Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In honor of World Prematurity Day, I will not only wear purple, but I will for the first time write down my story.

I woke up at 5am on February 7th with a feeling of terrible heartburn. I tried for about 30 mins to get comfortable. I changed positions, I changed rooms, I just couldn’t fix it and it was getting worse. Something told me that this was more than heartburn and I (the one who NEVER goes to the doctor or hospital) literally pulled my DH out of the shower. I told him that we needed to go to the hospital right now. He got out of the shower and told me to get in the car and he would be out in a minute. Being the cute and responsible DH, he came outside with the dogs to walk them before we left. I yelled out the window “DON’T WALK THE DOGS! GET IN THE CAR!”. He ran them inside and tossed them in the house (he didn’t lock them up in the living room—total freedom!).

All it took at the ER was for DH to say “my wife is 27w6d pregnant and is having pains” and they put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me straight to L&D. I told them what was going on and they took my blood pressure. The look on the nurses’ face will forever be ingrained in my head. I said, “is it high?”.  She told me that it couldn’t possibly be right and that she would take it again in a little bit. A little bit (and I mean… a short bit) later she took it again. This time she told me what it was: 220/120. Within seconds I was swarmed by nurses, doctors, OBs, and Neos. I had people poking and prodding in all places on my body. The next thing I hear is that they are getting me a transport to the city hospital. Then the Neos turn… the risks and complications of having a baby at 27w6d. “WHAT?!?!? Why are you telling me this? I am only 27w6d. Can’t you just bring down my BP and let me go on with my pregnancy?”

I had no idea what was about to happen to us.

My poor DH was trying to grasp all of this as well as take control of calling my parents, his parents, my work, his work, his brother and sister to take care of the poor dogs who were roaming the house (probably laying on the couch as always!).

The transport arrived to take us to the city hospital. It was rush hour on one of the busiest roads. But, in no time we were there. I was rolled into a room there where I was re-hooked up to all of the machines. They took my BP every 5 minutes. I was put on the Magnesium (ugh… so hot!) as well as a million other things going on at once. I was in a fog and just doing what they said. I couldn’t ask any questions, I didn’t know what to ask, there were too many. I was still trying to digest what exactly was happening. No one had said the word “pre-eclampsia”, no one had said anything. As the shifts in the hospital changed, I got the run-down from the OBs/MFMs and the Neos AGAIN. I couldn’t even imagine. I was barely into 3rd tri... what was going on?

After a while my BP was more stable and they let me move to a less intensive room around the corner. I was monitored a little less but the constant was “you will be here (the hospital) until your baby is born. It could be today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or full term. We don’t know. But most likely you won’t get to 29 weeks.”

Then the dance began. I was moved back to a more intensive room, than back to the less intensive, back to the more, and then back to the less. Every time my BP spiked, I was moved. We made it 5 days of this dance before LO (who we called SPUD at the time) wasn’t looking good so good on his tracings.

DH was out getting us something for dinner (hospital food gets old real fast!) when the OBs came in and said “it’s time. We are going to take him now.” Um… what?!?! I pleaded for them to wait for DH and they said they would wait no more than an hour. I was rolled into a room to be prepped and DH arrived shortly after. They had him gown up.

They brought me into the OR and did the spinal for the c-section. It didn’t work. Seriously? They had to put me completely under. So much for my completely natural home birth that I wanted.

The next few hours are kind of a blur. But when I woke up I didn’t know what was going on. I had no idea if he lived or died, if he was breathing, if he was going to be ok. I didn’t know how big he was, what his APGAR scores were, or what he looked like.

Eventually, they rolled me in to see LO. I put my hand on him through the porthole of the isolette. I was scared. I didn’t know what to think, what to feel, what to do. This was my son. I was supposed to be happy and excited and love him more than I have ever loved before. But I was numb. A feeling that I will probably never forgive myself for having.

This was the start of a long journey. At some point I found out that he was born at 2lbs, 2oz (940grams) and 14.5 in long. I soon learned a lot of things I never thought I would have to learn.

LO was intebated for just 24 hours. He was on the CPAP for 8 days and then the cannula for 5 days.  At 2 weeks old (30w4d) he was breathing on his own. He was still a peanut and still around 1 kilo. However they were talking about transferring him back to the Special Care Nursery in our local hospital because he was doing so well. At 20 days old, they decided to transport him back to the local hospital where this whole journey began.

He spent the next 62 days at the SCN growing and changing. He had the typical preemie issues (apnea, de-sats, brain damage, feeding problems etc.) but overall it was fairly uneventful. He had a few choking episodes where he turned blue but luckily, only once while I was there.

What kept him in the hospital for so long were his problems around feeding. We thought that maybe there was a milk protein allergy so we put LO on Alimentum and he seemed to do better. So they discharged him the day after his due date. He was finally home!

11 days later, he decided to test Mommy’s ability to act quickly and choke. He turned blue and I needed to bulb syringe him while DH pounded his back. He finally was ok but the Pedi wanted us to go to the ER to be sure. The neo decided to send us back to the city hospital to be seen by the feeding clinic. What? Seriously? I JUST got my baby home and now you are taking him again?

Off he went for another 6 days. They found severe reflux and so over the course of the next few months we tried to get that under control with the help of the pediatric GI specialist.

Here we are today… LO is a fairly healthy 9m (6m adj) baby. He is seen by EI and PT for some muscle tightness in his hips and shoulders. Many specialists follow him but they are all impressed with his development and just check in every 6 months. He is currently 13.8lbs and 24.5in. He is sitting on his own (with some wobbling!). He is a smiley happy little guy. I love him more than I could have ever imagined loving anything.

As for me… It took 6 days for my BP to stabilize with a lot of medication. I was released and then readmitted within 24 hours with another spike in my BP. I was kept for another 4 days. I was followed by a visiting nurse for 2 weeks and the MFM for 6 weeks. I am still on BP meds and am working with my PCP about what to do next. I have become very involved with the Preeclampsia Foundation and raising awareness. I had never heard of the disease, yet it is the number 1 reason for maternal and fetal deaths in the world.


Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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