I was put into labor 10 years ago yesterday. Two months early. It was that or me and the baby would be lost.
It all started when my blood pressure kept going up at my appointments. My doctor was set to go on vacation, but she was nervous about my blood pressure. I promised I would come in every other day to have it checked out, and I left. It so happened that her good friend, Jeanette, who was also a labor and delivery nurse, was also my friend, Amy's mom.
So the very next day, Amy and I went to have lunch with her mom. I had been very dizzy that day, I remember, and even had to sit down on the stairs because I was seeing spots and almost fell down. I couldn't bend my fingers and no shoes would fit on my swollen feet. I also felt very anxious. Anyway, we went to Jeanette's office, and she took one look at me and told me to go lay on the couch on my left side. She immediately took my blood pressure and turned very pale.
Apparently my already very high blood pressure had doubled itself in less than 24 hours. She called my doctors office and they had me rushed to the hospital. She called Sean and my dad and had them meet me at the hospital.
I was admitted and iv fluid and magnesium sulfate was pumped into me. My blood pressure was so high I was in danger of stroking out. They had to get it down soon. They also said I would need to deliver soon or the baby and myself would die.
There was one problem. One huge problem.
Centralia Providence could not deliver a pre-term baby. They didn't have a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) or any doctors that could take care of him.
I was put in an ambulance and whisked to Tacoma General, about 45 minutes away. Full sirens, full lights. I barely remember the ride there at all. My brother and dad drove up there to meet the ambulance. They had to stop and get our Blazer and my bags that I had packed the day before (somehow I must have known, because not many women pack their hospital bags over 2 months early). Sean was with me in the ambulance but he couldn't be that close because the 2 medics were keeping a very close eye on me and administering medication the whole time.
When I was there, they had to start a new iv. Because Tacoma General is a training hospital, they had students trying to start the iv. I have horrible veins in the best of conditions, but here I am, bloated from the toxemia, and no vein could be found. They poked me 11 times, no kidding, 11 times before they found a what they thought was a vein. Ten minutes later, they poked me a few more times because the iv fluid was running into my arm, not a vein. My arm was triple the size of a normal arm and freezing cold from the fluid. Finally, I came out of a coma like state enough to scream at them to find a fucking nurse already and stop using me as their test dummy.
Seriously, that was just mean and hateful. Here I am, scared out of my mind, drugged out of my mind, and they just keep poking me with needles like it's no big deal. No wonder my blood pressure kept rising even though I was on magnesium.
Jeanette and Amy showed up while this was happening and she talked to the nurses and insisted that I only get actual real nurses going forward. No more students, not even watching. I was not to be their study. That was huge relief to my family, who were really tired of seeing me so upset.
I was in and out of consciousness for a week. They were trying to keep me pregnant for a little while longer so that the baby had time to develop more. A week longer in the womb can make a huge difference. Family came and went, but I don't have any memory of them being there. I was told my grandparents and mom came often to pray for me, along with my dad, brothers, Sean's family and friends, and my friends as well.
By that Thursday, they decided to pull back on the magnesium and see how my blood pressure would do. They were hopeful that I could be taken off of it completely and stay on bed rest at home until I was at least 36 weeks pregnant.
No go. The minute they started pulling back, my blood pressure started rising. The big issue was that I was just barely at 32 weeks pregnant, and had already been on very high doses of magnesium for 5 days. They had to make a decision very quickly.
They chose to start my labor, but another problem came about.
They were completely full in the NICU. Once he was born, they had no place for him to go.
So I was put back in an ambulance very early on Friday morning, again with full lights and sirens, and sent maybe 6 blocks away to St. Joseph's Medical Center.
I had a HUGE labor suite (Mary Kay Laturno delivered in that room a week after I left it, actually). They started Petocin at 8:30 in the morning, and the beginning of the end had started.
Sean and my dad took turns calling everyone to let them know what was going on. His friends came from Vancouver, bringing gifts, flowers and balloons. My dad went to work buying all the preemie outfits he could find and ordering preemie diapers through the hospital. My mom and aunts got me pajamas to wear after he came.
By Friday night, nothing was happening. I was almost at the dosage limit of petocin, and I hadn't dilated at all. They waited through the night, and broke my water at 11:00 on Saturday morning. They also administered 2 steroid shots in hopes of helping Mason's lungs develop enough so he could breath on his own. Babies lungs start developing in the 32nd week, and I had just barely entered that stage. The doctor promised that I would have a baby soon. So everyone waited.
And waited and waited and waited.
By Sunday, I was starting fade. I had been on magnesium sulfate for over a week. I had been on petocin for 2 days. I had not dilated at all. My water had been broken for over 24 hours, and then Mason's heartbeat started to slow considerably. If they didn't act soon, Mason and I would not make it.
The rushed me into the operating room for an emergency c-section. Sean barely made it into the room (he had to put on full scrubs before he could enter the OR) before they pulled him out. In under 5 minutes from making the decision, I had a son.
He came out SCREAMING! I came to enough to hear him. I had been in and out of alertness for over a week, but I heard him. I passed out again after they showed him to me. He was whisked to the NICU, but everyone waiting outside the OR got a very quick glance before Sean and Mason were brought to the next floor.
I was sewn up and brought back to my room to recover. I was still on magnesium because my blood pressure wasn't going down. For some reason, they put me almost flat on my back to rest. My family was in the room with me and the doctor came in to explain what had happened and what would go on from here.
Suddenly, all the alarms went off. All the fluid that had accumulated from the toxemia was going into my lungs. Since I had just had a c-section, I couldn't cough up the fluid. My lips turned blue and the room immediately started filling up with doctors and nurses. My grandparents immediately grabbed every ones hands and started to pray that I would be OK.
They finally stabilized me, but kept me in ICU for awhile longer. I wasn't allowed to move from the bed, and since Mason was in NICU, he couldn't be brought to me either. They kept me pretty sedated for 2 days.
Finally, after 2 days of rest, I was taken off the magnesium and allowed to sit up. And I was finally put into a wheelchair and taken to see my son for the first time.
Mommy and Mason meet for the first time.
Mason Patrick came out healthy. He never needed oxygen, he could breath all on his own. Other than the regular monitors, he was healthy and fine.
He weighed 4 pounds, 9.2 ounces and was 17 1/2 inches long. The doctor said if he had gone full term, he probably would have weighed close to 10 pounds.
Within a week, I was discharged. My blood pressure was still high, but I was released. I stayed with Sean's grandparents, since they lived 10 minutes away and went to see Mason 3 times a day. I was also given a "mother's room" to sleep in at nights and to rest in during the day. Because he was so little, he couldn't be held for long periods of time.
Two weeks after being born, he was sent home. A shock to us all, since we had been warned that he may have to stay for up to 6 weeks.
But he pulled through and wanted to get the hell out of that place, too. He is my miracle. The baby that almost wasn't was healthy and fine.
Very tiny, but healthy. And all mine.