Saturday, September 12, 2015
Foster's Birth Story Part 1
I would have been 38 weeks pregnant tomorrow. I had been at my 34 week appointment when the nurse took my blood pressure and got a reading that was a little high. I wasn't in a dangerous zone, but pre-hypertension after 20 weeks, I think, is a warning sign to start looking for any other symptoms of preeclampsia. Having a history of preeclampsia with Blanche, and then postpartum hypertension with Rosemary, my doctor went into testing mode and began to tell me the plan. It all hit me so fast. I even had laughed off the first reading and told the nurse to take my blood pressure again because I had just talked financials with the office before that. My doctor took it again later and it was still high. I honestly now can't really remember all I wrote on the last post while I was on bedrest. In my mind I feel like all the things that happened were over several months, when really it was only one.
I tried to keep as positive as I could while waiting. I had to wait to see if I had preeclampsia. Which only a day later I was in the hospital not feeling well. And although I was originally diagnosed with "mild preeclampsia" during my labor they were mostly calling it pregnancy hypertension. The last four weeks have just been so many unknowns right after one another. I laid in bed for two weeks almost. I would lay there not really doing anything and I could almost feel my blood pressure rising. And before I come across as too dramatic, I know my symptoms and case were mild in some ways. And I know there are many women who go through way more physically while pregnant or even postpartum. I read just this week on instagram about two moms diagnosed with cancer while pregnant. I am so thankful for my own health and the strength I have had. But there is also something scary about blood pressure and pregnancy and the scary side effects that can sometimes happen. My sister had full blown eclampsia before she was twenty. She had a case that was really poorly taken care of and her medical team did not only not catch it but she went to the point of being rushed to the ER, started having seizures, and her son was taken emergency C-section at 32 weeks. They are both okay today, but at the time my family and I really didn't know what the outcome would be. I know it is one of the hardest things my sister ever had to go through. So, while I was lying in bed looking at my own two daughters, I couldn't help but go down that road again in my mind. I would try to lay still and relax and pray I could carry my baby boy as long as physically possible without being in danger.
My mom coming really helped us get through those days of me lying in bed. Sure, the first day or two it was nice to know I didn't have any responsibility but to relax. But even getting up to make my own lunch sometimes made me feel bad, and I was still supposed to go through labor. Sometimes by the end of the day I just felt like I had the flu, and all I wanted to do was take a nice hot bath. I had been told though to only take a shower every couple of days, and to not get overheated. I guess nothing is really that fun if I am doing it because I'm sick.
My days on bedrest felt long and short all at the same time. Andrew would get up and spend the morning with the girls. He would do breakfast and playtime outside. I would sleep. He would make smoothies and sometimes I would wake up for one. Other times the girls might pop in and out of the room. One time Blanche came in and I remember feeling so warm and dizzy. I felt her cold little limbs in the covers next to me. I remember her saying she missed Cedar Park. I tried to talk groggily. I fell back asleep thinking and wondering if she really meant to say she missed me and going to the park like we did so much in Cedar Park. Or maybe it was just me, missing the old life I shared with the girls before being pregnant.
Andrew would leave and do a shorter mid shift at work. My mom would take over for the rest of morning and lunch. They played a lot in the backyard in the baby pool. Once my mom got her bearings a bit she took them to Chick-fil-a and would send me pictures of them playing. I went from a full time mom to not really having a hand in anything. I felt emotional at times. My mom tried to stay close to my schedule or how I would do things, but it was really just about me not getting to do it that I would feel sad about. I wondered if the girls missed me, and knew they probably did, but for my blood pressure's sake I tried to keep looking at how much fun they had with their Nana.
I kept going to the doctor. Twice a week. The sonographer worried about my fluid levels the first time. The second time I started crying because I felt so bad. They checked on baby. They did stress tests. I would be sure that I wouldn't make it another day and then I would see one of my doctors and feel so encouraged. There were three doctors that really encouraged me at OBGYN North. My clinic has a rotation of doctors and midwives. Which I know some might not like, but the doctors that are there are so genuine and good at what they do I don't mind the rotation. They would say my baby looked great. The baby was a healthy size. I was going to make it another week. We talked about baby names and one doctor desperately tried to remember the caption's name off of the movie Titanic. She was just sure it was a fabulous 1920s name that would go with the girls.
Everything suddenly came to an end two weeks ago on a Sunday night. August 30th. I was trying to read Blanche her new Strawberry Shortcake book. The book was making me feel dizzy. I felt like Blanche was right up in my face. She wasn't really. I just knew something wasn't quite right. We did the routine of checking my blood pressure. It was high. Too high above the range of comfort my doctor had given me for bedrest. So I began the routine of laying very still in the dark room. Trying to relax. Trying not to have anxiety and make it any higher. It stayed high. I called my doctor again. Yes, I better come in she said. Maybe it is just time. I felt like it was time. I had carried my baby to 36 weeks, but was really only feeling worse by the day. Plus I wanted to be strong enough for labor. Blanche was asleep and Rosemary was still awake after a late afternoon nap. We gathered our bags and left Nana with the girls. Rosemary was watching Elmo with Nana so she wouldn't cry as we left.
Andrew and I drove in our van across the river downtown and I watched us pass all the big buildings lit up in the night sky. I didn't know what would happen, but I felt a peace knowing things were eventually going to end. I was ready to see my baby and have the rest behind me.