I year ago today, at 26 weeks pregnant with our sweet baby girl, I went on bedrest after developing pre-eclampsia. Walking into the doctors office that day I knew it was back. For about a week, I could feel the heaviness in my chest, I could feel the swelling in my hands, my rings suddly fitting too tight and my face was as puffy as a marshmellow roasting over a campfire. My whole body would ache with barely any activity and after stepping on the scale in the office, showing 9lb weight gain in a week, I knew I had pre-eclampsia and we would be fighting our way through the next few months to carry my baby to term.
We knew this could be our reality with baby #2. With my first, I had developed eclampsia at 37 week and I was induced when I began having neurological symptoms. Because I had it with our first, my risks for developing preeclampsia again were much higher, but we were optimistic things could be different the second time around.
The door swung open this day July 11th, 2017 and in walked my spirited OBGYN whos first words to me were "Welcome to bedrest!" We bagn to discuss my symptoms and the new reality I needed to adapt to. The reality that our baby will likely be born very premature and need tubes to eat and breath. A reality that she would require time in the NICU and depending on how early she arrived her issues could lead to lifelong problems. We needed to cast out gaze on the new goal of 32 weeks, 6 weeks from today, our doctor explained at 32 weeks her prognosis, her outcomes would improve exponentially. As a nurse, I know these realities all too well. Daily I work with patients who were born into these same set of circumstances and as much as I know and love modern day medicine, I knew this path was a long and hard journey, a journey I was very afraid could be our own.
I was nervous and concerned leaving the office that day as there was so much to take in and to adjust too. I had so many questions on how these next weeks would play out, how I was supposed to take care of Clark, make meals, work (we still needed my income to make ends meet), I left the office with strict orders. I needed to stay in bed, rest, monitor my blood pressures frequently, check my weight daily, come in for weekly appointments and special ultrasounds to monitor our baby closely.... and of course not stress! (like that was possible!)
The day after being placed on bedrest, I reached out to a neighbor, Holly, after picking up Clark from school because I was so winded just getting in and out of the car to pick him up. Holly and another neighbor, Mona, were quickly over knocking on my door. As they walked in Holly instantly began barking orders to "sit down!" "Put your feet up!" They started playing with Clark, Making dinner, calling friends and before we knew it they decided they would be take Clark to and from school each day so I did not have to leave the house. Additionally, They arranged dinner be brought to us each and every day I was on bedrest! They were the biggest blessings to our family! I cannot even begin to think of how to repay their kindness, love, devotion to our family during this time of need. It brings me to tears thinking about how big their hearts were to serve us in this way and we are forever grateful each and every day. I truely feel like because of their efforts, it is the only reason I was able to stress less, focus on myself and baby and carry Addison as long as we did.
Much to my surprise my time on bedrest flew by. Pre-eclampsia gave me awful brain fog and most days couldn't even count to 10, but when I could I worked, I watched movies, journeled, planned a nursery and slept. Every day I would nap. Truely, I was so tired each and every day and welcomed the quiet and an opportunity to rest. We took everything day by day, sometimes moment by moment and time began to pass by. 27 weeks, 28 weeks, 29 weeks, 30 weeks... Each week I anticipated it may be our last and then again I would reboud and be gifted another miraculous week to carry our baby girl!
We had so many close calls when my blood pressure would spike, my heart rate would drop or swelling would worsen and I would go into the hospital thinking today could be the day! Each time, we were so blessed that things would regulate and we could return home to wait another day. Each day I knew was so precious to our little girl and I wanted to give her every minute I could to grow big and strong before welcoming her to the world! At 32 weeks we surpased every goal our OBGYN had for us and I remember taking the biggest sigh of relief knowing we did it! We made it through those pivitol milestones and given our sweet girl the best chance at her future!
Even though we continued to progress in the pregnancy my pre-eclampsia worsened as the weeks went by. We would go in more often, do extra labs, see specialist to monitor my symptoms and progression. Surprisingly, we kept pushing through each week and made it to 37 weeks before scheduling an induction. It was a proud moment!
Looking back, I never knew how pivitol this day would be just one year ago. It gave me strength and stamina that I can perserver and endure challenging times both mentally and physically. It deepened my relationship with my husband, leaning on him in a whole new way as a partner, friend and caregiver. It brought me new friendships. Those sweet ladies who cared for me over the course of my bedrest are now family. It showed me the power of kindness in helping thy neighbor. It taught me that it take a village to raise a child! My heart has forever grown becasue of these life lessons that came. My soul deeply touched by lifegiving kindness we were shown and proufound impact it made to be able to deliver a healthy baby girl at 37weeks.
**Pay attention to your body and know the signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia. It can be a sneaky illness that can cause great sudden dangers to you and baby. If you develop swelling of hands and face, weight gain of more than 2lbs in a week, extreme fatigue with everyday tasks, elevated Blood pressure greater than 140/90. Please, Please reach out to your doctor and discuss your concerns!**
** Additionally, A special thank you to our dear Holly, the sweetest soul who became another mother figure in my life. After taking Clark to school each day, she would then drive me to each and every appointment I had. We grew our bond quickly over weekly carmel macchiatos on our way to the OBGYN office and chatted life, relationships, travel and more during our time together. Those moments forever holding a special place in my heart as Holly suddly passed away earlier this year, our time together on earth cut shorter than I would prefer **