Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Short of it

I’ll spare you the long.

For the past 3 months, I have been collecting my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to tell the story of everything that happened around Isaac’s birth. The result was a little epic for a blog, but in writing the long version out, I made sense of it for myself. The heart of the story is what follows here.

On Saturday, November 24, I started bleeding- like A LOT. Hubby took me to the hospital in a panic, and I was quickly seen by my doctor and the ultrasound team. Baby was fine, but it appeared that my placenta had started to separate. There was a bunch of confusion around the ultrasound specialist’s report, but after a few hours, everyone seemed to agree that the abruption was “stable” and that I needed to stay in the hospital on a fetal monitor and full bed rest. I still wasn’t allowed food for awhile in case I needed emergency surgery. At the time, my doctor thought we would have to deliver the baby in a couple of days.

Everything started to look good, and I was unhooked from most of my attachments and allowed to move around the room a little bit. My doctor talked about keeping me for a week and then possibly sending me home on bed rest. On Tuesday, I started having labor, and the whole thing changed. They put me on a magnesium sulfate IV and tried to stop the contractions. I had a couple of injections of something that was a “smooth muscle relaxant” that made my heart race, and they got things back under control. My doctor called me a time bomb and said that the goal was to get to Monday (35 weeks) and then deliver the baby. Over the rest of the week, I had a few more scares and a few more shots of the heart-racey stuff. I lost count of shots, IV pokes, and blood draws around 25. My husband took care of Natalie all by himself, and he and my parents worked to make sure she got to come see me every day. It was all a blur to me because of the magnesium.

At one point, a very sweet friend from church who is an RN came to visit and was alarmed by my mental state. I didn’t really know what was going on at the time, but she apparently had the nurses check my magnesium levels, and found out they had gotten too high. They fixed that, but then I had to have more of the heart racey shots.

What I remember most about that time is being confused about whether I was making good decisions. I couldn’t differentiate between what was good for the baby and what was a risk for him but better for me. It was all very confusing, and I am thankful for my doctor coming to see me every day and helping me stay calm about it all.

Early in the morning on Monday, December 3, I was prepped for c-section delivery. It was very different than what I remembered with Natalie, and I was scared. I just didn’t know what to expect little baby Isaac to be like. I didn’t know whether I would see him and hold him right away, whether I would hear him cry, or whether he would be whisked away by the army of pediatric specialists in attendance.

When he was born, it took about 15 seconds for him to let out a terrific cry. They did take him away to the next room and put him on oxygen, but we could all hear him wailing the whole time. I just cried and cried in relief that his lungs really were working. It wasn’t long before my husband got to hold him and show him to me, which was great. I remember mostly thinking how different he looked from Natalie.

Soon, he went to the NICU and I went to my room. I was sick from the morhine in my spinal anesthesia, and he was getting fed by IV and under an oxygen hood. It took him about a day and a half to get the magnesium out of his system. I did get to go see him Monday night, and I also got to hold him. I could go see him every 3 hours. The nurses had gotten a little attached to me since they don’t usually have any patients longer than two days and I had been there nearly two weeks, so they were happy to wheel me down to the nursery whenever I could go.

We didn’t know then how long Isaac would have to stay in the NICU, but most of the staff thought it would be about a week. I was just in shock at not being pregnant and having this baby that I couldn’t bring home. I had spent most of pregnancy in fear of preeclampsia, and now it was done and I was left with more questions than answers. My doctor said we would probably never know what caused the abruption. Although preeclampsia can cause this to happen, I did not have high blood pressure or protein “spilling” this time. I did have several of the other symptoms of pre-e (unusual amount of swelling, pinwheel spots in my vision, and pain in my rib cage) that I had while pregnant with Natalie in the weeks before my blood pressure got out of control, but it’s just not a complete picture.

In my heart, I believe the complications of both pregnancies are related, but I’m not sure exactly how the pieces fit together. I’m not sure there is a way to answer the questions or whether it would make any difference, but I do know that I am blessed to have two beautiful, healthy babies and the rest of my life to enjoy them.


Jen said...

Gosh, you went through a lot Mama. You are correct. Abruptions can be preeclampsia related. HUGS!

I, too, got a toxic level of mag for a while, and they had to reduce it for me. I remember not being sane at all. I wish so badly that we could cure this deadly disease. :(

Hey, can I link to this post on the Preeclampsia Survivors blog? I think it would be wonderful to include your story. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

Jen at Unique But Not Alone

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Little miracles, both of them.

PS. Saw this. Thought of you: