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Sandy and Jacob
Pre-eclampsia, Induction, Emergency C-Section

My pregnancy was a bit rocky from the start. The first couple of months were fine, then came the morning sickness. I wasn't sick just in the morning, however, but all day every day it seemed. I began gaining weight like crazy after the third month. This was the first sign of my pre-eclampsia as I would later find out. All my blood and urine tests were normal as was my blood pressure so the doctors expected nothing at this point. They continued to get after me about my weight gain which was nearly 10 pounds a month, sometimes more. I was absolutely miserable watching every bite that went into my mouth and still I gained.

At about six months I developed a yeast infection. You may think this is rather minor, but I had never had one and, in my naivete, I tried to describe this "rash" to my doctor. I was told it was a rash of pregnancy and to put cornstarch on it for itching. For nearly two months I had this "rash of pregnancy." By 7 1/2 mos I could hardly walk; not only had I gained nearly 55 pounds, but the rash had spread over the top of my thighs. My husband came to the doctor with me and told the doctor we were not leaving until she looked at my rash. It was then I was told it was just a yeast infection and given the proper medication. I feel really dumb about that now.

My weight gain continued through the end of my pregnancy. By the ninth month my hands and face, really my whole body, was so swollen I was having trouble picking up objects such as pencils, a fork, and my toothbrush. It was then that pre-eclampsia was finally brought up to me. I felt that things were not as they should be even though this was my first pregnancy. I wasn't getting around as well as the others in my birthing class. The swelling, some of which is normal in pregnancy, was absolutely ridiculous. At the very end I began seeing spots when I stood and/or moved too quickly, this I was afraid to share with anyone. I read up on pre-eclampsia and found there are signs, some of which I had, some I did not. Weight gain, swelling, spots, etc . . ., but the doctors never actually diagnosed me because I did not have all the signs, high blood pressure and protein in the urine.

My due date was December 10. On December 3, I went for my regular check-up. My blood pressure was so high they had me go to the hospital immediately for induction. I was induced at 7:00 on December 3. The doctors ordered that I have magnesium to bring down my blood pressure. The pitocin levels had to be very high to counter the magnesium which, I think, is a muscle relaxant. Magnesium also makes you feel as if you have the flu. I began to have a migraine and my temperature went up so I was also put on penicillin. I had hoped for a birth experience with as little drugs as possible, but now I just hoped the baby and I made it through the labor.

The contractions began a couple of hours later. It took awhile for them to climb and I took many trips to the restroom. On one trip I heard the nurses talking to the woman in the room next to mine about the poor girl next door. It took a second for me to realize they were talking about me! A couple of nurses asked how long I had been on bedrest. When I said I hadn't, they were shocked. My suspicions were confirmed when I overheard pre-eclampsia being bandied about by the nurses.

By the time I was at four centimeters I was in a lot of pain. I was given an epidural which allowed me to sleep for a couple of hours. The epidural had been my worst fear for much of my pregnancy, but it really was nothing compared to the pain I was in. My husband and mom were in the room with me for support. The epidural allowed them a much needed break as well as it was in the wee hours. I awoke to very strong contractions and the urge to push. I was checked and told I was only at 8 centimeters. They felt I was nearing the end and wanted me to feel when to push so I was given no more epidural. They gave me a little stadol to take the edge off the contractions which were coming hard and fast. I progressed to a ten screaming with every contraction.

Finally I was allowed to push. It almost felt good, like a relief, to push. The nurses soon realized the baby was in the wrong position. I remember them saying he was OT though I am not sure what it stands for. I think it means his soft parts, face, nose etc, were up instead of down, hence, back labor. I pushed like a champ for a little over an hour. My blood pressure was absolutely skyrocketing, something absurd like 200 over 98, they yelled it out with every push and it just got higher and higher.

Finally, the doctor arrived, I pushed once in her presence and she told me to stop. She explained I was going to have a C-section and I was not to push anymore. I must say, the next twenty minutes were the longest in my life. I watched the clocked as I was wracked with contractions and the urge to push. My husband was sent to change into scrubs and I was rushed into the operating room. At this point I was not all there. I remember crying and screaming a lot. The anesthesiologist tried to give me more epidural. I could feel every place I was stuck with the pin. A mask came over my face and I thought it was oxygen. He said, "Breathe deep. This is for your baby." That was the last I remembered.

My husband was not allowed in the room as the baby was born by C-section. I came out of the anesthesia with my husband beside me. My throat felt like I had strep, all scratchy from the tube. He told me the baby wasn't breathing when he was born and was rushed away. I sent him out to find what had happened and literally slept from exhaustion. I vaguely remember family in and out of the room. A blood pressure cuff hooked to my arm went off every 30 minutes to read my pressure which was still incredibly high. I was given mag and prednisone for the high blood pressure.

Finally my husband returned and told me the baby was good. His apgars were 1 and 4 at birth and he was on a ventilator for an hour or so. The mag levels from the drugs they had given me were so high that he was sluggish at birth. He was born on December 4 at 8:53 P.M. almost 26 hours from when we began. He was kept in the NICU, and I was kept in the birthing room overnight with a nurse for observation. Around 4 in the morning I came out of the fog and cried to see my baby. We were both too sick to be moved so the nurses, angels, took Polaroids of him for me to see. He was 8 lbs, 2 ozs and 22 inches long. Perfect, coneheaded, and, except for the drugs, healthy. He was kept in the NICU for five days. I was only in the hospital for three.

I really wanted to breastfeed and I could see one more of my hopes going down the tubes as we were to be separated. Thanks to the NICU nurses, who were very supportive of breastfeeding, my hubby and I were allowed to stay near the NICU in an extra room for visiting parents. They called the room every two hours for feeding time and hubby wheeled me to the NICU for two days while we recovered from the ordeal. We went home on a good feeding schedule and he did marvelously!

Now he is a very healthy ten month old into everything! I gained nearly 75 lbs over the course of the pregnancy and lost about 35 lbs in the hospital, nearly all of which was water weight. I've since lost about 20 lbs and have some to go. My hubby and I are talking about the next one, and we are both more than a little afraid. I am determined to be healthy, knowledgeable, and have better doctors who know my history. With the grace of God, the next pregnancy and labor will go much more smoothly!

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