this is a loooong post. spoiler alert- everything works out in the end.
a long time ago in a land far, far away i had preeclampsia and reagan had to be born 4 weeks early. so, on the night of monday, february 2nd, when i woke up at midnight feeling like death warmed over, i felt like i had an inkling of what was happening as history repeated itself.
i thought i was just hungry or had terrible heartburn or that i was simply suffering from pregnancy insomnia, but it was worse than all that. way worse. a little voice in my head told me to google preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. when i had preeclampsia the first time, a few months earlier a good friend of mine also had a premature birth when her preeclampsia had progressed to hellp syndrome and i could hear her voice in my head, "i just didn't feel well and i knew something was wrong" and i couldn't ignore the same feeling. so, i googled and webMDed and matched up with every symptom until about 230am and i was so exhausted i could finally fall asleep. i talked myself out of waking thomas up and having him take me to the hospital because i didn't want it to be a hassle. i know, i already wasn't making sense but i knew i had an appointment at 9am the next morning so i tried to hold out for then. when i woke up, i actually felt a ton better, but my feet were so swollen i could barely squeeze into flip flips and i hardly pull my pants up over my gigantically swollen legs. i waddled to the doctor and i took my urine test and told them all i was feeling and my preeclampsia premonition. i had significant amounts of protein in my urine but my blood pressure was still normal so they sent me home with a home monitoring kit which is basically a giant jug to collect all your urine in for 24 hours. then you're supposed to keep it in the refrigerator, next to the meat you are thawing for dinner! yum! i went home, put on my jammies and laid on the couch for the next few hours. which is i guess what i did but i have very little recollection of. i was mostly unconscious, and not in a restful way. blythe sensed something was up because she just sat next to me on the couch. she didn't pull a single stunt. i didn't even feed her lunch. i also didn't go to the bathroom a single time, which was an indicator of how quickly my kidneys had gotten overwhelmed. i went from numerous pregnancy potty breaks my entire pregnancy to nothing more than a bottle cap full in the weeks leading up to the big event. i'll spare you the really gruesome details, but everyone needs to go potty all the time and it should be yellow. yellow is the only acceptable color.
i was still thinking i would get over it when i started violently and uncontrollably vomiting. and then i realized the time and remembered to pick up the kids from school. which is one of the worst decisions i've ever made. my brain was absolute mush at this point, i couldn't stay awake, let alone sit up and i decided to drive my gigantic mom-mobile yukon(named Cornelius) an hour round trips to two different schools to get the big kids. i got an inkling of how terrible decision to drive was when i told scarlett to "keep talking to mama while she's driving so that she can stay awake". after i picked up reagan, i finally called the doctor's office. they told me to head up to the hospital. i called my good friend, heidi(it's not confusing at all) and asked her to watch my kids while i went to the hospital. then i laid down again and passed out until she had to let herself into my house. i was still determined to drive at this point but she convinced me to let her take me to the ER herself. we all loaded up in her van and then the violent vomiting started again. reagan thought it was fantastic and exciting. since i hadn't eaten since midnight the night before, i thought it was kind of horrible and painful. thankfully, since she's a mom, heidi had several grocery bags in the van for my use. and use them i did. heidi dropped off my kids at her house and we headed to the hospital i think it was comical at this point because i'm barfing and heidi has her head out the window of her van trying not to barf at my barfing. 2 heidis in a van barfing but trying not to and not barfing but almost barfing. did you follow? it was very meta.
so, after the usual hullabaloo about actually getting admitted and continued vomiting, (but in official hospital barf bags with a ringed opening for your comfort) i was taken upstairs with a blood pressure that varied from 165/87 to 195/87 in a 30 minute time period. so, pretty bad without being dead but almost wanting to be.
i looked like this:
i was annoyed at thomas for taking such a terrible picture of me with it being sooooo blurrrrry, but then i realized, that's actually how bad i look right now.
i was kept overnight because they were trying to get me to last until friday, when i would be 34 weeks pregnant and hersch would be just that much healthier. i was injected with the GIGANTIC baby lung development steroid in my hips and hoped and prayed for good news. on wednesday morning, i had a visit from a high risk ob/gyn and his high risk ultrasound tech. our prognosis was a bit grim; i was probably in hellp syndrome which is bad, my blood pressure was not improving, my platelet count was going down, my kidneys and liver were not functioning well and the toxins in my body had nowhere to go. hersch was actually doing pretty well considering his environment, but he had stopped growing sometime in the previous few weeks and was undersized for his age. he had to get out quick. we tried to weight a few more hours, but then my no-nonsense nurse burst into my room with the news that i was on the chopping block within the hour. and oddly enough, this was the first time i was really unsure and upset. because of the c-section! i'd never had one before so i was scared! i'm i'm a good baby pusher outer! that's one of my few talents! these wide hips have a purpose and not just for hitting doorknobs! but, i had no choice, neither hersch nor myself would endure a lengthy delivery. so, i called a couple of friends and arranged childcare, school pickup(one elementary secretary gave me grief about not coming in a signing appropriate change of child pickup paperwork. for real) and told thomas to get here stat. he made it, and old lady shaved me and practically everyone at the hospital saw me naked. if ever i wish i had been able to do a few extra squats and lunges, it was then. while the actual c-sectioning, thomas held my totally numb hand and we chatted about the upcoming walking dead episode with the anesthesiologist. and then herschel was there. and it was amazing. because he was there and even in that much chaos and fright(because we weren't out of the woods yet) the Spirit was there and so was herschel. he was pretty mad about things, but i was able to kiss his little face before they whisked him away.
after i was done in recovery, they wheeled me into the nicu to see him. and then i almost threw up again when i saw him. i'll tell him about that someday. gurneys are a wild ride.
after a few days, my crazy swelling went away. it was such a change, that when i went to see herschel a few days later, they asked me who i was and how i knew the simpson family. and when i said, mother, everyone did a double take.
i had to stay in the hospital for about week until all my kidney and liver function returned to normal, which was a process. i couldn't eat for 3 days and that doesn't help with the brain crazies. i was hopped up on a magnesium drip which is why i still can't remember much of anything. i was taking about 20 pills a day and i was known by the color of my urine, sweet tea brown, and the size of my giant purple bruise on my c-section incision. you may all call me, sweet tea heidi, from now on. i've always wanted a nickname. it was all quite painful and i bow down to women who have had multiple c sections.
i had to rest a lot because preeclampsia doesn't just go away with delivery. i was on bedrest for about 3 weeks after delivery. i found a great article on preeclampsia that explains the process really well and mentions downton abbey. bonus for you. click here. i'm the lady sybil character in case you were wondering.
the biggest plus about recovering from preeclampsia, besides not dying and not being pregnant anymore is that food finally tastes good again. i hadn't eaten more than cereal for the last month. i was even getting really excited for the baked sweet potatoes and activia at the hospital.
biggest biggest plus is my sweet little loves is here.
he's still in the hospital but he's grown to 5lbs 1 ounce and he's doing great. he's still having a few issues due to prematurity, but he's the toughest little cuss i've ever seen. but what do you expect from a baby named after herschel walker?
this is his occupational therapist. she helps him get strong by doing exercises with him that will help him mimic pushing against the walls of the womb. modern medicine is a miracle.
this is just part of the circus that i enjoyed when i got home. my mom and sister both took turns visiting and helping. what would i have done without them? heather even brought her whole family. this is all the girls waiting for reagan while he's at his piano lesson. i ate so many frosties too.
i'm sure i'll remember more later. but the most important part is that everything worked out.