December 28, 2007

The Pregnancy Story...

The beginning starts a few years ago. I had been married for a little more than a year, when we found out I was expecting. It was the usual excitement that accompanies a first pregnancy. Had I known then what I know now, my whole experience would have been different.

I'm not one of those ladies that gets a "glow". I literally get sick and nauseous within HOURS of conception. I always know, WAY before I can take "the test" that I'm pregnant. And I don't gain the recommended 25 -30 pounds. No, I get sick as a dog, put on bedrest, and told to "take it easy". I was thought to be a very mellow dramatic patient by my doctor. However, since I worked for a pediatric office at the time, they took care of me. Gestational Diabetes? Check. Toxemia? Check. Nausea? Check. Blurred vision? exhaustion? swelling? pain? Check, check, check, and check.

I gained a whopping 103 pounds. Of course, my doctor didn't really think much of it because he knew I was sick. He just didn't realize how sick I was (*note to all. should you ever gain 10 pounds over a 12 hour period? something is very very wrong with you.*) This weight gain was especially horrific because for the life of me? I could not keep a bite of food down and also managed to become severely dehydrated.

Anyhow, I was finally induced, 4 weeks early. After six hours of pushing, Thaddeus came into the world.

But I was still sick. I then began to see doctors so that someone could figure something out. My favorite answer was "Well, you just had a baby, you're not supposed to feel good." But my hair was falling out, and even though I had lost 65 pounds, I gained most of it back.

I decided maybe I was crazy and maybe the doctors are right. Maybe you do just feel like garbage after you give birth. How was I to know? It was my first baby.

I started jogging with some girlfriends. We'd jog a few miles a day. And while they managed to lose a few pounds, I managed to gain even more.

Finally, I went back to my doctor and demanded he do every blood test he possibly could. I found out two things. One, I had Hashimoto's Disease. And Two, I was pregnant.

I immediately started hormone replacement therapy, and made an appointment with a NEW ob/gyn, Dr. M. (WHO, by the way, I love, love, LOVE!)

Dr. M is a very reassuring man. At my first appointment, he told me everything I needed to hear, and what's more, he actually followed through. At that first OB appointment, as everyone knows, the doctors do an ultrasound to verify the pregnancy and to make sure it coincides with your LMP (which, I had not gotten.) So, he needed to do an ultrasound to get whatever kind of estimate he could. These are the exact words. I will never forget them.

"Whoa! You're REALLY pregnant... It's a girl."

Yes Ladies and Gentlemen. I was 17 weeks pregnant. With Blayne. (And yes, I was taking birth control. And breastfeeding. You figure out the odds.) My pregnancy with her was a little smoother, but I was still bedridden for the last few weeks. Again, I managed to gain weight, despite my constant vomiting and inability to eat anything other than Lucky Charms. When Dr. M decided I just shouldn't be pregnant any longer, he did amnio to check on our girl. The results were good enough, and I had Blayne 5 weeks early.

This time, the labor was much better, and I didn't have to push. Blayne was born all on her own. (Well, as much on her own as she could seeing as how we were both hooked up to every machine known to man.)

I managed to get a little better. I saw an endocrinologist. He ordered blood tests for me every three weeks so he could check out my hormone patterns. We started to get my thyroid a little bit under control. Then one day, I felt sick.

Despite my best intentions, I was pregnant... again. By this time, my endo and Dr. M were working together, so I have to say that Daniel was my easiest pregnancy. I had all my same symptoms, and I was bedridden, but my mind rested easy because I knew I was in good hands. Daniel was the first time I didn't get induced. My water broke three weeks early, and he came fast.

After Daniel, I didn't bleed much. I hardly bled at all. 10 days. I remember because I usually bleed for a LOT longer. However, 19 days later, I got my period. And every 19 days, I would get my period. I called my doctor, but the girl on the phone assured me that it was "normal" (it's not)

I had three kids. My oldest was 2. I felt like someone was stabbing me in the stomach all the time. I had a nervous breakdown.

I got put on Zoloft for postpartum depression and for anxiety attacks. I wasn't allowed to be alone in my house. I had a family member, or a ward member at my house, every day until my body could regulate the Zoloft.

I have never in my life felt so horrible. It makes me cry to even think about. I didn't deserve these children. I didn't deserve my husband. I cried a lot and stayed in bed for days. My lowest point is when I could no longer function. I remember that I tried to make breakfast, but I didn't remember how to work the stove. It was the lowest point of my life.

After that mess started to clean up, I realized that I hadn't had a period. It had only been 21 days, so no doctor would say I was late, but it didn't fit my pattern. I spent over $100 on pregnancy tests. I took one every day. They all said negative. Until it had been 32 days. Then it came up positive.

I called and made another OB appointment. By now, Dr. M and I were really good friends. He pretty much catered to whatever I needed. He took me seriously. He believed me when I told him that this was just not normal. He did not dismiss me when I told him I was in pain.

I was hospitalized for preterm labor at 16 weeks. After 24 hours, I was allowed to go home but had strict instructions to do nothing. I was allowed to go to the bathroom, and if I sat in the shower, then that might be alright. But since I have a history of fainting, baths were off limits. With the pregnancy, I had an appointment and an ultrasound every week for the first eleven. I didn't get to take any of the ultrasound pictures home because I was having so many problems, there wasn't much hope for me to take the baby to term.

I remember when I was finally allowed to keep an ultrasound picture. It was such an exciting day because in my head, that meant that everything was going to be alright.

I kept having labor pains. Horrible, horrible pains. Dr. M prescribed me some Vicadin to go with my Terbutaline and Motrin cocktails. I was admitted for preterm labor about once a month, because Taylor just kept trying to come.

In early May, I ended up in the ER for severe stomach pains. I started in the ER. Then I got moved to Labor and Delivery. I passed the non-stress test and got sent back down to the ER. They did blood work, and ultrasounds, but the tests I really needed couldn't be done while pregnant. The ER doctors gave me Morphine and that helped... then I went into labor again. I was transferred back to Labor and Delivery and this time, it was a little bit harder to stop my contractions.

I was once again allowed to go home. But only on the strictest of bedrest.

Two weeks later, my water broke. Taylor was coming, two months ahead of schedule. I got to the hospital and was immediately started on IV's. When they checked me, I was already dilated to a 5. They hooked me and the baby up to every machine available. I got an epidural, and they tried to slow things down a little bit, but it wasn't working.

Now this time, when my water broke, it was very different from Daniel. With Daniel, there was the initial gush, and then whenever I had a contraction or coughed, I'd leak a little. With Taylor, it was more like Niagara Falls. My water broke, and every last bit of fluid came out at once.

To get her out, I had to have amnioinfusion. When she was born, she was silent. There was no crying, and she was bruised from the top of her head, to her collarbones. They took her to the NICU, where she spent the next two weeks.

It's a very strange feeling to go home without your baby. It's surreal.

But I wasn't better yet. I continued to have severe abdominal pain. I felt like someone was jamming a knife into my stomach, over, and over, and over again. I ended up in the ER, got some morphine, and went home. Nobody could figure out WHY I was having these pains.

Around this time, I received a phone call. Apparently, I shouldn't have been released from the hospital because all on my blood work, dating back from February, was bad. I'm still not sure exactly what everything means. But some of the numbers were very elevated. I can tell you what I was told.

"Well, these levels are supposed to be in the thirties. Thirty-five at the highest. Yours are in the 300's."

I was in renal failure. My digestive system was failing. My immune system had started to attack my organs.

Over June and July, I had a total of four surgeries. I had polyps, and fibroids, and cysts taken out. Some of the pathology came back precancerous, so I get to be screened every three years from here on out.

But the strangest pathology came from the results of my hysteroscopy... I hadn't delivered all of the placenta. Part of my placenta had embedded into my uterine wall, and then had been grown over... And the placental remains? They were male. I had been in active labor for over a year...

These days I'm feeling much better. My blood work is much better, and my numbers are where they're supposed to be.

I'm done having kids. My doctor's made this decision for me. They say it would be too dangerous, and they couldn't guarantee that this wouldn't happen again. I said great...

That's my story. The end.

P.S. I feel compelled to mention that had I not had Taylor so fast, that we wouldn't have been able to have her at all. Because technically, I shouldn't have had any more babies after Daniel. What, with not delivering all of him and all... Anyways, it just goes to show that someone is really looking out for all of us.

P.P.S. Because I also feel I should mention that when Daniel was born I didn't know who he was and I wasn't exactly expecting him and on the way home from the hospital I was crying because this just wasn't the person I was expecting.

P.P.P.S. I love Daniel dearly, but someone was letting me know that someone else was supposed to come really soon. you know?

P.P.P.P.S. thank you Sue for explaining to me all the ins and outs of post-scripts.