|Eireann and Aidhan
Premature c-section birth at 30 weeks gestation due to maternal complications - Pre-eclampsia, Cholecystitis, & HELLP Syndrome
I found out I was pregnant in the early spring of 1998, and I was thrilled! I had suffered through three miscarriages and one premature birth at 24 weeks, which resulted in the loss of our first son, Tadhg. Now I was pregnant again, and I was determined to have this baby.
I had a fairly normal pregnancy through the first 23 weeks. Then I changed from one midwife to another and the new one diagnosed me with PIH-Pregnancy Induced Hypertension. I was placed on a generic anti-hypertensive that is used with pregnant women, due to its low side effects for the baby. This was great for Aidhan, but it was doing nothing for my blood pressure. I was in and out of the hospital after my doctor visits, having my blood pressure monitored. I was diagnosed with certain Pre-eclampsia and Cholecystitis, also known as gall bladder disease.
Things really became difficult at this point. I went from moderate bed rest to complete bed rest and had to keep my legs elevated. I was so edematous (swollen with fluid) that it was sometimes painful to walk. I was finally placed in the hospital after lying in my doctors office, crying. My midwife walked me to the hospital herself and admitted me. She wanted to perform more tests. I was about 27 weeks when I was admitted to Berkshire Medical Center. After several blood tests and many more ultrasounds, the bad news came. I was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome- Hemolytic Elevated Liver Enzyme and Low Platelet disease. I was told there was no way they could maintain my pregnancy to 34 weeks, which was the only level preemie they could support.
At 5 a.m. one Monday morning, I was rushed to Baystate Medical Center via ambulance. I arrived in maternity, and after a few hours they decided that they could not handle the gravity of my HELLP Syndrome in the maternity unit. I was sent to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). I was given an epidural, catheterized and had two IV wells in my left arm, and one in my right. I had an arterial line in my right wrist and my arm was taped to a board to keep the line open. I went from a nasal cannula, to a mask and then a shovel mask for oxygen, as my edema was everywhere. I could not even wear my spectacles at times, because my face was so swollen. I was miserable.
I developed atelactysis (partial collapse of my lung) due to the edema. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, a surgeon came into my room, with drapes and sterile instruments and proceeded to put a central line in my superior vena cava (largest vein in the body). During the threading of the catheter, my vein collapsed and I went into atrial fibrillation. After my system was flushed with a bolus of saline, they continued to put in my line. I looked like Frankenstein.
Aidhan had his own nurses while I was in ICU. They stayed posted to a screen that displayed the output of his fetal monitor. I had not slept in four days. I was exhausted, huge, and in pain; for I had started contracting on August 17th and was four centimeters dilated. The doctors seemed concerned about getting me through the weekend of the 21st. They had hoped I would make it to at least 32 weeks. I was only 30 weeks and I was getting weaker. HELLP syndrome had caused me to develop a distended liver, jaundice, CHF-Congestive Heart Failure and subsequent Renal Failure.
The morning of the 21st of August 1998, I decided that I could no longer hold on to life. The decision was made for my c-section at 6 p.m. that evening. I never made it that far. Sometime around noon, my kidneys completely failed they tell me. I was dumping protein and glucose through my catheter. Then Aidhan's heartbeat started to diminish. Through all of this, Aidhan had been strong, showing no distress until now. I was barely conscious as I was wheeled to the OR for an Emergency C-Section at 1:00 p.m.
On Friday August 21, 1998, Aidhan Joshua-Brynan Kerin was born at 2 lbs and 15 oz, and 14.5 inches long. There were 21 people in my OR that day. Aidhan was born kicking and screaming, so they tell me. They had been able to give me two doses of the celestone. Aidhan's NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) team had come to visit me that morning, giving him a 33% chance of survival. He was immediately whisked away by two attentive NICU teams and evaluated, as he was 10 weeks premature. He endured weeks of medications, tests, transfusions and was 10 days old before we could hold him.
On October 15, 1998 he was discharged from the hospital, 59 days after his arrival. Although he had a rough start and some health problems in and out of NICU, Aidhan is a healthy and happy, normal three year old child now.