If I Die, Take Care of My Baby

Post On Monday, April 30, 2018 By Katie Costello

If I Die, Take Care of My Baby

***WARNING: Content may trigger emotional distress***

"200/110 pressure and a heart rate of 34, let's go guys," the nurse to my right said as my spotty vision kept getting darker and darker.

This was the beginning of my postpartum experience. My beautiful baby boy was delivered into this world on December 1, 2017 at 1:44 am. He was perfect, with Daddy's nose and Mommy's cheeks. I kept staring at him in disbelief that he was mine and we were about to embark on the journey of life together. Emotions started to flood in -- scared, excited, anxious -- but overpowering the emotions was this nagging pain in my right side. "It will go away, you just gave birth" my mind told me, and so, I pushed it to the back burner and tried to enjoy the few days of visitors ahead.

Family and friends came to visit us in the hospital as this pain got worse for me, now accompanied with spots in my vision and slight shortness of breathe. I knew something was wrong but was continuously being told that because I had an anxiety disorder, it was normal for my blood pressure to be elevated. What was to come was anything but normal and spiraled my life into a very dark, petrifying place.

FullSizeRender croppedThe day I was being discharged, papers already signed, I was laying in the hospital bed and suddenly felt very faint. My boyfriend saw something was wrong and told me to close my eyes for a moment and  breathe. I couldn't. We called a nurse in, and I insisted I needed to get up -- what I think I was trying to do was prove to myself I could walk; it didn't work. My knees buckled as soon as I got into the hallway and I was collapsing on my mother who was holding me up.

"180/110, we need to bring her back to recovery." The words still put a chill down my spine.

There I was, hooked up to monitors with nurses running around me putting ports in my arms trying to keep me calm. I was anything but calm, but too weak to really react. The magnesium filled my body and I felt sick right away, almost flu-like as they told me I would. I felt fuzzy and hot all over, my eyes and skin felt like they were burning. They wheeled me to a room where I stayed for another day or two.

Once released on medication to take home, I got to my apartment and fell right to sleep. The next morning is a blur still to this day. I walked into my living room and barely made it to the pull-out bed my mom was sleeping on. With one look at me, she knew I had to go to the hospital. It felt like the longest ride of my life as we just made it to a hospital that was closer than where I delivered. "Come on mama, you got this" a nurse said to me. I couldn't reply. They then transferred me by ambulance to where I had given birth. I was in the midst of developing severe eclampsia. When I got there it took hours to stabilize my vitals. My mom never left my side unless nurses or doctors told her she had to.

I texted my sister and best friend later that night, once I saw my mom's teary eyes closed. I said if I die (which I was convinced I was going to), please take care of the baby and my boyfriend. They were my world now being ripped away.

Time passed, many tests of my entire body passed, and trial and error with medication went on and on for a few months. There are not enough mamas-to-be aware of the warning signs of eclampsia. So many beautiful moms believe that their body is just experiencing some shock and fatigue from giving birth and these symptoms go unnoticed and thus, untreated.

IMG 2099croppedThis trial in my life has given me true purpose. It is my duty as a survivor to help women who are going through this know they are not alone, and to educate other women to never let someone else speak on behalf of their body. A new mommy's health and wellness is just as important as their precious new bundle of joy's. We need to work together to put an end to maternal and infant deaths due to this deadly disease. If my story of struggle can help other moms realize that it will be okay with the support and love of her family, friends, and fellow survivors like myself, then I have done my job.

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