What began in a state of panic has turned to a feeling of overwhelming love. On Monday, December 5th, I was rushed to the hospital at St. Mary’s in Madison by my husband due to an alarming loss of blood. At 33.5 weeks pregnant that is never a good thing. After a bit of testing, the doctors had determined that my placenta had partially detached from the uterine wall. Our baby girl inside seemed fine and the bleeding stopped but they wanted to keep me in the hospital for an undetermined amount of time. My blood pressure had skyrocketed the week before which lead to the partial placenta abruption. Blood pressure checks happened daily during my days in the ante-partum unit in the hospital and continued to be high. No matter how much I tried to relax and be “zen” the blood pressure kept creeping up. Such is how preeclampsia works it seems. Like it or not. Preeclampsia has run in my family as well with a mom and sister who have experienced it. Not fun!
On the morning of Wednesday, December 14, the doctors came in to tell me that they recommended the baby be delivered due to some higher blood pressure readings taken the day before. They knew I wanted to avoid cesarean section so they offered to try and invert her from her breech position and induce me for labor. I agreed with giving it a try. As the day went on I began to feel unsure about that decision as the statistical rates of inversions being successful were slim. 5 minutes before they were going to perform the inversion I started shaking and knew I couldn’t put this baby girl through that stress. I decided to go through with a cesarean section. In a matter of minutes I was in the operating room with my husband at my side and one hour later I was in recovery after delivering our baby girl! She was delivered at 34.5 weeks gestation and came out at 5lbs 6oz and nearly 18″ long. It turns out that was the best decision I could’ve made as the placenta was 1/3 of they way abrupted and there was blood in the amniotic fluid. So things could’ve gone south in a hurry with option 1. I felt a huge sense of peace with my decision. It was definitely my maternal instincts in action.
She was sent to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for care and I didn’t get to see her until the next night because I was in recovery on anti-seizure medicine due to my high blood pressure the day after delivery. It was hard to see her in an incubator for the first time and not get to hold her but I understood that she is getting great care with the nurses and doctors here. She has now stayed in the NICU for one week for monitoring of her breathing, eating and light therapy for jaundice.
Today is the day we go home! One week after her birth she is checking out fine and was called, “Impressive” by the occupational therapist that checked on her. What great news!
As a person who normally avoids doctors visits and just tries to use healthy eating and exercise as my health insurance plan, being in the hospital for most of the month of December has been challenging.
Here is what I have learned:
1. St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison is one of the best baby hospitals around. I have been so impressed by the care I received by the nurses and doctors and also the nurses and doctors in the NICU who took care of my baby girl and also gave me many tips and tricks of how to care for a preemie.
2. Know when to accept help. As much as I try to figure out things on my own and have my own remedies, I had to accept my condition and allow others to help me through it. That is hard to do.
3. Find gratitude in every situation. This may not have been in my plans but that’s ok. I’m grateful for a healthy baby girl, for an amazing husband who stayed with me every night and brought supplies and snacks from home, for supportive family and friends and for the expert care received.
Christmas will certainly be extra special for us this year. For this child, we have prayed for, planned for and worked so hard for. We are so excited to start our family and begin the journey of parenthood. Thank you to everyone who helped us along the way!