Fight or Flight

Post On Wednesday, October 31, 2018 By Abrianna Wahlstom

Fight or Flight

I was induced at 38.5 weeks due to swelling and high blood pressure. It started around 34 weeks and continued to get worse. I felt like my OBGYN was very thorough and I was continuously monitored closely. When we decided to induce I was starting to see spots and kept vommitting , which was not present at all through my entire pregnancy until the end. It took 37 hours, an epidural, a mechanical cervical dilator, multiple rounds of a medication to soften my cervix, and many hours of pitocin later before our baby girl was born perfectly healthy. I remember hearing the cries of other babies being born and felt like I would never get to that point. 

So, we went in to be induced on Wednesday, she was born Friday, and we went home Saturday. On Saturday, before I went home, I had horrible chills and a fever of 100.3 which in medical terms is technically not a fever. They gave me Tylenol, checked it in 30 minutes and I went home. I tried pumping and every time I would pump I would get horrible chills where I would shake so hard and a fever of 100.4. Saturday night I called the OB on call and told her about my chills and fever. I was told to drink tea to warm up and continue Tylenol. I believe a called 3 times that night and the next day concerned with the chills but it was my first pregnancy so I tried to just let the nurse reassure me that my fevers were normal.

Eventually, I decided to go in and on the way I called and spoke with a nurse who told me the doctor on call was a good doctor, tried to reassure me she wasn’t concerned with my fevers and that if I came in I would just have to go into the ER and the OB wouldn’t be able to see me. So, at this point, I think I’m crazy and have my husband turn around and I go home and my mom comes and let’s us sleep through the night. 

Sunday was no better, chills then fever, chills then fever. I laid down for a nap and when I woke up I was unable to move. I couldn’t sit up in bed, I couldn’t walk, the pain was unbearable. I called my mom crying and she told me to call my doctor. She told me to take a warm bath and take Tylenol. After it took 30 minutes to get from my bed to the bathroom, we decided I needed to go in. I couldn’t walk so my Mom came with an office chair and we wheeled me from the bathroom to my moms care which took 45 minutes and I have a tiny house. 

My husband stayed with the baby and my mom took me to the ER. 

We got to the ER and the on call doctor had a nurse check my breasts for mastitis, no sign. They checked my urine, but couldn’t get a clean sample because I had just given birth so the ER doctor chalked it up to a bladder infection. We were concerned with my inability to walk and he had me move my leg and pointed out I can move my legs so I’m not paralyzed and that having a baby makes you "very sore”. My mom was very unhappy and so we had him call the on call OB who also told us that I just needed rest and that I could not be admitted due to being sore. So the nurse, my mom, and I spent a good 15 minutes getting me from the hopspital to the car. It took another 30 to get me in and onto the couch. Where I sat and slept. By that time it was 4 in the morning and I was exhausted. 

I awoke to my phone going off but I was unable to move to get it. I could barely lift my head. It was as 10 am and my husband came out and handed me his phone, it was the hospital telling me I needed to come in immediately because my blood tested positive. Positive for what? I asked. A blood infection. 

We had to call the ambulance and because I wanted to put pants on, we cut off my shorts and they put them on me. We got out side and it was raining and I felt like I was dying. 

3E0EAE1C-I was admitted into the ICU for strep and a blood infection. I was severely septic, heart rate at 190 for 2 days and went into congestive heart failure. My family had been trying to get them to fly me out and they kept telling us it would get worse before it would get better. My heart and lungs were withholding so much fluid that I was unable to breathe on my own and the tiny oxygen mask the hospital had on me wasn’t cutting it. My levels were dropping, they finally ok’d to fly me out and my OB came in and told me I was critical and they were flying me to a hospital 4 hours away. At this point my mother in law had been staying with our newborn and would continue to do so. 
The flight team came and it took an hour or more to get me stable enough to fly. I went on a machine that basically breathed for me. My husband was allowed to fly with me and my mom started the drive. 

We landed and I could feel my condition worsening. We got to the hospital and the team thought my uterus needed to come out because that’s where they suspected the origin of infection was. They also knew they were not equipped and sent me to what I call heaven on earth, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where once landed a team of 12 doctors surrounded me and told me they would get me home to my baby. I don’t remember getting to Mayo or much about the next 10 days. My friends came, my family came and I never felt alone. 

I ended up having severe post partum preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome on top of the infection. I made a full recovery after spending about 12 days in the hospital but had a case of PTSD that still affected me a year after. We have a healthy 1.5 year old and unfortunately don’t know if we will ever add to or family. I thank god daily for the staff at Bismarck who knew to send me on, and for Mayo Clinic for being so knowledgeable and kind. 

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