Oh, where to begin! This is a story that I hold dear to my heart and also scares me at the same time. The day my first child is born is also the day I almost died. But God spared our lives and gave us a story to tell.
I was having a wonderful pregnancy, normal morning sickness in the 1st trimester and feeling great throughout the 2nd. The 3rd trimester came with swelling, but nothing that seemed unusual. 4th of July weekend we were boxing up our home in the process of moving to another city two hours away. We had over two months until we expected our baby boy to arrive and were planning on staying with my parents for a short time as we closed on our new home. It was a stressful time but nothing that we couldn’t handle. My husband Matt was commuting the two hours but again we knew that would be only for a short season.
Three days after moving in with my parents my doctor diagnosed me with preeclampsia. She debated about sending me home to strict bedrest or sending me to the hospital. I was shocked as I felt perfectly fine (other than the annoying swelling). The doctor sent me home. One full day on bedrest and I was miserable and extremely uncomfortable! How was I going to go through 9 weeks of this? The next night I woke up at midnight, my body was shaking and I felt cold. Matt cuddled up to me, trying to keep me warm and stop the shaking. After a little while it began to alarm us. He placed a call into the doctor as I got up to throw-up. They told us to go to the hospital. On the way, I felt just fine. The idea was even mentioned to go back home, but God gave us the discernment to keep going.
Once we arrived, I was hooked up to a monitor… blood pressure was still high, baby looked good. They drew my blood and we were just waiting for the results. The doctor on call happened to be there and he came in with the results. I must say that Dr Brown has the most kind spirit and reassuring nature. He told us that we were going to have an emergency c-section. I was going to be put completely under, my husband was not allowed in the room, and most importantly that myself and the baby were going to be ok. SHOCKED and BAFFLED! I felt fine. What was he talking about? Within minutes I was being wheeled away, with Matt following close behind.
I had HELLP Syndrome. My platelets where extremely low, my liver enzymes where high, my blood pressure was high. They were afraid of complications, so Matt couldn’t be there for the delivery. I would see him again in recovery. I would meet my baby after I woke up. I remember praying, “God please let me wake up and may our son be ok.”
Briefly I woke up in recovery. Nurses were talking to me. I don’t know what about. I tried to push my morphine button, not understanding that it only works every 8 minutes, not every 8 seconds. I drifted back to sleep as I was wheeled out of the room. Once again I woke up as we went through the doors of the NICU. I pushed myself to lean up, the feeling of nausea came over me but I continued to lean. I reached out with one figure and touched the smallest baby I had ever seen. Levi was laying on a warming table, with tubes and wires running everywhere. Gently I touched him. And then they wheeled me away. It was the early morning hours of Friday, July 10th. I wouldn’t get to see him again until Sunday.
Over the next two days, I was closely monitored. Nothing was changing. The cure is to deliver the baby and yet my blood pressure was still high, my platelets were still low, and my liver enzymes were not where they should be. The swelling was throughout my whole body. Ten days after delivery I had lost 25 lbs of just fluid! When the anesthesia wore off and I finally came to, I realized that something was really wrong with my eyes. Blurred vision even with my glasses on, very sensitive to light, and colors just weren’t right. It would take a few weeks for the swelling in my retinas to go down, but I will live with very mild distortion due to permanent damage in my eyes. The doctor debated about putting me in ICU, but fortunately a couple of days later my platelet count began to rise. The nurses where not happy with my blood pressure but we convinced them to let me go to the NICU to see Levi. Five days after delivery, I was well enough to go home. Levi would remain in the hospital for five weeks, but that is another story to tell.
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” Psalm 23:4