“Nobody wakes up thinking, “my world will explode today. My world will change.” Nobody thinks that. But sometimes it happens. Sometimes we wake up. We face our fears, we take them by the hand, and we stand there…waiting, hoping, ready, for anything.”
-Meredith Grey [13.24]
Meredith was right. No one wakes up thinking their world will explode. Well, this is where my world did. March 31st 2016 will always give me some form of PTSD, along with the days that follow. This is raw and what you get. No event, feeling or thought will be left unsaid. I try to be as blunt and raw as possible with this blog, but this is it. This is me, this is us at its finest moment. If you know me, you probably know a chunk of the details that swarm this explosion. Some of you may have no idea. If you can make it through this long emotional post is the biggest question. While you think about whether you can or not I will set the scene in fair Verona..
It’s March 31st 2016 and I am 32 weeks & 2 days pregnant. I was up early to make it on time for my prenatal appointment. Which was a miracle on its own. The sun was shining and I finally put on my maternity clothes. I finally felt comfortable and not like a whale trying to fit in a size 8 pair of American Eagle jeans with a shitty belly band. I threw a roast in the crock pot then slipped on some flips for the first time since god knows when! It was a day that couldn’t go wrong.
Shortly after my nurse Mary called me into the back for the usual. The pee and weigh in. My least favorite. Ugh. I quickly pee into the cup and hop on the scale, then waddle over to another room for my blood pressure. Mary then asks me if I am stressed out for any reason. I recap my day and tell her not all. I mean, really why should I be? Did I mention that I LOVE my OBGYN? Her name is Dr. Carol Vaughn. I feel relaxed and comfortable asking her any questions I may have. She goes through her usual questions about how I am feeling. I tell her how I finally went to the hospital for PUPPPS and let her know what meds they gave me. She listens to my bump since I tell her that my son’s movements don’t seem as frequent. Baby sounds strong and healthy, BUT I’m told that there is protein in my urine. There is always a BUT. Her tone of voice lets me know that I should be a little worried, but honestly throughout everything I’m telling you I’m in a fog. Nothing seems real. My blood pressure is troubling. I try to dig deep to see what could be stressing me out to make my BP so high. Working in sales can stress you out on the last day of the month if you still need to hit your quota, which was me at this point for my store. Dr. Vaughn pauses. Then the start of the explosion happens.
“Preeclampsia is when you have high blood pressure and protein in your urine during pregnancy. It can happen at any point after the 20th week of pregnancy, though in some cases it occurs earlier. You may also have low clotting factors (platelets) in your blood or indicators of kidney or liver trouble. This condition is also called toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). Eclampsia is a severe complication of preeclampsia. Eclampsia includes high blood pressure resulting in seizures during pregnancy.”
I glaze over this like it’s nothing to be worried about. Dr. Vaughn has three different nurses take my blood pressure in hopes that it’s a mistake. After a couple tries with different nurses and different machines, I hear can the explosion moving. I’m clearly not escaping this. Dr Vaughn comes back in with the news that she wants to send me to Maine Medical Center. I have to hand it to her, she did her best keeping the calm in the air after explaining to me what preeclampsia is. She jokes with me that once I get over there and they monitor me for a bit that my blood pressure will go down and I’ll be home before I know it. Funny joke, right?
Flash forward to myself and my huge belly in my car. Maine Med is only right up the street from my office, but I’m sweating bullets. Time to call in the big guns. FAMILY. In the thoughts that I could be stuck at the hospital I have a damn pot roast at home that I will not let burn. Someone needs to get that shit for me. I call my husband’s boss first. Awkward. I ask her to send him home since I’m heading to the hospital. Next I call my dad, text my father in laws girlfriend, then get a call from the father in law while my husband is calling me. All hands are on deck which means they will all be arriving shortly. This is what family does. They show up.
Here I sit in the parking lot. I’m debating running home, but let’s be honest that’s not happening. I waddle into the hospital and try to find the triage in the maze of MMC. Once I arrive they have no idea why I’m here and they place me in a room after I repeat what’s going on eight flipping times. I’m tossed into a bed with two different monitors on my belly. One for my little mans heart beat and one for contractions. I have contractions happening, but I feel nothing. The army of family shows up. As all of us are stuck in the tiniest room in the hospital, things get more heated. I am set up on an IV of magnesium. Have you ever been hooked up to this shit? WORST EVER. It’s to help reduce my risk of seizures, but makes you sweat like a whore in church. It’s one of the side effects that they quickly read off in the commericals. The shit you don’t want. Once it hit my system everything closes in around me. I reach for Robert. I am going to pass out. I come to and feel scared shitless. My blood pressure has been taken every 15 minutes since I arrived hours ago. Nothing is helping. It keeps going up and up. Nurses tell my family and I that I will not be going home anytime soon, even if I do go home, no work for me. Can’t hate that. Robert calls my boss to say I am done until further notice. They push labetelol through my IV to try and lower my blood pressure. All dignity is gone at this point. I strip down into a gown and they swab my god damn butt crack to see if a certain type of bacteria is in my system. How embarrassing. A part of my soul is dying. They inject me with steroids to help my son’s lungs in case he is born early. We hope to keep him in until his due date May 23rd 2016. Next thing I know I’m in a wheelchair being placed into my own room. This is where I will stay until Sunday April 3rd.
I know you’re probably bored with all the details I am giving you. As boring as you may find it, this happened. I was quietly terrified. At the end of the day I wanted to be losing my mind over nothing and all would be well. Everything I’m telling and feeling is honest. We haven’t hit my breaking point of tears and pure frustration. Don’t you worry, we’re getting there. I just need you to understand how it led up to where it ended. Most of the time I didn’t understand the seriousness of my condition even when the scary moments happened. I thought I needed to be home with my pets and not stuck at a hospital. I didn’t even google what preeclampsia was until a month after. It was a constant fog for sure. Moving on..
The next few days were anything but exciting. I was beyond exhausted. Every 6 hours my blood was drawn, every 30 minutes my blood pressure was taken, multiple ultrasounds done and every 3 or 4 hours I was popping more pills to keep me under control. Trying to rest was next to impossible, they woke me up for everything. I couldn’t even sleep on my side from the monitors. You don’t even know how annoyed and pissed off I was. My room was always filled with friends and family. Between conversations I would doze off shortly until the poking and prodding started again. Everything seemed fine to me. I keep thinking “How bad can this really be? I feel fine beside this damn IV?” Of course the IV was in my dominant hand, which made me capable of doing nothing. I was sore as fuck. My arms were covered in bruises from all the blood they had drained out of me. I was done.
Saturday night rolls in and I’m hangry. Not hungry, hangry. Throughout this experience of being pregnant I just want to eat twenty-four seven. I was never full. I stuffed myself with tons of hospital food, which surprisingly wasn’t bad at all. Once evening hit and the cafeteria was closed it would be time to order take out. Being in the hospital is where we experience the BEST pizza I have EVER had. Dear god, this was glorious pizza. It cost an arm and a leg, but worth ever dollar. Lucky enough we can have it delivered right to the hospital. After a short period of time they arrive with our beloved pizza. Robert jets down to grab it at the main entrance. This is where my world goes south real fucking quick. My blood pressure is taken for the millionth time in my stay. I will apologize now for not knowing the exact numbers yet again, I’m still foggy and trying to find ways to go home. ANYWAYS, it’s alarmingly high. As Robert makes his entrance back to my room, he finds it filled with nurses and doctors. My blood pressure is sky rocketing and everyone is unsure whether they can stop it. The doctor sits on the side of my bed watching Grey’s Anatomy with me. She starts telling me how not real some of the stuff they do on the show is. GIRL PLEASE. Do not mess with my show. The talks of my show go on while she is pumping my IV full of different types of drugs to get things back on track. The feeling of the medicine getting pushed into my IV will forever haunt me. I hate needles to start with, but as she pushes these drugs all I can see is the cold of it rushing through my body. This probably goes on for an hour. I am tired, sweaty and starting to get scared. I just want to lay on my side and pass out. Everything is starting to hit hard now. I lay in my bed sobbing. I cry for my cats at home and my own bed. I have slept very few nights without Robert in my bed. At this point, only these things will allow me to pass out. Robert’s father has taken watch of my monitors as Robert climbs into my tiny bed. He snuggled up to me and I am out. Finally. Him crawling into the bed with me was the one thing that made my blood pressure go down from dangerous seizure levels, to much much safer levels.
Sunday morning passes like the days before. Blood draws, blood pressure, drugs and another ultra sound. Afternoon hits and it’s like earthquake. I am having this baby. I am now 32+6 weeks along with this baby. I can NOT have this baby.
I am brought to labor and delivery. This room is glorious. Its massive and has everything a woman could need to have a baby. Unfortunately I am stuck in this bed still. I can’t even get up to pee without having to bring my IV bags with me. I am also strapped in with compression wraps around my legs. They start me on the lowest dose of pitocin in order to get the ball rolling. My contractions start out slow paced then next thing I know I am dying on the inside. The pain is in incredible. I am just praying that this baby stays and cooks longer. He doesn’t need to come out yet does he? He’s too little for this world.
Inducing me only lasts an hour. Every time I have a contraction, our son’s heart rate would drop. They waste no time stopping the dose. Doctors rush in and tell me our new plan is a c section.
Hold your god damn horses. Side note – If anything out of this pregnancy was going was to go “right” it was going to be how I gave birth. I was going to push this boy out of my vajayjay like he was intended. I looked at the doctor and laughed. I tell her “Nope, no c section today. I will go home.’ I know actually going home isn’t happening, but I can dream. This is where I am scared shitless. In less than an hour I will be cut up and have him ripped out of me. They have already told me he will be sent to the NICU for a few weeks. How am I suppose to let them cut me open and let them take my son? This is not how this was supposed to go. With less than 20 minutes to go, we change our son’s name from Xavier James to Oliver Allen. Our families have arrived and I am whisked off to the OR. Once they set me up Robert will be able to come in and meet our son for the first time with me.
Once they told me I was having a c section, they stopped all food and water. I am now craving water more than anything considering they had been pumping me full of water all week. I am propped on the operating table for my spinal. Feeling a needle drive into your back is anything but comfortable. I am lowered back on to the table.
Within minutes of the spinal, doctors are slamming a mask on my face. Oliver’s heart rate has dropped below 50 beats per minute. This is bad. I don’t know what is happening to my baby. In seconds I was defeated. I can not even keep my own child safe in my body. I do not know what will happen to him. They tell me I will not be awake for this and they need him out of me as quick as possible. I remind them that Robert is gowned and ready to come in. I am informed that this is now an emergency c section and he is not allowed in the room. As I start to fade, I can hear the urgency in the doctors voices. They are grabbing and pulling every which way. I have never felt more scared in my entire life. I do not know what the outcome will be or who will be okay at the end of this. I yell for my husband and I am out.