Part 1 here.
I talked to most of you last night, but I wanted to send along an update on Karen with all the details as I know it. She was admitted to CMC Pineville last evening and diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia. They are treating her for that with Magnesium (muscle relaxer) in addition to IV fluids and blood pressure meds. Following the diagnosis, and because she is 29 weeks, she was transferred to CMC Main, which has a more advanced pre-term NICU.
They have administered one dose of steroids so far, to beef the baby up in addition to boosting his lungs. He could be delivered today, or 10 days. They are playing a balancing act on what is best for Karen (delivery) vs. what is best for the baby (staying in as long as possible). Karen will be hospitalized and on bed rest until delivery.
So far, she has responded very well to the Magnesium, as her blood pressure has been in the 120’s/80’s most of the night and this morning. She’s getting some rest when she can, but they are closely monitoring and come in at least once an hour.
I’ll pass on more info as I know it.- Erik
After a couple of close calls and late night hospital visits, Erik and I go to the local hospital and fully expect to be there for a while. I remember that we were packing, and saying, “What if he’s born early? We have to go ahead and buy all of his stuff. How long do you think he will be in there? Maybe two weeks?” It’s really funny to me in hindsight.
We go to CMC Pineville, which he had selected as the hospital where Jack would be born. My friend Kat got the news and brought in a goody bag of things to make a long hospital visit more bearable. But my blood pressure was up to 188/90 by then, so she left and the resident ob came in to talk to us.
“Here’s what we know. You have severe pre-eclampsia. If we don’t treat you right away, you’re in danger of having a seizure, or even a stroke. The only way to fix pre-eclampsia is for you to deliver the baby. The problem is, he’s only 29 weeks old. So, we have to balance your health and his, and we are going to treat your symptoms and try to keep you stable for as long as we can. First, you’re going to have to go on restricted bed rest. This means you’ll be on a catheter, and you won’t be able to leave the bed at all. Also, we’re going to start an IV drip of magnesium which is going to help keep you from having a seizure, but it will also make you feel like you have the flu. We’re going to start you on steroids to help Jack’s lungs develop faster. Because, you’re not going to make it to 40 weeks. In fact, you’ll probably deliver in about a week. Also, you’re going to have to transfer to a different hospital. We have a NICU here, but we’re only able to take infants born at 30 weeks or later. And we can’t guarantee you’ll stay pregnant that long. If things get worse, we may have to induce you tonight.”
He left the room so that Erik and I could talk. But we just sat there for a moment, silent and in shock. Everything we had planned was changing. I was about to be moved to a strange hospital with strange doctors and be confined until I delivered, which could even be done that night. Suddenly, there was a whirlwind of action. I remember being annoyed that I had to take my contacts out – if I had to get a C-section right away, they did not want me wearing my contacts. I really regretted lapsing on my eyeglasses prescription then. The nurse weighed me… how had I suddenly gained 7 pounds since this morning? Then, the nurses came in to give me a catheter and set me up with the magnesium, just as the ambulance came to take me to the other hospital. All I could think about was getting my FMLA paperwork signed, so I wouldn’t be fired for having to take time off of work. I remember nurses holding my hands as I tried not to cry, and Erik standing in the corner watching this flurry of activity happen to me and being unable to get close to me when the IV and catheter was put in.
I was put in the ambulance to go to CMC Main, and I had no idea what to expect. All of the reading pregnancy books and researching on baby websites and planning what to do in every instance… well, we never planned for this. And we were scared.