On the 24th of November 2013, we received the most precious gift of our lives; two distinct lines on a home pregnancy test kit.
The forty-week journey was fraught with joy, excitement, anxiety and drama – both hormonal and medical in nature. Oh, the hormonal rollercoaster of pregnancy both suffered by mom and dad-to-be! We were finally blessed with a little one and we were happy and content as can be.
We had our first ultrasound scan at 6 weeks and we were beyond happy upon seeing the tiny heart beating. But, I had to take time off work because beside my lil beanie has a subchorionic hemorrhage (SCH). The SCH resolved with medication in three days; however, it rebound and grew in size and even became bigger than my little one.
The days on bed rest were time well spent. I read as many books as I could; I made bed linens for the crib, and I lay still in wonder and amazement at the tiny movements in my belly as she made her presence known.
At 20 weeks, we were able to confirm that we were having a baby girl. ☺ I’ve always wanted a daughter and have always liked the name, Sophia Isabelle. We were able to glimpse at her perfect little hands and feet at her 20-week scan. The SCH had disappeared but her placenta was lying low. By week 24, I was diagnosed with placenta previa; thus, prompting me to resign from work.
Sophia’s first photoshoot at In My Womb ❤
Fast forward to week 37. On my weekly doctor’s appointment, I was surprised to find out that my blood pressure went up to 136/80. I chalked it up to the humid weather and anxiety over the upcoming birth. I had tests taken and preeclampsia was ruled out as the protein level in my urine was within normal range. The cervix was still high and closed at the internal exam.
Sophia Isabelle’s expected due date was drawing near and my blood pressure has not returned to its normal values. I had this dusky complexion, which I ascribed to pregnancy hormones. I also observed edema on my feet but was told that it was a normal pregnancy symptom. As long as my protein levels were okay, it was not preeclampsia.
On the early morning of July 24th, 2 days before her due date; I woke up from sleep with a bad case of migraine. I checked my blood pressure and was alarmed to see that it was at 154/90. I immediately informed my doctor and was advised to come in for an induction.
At the doctor’s office, my BP persisted in the high range of 140-170/80-90. I was asked to head straight to the High Risk Pregnancy Unit at the OB-GYNE Complex. I was confined at around 4PM and at exactly 6PM; they started my induction. They administered the meds necessary to ripen the cervix, as it was 0% dilated and effaced. They were also monitoring the baby’s heart rate and the contractions.
After 8 hours and 2 rounds of medication to open the cervix, still no progress. I have also been strapped in bed the entire time. My mom and I had to beg my OB and the nurses to allow me to walk around and stretch my legs. They finally did and what a relief! It was a great feeling to be able to use the bathroom and not the bedpan!
Another round of medication to open the cervix and after more than 24 hours, finally made progress with 1cm and 70% effacement. At this point, I was already bleeding after numerous internal examinations.
Contractions were starting to get more intense and frequent and they administered oxytocin to help speed up labor. Although I was having fairly severe contractions, I was not in pain and was actually looking forward to enter active labor. (I have a high tolerance for pain ;-p)
Sophia Isabelle’s due date arrived and yet I was stalled at 1cm, I walked the halls from 11PM till 12 midnight hoping to progress further. My OB checked me at 2AM and still no change. I was asked to walk again from 3AM to 4AM. Thus, for an hour, with hardly any sleep at all; with blood running down my legs and my symphisis pubis dysfunction making me waddle like a duck and wince with pain with every step; I walked and walked and walked around the OB-GYNE Complex.
Picture taking during my walk. Too bad we were not allowed to explore beyond the OB-Gyne Complex. I would have loved to look at the paintings scattered throughout the hospital. St. Luke’s is like a museum.
I felt confident that all that walking made my baby drop further and helped dilate my cervix. The oxytocin also made the contractions stronger and this made me feel like active labor is just around the corner with my doctor declaring, “You’re at 8CM!” on the next cervical check. I decided to sleep while I can to ensure that I had the energy to push my baby out.
At around 5AM, my OB along with a bevy of nurses woke me up and informed me that my baby’s heart rate started to drop. An oxygen mask was strapped to my face and Jason and my mom were informed that they would need to operate. Without any preamble, I was wheeled to the OR. Throughout my pregnancy, it had been my goal to avoid a C-Section most especially when I found out that the placenta moved up allowing me to birth my child vaginally. Then again, things don’t always go as planned and I have learned to roll with the punches and accept the unexpected. Thus, I was oddly calm and was honestly relieved that I would finally get to meet my beautiful child in a short while. However, I couldn’t stop shaking.
My OB held my hand and prayed for my child and I while the catheter was inserted for the anesthesia. I was mildly surprised that it wasn’t as painful as people described. Once the preparations were done, Jason was asked to enter the operating room.
I heard my doctor call, “First cut!” Oh My God! This is it! Breathe in and out. Think about your baby and not the knife. I heard one of the nurses call out from across the room saying that my 24-hour urine catch result was out. Protein level was at 700(?). I didn’t understand what this meant but instinctively I knew that I had preeclampsia. I kept waiting to hear her cry and I was wondering why it was taking so long. I could feel the doctor pulling her out and I felt them tug, tug, tugging on her. I closed my eyes and it seemed like the operating table was moving. And like a miracle, I heard her sweet cry and she was like a banshee. ☺ The fetal distress was due to her cord twisting around like a telephone cord. We are forever grateful that she was delivered on time and despite the drop with her heart rate she scored a perfect 9/9 on her APGAR. While the doctors continued working on me, I heard them say that my blood pressure was back to normal. That was such a relief! They took my perfect little angel to the side and my doctor began to clean her up. She weighed 7.15 pounds at birth! I was bursting with joy but I started to feel pain rising up from my left nape slowly spreading towards the right side. I thought that it was just “ngawit” from lying flat on the table. So I shook it off as well as the nausea that I felt. Throughout the process, I was shaking from the chest up. The doctors were trying to assure me that the operating room was a bit cold to account for my uncontrolled shivering.
The nausea started to overwhelm me and I informed the anesthesiologist that I needed to vomit. After which I was advised that they would put me to sleep for the mean time so I could rest for the flurry of activities later.
While I was sleeping, I found out that my blood pressure started to rise after the baby and the placenta was delivered. Oh Lord! I now have eclampsia.
At the recovery room, the nurse told me that they would be administering 4 shots of magnesium sulfate. At that point, I was not aware that I had progressed to eclampsia. I just said okay and gritted my teeth to the painful injection. (Thank God the anesthesia had not worn off yet.)
We also had to cancel my room reservation at the 8th floor maternity ward as I had to stay at the High Risk Pregnancy Unit for continued monitoring. I had wires attached to my body for my BP, heart rate, oxygen level, etc. It was uncomfortable and annoying to be literally tethered to your bed. I also had to breastfeed my newborn as well as endure magnesium sulfate shots that are, by the way, the most painful injection that I ever had. The injection left an egg-sized bump on four corners of my buttocks and though the bump had shrank in size, I could still feel tenderness on the injection sites after a month of receiving them.
Despite all these challenges, I was determined to recover as soon as possible. At 1day post partum and after being released from the High Risk Preg Unit, I was sitting up in bed and standing up with assistance. At 2 days post-partum, I could go to the bathroom on my own. At 3 days, I was moving around and caring for my baby. On day 4, I was discharged from the hospital.
It took a month for my blood pressure to go back to normal and I was able to successfully wean my baby from formula milk. She is exclusively breastfed and is still breastfeeding like a champ at 14 months old. There are certainly more drama and challenges along the way but I know that we would be able to overcome all these because family and friends who love and support us surround us.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our story. Please feel free to send us your comments and feedback.
Have a great day!