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Jack's NICU Journey
May 20, 2016 Latest post:
Jul 17, 2016
On Monday May 9th I went in for a routine 28 week OB appointment. At my appointment my blood pressure was very elevated. My entire adult life and my pregnancy thus far I have never had high blood pressure so this was in fact quite abnormal for me. I didn't have a clue that I had high BP because I had no headaches or changes in my vision. The nurse took my pressure twice and then my doctor came in and took it and within a matter of minutes it went even higher. She decided to do some additional lab work and brought me to another room to lay on my left side while the nurse came in every 30 minutes to check my BP. After two hours she said I could leave but asked me to come back Tuesday to recheck it and go over lab work results.
On Tuesday Marvin and I went together to my appointment. As soon as we got there my Dr walked in and told me she had just got off the phone with Dr Palmquist, a perinatologist, and it was decided that based off of my labs I had a diagnosis of HELLP syndrome with preeclampsia and needed to be admitted ASAP with the probability of our son being born within the next week.
This was very shocking to me as I had no physical symptoms and felt fine. HELLP syndrome is a very serious and very rare pregnancy complication. Nothing causes it and nothing can be done to prevent it. I just got lucky I guess.
She advised us to go immediately to Avera Labor and Delivery for admission. She told us we shouldn't even go home first.
Once we walked through the doors to L&D they were waiting for me. Within an hour the CNP for Dr Palmquist was there and brought me to US. The US showed uterine growth restriction and very little blood flow to the baby from the placenta. They guessed that the baby was roughly 1 lb 10 ounces. He was also in a transverse breech position. She told us that the baby needed to come out as soon as possible. They were going to start me on magnesium sulfate via IV to prevent seizures (eclampsia) and start steroids to help mature baby's lungs as much as possible. They wanted me to get two doses of steroids in (two shots 24 hours apart)and then deliver him the morning after my 2nd shot. They would continue to monitor the baby's heart beat the entire time and told us if his heart beat ever dropped he would be delivered immediately via emergency C-section.
Baby's heart rate stayed normal Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday morning at nine Dr Picconi, the perinatologist on call that day, came in and told us that 930 we would be going to the OR to deliver the baby.
Jack was born at 9:52. He weighed 1 lb 12 ounces at birth. Head circumference of 9 inches and length of 14.4 inches. They discovered during the surgery that the placenta was almost dead. They said it was very small and weak and Jack wouldn't have survived off it much longer. That is why he was very small for 28 weeks.
Marvin was able to go with him to the NICU immediately after birth. I went back to my room to recover and unfortunately be put back on the magnesium for another 24 hours. HELLP syndrome does not go away with birth. Some women don't get diagnosed until after birth or it can get worse after delivery so to insure I didn't have a seizure while sitting up there with my son I needed to continue on it for one more day. I was finally able to see my baby about 30 hours after he was born.