This is a story I have been meaning to document for years, now that my semester is basically over, I’m going to hurry and do it. It is a bit gory and probably TMI, so feel free to stop reading at any point.
On Friday, March 16, 2007 I had a regular check up with my OB/GYN. I was about 37 weeks pregnant with Lydia. I had been feeling really crappy, but not any huge problem that I could put a name to. I had gained a few pounds that week which alarmed me, but didn’t seem to surprise the nurse. I think she thought fat girl had too much to eat. Funny thing was that since I felt so crappy, I was living on Rice Chex and skim milk for weeks. How much of that would you have to eat to gain 5 lbs in a week? My other concern was my blood pressure. It was 136/90 ish. For me that is extremely high, even pregnant. Can you see where this is going?
Those who live near me might also remember I was retaining water like the Hoover dam and was about the same size. I felt vindicated when I had lost 36 pounds within the first week of delivery!
I only saw the nurse that day since my dr was in an emergency C-section. I went home dreading the next 4 weeks of waiting- which would have been my normal time with my previous two pregnancies. My due date was April 6th, I was optimistic that maybe he would induce me by April 10th.
Fast forward to Monday. I felt horrible the whole morning. I knew something wasn’t quite right. I called my sister to see if she would come stay with my girls for a little bit while I went to the doctor to get checked. She came around 1:00 I think and then I decided to go straight to the hospital to see what was happening. I was hoping it was just a little stress about the RS birthday dinner I was in charge of the next night. (Thanks to all who picked up my slack)
When I got to the hospital & told them something wasn’t quite right they humored me and put me in a room for observation. I thought I might be crazy and I think the nurses might have thought so too. When they check my stats, my blood pressure was 168/? THAT was not ok! They started me on magnesium to lower my blood pressure & I tried to get a hold of Tim. He was relatively new at his job and I thought I had his new phone number memorized. I was wrong. I must have dialed the wrong number 300 times. He finally got tired of waiting for me to call with an update and drove over and found me at the hospital.
By now, the on-call doctor decided that I was experiencing toxemia. I had been joking for months that I wanted toxemia so I could be induced early. Careful what you wish for… She gave me the option of bed rest for a few weeks or start an induction. The thought of bed rest with a 2 & 4 yr old at home was laughable, so we decided to go for the induction. They started the pitocin around 5:30 and we waited and waited. Our families came to our rescue and took care of the girls without missing a beat. The details are blurry, but I know Court & Jake brought the girls to see me at some point and Jennifer had the girls when Lydia finally came. Thanks to everyone in between- I was kind of out of it. Anyway, back to the story.
As a bit of information, magnesium and pitocin don’t play well together. The mag was basically defeating the purpose of the pit. I was barely progressing as the night wore on. Sometime around 3:00 in the morning, I awoke to alarms going off. The auto blood pressure cuff had taken a measurement and set off alarms. I tried to page the nurse but passed out before I could hit the button. Sometime later it happened again & I was able to page them and whisper “I need help” before I passed out again. Tim was across the room, but I couldn’t talk loud enough to wake him. Next memory- my room is full of at least 7 people including the anesthesiologist and nurses and who knows who else. My blood pressure had dropped to 68/? I have no idea how they fixed that, but I really think they saved my life.
I don’t remember much until the afternoon of the 20th. They said they were going to reduce the mag & increase the pit to get things moving. Hallelujah! I was feeling better after getting rid of the magnesium and was ready to push around 3:30pm. I asked them to put a mirror where I could see what was happening. I was sure this was going to be my last pregnancy, so I wanted to see the birth. I had never done that before & I am so glad I got to see. I felt much more in control & much more a part of the whole process. A few quick pushes and the tiniest baby popped right out.
After Lydia was safely in my arms, I saw the doctor reach in to get the placenta. After he got it, that’s when I saw the blood start spurting out and the doctor starting to move a lot faster. (I had warned him during my appointments that I tended to bleed profusely after birth. I had changed doctors because of an insurance change. At my six week checkup he said “You weren’t kidding about the bleeding!” Yeah, it’s that bad.) At this point things started going dark and I remember thinking that I really hoped I woke up from this.
My next conscious memory was around 6:00. I remember my mom was holding Lydia and Tim was sitting next to me. I was so relieved that everything was ok! Turns out the toxemia stemmed from a problem with my placenta. It was unusually large and crystallizing. Lydia wasn’t getting enough nutrition and was tiny- 5lbs 3 oz. My other babies were 7-12 & 7. I still wonder if I had waited to talk to my doctor the previous Friday, things might have gone easier. I was also so thankful that we felt prompted to go ahead with the induction instead of waiting two weeks. She might have died or been permanently damaged if she stayed in the womb, not getting the nutrients she needed.
Everything turned out ok. She’s a happy, healthy, BUSY 2-going-on-16 year old. Because of the trauma of the delivery I got to stay in the room we lovingly call the “Do not let me die Suite.” It was huge! I stayed until Saturday, missing a freak snow storm. Most importantly, Lydia and I both escaped relatively unharmed. I don’t tell this story to freak people out (or gross them out). It was a rare set of circumstances & I was fine. I am glad that the day before I went to the hospital, Tim & my dad gave me a blessing. I know that I felt prompted to ask for it so early. Ordinarily I would have had another few weeks before delivery, but I am so glad I had that blessing. I was so protected and cared for! Lydia is such a blessing in our family and I am blessed to be here to raise my family!