Friday, September 17, 2010

Once upon time, Annyka Rae was born.

Although I know this story like the back of my hand, I can't guarantee some of the details might get a little fuzzy, so I decided it might not be a bad idea to keep somewhere where I can access it when needed:

I got pregnant in late September of 2004. The second week of October I was insanely tired (to the point of napping for FIVE hours in the backseat of a vehicle one evening while Jason played softball) and I missed my period on a Monday. I waited until Thursday night to take a home-pregnancy test, already being pretty positive of the results, but seeing the test definitely made it more real. I took Friday off and took my parents to lunch to tell them.

I had very little morning sickness in my first trimester. I only remember one day that I didn't feel well - it reminded me of the nausea of a hangover. However, at 13 weeks on the dot (the week of Christmas), I had a really bad bout of acid reflux one morning and about 4-5 mornings a week I would throw up from that point on - not nauseous, just a gag reflux that made me puke up bile every day. I honestly preferred that though to nausea and/or unpredictable vomit
I craved citrus fruits and juices (weird because those NORMALLY cause my acid reflux, but not in pregnancy), salads, baked potatoes and pineapple juice. I would go from zero to starving to death in about thirty seconds but could often not finish a meal because I would get full so quickly. I think I got full quickly because Annyka was really high in my abdomen. I could wear some of my regular jeans because my belly was all above the waistline of them. At last weigh-in, I had only gained 13 lbs.
I continued working out during most of my pregnancy too. I didn't run, but I did walk on the treadmill, lift lightweights and do core workouts with the swiss ball. The walking seemed to reduce swelling in my feet and ankles. 
I did have to go to L&D twice during my pregancy for unexpected bleeding, however both times it was determined that it was just a spot on my cervix that is easily irritated, not uterine or placental. I still spent several weeks of my pregnancy on pelvic rest though. The real problems were just getting started.
Around 20 weeks my blood pressure had started to rise slightly, but not alarmingly so my doctor started seeing me every 2 weeks. I went in for my routine 32 week appointment on a Friday afternoon - April 29 (my due date was June 20).
The nurse took my BP and asked if anything was going on in my life that may cause elevated BP. I had gotten a new boss at work and she was a bit of a micromanager, so I mentioned that. That week I had had a lot of trouble sleeping because of some pain under my ribs. Honestly it was the first time in my entire pregnancy that I had really started to feel annoyed with the whole thing. After all the necessary checks were done, Dr. Moon said “I am sending you directly to Labor & Delivery.” That was the first clue I had that anything was actually wrong. The signs I had been told to look for (ie read about) like headaches, swelling, blurred vision, were not syptoms I had, but my urine proteins were elevated and my BP was pretty high (she never actually told me what it was). Plus the pain I was feeling under my ribs was not Annyka’s little feet jamming into my ribs, it was my distended liver.
I spent the next 24 hours at St. Vincent’s doing a 24-hour urine test, non-stress tests (NST) and getting steroid shots for lung development. I was released on Saturday afternoon (after missing what would have been my baby shower) and put on strict bedrest with another appointment with Dr. Moon on Monday morning. Monday brought another NST and various other tests I don’t remember. The urine tests from Saturday put me in the “severe preeclampsia” range.
Unfortunately I only made about 10 more hours on bedrest. By evening, I was back in L&D to stay. I know they had me pee into the hat for awhile to check my protein. I remember my white count was high so they put me on an antibiotic. I remember that I was on magnesium sulfate and it didn’t make me nauseous but they still wouldn’t let me eat. But I think there’s also a lot I don’t remember. I was sent to have blood taken and an ultrasound done last on Tuesday morning.The baby's weight was estimated at 3 lbs 13 oz.
At 2 pm on Tuesday my blood results were back and Dr. Moon arrived in time to tell me that we were going to a C-section as soon as possible. She said my platelet count was so low that she wished she could retest it to rule out an error, but if it was correct, my risk of hemorrhage was so high that we had to go into surgery ASAP. Doctors and nurses from anesthesiology, the NICU and who knows what other departments came in to talk to me to tell me what to expect and I was taken for my spinal block.
I had no complications in surgery, except for some vomiting. I don’t remember Annyka making any noise when she was born at about 2:51 pm at 4lbs 2oz, 17 inches long (33 weeks gestation), but I do remember crying and asking if she was okay. She was, but seemed to have some fluid in her lungs so she was rushed to NICU. She was put on a CPAP for the first 12 hours of her life. She was given her first bath in the NICU and the nurses were kind enough to take some pictures of her on her birthday NOT hooked up to the monitors and machines (which I really appreciate). I met my daughter in the isolet that evening, but unfortunately due to all the drugs I was on (primarily morphine) I do not remember it. THAT breaks my heart. She spent 15 days in the NICU, a period of time in which I became incredibly grateful for NICU nurses!
Annyka’s breathing stabilized and the CPAP was removed, but her bilirubin levels were high so she was under a bili-light for a couple days. She also couldn’t maintain her body temperature well. My milk came in with a vengeance within 24 hours and I was able to pump colostrum and milk for them to put in the feeding tube she was on for the first 4 days. Unfortunately my body was struggling. I had very bad bruising from the surgery because of my platelet level, I wasn’t adjusting well to being off the catheter and my blood pressure was not dropping. I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 more days (released on Mothers Day!). Annyka was in the NICU for 15 days for her body to figure out how to maintain temperature and to make sure she was gaining weight.
She is now a completely normal almost 5-year-old in the middle of the growth charts. She had no additional complications after being released from the NICU (unfortunately I had a few more problems). I am eternally grateful for both the doctors and nurses who treated me AND those that treated Annyka during a really tough two weeks of our lives.

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