Friday, June 14, 2013

Red is Bad!

My first pregnancy ended in HELLPS preeclampsia. I didn't have any of the outward, obvious symptoms of preeclampsia. I was overdue by two weeks, in the hospital with contractions but not progressing for 12 hours. They were going to send me home when the bloodwork came back: your liver is failing, you and the baby could both die if we don't get him out now; emergency c-section less than 10 minutes later.

My second pregnancy I collapsed after dinner at my in-laws house (who are retired EMTs) with high blood pressure. This time with a history of preeclampsia I went in to the hospital. Overnight, my blood pressure remained high (I don't remember the top number, but my bottom number never went below 100 and that was lying down for hours.) In the morning they transferred me to another hospital that specialized in premature babies. My oxygen saturation levels started dropping rapidly, there were concerns of fluid in my lungs and further complications if we waited, so another emergency c-section a short time later and I had a premature baby who only weighted 3lb 1 oz.

This time when we found out I was pregnant we immediately purchased a computerized/automatic blood pressure cuff. (Maybe $40 at CVS.) I was unhappy with the way my OB with my second pregnancy had not monitored me seriously (I was in her office the day before I collapsed with high blood pressure) and had dismissed my concerns (I tried to tell her I thought I was swelling at that appointment!) So I was determined that this time around I was going to get a doctor who dealt with high risk pregnancies and I was going to keep myself well monitored with the blood pressure cuff.

The blood pressure cuff I got comes with a green to yellow to red indicator to let you know how your blood pressure rates. Green is good, red is bad. They have two levels of green, one of yellow, and three of red. So when the night before last I couldn't sleep because of horrible spiking pain, vomiting, urge to "push," and blood pressure in the second level of red, I got really worried. When it didn't go away, and I kept vomiting and being in horrible pain and my blood pressure stayed in that red zone, I went in to Labor and Delivery after talking with the on call doctor. We didn't get there until after this had been going on for 8 hours so by the time I was hooked up to the monitors, the contractions/pain spikes were done, and my blood pressure was, I don't know what it was, but the nurse and doctor weren't concerned by it. Turns out I was really dehydrated, which brought on the pain and problems I was having. They hydrated me with an IV and sent me home.

Before we left, I showed my doctor the readings I'd had at home (I took my blood pressure about 5 times throughout the night) and he said that the top number wasn't high enough to be considered preeclampsia. I was too out of it to think to ask what was high enough to get worried about. After all, my blood pressure cuff said I was in the red zone! According to WebMD, the top number of 160 or a bottom number of 110 is the real RED ZONE. My highest reading for the night was "only" 132/102, so I wasn't there. That would have been nice to know before this all happened, but now that I know I'm going to ignore the colors on my cuff unless it's at the top red zone.

But I would like to share something sweet that did come out of all of this. I was holding it together just fine emotionally until we got into the L&D room and I was supposed to put on the gown. Then I lost it and became a crying, blubbering mess. My husband tried to comfort me, but I just needed to let it out. But that really upset the boys, especially Builder Boy, who looked like he was about to cry, too (we're new to the area and don't know anyone who could babysit, which is why the boys were at the hospital with us.) Once I made it in the gown and on the bed he took my hand and all on his own prayed for me and after that I didn't have any contractions and my pain level never went back to above a 4 (it had been spiking at a 7 before then.) It was such a beautiful comfort to see my child turn to God when he knew I was in need of help that he (Builder Boy) could not give me. A little while later Early Bird followed his example and did the same thing. 

I am so grateful for all the family, friends, and church members who got the message out and were praying for us. We felt those prayers, and every one of them was answered in the way we wanted them to be. Here's hoping for no more drama or worries until August 20th, the date of my scheduled c-section. Only 2 months and 6 days away!

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