The Emergency Delivery of my First Born Son
Where do I begin?
On October 25, 2017, I would have had a 14-year-old child.
I will start off by saying this: I never knew I had a testimony until a couple of years ago. I always knew my story was sad, but I did not realize the magnitude of what I went through. What I have learned by sharing my story is that I am not alone. Sharing, for me, has been therapeutic. By me suffering one of the greatest losses, I have the power to be a comfort to others. I can share my wisdom, my faith and my strength with other women.
Here is my story, my testimony, my truth, my sorrow, my strength and my faith.
I was twenty years old, going to college and working at Tully’s as a barista. I had been with my boyfriend since high school and like every young person who thinks they are in love, I knew we were going to be together forever.
I ended up pregnant.
Telling my parents was brutal. I think my mother almost had a heart attack. She immediately prayed for my soul to still make it to heaven. Being raised in a Catholic household, getting pregnant before marriage was the ULTIMATE no-no. But, oh well; I was going to be a mother. After about one month of my mom saying over and over that she could not believe I was pregnant and not married, she realized it wasn’t just a dream/nightmare, and decided she was ALL IN! My mom went into full grandma mode.
Almost six months passed of growing the beautiful human being inside of me. Every morning, when I drove to my 6:00am shift, I played music and my little miracle would dance inside my belly. I loved that feeling. I would sing to my baby and it would kick even more.
I went for my six-month check-up and I told my doctor I was super tired and swollen. I found it hard to work and concentrate at school. My energy level was at zero. Not to mention, I had put on almost 30 pounds in less than six months; I wasn’t sure if that was normal. My doctor wanted to do a quick test and she stuck her thumb on the bottom of my ankle to check my swelling. Her thumbprint stayed indented on my ankle, even after she took her finger off. She decided to monitor my urine for 24 hours and ordered me to stay home to rest.
After collecting urine for 24 hours, I went back to the doctor. The doctor looked at the urine and determined there was protein spillage. She then took my blood pressure, looked me in the eyes and said, “Go directly to the hospital. Do not go home and pack clothes. Call your mom once you get there, but GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW!”
At that point, I was clueless as to what was going on, but I knew something was wrong. I drove across the street to Valley Medical Center and there was already a room waiting for me.
My blood pressure was 199/90. The doctors looked concerned. I still didn’t know what was happening. I called my mom from my room and told her I was in the hospital and to come when she got off work but I think she made it there in 2.5 seconds. The doctors came in and told me my blood pressure was so high that it was just a matter of time before I would start having seizures. They started an IV drip of magnesium sulfate, (which is often used for women who have preeclampsia).
While the IV slowly dripped into my veins, I was hungry, (no surprise). I had my mom run to Burger King to get me a full meal… the worst mistake of my life.
Two hours after the start of magnesium, I started violently vomiting. I couldn’t stop. My body started to ache all over and I became so weak that I was in and out of sleep. The doctors were racking their brains trying to figure out what was wrong with me. They thought it was lupus; they thought it was so many different things, but just couldn’t find the cause of my serious illness. I was told I would probably spend the duration of my pregnancy in the hospital. I remember wondering how I was going to finish my semester in school and that I was going to be fired from my job.
The medical staff continued multiple tests to try and figure out the root of my illness. After my blood tests came back, they determined my liver and kidneys were failing and I needed to deliver my baby… NOW. I still didn’t get it. Later that evening, they started administering shots of steroids into my bottom to reach my baby’s lungs to prepare him for birth.
I was so sick at this point; I don’t remember a lot.
They performed an amniocentesis, but I don’t even remember that. Those who know about amnios, know that it is something you do not forget. But my illness had taken full control of my body and my mother told me some time later that she was with me when I had mine done.
Time continued to pass and things continued to get worse. Finally, the doctors came into my room and told me I had preeclampsia and it had gone into HELLP syndrome. HELLP syndrome is life-threatening and very rare. It is caused by the complications of high blood pressure during pregnancy. It causes protein spillage, elevated liver enzymes, destruction of red blood cells and a low platelet count. They also discovered that I was allergic to my baby’s placenta; if they didn’t take him out, I was going to die. They transferred me by ambulance to Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, where they have one of the best NICUs in town.
When I got to Swedish, they gave me another steroid shot for my baby’s lungs. They told me I was very, very sick. In order to perform a C-section to deliver my baby, they had to have platelets and plasma shipped to the hospital to help clot my blood and prevent me from bleeding to death. They couldn’t deliver my baby until those had arrived. But, time was ticking and I was getting worse and worse.
I could not comprehend the magnitude of what was happening to me or what was going to happen to my baby.
The night before my surgery, I remember some co-workers from my job coming to visit. I wouldn’t let them in. I was vomiting, my head felt like it was going to explode and my body was in so much pain. Pain that I can’t even put into words. I only wanted my mother with me. Only she could see me in such a vulnerable, fragile state. One thing I distinctly remember is begging, crying and pleading with the nurses to please help me. To please help my pain go away and to take me out of my misery. My mom sat beside me and prayed, while holding my hand. At some point, a shot was administered and I drifted off to sleep.
I woke up the next day in a different room and my close friends and family were praying around me. The time had come for me to deliver my baby. One of my friends later told me she will never forget looking at the bag of urine from my catheter. It was the color of root beer. The nurses came to wheel me back and I remember asking them if I going to die. At that point, if they would have said yes, I’m not sure if it even would have registered.
At the entrance of the operating room, my mom was told she was unable to come in. They needed to intubate me and needed a full team of doctors and nurses to be in the room. My mom said she almost died. While they performed the surgery, and delivered my baby, my mom continued to wait at the double-doors, scared for my life.
The next day, I woke up in the ICU. I believe there were a few visitors in the room with me. I had already had one blood transfusion from blood loss and was receiving another.
I had delivered a 1lb, 2oz baby boy.
Part II, coming soon.