My Hospital Story

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I've been meaning to post this since January but I keep forgetting. This is how it all went down.. (it's really long so you don't have to read it if you don't want to. It's more for me to remember than anything..)

Throughout my whole pregnancy (all 23 weeks of it…) I had been using BabyCenter.com to keep myself well informed on everything my body and my baby would be experiencing. I was reading everything . I wanted to make sure I knew what was going on, when it was supposed to happen, and if it was all normal- what I was feeling. So on Saturday, December 27, 2008, I received an email from BabyCenter.com and the subject was “Your Pregnancy: 23 Weeks”. It talked a lot about things to watch out for and of course.. I clicked on the links so I would know preeclampsia if I saw it.

When I read this, the only thing I really remembered was that it can cause severe swelling or puffiness around the eyes. I mentally logged it away in my pregnancy database for later reference just in case. So Sunday morning (the next day..) I woke up, and the entire left side of my face was swollen. The first thing I thought of was that email. BUT, of course, I reasoned it out and figured it was just where regular pregnancy fluid settled in the night because I always sleep on my left side. It was much more comfortable than the right while I was pregnant. We got ready for church and when we went to leave, we noticed our tire on the Shadow was flat! We taught the 12 year old Primary class and we were already missing Sacrament meeting so we took off and walked/ran to church (only ¾-1 mile away). We made it to teach our class on time and then walked home when church was over. Mind you, I walked/ran the whole way in heels so when we got home, of course, my feet were swollen. We had dinner, watched tv, took a nap, and later that night, I was on the computer again and opened my “23 Week” email. I re-read everything on preeclampsia (no idea why at the time… I just did) and it was there that I noticed that it said to “let your caregiver know if you gain for than 4 pounds in a week”. I thought.. I’ll go weigh myself. The scale went from reading (I’m putting myself REALLY out there.. be nice.) 161 a week before to now reading 172! In a week I had gained 11 pounds!! I checked like 5 times and came out of the bathroom bawling. I had never seen those numbers before in my life! I kept telling myself in my head that I was overreacting but the tears and the fear would not go away. Clint tried his best to reassure me but I was pretty hysterical. So we called our Elder’s Quorum President over to help Clint give me a blessing to calm me down. I did feel a little better but only enough to help me get to sleep that night.

The next morning, I woke up at 7:30 and was calling the Dr. office right at 8:00 when they opened. I spoke with a nurse and she said that it was probably nothing and I was turning it into something bigger than it was but to still come in after lunch and they would check my urine for any protein (A sure sign of emerging preeclampsia). So I got ready for work and went in for my shift at 10. I walked in the office where Ashlee and Natasha were and I looked like CRAP. My face was SO swollen at this point. Most if it, I am sure, was because of all the crying the night before. They were a bit shocked at my sudden water weight gain and said that on my lunch break, I could run down to the doctor. Clint came and picked me up and we ran down there. I was saying silent prayers the whole drive down. I had convinced myself that I really was fine so I was pretty optimistic when I walked into the office. After I went to the bathroom and peed in my cup, the nurse took my blood pressure. It was high. BUT it had always been high throughout my entire pregnancy. At my 20 week appointment, the nurse said that my blood pressure was high but it was nothing to worry about since I didn’t have protein in my urine (I think deep down, I knew the day would come when I would have protein in my urine.. and there would be problems). So after she checked my BP, she tested my urine for the protein and suddenly walked out of the little room we were in without a word to me. I instantly knew what was wrong and the waterworks began again. She walked back in really quickly with paperwork and haste words of encouragement that everything would be alright. She told me to go right over to Utah Valley and that she would call them to let them know I was on my way. She said everything would probably be alright but they would just do some more tests. This whole time, Clint was out in the waiting room with no idea that any of this was actually happening. So I come out with tears streaming down my face, saying we have to go straight to the hospital. I don’t know what he was thinking but he kept his composure and said that everything will turn out alright.

We got to the hospital and, right away, I was put in a room and told to put on a gown. They took me down to see the hospital’s Perinatologists (doctor’s who deal with high-risk pregnancies). They did an ultrasound and told me that our baby girl was measuring a week smaller than I really was (so 22 weeks). He explained to me in greater detail, what preeclampsia was and what the risks were of having it for both me and the baby. He ordered for me to be placed on a Magnesium Sulfate drip and also many blood pressure medications to try and control it. He told us that we would most likely be leaving the hospital not pregnant with either a baby in the NICU or no baby at all. I was an emotional wreck. And the magnesium… OHHHH the magnesium. Worst stuff in the world. My blood pressure when we got back from seeing the Perinatologist was 200/120. They say most people will start to seize when their top number gets above 180. The magnesium is there to prevent seizing so I was to be on that until my blood pressure got under control. The doctor was hopeful that we might get 2 more weeks of me being pregnant and that I would be getting 2 doses of a steroid shot to help develop our baby’s lungs a little quicker than normal just in case. The next few days were miserable. The swelling increased and I didn’t even look like myself. My face always felt like it was on fire and I couldn’t even keep down Jello and Saltine crackers. I was throwing up everything and I could barely lift my water bottle off of my bedside table. I was so weak. I remember thinking that I had actually lost all the muscle mass in my arms and it would take me months of rehab to get that muscle back just to be able to lift my arms over my head again. I was really out of it!

My Mom flew in Wednesday night (New Years Eve) and stayed with my Grandma and was to drive down the next day to see me. Natasha and Amy had dropped off a goodie bag of fun stuff to celebrate the New Year and in the bag were these two banner headband things that said Happy New Year on them. I remember being so tired but Clint made me take a picture with it and I had such a hard time focusing on the nurse taking the picture because I was seeing double. I was so mad at him for that at the time.. it’s funny now though.

The next morning, (January 1, 2009) my Mom got to the hospital around 10 and shortly after, the nurse came in with good news and really bad news. The good news is that the doctor wanted to stop the magnesium drip so I would start to feel better but the bad news is that my OB had ordered for me to have a C-Section in the next 3 hours. I went from feeling relieved because I would feel better to bawling again. I had an epidural just like a normal pregnancy but I have never had to feel the pain of contractions. I guess that is a blessing looking back but if I ever do get pregnant again and if I can make it full term, I won’t know how to deal with them as I have never felt them! He ordered the C-Section because my blood pressure was not coming down and it was getting to the point where I was getting too sick and it was either; we wait and give the baby more time to grow and I probably don’t make it or they take the baby, I get better, and we hope that the baby can pull through.

When I was in high school, I took the CNA classes because I wanted to be a nurse. One week I did my clinicals in Labor & Delivery and saw 2 C-Sections, so I kinda knew what to expect. I am surprised that I remember so much of what I learned back then while I was actually on the table. While I couldn’t see anything, I remember walking myself through the process of what has to happen in the OR to do a C-Section. From what everyone around me was saying and what I was feeling, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the situation. I remember being very cold and no one would put a blanket on me. Finally, they put one around my head and across my arms (which were stretched straight out perpendicular to my body). I remember thinking “how the heck is that supposed to warm me up. I’m NAKED and my BODY is cold. NOT my head.” But it actually helped. Clint was sitting by my head to the left and I was worried for him because he didn’t know what to expect like I did. I remember there being a lot of pressure. I remember when the baby came out and there was no crying. I didn’t know if she was dead or alive, or if she was alive, if she would even make it. Then, I got a shot of morphine and it was really hard to stay awake. While I was being stitched up, the doctor’s were talking about upcoming surgeries they needed to have done on themselves. Apparently, my doctor has bad knees and ankles. I remember asking them if they were all staying focused. I remember thinking I was completely coherent. I wasn’t. Then I fell asleep.

I vaguely remember waking up in my room and my Mom was there. The first think I asked her was “Is she alive?” My Mom said yes and nothing else mattered. I didn’t want to know the specifics because I was so exhausted and just wanted to sleep. I don’t remember much after that. Apparently, according to Clint and my Mom, soon after my C-Section, all of the blood pressure meds finally started to kick in. Every time the blood pressure cuff would go off, it was habit for Clint to look at the numbers to see if they were getting better. Suddenly, my top number (for a normal person is around 120) was about 50. Clint ran out into the hallway and grabbed a nurse and they kicked Clint and my Mom out of the room. I don’t remember any of this but I guess the doctor commented to my Mom that she “had one very sick little girl.” I didn’t hear this story until about 4 months later and up until then, I wasn’t convinced that I was that sick but apparently, I was.

They wheeled my bed into the NICU later that night so I could see Darbi. I think I remember it pretty well. I was scared to death to go in there because I didn’t know what to expect. Because of the angle and height of both mine and Darbi’s bed’s, it was really hard to see her and it didn’t really sink in that she was actually a little tiny baby that was fighting for everything. The next day, I was able to touch her for the first time, sanitized, gloved, and in my hospital bed again, I reached up and just barely touched the ball of her left foot. She flinched a little and I was sobbing. That, I think, was the moment I knew this was real and very scary. For the next few days, I had an extremely hard time going up to see her. Clint would go by himself or with family and I was more than happy to stay behind. It took a few days for me to actually want to go up there but each time I went, it got easier. The doctor also prescribed me some “happy pills” and I’m sure that made a big difference.

I was in the hospital for a total of 13 days; 3 of them pregnant and 10 of them a Mommy. On day 10 of Darbi’s life, the radiologist was putting a feeding tube down and accidently punctured her esophagus. She was sent to Primary Children’s alone while I was still in the hospital. It was hard to know I couldn’t just ride the elevator upstairs to go see her. Up until that point, I didn’t care if I stayed another week in the hospital but once she was gone, it made it so much harder to be there. I did end up coming home from the hospital on that same day (strangely 40 pounds lighter...) and walking into our house was the strangest thing. I wasn’t ready to have a baby and yet, I didn’t have a baby. All of our plans to be ready for her when she came were foiled. She ruined all my fun of getting to be fully pregnant and all my chances to complain about being 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant were gone! I’m not complaining now though!

She has done amazing and she’s home and we have been so blessed. We couldn’t have prayed for a better outcome!

8 Wisecracks:

Natalie said...

I'm glad you wrote this down. Woah, girl. What an ordeal. Thanks for letting us real it. My friend just delivered her baby at 29 weeks - 2 pounds something. I thought of you. :) D is a rockstar. And so are you!

Toni said...

I'm glad you wrote all of this down! It's reminds me so much of my stories. We have a lot in common...you and I. Darbi is Wonder Woman. A true miracle. Love that baby's smile.

CandraWynne said...

Audrey I am completely speechless. I am so glad that Darbi pulled through and she is an absolute beauty! I couldn't imagine going through that and you are an amazingly strong woman :) You can tell that she is your pride and joy!

Shari Romney Family!! said...

Such a great story!! Isnt it so great how well the spirit communicates?!?! How for some reason you felt like you needed to read about preeclampsia from baby center. You being intuned to the promptings of the spirit is what saved yours and Darbis life. The whole thing is a complete miracle.
~Shari

Lindsay said...

That's such an incredible story! Darbi is such a miracle and she is adorable!

Aimee said...

Deja-vu! Switch out your high blood pressure issues for my infection issues, and we've got identical stories. My lesson learned from the whole ordeal is that I was painfully taught that I am a lot stronger than I would have ever given myself credit for before. So grateful for tiny miracles!!

Alison said...

What a great thing to have this so well documented for little D! Wow!!!

What a story... what a miracle!!!

Megan B said...

Jeesh, kinda dramatic, don't you think? LOL!! Teasing :)