Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nolan's Birth Story (LONG)

Well many people have wondered what the heck happened causing Nolan to come early so here it is...

Monday 6/1- Appointment with my normal OB's (who I love) and the ultrasound showed 2.9ish AFI (amniotic fluid) which is NO GOOD. I am normally around 7-9 (Not the greatest but better) The Doctor sent me down to Labor & Delivery triage to get some fluids and sent me home on bed rest. His biggest concern was was viability. Nolan's size at the time concerned him because even though he was over 24 weeks (viability) he still wasn't the size of a 24 weeker and he was worried about admitting me and having to do a c-section if his heart rate dropped and Nolan not making it. We decided that we would go back to Fetal Maternal (the one I didn't like) but I would see a different doctor to determine the next step. My OB was also concerned with his cord and lack of fluid and he was concerned something would happen with in the next 3-5 days. I told him he was nuts in a joking way and I wouldn't let that happen as I fought back tears.

So we went home and started my bed rest. I increased my fluids & protein, laid on my left side A LOT. This week was one VERY STRESSFUL week. I think we were at the hospital 4 out of 5 days, getting labs done, NST's for no fetal movement, steroid shots for his lung maturity and ect. So obviously every time they checked my blood pressure it was higher than normal but we chalked it up to stress and nerves. And on Wednesday it was 112/80 (normal) and it was taken after we had some decent news. SO, I just thought my BP was higher because of stress. On top of this, Chris was not sleeping at all. He was working night shifts all week but dragging me to all these appointments when he was suppose to be sleeping. Poor guy. But I do give him an award for not missing one single appointment or ultrasound the entire pregnancy. (We also have jobs that allow him to do so, thankfully)

Saturday night I went to bed with a decent headache which was abnormal for me. I also had new onset of heartburn this week, but again...another pregnant symptom and I ignored it.

Sunday, I was getting stubborn being on bed rest and wanted to go get a sub at Publix. I had a minor headache and thought what the heck I will check my blood pressure while I was there. The specialist did have me do a 24 hour urine to check for preeclampsia earlier in the week and I had just turned it in on Thursday so what would it hurt if they haven't called me yet with results? Since Chris was sleeping because he had to work I decided to escape the house. Right before I left, Mary called...I told her what was going on and she insisted on going to Publix for me and she also was bringing my grandpas BP machine over so I could check my BP.

Well the BP machine gave a reading of 183/112. Ya, no good. So I called the OB's and he told me to take some meds, lay down for 30 minutes and call back with a new reading. So 30 minutes later it was the same, so he told me to go back to L&D triage to be checked out. (They knew be by first name there...sad huh)

My BP readings weren't changing so he decided to admit me to monitor my BP, give some BP meds and do another 24 hour urine. I told him I had already done a 24 hr urine that FM ordered and turned that in 2 days ago so he went and checked that. He said my number was about 300 and that is borderline preeclampsia. He also said I had stumped him again with everything because ALL my labs were normal once again. I wasn't upset about being admitted, it actually made me feel better that they could keep a better watch on Nolan and me. BUT, I was going to miss another cardiologist appointment that we had scheduled in Tampa in the morning..once again I convinced Nolan didn't want us to see his heart.

Before going up to my room, my favorite FM Dr came in (sarcastic) She stressed for the 40th time that Nolan would not survive if he was born because he was too small, blah blah blah...they wouldn't be able to get an ET tube down him, blah blah blah. And she was SO CONCERNED about my headache. Well it was gone, thankfully b.c my OB said she would have whisked me right to c-section if I still had a headache. I was so freaking confused by all of this. Yes I work in medical but none of this was my area and wasn't making any sense to me.

The BP meds brought my BP down the first time I took them and the nurse even thought I would be discharged with PIH and on BP meds and I would do well on those. I was all comfy in my new room, Chris brought P.Js and my laptop so I was all set. The nurses were all so sweet and were very calming. I had NO WORRIES. Sure I had a high BP, but at least the meds were helping.

About 2am my headache came back and it was about time for another BP pill, so she gave it to me. My BP's never responded to the meds this time. I think I scared the poor tech taking my BP's out of the room because my BP was so high. So she drew my labs again, and called my OB back.

She returned with fluids and told me I could have nothing by mouth now. I knew exactly what this meant...he was worried the specialist was going to come in and c-section me. Little did I know. I then text Valorie and told her for the first time I thought I was going to loose it. She said she was just getting out of work and would be right there. I called my mom, but told her I had a feeling the specialist was going to come in and scare me again, but my OB wouldn't act prematurely so I would be okay.

Fast forward to 10 minutes later. 630am

The specialist came in and told me I am very sick and that we HAD to deliver Nolan. I absolutely lost it. She told me my morning labs showed my liver enzymes had shot up and I was in HELLP syndrome that is life threatening to me as the Mother. I STILL didn't believer her and I wouldn't consent to c-section until I saw my normal OB. I was convinced I could just be given some more meds, and monitored until Nolan found it ready to come out. (I had NO CLUE how serious HELLP was at the time)

With in 5 minutes, Dr F arrived. THANK GOD it was her, she knew EVERYTHING that Chris and I have been through. she knew how stubborn I was and how much I had fought for Nolan. She also knew how much hope we had that everything would be okay. So I knew what ever came out of her mouth would be what I would have to do.

YUP, she said it...We needed to deliver Nolan now to save my life. Seriously?! I had to trust her- she knew what was best. So she came in to check to see if he was still breech to decide if it would be an induction or c-section, he was breech so I had to have a c-section. She explained the HELLP syndrome a little more and said how the only cure is to deliver Nolan or else I can get even more sick and end up in ICU, on a vent or even need a liver transplant. Next thing I knew...4 nurses were in my room trying to prep me for the OR as I am balling my eyes out. I kept saying over and over, he's not ready, we have no name for him...this can't be happening. I'm sure the nurses we're ready to shoot me. Thank god for Valorie holding my hand through all this as Chris called all the family.

It seriously felt like I was living a dream. I would have laughed in your face if you told me 12 hours prior I would be delivering Nolan. I cried the entire way through the hallway and kept repeating 'We don't even have a name", and this is when Chris said..."do you want to name him Nolan? He's going to have to fight throught this..."

Holy crap! I wasn't going to let his one slip out of my hands. YES! But I still continued to cry up the elevator, through the pre-op and even as they finished my pre-op stuff. Thank GOD it was Dr F, she seemed to calm me somehow...I just felt safe. I knew I had to put everything in Gods hands. I knew Nolan would fight. The NICU knew we wanted everything done. I was convinced he was over 500g, so that made me feel a little better.

Next thing I knew...I was in the OR, I was asking annoying questions, trying to keep my mind settled. I was driving everyone crazy with questions as they prepped me. I wanted to know about the NICU team, the foley, the cuts. ANYTHING to calm me down. I hated my c-section. But the best part was hearing Nolan squeak when she pulled him out. The nurse came to let me know how well he was doing and that they WERE able to get a breathing tube in and that his APGARS were GREAT. Even Dr F was surprised and said some of her full term babies don't even get those APGARS. The rest of the surgery was a blur..but DR F told me later on that I wasn't the easiest to put back together so I guess that's why, they kept me pretty knocked out after THANK GOD.

You know the rest after since I was able to update. I am SO thankful I was able to have one of the 5 OB's on my team that was VERY VERY familiar with our case. It put me at ease. I kept telling her how thankful I was that she was there to deliver him, I probably told her over 50 times. But remember I was all on drugs too so I kept repeating myself. I'm so happy he showed everyone he was going to put up a fight and not give up right away. I love my little Nolan. I miss him more and more everyday. I can't stop asking, why us? We are healthy individuals that have been dreaming of being parents for a long time and couldn't wait to get that wedding over with. We wanted to start our family so bad, but now our family feels so empty without Nolan still here. TRUST ME, it's not the same visiting him in a memorial garden. We feel so empty. We went up there today to change out his flowers, the Florida heat is killing the pretty real ones, so for the time being he has a fake arrangement that I made with love.

It feels so weird not to be pregnant anymore. I don't have to wear my maternity clothes anymore, I can have a glass of wine and I can lay on my stomach, and no more bathroom breaks every 15 minutes. But all these things bring tears to my eyes because it reminds me how Nolan isn't here anymore. I am trying so hard to stay strong. Thankfully my body recovered from the c-section and HELLP fairly decently. My blood pressures have been great the past few days and I'm pretty much off all pain meds for my c-section. I am so happy I checked my blood pressure that Sunday, it enabled me to be admitted and they were able to catch the HELLP right when it started. It could have gotten way worse, and I could have gotten VERY sick. Nolan saved my life by coming out, and he sure did put up one good fight. I love you little guy.

Sorry this is so long.
More information about HELLP Syndrome if your curious about it.


Mrs. Goodson...Woo Hoo!! said...

I am just amazed at your strength & as always I will keep your family in my thoughts & prayers! God Bless.

Laura said...

*tears* I too am inspired by your strength and courage, Ashley. Again, my heart aches for you and I pray that you continue to find the strength you need. One day, Nolan will be looking down on his baby brother or sister SO proud! ***HUGS***

~Mrs. JMS~ said...

I just found your blog...and dont know the entire story but I want to just let you know that your story and struggles are inspiring.

Your dreams will come to reality once again. Bug hugs and many prayers for your family.

mryrecon said...

Stay strong Ashley! Remember there are others out there with similar stories. Albeit mine was 20 years ago. If you need to talk come find me on the ND board.

Sara B said...

I'm so sorry, Ashley. I am crying reading this. I had HELLP too and I said the same thing when the doctors told me they had to deliver my son early "he's not ready!" They explained to me that I would not survive if they waited longer and of course, then, the baby would not survive. I am so very very sorry for your loss. I will pray for your heart to heal and that one day you will experience a baby with the joy that you and Chris deserve.

Donna said...

Ashley - I found your blog through the preeclampsia forums. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know how hard it is to get through the first few weeks and months. My daughter Ellie died after being born at 23 weeks in January 2007 due to severe preeclampsia. You can e-mail me anytime if you need some support. I'll be thinking of you often.

Kimberly said...

Thanks for sharing your story Ashley. You are so strong! We continue to pray for you and Chris. I know someday you will be blessed with more children and big brother Nolan will always be their guardian angel. (((hugs)))

Robyn said...

You are an incredible strong person and somehow you will make it through this. Nolan was not only a fighter but so were you. Nolan must be so proud of his mama for trying so hard to save his little life.

cmatsukes said...

Oh ashley I can feel your hurt in each word. But this is good you can get it all out it helps to do that. I know everyone is going on as you say BLAH BLAH BLAH but I know you are strong etc but it will be awhile before you get back to normal but I think the more you talk about it and get your feelings out you will start to heal and will start to remember only the good memories of Nolan and not the sorrow hang in there girl it will get better.