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Monday, August 30, 2010

The Day We Became A Family

Disclaimer:  This is sure to be long..

On Saturday, August 21, I spent the day catching up with some of my best friends.  I met my brother for an early sushi lunch, met Ben for a late salad lunch, then met Jen and Lessa for a late dinner.  That night, the most painful experience of my life started about 2:30 am.  I jumped out of bed when my chest started hurting.  I don't mean that I kind of woke up with chest pain, I mean I physically jumped out of my bed, thinking "What the hell is wrong with me?!"  I had never had indigestion before in my life, so I had no idea that it really isn't supposed to be that bad.  I read a few articles online about home remedies and gave them a shot.  The one I read over and over again was a table spoon of baking soda in a couple of ounces of water.  I tried that along with a few others, and a few hours later, I tried it again.  The second time, I wasn't able to keep it down, so for the first time this entire pregnancy, I ran to the bathroom to throw up.

While I was throwing up, I assume I pulled a muscle in my shoulder/chest area.  For the next two hours, I thought I still had indigestion, but it was muscle pain instead.  I finally fell asleep about 7:30 that morning.  I spent the rest of Sunday in and out of bed with chest pain, soreness from throwing up, and what I thought was a migraine.

As it turns out, all of those symptoms are signs of pre-eclampsia, and I had no idea.

The migraine persisted on into Monday, as did the sore shoulder.  Again, I thought this was from getting sick Saturday night, so other than taking a bunch of Tylenol, and finally a few Aleve, I thought nothing of it.  On Tuesday morning, I woke up really excited about meeting my new doctor and getting to see KB again.  I went into Mom's room and mentioned that I still didn't feel well, and the migraine was still hanging about, on top of now having small contractions in my back.  She just told me to tell the doctor, and that was all that was mentioned.

I got to the doctor's office, and the nurse took me back for my vitals.  Sorry if this is too much information, but the first thing I noticed was that my urine was extremely dark.  I'm a clear urine kind of girl, so this was enough to raise my eyebrows.  Next, the nurse took my blood pressure, which has never been high a day in my life.  "Hmm.. Your blood pressure is really high" she says.  She tests it again, twice, and then looked at me like she was worried.  I mentioned the headaches and back pains, and she took note of it.

My very first appointment with Dr. Kellum went a little like this.  He walked in the room, and started chatting with me.  After a minute or two, he asked if I felt puffy in my face.  I didn't think so.  Then he asked if my legs felt swollen.  I didn't think that, either.  So then he proceeds to tell me that there was 4+ protein in my  urine, which is really not good, especially coupled with my high blood pressure.  I said "My mom got pre-eclamptic with me, so I've been worried about that this entire pregnancy."  His response was "You're definitely pre-eclamptic.. here are your options."  He went on to explain how he wanted me to have an ultrasound and then be admitted to L&D at Woman's, and they were going to run some tests.  If those numbers came back "wrong", then it was quite possible we'd have a baby by the end of the week.

I was shocked!  This pregnancy has been so easy for me!  I haven't had the slightest complication.. not even nausea!  My first question, of course, was about Jason.  I wanted to know if we would have enough time for Jason to be able to get home before he induced labor, IF it came to that.  He said he thought so, but it may not even be necessary.. wait to call him until we see the numbers at the hospital, he says.  Ok, so instead I began making my family phone calls.  Mom, Dad and Mammaw were all put on alert, and I went down for my ultrasound.  The first thing the tech mentioned was that my amniotic fluid was indeed low, and that wasn't good.  Then she went on to say that Katie Beth was measuring three weeks smaller than she should be, and was only weighing around 3.5 lbs, when she should have been closer to 5 lbs.  That's really not good.  At this point, I had a feeling I wouldn't be released from the hospital, so I called to have Mom meet me there.

I got admitted, and the nurse comes in to check my blood pressure.  180/96 is apparently very, very bad.  She took some blood, and then said she'd come back with the Dr.  Dr. Kellum came back around a bit later, and said that we didn't have days to wait on this baby (which translated to: Jason won't be here).  With my blood pressure steadily rising, and the amniotic fluid being low, he wanted to take her that day.  He gave me about 4 hours to get whoever I needed to the hospital.

About 30 minutes later, Dr. Kellum came in the room with a really serious look on his face.  He explained that I was no longer being diagnosed with Pre-eclampsia, or even Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (which is really bad in itself), but his new diagnosis was HELLP syndrome.
H- Hemolysis
EL - Elevated Liver Enzymes
LP - Low Platelets
So, this is really, really bad.  We're delivering in 30 minutes.  So, in a matter of 5 hours I have gone from "Hi, Dr. Kellum, nice to meet you, I have a pretty rotten headache" to "Oh, I'm about to be a mom."

I called Jason back, and he had been in touch with pretty much everyone in his command... at 4 in the morning.  Good times ;)  I gave my mom strict instructions to be on the phone with Jason while the baby was born, and they took me to surgery.  They had explained that because of my low platelets, they would not be able to keep me awake during surgery.  No spinal for me, straight to general anesthesia.  I was pretty sad that I wouldn't be able to see Katie Beth the minute she was born, but I didn't get much of a choice.  So, because I was going completely under, Mom couldn't come in the room with me.  Oh well.. at least now she will be able to be on the phone with Jason.

Katie Beth was born at 3:28 pm on Tuesday, August 24th.  One of the nurses took the phone from Mom and ran back into the room so he could hear Katie Beth crying.  He was actually able to hear her the same minute she was born, and that means a lot to me.



I woke up about 30 minutes later, and my first question was "How big is she?"  I was so scared for this baby girl.  I honestly remember thinking right before I fell asleep on the table that I didn't care about what happened to me, just please let that baby be ok.  When they told me she weighed 2 lbs and 11 oz, I started crying hysterically.  That is so small!!  The nurses assured me that she was perfectly healthy, just really small.  They said she had not needed oxygen at all, so that means her lungs were fully matured.  They told me that she came out screaming, which is also a good sign, and that Jason had been able to hear her.  All of that made me really happy, but then they brought her to me.  I can barely remember actually holding her for the first time, but I remember thinking that she looked like her Daddy.  Apparently everybody else thought so too.

This is what 10 lbs of extra water in my body looks like.  Not pretty.


The next 24 hours are a huge blur and seem more like a dream.  I was on Magnesium to bring my blood pressure down, so I wasn't allowed anything by mouth.  I turned into a very irritable girl because I wanted water so bad, but that pretty much didn't happen for the next 24 hours.  The nurse was nice enough to bring me some ice late the first night, and later the next day, but that was it.  The nurses were the best I could have asked for.. They were extremely patient with me, and I know I wasn't an easy patient.  I was just so mad that I couldn't have any water, and then that everybody else was getting to hang out with my baby and I wasn't.  By everybody, I really just mean Mom and Dad, since they were the only ones allowed to go back, but still... I was mad.

Aquarium Baby 
I finally got to see Katie Beth late on Wednesday.  I couldn't believe how incredibly small she was.. It was hard, but I was so happy to see her.  Later that night I got moved to my own room, and life became a little easier.  I got taken off all the medication, and was finally allowed some water!  This was reason for celebration, I tell you.  Broccoli cheese soup from McAllister's never tasted so good, and a shower never felt so good.  Well, except for that whole thing about how I was hardly able to stand, and Mom had to help me.. but it was nice anyway.



I was able to feed KB myself on Thursday  morning, and that was awesome.  I was finally fully "awake", so this is my first real memory of her.  Jason was flying in from Guam, and I couldn't wait to see him.  He got to the hospital about 6 pm, and we went straight to the NICU so Daddy could meet his baby girl.  Then we got my brother to pick up some Newk's for us :)



I was discharged on Saturday morning, and it has all been good since.  Katie Beth hasn't gained much weight yet, but she is back to her birth weight, which is good.  Her feedings increase every day, and she is up to 26 cc's of milk per feeding.  That's pretty incredible since last Tuesday her little body could only take about 2 cc's per feeding.  Jason is an amazing Daddy.  He feeds her, burps her, everything that I do.  We can't wait to have her home, but it's going to be a few weeks before she's ready for that.

2 comments:

  1. Is that a giraffe? It's cute whatever it is. And that little girl is super precious! I'm so glad she's up to 26ccs. That's a big jump! Go superbaby!

    And I must say that I would have been super sad if something happened to you. So would the 6 other people anxiously waiting as well. I'm so grateful that both of you are doing well!

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  2. That is one of KB's numerous giraffes. I think we have something like 7 or 8 now. We're dorks :)

    ReplyDelete