The nursery was ready, the hospital bags were packed, and I was only 33 weeks pregnant! I’ve always been a planner and love getting things done early so I thought I now had weeks to relax before baby arrived! When I hit 34 weeks gestation, I was charge nurse at a busy hospital. It was all of the usual chaos, seizures, bed bugs, short staffed, medical emergencies. I was running around but taking it all in stride. I love my job and all of the hustling that comes along with it. I had been dealing with a mild headache for two days by this point so after lunch when I finally had time to relax, I had a co-worker check my blood pressure…159/95…oh crap.
As a nurse, I researched everything throughout my pregnancy and knew a blood pressure like that was not good news. It couldn’t be right so I checked again….same numbers. I called my midwife whose office was in the same hospital, but she was on lunch break. So after an hour of going back and forth, I decided to call OB triage and they of course told me to come down for labs. I got annoyed because I was charge nurse, we were being audited by the accrediting agency, and I was part of the code team…I told them I didn’t have time. “Well you need to make time” was the response I got. I gave all of my badges and pagers to my boss, gave him a quick rundown of the unit shenanigans, and said I wouldn’t be gone long (oops).
I was immediately taken back to a room and set to have my blood pressures taken every 10 minutes. Talk about a sore arm! They also drew blood and sent a urinalysis. The resident on duty said the biggest concern was the headache so I was given 3 different medications to try to get rid of it. After the third medication, it was still there with little improvement. I assumed I was going to be going back to work and texted my boss that I was almost done. Right after sending this text, 5 docs walked in and sat down…double crap. “You are going to have your baby tonight,” said the Attending physician on call. I remember freaking out because it was too early. Peanut had 6 more weeks to cook! I was informed that I was in severe pre-eclampsia and high risk for seizures and liver failure. I also needed a C-Section because she was completely breach. To top it off, I was told I was having contractions every 4 minutes and starting to dilate. She was coming out one way or the other! They stepped out to let me process and I called my husband and told him to get here as soon as possible (I previously told him to stay at work and not come in).
While waiting for my husband to grab the hospital bags and make the 45 minute drive, things got crazy. I had an IV started, was strapped up to monitors, started on fluids and an awful magnesium drip to prevent seizures, had a catheter placed (ugh), and given the beta shot to develop Peanut’s lungs. The magnesium drip has a lot of lovely side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness so I wasn’t allowed out of bed at all. After this was all done, a new nurse walked in and asked me if I had a birth plan (yea…walking, natural birth, no medications, no C-Section, sit in a bath tub). I looked at her and asked if it even mattered at this point. Then a NICU nurse practitioner came in and said that my daughter would likely visit the NICU for a while but would be the “Grandma” of the unit.
My husband made it in and we hung out while they got the team together for the surgery. It took a little while because I was one of 4 urgent C-Sections pending so they had to call some people in. Consents were signed, I was prepped, and it was time to go. My husband waited outside of the OR while I was rolled in and got my spinal. I was shaking with fear and hated being a patient….I was always the nurse. I sat at the side of the table while one of almost twenty people did my spinal and I immediately couldn’t move. Then my husband was there and within 5 minutes Avery Mae was out! She was blue at first but after a bit of stimulation, she let out a beautiful, strong cry! I sent my husband over to the table where she was being worked on. She needed some oxygen and was struggling with labored breathing so was immediately taken to the NICU for help. There went my husband and my new baby while I was left alone being closed up on the table.
I had never felt more alone despite being surrounded by people. I didn’t even get to hold her. I gave her a super fast kiss on the forehead before she was whisked away. I don’t think I have ever been more scared and overwhelmed than that moment. After two crazy weeks in the NICU (see upcoming blog about this experience), she went home and is now a healthy, goofy, and happy three month old. It was a bumpy ride but we made it! I love my strong preemie!
This Caffeinated Momma