I have been planning on getting on here and posting about some of the third trimester things that had been happening. The typical shortness of breath, unable to tie my shoes, gaining weight, etc. I did not expect that the next time I wrote a post for this blog would be to announce that our son was born on Friday, March 16 at 31 weeks gestation. Yep–things just got a whole lot less boring!
So, I had my appointment at 28 weeks where I got the rhogam shot, the tdap vaccine, and had my glucose screening. Everything looked great at that appointment, and we officially started our every two week appointment schedule. We actually scheduled our csection date for May 11th and we were on our way. Well, about a week later, I noticed the swelling in my feet and legs getting a whole lot worse, so I emailed my nurse to see if I needed to come in. The swelling was showing some pitting, and wasn’t getting better after resting and putting my feet up. With my history of preeclampsia, I wanted to stay on top of things. So they got me to come into the office the next morning. My blood pressure was 126/86 (up from 120/60 the week before). I started to get worried, but I was kind of shooed away by the doctor and was told to just keep an eye on things. He repeated my lab work to be on the safe side because my liver enzymes were a little elevated the week before, but all are back normal. I wasn’t convinced.
The next week or so was super busy. Ryan and I went on a couples getaway trip to a cabin in Arkansas. It was lovely. We walked trails, relaxed, and were there with good friends. My swelling continued, but I took advantage of long baths and being away from our six year old for the weekend. When we got home to Monroe, I had Ryan go by Walmart to buy a blood pressure monitor and some compression socks to help with the swelling. I wanted to keep an eye on things for myself because the swelling and the pitting was just getting worse. Besides, I was about to go to Birmingham with my mom and Anadine for a few days and I wanted to be able to track how I was doing.
Birmingham was fine (the reasons we were there are for a whole other post on another day) and we left Wednesday to head back home. Wednesday morning I woke up in our hotel room feeling kind of crummy. I took my blood pressure and it was kind of high (160/96) but it had been a rough night, so I ate some breakfast and took a nap. When I woke up it had gone back down, and we didn’t think much of it. We headed back towards home, and I debated on whether Anadine and I would stop off in Jackson for the night, or just continue on to Monroe (2 more hours of driving) to get to my own bed. Well, Anadine was tired of being in the car, and so was I, so we decided to stay in Jackson and just head home in the morning. I wasn’t feeling well. I was exhausted. I told my mom I wanted to take my blood pressure and take a nap. Well, my blood pressure was 160/103! I continued to check it every 15 minutes, and it fluctuated a good bit, but that bottom number never dropped below around 96. My dad came by to help watch Anadine while my mom went out to get stuff for supper, and the whole time we were all trying to figure out what to do. We didn’t know whether to trust this at home blood pressure monitor, but finally it got scary enough that my dad called one of his friends, a doctor, to ask him what we should do. He advised going to the hospital to get someone to check my blood pressure. He made some calls for us and told us to go to Labor and Delivery at the hospital up the road (the same place I delivered anadine 6 year’s ago) and that they were expecting me. My mom stayed behind to put anadine to bed, and my dad drove me to the hospital. I walked in with stuff to spend the night, just in case they wanted to monitor me over night. They got me in a robe and bed right away and took my blood pressure. It was 174/111! They took labs and I had 10,000 units of protein in my urine. They told me at that point I would not be leaving that hospital still pregnant. I was considered severe preeclamptic and the only cure for preeclampsia is delivery. The question at that point was how long they could keep me in there to incubate. We kept getting mixed numbers from a couple of days to a week, but they gave me the steroid shot and said that our first goal was to make it to 48 hours for the steroids to kick in for the baby’s lungs. They started me on magnesium to relax my muscles, which would bring my blood pressure down. At this point they were most concerned with keeping me from having a stroke during the night.
Luckily, the magnesium brought my blood pressure down almost immediately. But my labs were not looking good. I had a UTI, so they started treating me with antibiotics. They started a catheter because the magnesium would make it impossible for me to get out of bed. They took labs about every 8 hours because any spike in numbers would suggest kidney or liver failure. They were keeping an eye out for HELPP syndrome. Meanwhile, Ryan was back in Monroe getting packed to come over in the morning.
Thursday was filled with getting things in order. I had to contact my boss and let her know I would not be returning after spring break, etc. Thursday morning, the doctor came in (by the way, he ended up being the same doctor who delivered Anadine) and told me that their goal was to make it to noon on Friday to have the csection. I got my second round of steroids, and then it was just wait time. My doctor had to go to Austin, so another doctor would be the one to actually perform the csection, but Dr. Gnam continued to monitor my progress form Austin. He really was so fantastic!
By Friday morning, I was feeling awful. The magnesium made me completely lethargic and unable to move. My swelling was ridiculous! My legs looked like turkey legs. They were probable 4 times their normal size. I could let move the muscles in my face. Ryan kept laughing because in order for me to just open my eyes, I would have to lift my eye brows really high. There are pictures. Those pictures will never be shared! I had visitors in and out, but I barely remember it. Our friends from Monroe came with their daughters (Anadine’s best friends) to spend the day with Anadine. That way my parents could be at the hospital during the csection. She was well taken care of, and I will be forever grateful for them coming all the way over to Jackson like that.
So 12:00 was csection time. Ryan got all geared up in his scrubs, and they wheeled me back there. They gave me the spinal and laid me back on the table. Doctors came in, and Ryan was entering the room as they started the incision. He had already started the video to record the birth, and in that video you can hear me call out “ouch!” As he’s walking though the door. I could feel the doctor slicing through my belly. I had been saying I could feel the test pinches, but he was so busy chatting with the other people in the room that he never heard me. Finally, he did hear me when I shouted out at the incision. We waited a minute longer to see if the spinal would start working, but it never did. They said they would have to put me under general anesthesia. This meant Ryan couldn’t be in the room, and I wouldn’t be awake to catch even a quick glimpse of my baby boy before they took him to the NICU. So they put the mask on my face, and the next thing I knew I was waking up and it was all over.
Owen Carter came out screaming. It was the best news I could possibly hear upon waking up. Screaming meant he had good lung function. The second best news was that he weighed in at 3lbs 15 oz–about 14 oz more than they anticipated from the sonogram performed the day before. He was also a whopping 17 inches long. We told anadine that 17 inches is only one inch shorter than her American Girl doll. He is a long little thing!
The next 24 hours continued to be a blur. They kept me on the magnesium, plus I was recovering from general anesthesia. People were in and out, but I barely remember any of it. They finally took me off of the magnesium about 3:00 Saturday morning, and I instantly started feeling better. I got to go meet my son at about noon on Saturday – 24 hours after he was born. He looked so tiny!
The next 24 hours were all about monitoring blood pressure, lab work, and coming off of the magnesium. I was finally able to eat at noon on Saturday (my last meal had been scrambled eggs on Wednesday night). My whole body was still significantly swollen, but getting better.
Sunday afternoon, I got to go back down to the NICU and hold my son. We had about an hour of skin to skin and it was fantastic. Ryan got to hold him, too. Anadine, unfortunately, still has not met her baby brother. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed back in the NICU during flu season. She’s been pretty upset about it. I think she’s struggling with understanding that he really was born. She keeps looking for proof, like wanting to see the incision in my stomach (not going to happen- she’d have nightmares for years!)
We got discharged Sunday afternoon. I had been the only patient on the floor all weekend, so they never moved me to post partum. It was pretty awesome. But by Sunday things started picking up, and we were told we would either have to move rooms are go home. We chose to go home.
Ryan and Anadine headed back to Monroe and I stayed behind at my mom’s house to recover and be close to Carter. We are just taking things week by week to figure out how to navigate our son being in a NICU 2 hours from home. But, we are just so thankful that he is in one of the best NICUs in the area, and that it’s in a city where my family lives.
So how is Carter doing? Fantastic! They took him off the cpap yesterday (Monday). This means he’s no longer getting the forced oxygen through tubes in his nose. Now he’s on the nasal cannula, a small tube that provides extra oxygen next to his nose. It’s a step in the right direction! He’s had to be under the Billie light for jaundice the last two days, but they expect to maybe take him off today.
I saw him for a few minutes yesterday. I intended to have more skin to skin time, but I ended up needing to be admitted for a few hours because I had high blood pressure readings at home. Luckily everything checked out okay and I was discharged. But by that point I needed to get home to pump and Carter had already had a pretty eventful day with the removal of the cpap.
I’ll go up there today for some much needed skin to skin time and I cannot wait! In the meantime, I’m pumping around the clock, and my mom is the new milk delivery lady. Luckily her house is less than 1.5 miles away from the hospital. We really are so lucky!
So that’s our story. I’ll keep the blog updated on how we are doing and Carter’s progress.