeders" unit. She came home before her original due date and never looked back. She remains feisty to this day!

I had high blood pressure that never went away after Julia's birth. We started investigating having another child when Julia was 2 and we were told that having preeclampsia again probably wasn't likely. Key word, probably. We tried for years to get pregnant before giving up when Julia was 4. I took Julia tubing in the middle of winter and felt off the whole day. The next morning, I took a pregnancy test. It, along with 3 other tests, came back positive.

We were so excited about having another child and I had a good couple of hours after finding out we were pregnant of feeling complete joy. But once reality set in, I got nervous. What if I got sick again? How early might I have this baby? Fears became real when just a couple weeks later, I started bleeding again. I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma. I bled on and off for my first two trimesters. We had one time where I was convinced I miscarried. But our little Rocco, as the baby was called, held on tight. At 19 weeks, my BP shot up. I was in and out of the hospital every week trying  to get my BP under control, but because the baby was never viable at those times, I was never admitted. I had my baby shower at 24 weeks and by the end of it, my ankles were so swollen and I didn't feel good. I was admitted that night to the hospital and given shots to speed up lung maturity for our son. I stayed in the hospital for 3 weeks before I got a bad headache. William arrived the next day at 27 weeks. Unlike his sister, Will did not have an easy time in the nicu.

Will arrived blue and silent. My husband and I panicked but we were informed this was normal. None of this was normal!!! Will endured a 110 day nicu stay and nearly died from chronic lung disease more than once, but he made it! He continues to live with chronic lung disease but will hopefully outgrow it soon. 

My ob and I discussed tying my tubes and that became part of my birth plan with Will. Not only did I mourn having normal pregnancies and births, but now I mourn that I am not able to have any more children because the threat of death is to high for me as well as any more potential children. Also, I now have diabetes type 2 and am at a higher risk of suffering a cardiovascular event because I have had preeclampsia twice. I hope that one day, a cure will be found, and I have made it my personal mission to help others know about preeclampsia and premature birth. I am forever grateful, however, to still be a wife as well as a mom to two beautiful, healthy children. It is something I will never, ever, take for granted.

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