I was going to do this before news about Maddie, but I had put it off long enough I was about to just write out a check (or click through an internet form) and be done with it for this year. However, that news has made me realize that I need to do something. I'm Marching for the Babies not just for Maddie, but for me, for M, and for all of the babies that were born early, or very nearly early.
So, here is my story.
Somewhere around 30 weeks or so, my blood pressure started creeping up. I hadn't been paying too close of attention to it, but it hadn't really been low during my pregnancy. Which is interesting because normally it is low enough to cause me issues with donating blood. When they started talking to me about it, I was blissfully ignorant. Fully swimming in the river of denial. I shouldn't have been.
It started off as just high blood pressure, but just to make sure there wasn't anything else going on, I got some extra monitoring, weekly appointments, and a lot of peeing in cups and blood draws. There was also this really horrible thing called a 24 hour urine catch. I had to clean out a LOT of space in the fridge for that one.
At 37 weeks, just past the prematurity mark, I went in for what we thought would be a regular apt. A wasn't even going to go except he had a hair cut downtown. After another high blood pressure reading, they sent us tot he hospital for some blood work. They even told us we shouldn't be there long. Man were they wrong.
In the half an hour to took to get from the Dr. office to the hospital, I had started spilling protein into my urine. I very officially had preeclampsia. I was told in no uncertain terms that she was going to be there within the day. When they went to start my induction, they realized I was already in labor, and my blood pressure was rising quickly. Rising enough that some of them were surprised I was coherent. I got a "strongly suggested" epidural (to lower my blood pressure) and M was born the next morning with only a few hitches along the way. (cord around neck, slower to scream, shoulders got stuck, you know, small stuff)
I was lucky. I was so incredibly lucky that it developed late, that she went home almost right away, that she was HUGE (nearly 8 pounds), and that the worst thing that has happened since then is she's got a touchy respiratory system and tubes in her ears. (which could totally just be genetics)
I know that it could have been very different. I know that if I want to have another kid that I risk having complications that aren't so lucky.
It is why I'm marching, it is why I'm working to lose weight (one of the only known possible risk factors for preeclampsia) and why I tell anyone I know about happened to me. I had stellar OB care, and I got lucky.
I don't want to take away anything from the donations made for Maddie to the March of Dimes, so if you're a friend or family member, it is you I'm hitting up here.