When I signed up for NaBloPoMo, I knew I would have days where I’d be grasping at straws for something to write about. But there was one thing I could write about, and it would take some time to write about. But it’s about time I share it, without a sense of anxiety or remorse. This is the story of how Jack was born (part 1 of… I’m not sure yet).
July 14th, 2010 – Week 29 email to family:
Hi everyone – this is an action-packed email this week, so I’ll jump right in.
This week, Jack continues to grow in length and add weight. I’m not going to put in size comparisons anymore, because we have learned that he is a bit on the small side – specifically, in the 20th percentile. This means that out of 100 women having babies, 80 of them would have babies bigger than him. The doctor said this is still in normal range, but something they will keep their eyes on. Additionally this week, Jack’s brain is continuing to develop folds which allow for future expansion of brain tissue as he continues to churn out brain cells. He’s kicking like crazy and determined to pop out my belly button.
So, on to the “action”. This past Thursday, I woke up with a strong headache. As the day progressed, the headache got worse despite taking medicine, I could not keep any food or water down, and my blood pressure was high even when I was lying down and completely relaxed. Erik and I went to my OB’s office, and he sent us to the hospital for observation and a 24-urine collection test. This was to see if I was experiencing symptoms from chronic hypertension (which I had before pregnancy) or the more serious preeclampsia, which would be detected through the urine test. I was in the hospital, confined to bed and lying on my left side, from Thursday evening to Saturday morning, and was released because my urine test came back negative for proteins (a positive result would have pointed towards preeclampsia). So with a prescription for a higher dose of blood pressure medicine and a follow-up appointment for Tuesday, we left.
Since then, I noticed that I had started swelling more than before, especially in my face, ankles and feet. In addition, I had gained 10 lbs. in the hospital, and my blood pressure was staying at the high range. We monitored my blood pressure several times throughout the day. Yesterday at my follow-up appointment, my urine test came back positive for protein, putting preeclampsia back on the table as a diagnosis. Combined with my continued high blood pressure, the doctor decided to send me to the hospital again for blood tests (this way, the tests would be back within an hour instead of the following day, if they had done them at the OB office). The blood tests show that my liver and platelet functions were normal, which is good news since preeclampsia can affect liver, kidneys, and blood clotting. We were sent home with an order to do another 24-hour urine collection test at home, and to rest as much as possible.
The good news is that Jack is looking healthy! We’ve had 2 ultrasounds in the past few days (which is when we learned that he’s a bit on the small side) and he is looking healthy. Every time a baby monitor was strapped to me, he would kick the monitor like crazy to knock it off, and then move away from it. In one of the ultrasounds, he again covered his face, then flipped over and mooned us and showed us, once again, that he is definitely a boy.
For now, we’re taking things day by day. The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby, but of course the longer Jack can stay in utero, the better. Right now, we’re hoping that continued monitoring of my blood pressure and urine and a lot of rest will allow Jack to stay put and grow for several more weeks.
Have a good week, everyone!
At this point, I was naïve. It was naïve to think that I could calm myself down, still try to go to work and make it through the end of this pregnancy. What I did not know was that the preeclampsia had already taken over my body, so that no amount of relaxing would make this ok. Soon, no amount of bed rest or high doses of medication would make it ok, either. But even though I was being naïve, I already knew that this was not going to have the ending I thought it would. The ending of me in a hospital bed, with a healthy, screaming Jack on my chest seconds after being born, everyone smiling while Erik and I basked in the beauty of our perfect, full-term baby boy.