On Monday, April 29, 2002, I went to work as usual. I had my 30-week
Posted On Friday, September 20, 2002 by Melinda
|On Monday, April 29, 2002, I went to work as usual. I had my 30-week prenatal check-up at 11:30 that morning and when I left the office, I told my boss I'd be back in about an hour. I felt perfectly fine. My doctor weighed me, did all the normal tests, and everything was as usual (although I was upset at having gained 7 lbs in the two weeks since my last prenatal appointment, but my doctor didn't even mention my weight gain to me). We chit-chatted as she checked my blood pressure, but then her face changed. She checked my blood pressure again, and then again. She closed my chart, took off her stethoscope and said very hurriedly, "Okay... I'm sending you to the hospital RIGHT NOW." I was a little puzzled and she looked very worried. I asked her how bad my blood pressure was and rather than telling me, her answer to that question was that 30 weeks is very early to deliver the baby, but if we could hold off until 32 or 34 weeks, then the baby would be just fine because its lungs would be mature. After checking my blood pressure again and then my reflexes, she said that I had severe preeclampsia. I stared at her in disbelief, not understanding what she had just said. I heard the words, but they weren't registering. I started crying and asked her what would happen at the hospital, and she said that most likely, they would be admitting me until I was closer to term, and then delivering the baby. I was still in shock - the severity of the situation just wasn't registering and I asked her if I could go home to get my toothbrush first, but she said no. At the time, I felt fine, aside from the shock of having been told that my baby would be delivered in 2 to 4 weeks. I didn't physically feel any different than usual. I passed the next hour in the hospital, having a quick lunch and then doing a non-stress test. After a while, I felt like I had heartburn, assuming I had eaten my sandwich too fast. I had never had heartburn in my life, but I chalked up the pain in my abdomen to heartburn. I asked for some antacid but the nurse said that it most likely was due to something called HELLP Syndrome. Within an hour, it turned into a searing pain below my chest, unlike anything I'd ever felt. They had to give me morphine to ease the pain, but even that only dulled the pain for twenty minutes or so. I'd never even heard of HELLP Syndrome, and despite having it explained to me many times, I still didn't understand what it was, or what HELLP even stood for. By four in the afternoon, I was in so much pain, and my blood pressure had soared to 199/116, that they moved me to a "case room" in the High-Risk Pregnancy ward. I was hooked up to so many different IVs and "arterial lines" (they go on the underside of your wrist into your artery instead of the vein on top of your hand like an IV). There were about 4 or 5 tubes and valves sticking out of my arms. A short while later, a doctor came in (the 4th of 5 doctors to examine me that afternoon) and said that they would do another blood test and hopefully we'd be able to hold off for 48 hours. At this point, I thought they were still just trying to lower my blood pressure. I couldn't comprehend what he had just said. 48 hours. I thought to myself, that is just a "worst-case scenario". I was still freaking out about the thought of having my baby at 32 or 34 weeks. I didn't really believe him when he said 48 hours. In the meantime, they explained again what preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome are. They explained that there is no known cause for preeclampsia, that the only cure for it is to end the pregnancy, and that HELLP Syndrome was causing my liver to fail. I still didn't realize how serious this all was. All I could think at the time was that two weeks was too soon for me to get ready for the baby. Soon, the doctor came back in and said that my blood results had come back and they'd changed. I looked at him optimistically and said, "Oh, is that good?|
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 ...