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They say when you get pregnant you find out who your friends are. People are suddenly too busy for you, while others step up. This may be true, but much of it was self-inflicted in my case. I found out I was pregnant when I thought I had a never ending flu. I was so excited (and terrified) and Pinterest became my best friend as I scoured the internet for tips and tricks related to everything from morning sickness to nursery decorating to saving for college funds.
I counted down the days to my 12th week when the morning sickness would magically end. But every check-up my weight went down, and I found myself leaving the bathroom floor less and less often. By my 14th week the doctor prescribed my first medication for the sickness and I had stopped answering my phone when it rang. After quickly failing, it was instantly replaced by a new medication. It helped. Some days I could go a few hours between vomiting. But my weight continued to drop as I was diagnosed with Hypermesis Gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness causing dehydration and malnutrition. A second medication was added, and by week 20 I was up to my pre-pregnancy weight. But I no longer had the energy to walk from one side of the house to the other. I spent over 15 hours a day sitting in the bathroom, vomiting my guts out. I went days between eating, and received IVs on the regular. The symptoms didn’t end at physical abuse of my body, mentally and emotionally I was a mess. My husband, my parents, and my dogs being my saving grace.
My 20th week came with both good and bad news. I was having a baby girl! I was also diagnosed with Pre-Eclampsia. My protein levels were high, and my blood pressure was even higher. Baby Asprin and blood pressure medications were prescribed and soon I had a couple days a week I could leave the house for a few hours between vomiting.
When my levels got worse, and the swelling started, I began seeing the doctor weekly, and on my 29th week I went into the hospital for an ‘emergency’ ultrasound that came back normal. I had gained 65 pounds in 2 weeks. I was continuing to put on weight, and I was so swollen everywhere that I woke each day with my eyes swollen shut. Two days after the ultrasound I had a standard check up with my doctor, and had to admit I was starting to see spots. But as I walked into the room I was greeted with fear as she rushed my husband and I to the hospital.
My blood pressure was 220/190. The rest of the day was a blur between doctors and nurses flying around me trying to drop my BP. I was given steroid shots for the baby’s lungs and I was in and out of consciousness as my BP continued to climb and then dramatically drop and spike again. By early morning I had lost a chunk of my eyesight in one eye, and my kidneys were failing. I was given another steroid shot and rolled into the Operating Room for an emergency C-Section.
I remember holding my breath as they pulled my baby girl from my body, waiting for the first cry. After a moment we were blessed to hear it, and they quickly wheeled her from the room before I could see her. My husband brought my family one-by-one to the NICU to meet my baby girl, but it wasn’t until almost 12 hours later that I was able to meet her for the first time. She was 2lbs, 13 oz. So delicate and frail I thought she would break if you breathed too close to her. I was terrified when they said I could hold her. I only found out later how rare it is to hold so soon.
But my lil monkey was a fighter, with a strong pair of lungs, a great love for sleeping, and very content as long as she is not being disturbed. I was finally released from the hospital 6 days later (after fighting with the doctors because my BP hadn’t gone down yet). My baby girl had her ups-and-downs. She had issues with breathing fast, ASD and PDA’s in her heart, slow eating, frequent Bradys, and an eventual blood transfusion because of anemia. But her journey in the NICU ended after 48 long days and we brought her home the day before Thanksgiving.
She’s now 10 months young, over 20lbs, a lover of eating, fuzzy blankets, toys that make noise when you throw it, and determined to walk. She’s fascinated by our two little dogs, and dads arms is her favorite place to be.
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