A Perfect Storm

Birth Story Part 1

That is how my husband describes 9.24.2010.   Since the end of July, I had been going to see my  OB every 2 weeks.  During each visit my blood pressure, urine and Willow’s heartbeat were monitored.  On September 17th, I went for our usual visit and also had the test completed for gestational diabetes.  Everything looked good at that visit.  My blood pressure was my normal 110 over 80 and Willow’s heartbeat was a good strong 130.  We didn’t have any other concerns. 

That all began to change last Thursday (9.23.2010).  Thursday, I came home from work with what I thought was heartburn.  I really thought it was all due to eating my lunch  and an after school snack very fast.  Our dinner  that evening wasn’t easy on the tummy either.  The pain continued throughout the night and I tried some over the counter medicines to help relieve the pain.  We went to bed and I tossed and turned.  I finally ended up on the couch because I didn’t want to bother Steve.  At some point I did fall asleep and he came out to wake me up when the alarm went off.  The heartburn pain was still there, but I got showered and ready for school anyway.  I went to put my wedding ring on and I couldn’t.  I chalked it up to some pregnancy swelling. 

As the morning wore on and I still had no relief.  Steve and I were instant messaging each other and he tried to suggest calling the doctor.  At one point, I decided that I might as well check it all out.  I am so thankful I made that call.  The nurse at my doctor’s office told me to try taking a different heartburn medicine and she would call me back.  I went to the school nurse, but she only had Tums.  So I took 2 more of those and waited for the nurse to call me back.  She called me back and said they wanted me to come in and have my blood pressure and urine checked that day.  I told her I would be in around 12:30.  I was telling my coworker Carole what the nurse said and she encouraged me to go see our school nurse and have it checked right away.  I did.  Catherine, our school nurse, checked my blood pressure 3 times to make sure and when she got done, she told me that she wanted me to call the doctor back with my numbers.  She wouldn’t let me leave her office, so I knew it was pretty serious.  I had to leave a message and when Dee Dee called me back she said “you just won yourself a trip to labor and deliver.”  I had already called Steve, who was on his way to get me.   I called him back to let me know we weren’t heading to the doctor but the hospital.  In the middle of that conversation, Catherine offered to drive me to the hospital so that Steve could meet me there.  The hospital was halfway between my school and Steve’s office.  I am so grateful, Catherine could drive me.  It worked out perfectly.

Once we got checked in at the labor and delivery, we headed back to a room and I got dressed into a orange moo moo gown.  When Steve saw me in the gown he said “I shouldn’t see you in that for 30 more years!” The nurse hooked me up to a contraction monitor and a monitor for Willow’s heartbeat.  Blood was drawn.  At one point, Willow’s heartbeat went down and a flurry of nurses came into the room.  We had been told that the hospital would be notified of Willow’s diagnosis.  Unfortunately, we arrived before our paperwork, so we had to explain to the nurse about her condition.  Once they were aware, the monitors came off.  I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and started on an iv of magnesium sulfate.   I was at risk for seizures, but the magnesium would stop this from occurring.   I was warned that it would make me feel awful.  It did.  I started getting flushed and may have been nauseas, but I still had the pain in my ribs. We knew at some point we would be delivering Willow that weekend.

During this time we also met with Lisa, a NICU nurse. She was incredibly kind and gentle.  Together we discussed our wishes of comfort care for Willow.  We knew that the chances of Willow being born alive were great, but we didn’t know how long she would live.   We were able to discuss what comfort care meant to all of us.    We were told they would dress her and take photos.  We were also given the number to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, so we could contact a professional photographer in the area to take pictures after the delivery. 

The nurses were in contact with my doctor who was still deciding how to proceed.  With additional lab work, it was discovered that the preeclampsia went even further into HELLP syndrome (H -- hemolysis; EL -- elevated liver enzymes; LP -- low platelet count).  Delivering the placenta would immediately help these numbers.   At one point the nurse came in and told us the doctors were on their way and that they were going to be doing a c section.  The c section was being scheduled at 5.  This took me by surprise, as I had never even considered a c section.  By this time my parents were on their way to get Christopher.  Steve’s mom was on her way, as were my brother, brother-in-law and sister-in-law.  Steve and I decided he had enough time to pick Christopher up from school and could explain everything one more time to him.  Steve hurried home to get C as well as my camera, our box of goodies and her outfit. 

In the time Steve was gone, Doctor McIntire came in as did my parents.  She was able to explain the situation to all of us.  I made a few more phone calls and as I was doing this the nurse was prepping me for surgery.  The doctors were waiting for another patient to come out of the OR.  As soon as it was free, I was going in.  They didn’t wait until 5.  Steve walked back in the room and was immediately told to dress in his scrubs.  I was wheeled out of the room and into the ice cold OR.  I didn’t even get to say good bye to my parents or see Christopher.  I don’t think Steve and I said a word to each other either.  The  anesthesiologist got me ready for surgery.  A tent was put up in front of me and things went fast from there.  

1 comment:

Lea Ann Bonsukan said...

I am amazed by your faith and strength during this difficult time. I know Willow is smiling down at all of you. Prayers for continued peace, grace, and understanding. Hugs! Lea Ann