Friday, October 22, 2010

Mom to Vincent Patrick
Born still on April 29, 2009
In mid- December of 2009, I just one day felt pregnant. Crazy, I know, but still I couldn’t shake the feeling, even after five negative home pregnancy tests over the next week. I was not trying to get pregnant, I had just had my IUD removed and I was hoping to conceive sometime in the next few years. I woke up on the morning of my families’ Christmas party, December 20th, and took one last test before drinking that night – negative yet again. When my husband woke up though, we took the test out of the trash and there it was – a faint line! I ran out and bought more tests – yep we had a little one on board!

My due date was 9/1/09. Pregnancy was going great! I had some severe heartburn but thankfully avoided the dreaded morning sickness. I went into my pregnancy with borderline blood pressures and was taking some new medications to keep them under control. My doctor assured me we had nothing to worry about. 18 weeks went by so fast and I had started to feel my baby move. I loved sitting at work feeling the somersaults inside. I felt complete. I felt whole. I felt happy. Life was working out nicely.

It felt like we waited forever for our “big” ultrasound. Looking back, those 18 weeks flew by. I cried when the tech cheerfully announced, “It’s a boy!” At the appointment following this, my blood pressure was elevated – 150/100. My doctor still was not too concerned and said she was going to transfer me to high risk as a precaution. I was allowed to return to work, to work 24-hour shifts, to live life normally. I started to worry when the doctor called my cell phone the next morning to tell me she was no longer comfortable taking care of me. I was too high risk and she set up a specialist appointment for 4 weeks later. She would continue my care in the meantime. This shook me up a bit, but hey, that’s what high risk was for right? I mean, lots of women are high risk and go on to have perfectly healthy babies, why wouldn’t I?

I continued to see my doctor every week until the specialist appointment. She was changing meds and growing more concerned, but I was assured not to worry. At 20 weeks my BP was 160/100 and my doctor discussed the likelihood I would develop Pre-Eclampsia at some point. She explained to me this would mean more ultrasounds and visits to monitor the baby. She was putting a cheerful spin on the spiral that was about to begin.

April 21st I was working a 24-hour shift at work. I do work ups for organ transplants and was on-call for when a family decides to donate their loved ones organs. It was the third 24-hour shift I had worked in 5 days. I was singing and dancing around the lab at 3 am thinking about how wonderful my life was. Suddenly baby boy started moving around like crazy! Finally, he would be moving all the time now I was sure. Then I started to feel very odd and was going to head down the hall to labor and delivery. I talked myself out of it though, I was just tired. Plus, I couldn’t leave until my relief came in at 8 am. When my relief showed up, he looked at me and mentioned I should really slow down and stop my on-call shifts. I guess I looked really beat up. I went home and slept. I noticed one leg was swollen twice the size of the other one. As long as I kept it elevated, the swelling would go down. Walking even 5 minutes puffed it right back up. That night I was heading to bed and suddenly it looked like I was looking at the world through a gray haze, almost like tape was over my eyes. I knew then I had pre-eclampsia, but I was too scared to admit it. I went to bed and cried to my husband telling him I was scared to go to sleep because I was scared I was going to die. We both thought I was panicking as I have a history of panic attacks. I woke up just fine the next morning.

By the time I got into work, my leg had swelled up again. I saw my boss who is a nephrologist (aka – kidney doctor). He told me to go call my doctor that my swelling was not normal and I needed my kidneys checked. I went into the doctor’s office and all hell broke loose: my BP was 200/120, I had +2 protein in my urine, and I was sent straight over to labor and delivery with severe early on-set pre-eclampsia. My husband came to pick me up at the doctors’ office and bring me to labor and delivery. I cried to him the whole 5-minute ride that the baby was not going to make it. It was too soon. I was only 21 weeks. My specialist appointment was still a week away.

Once I got to the hospital, I was stabilized and transferred to a room where I would remain until the baby was born. The next week was spent undergoing more and more tests, each one with more grim news than the one before. The baby had stopped growing at 20 weeks, his kidneys were failing and he was no longer producing amniotic fluid, most troubling was the blood flow to him reversed. This meant that when my heart was in between beats, all the blood was rushing out of my baby and leaving him oxygen deprived. I met with specialist after specialist. My blood pressure started to climb again. It was time for my to deliver. I was only 22 weeks. There was no chance my baby would survive and I was warned even if he was born alive, there was nothing they could do. Vincent Patrick was stillborn at 10:04 am on 4/29/09. He weighed 9 ounces and was 10 inches long. His father and I spent 6 hours holding and cuddling him. Taking enough pictures to try and make up for all the ones we would never take. The best part of the day was when my husband climbed into bed with me and we took a nap as a family. Vincent made us parents that day.

Saying good-bye to him, leaving the hospital without him, I just felt empty. I ached so badly I thought life would never be tolerable again, never mind happy. Those were some very dark months.

On March 30, 2010, I welcomed Vincent’s little brother Louis into the world. I spent 16 weeks on bed rest, 7 on hospital bed rest and suffered from pre-eclampsia again. Louis was born healthy but small at 36 weeks. Pre-eclampsia took so much from me. My first-born son. My naivety. The happy carefree me. It put my second son in the NICU. I have Louis home with me, but Vincent is always in my heart and on my mind.
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Brie said...

I'm glad you wrote of your experience...Your blog is one of the few that realy helped me through my loss, as we both lost our little ones aroundthe same time.. I remember finding your blog and reading your words and actually feeling normal abotu my grief..because you shared some of my same thoughts.

I'm glad Louis is home, but I am sad that he didn't get a chance to meet his big brother Vincent.

Christine Wright said...

I am sorry for your loss but also glad they monitored you better the second time. I just have to say I HATE PRE ECLAMPSIA..... they need to call it ecreepsia(it creeps in and that is it) God be with you. We will never ever be the same. HUGS

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