I always figured that being pregnant wouldn't be easy and I always knew that because of my medical history it could possibly make pregnancy a little more difficult than average, but the roller coaster ride that was my pregnancy with Logan was more than I had anticipated.
At six weeks pregnant I met with the nurse practitioner to discuss my medical history and the changes that needed to be made with my medications. I also called up my endocrinologist to get his input. In the end it was decided to leave the medications for my hypophosphatemic rickets alone (its a genetic thing that affects my endocrine system and kidneys - really no biggie normally as long as I'm monitored) and my blood pressure medication changed to a "baby safe" pill (Yes, I have high blood pressure. Have since I was 14 although no one has ever really been able to explain why a healthy active 14 yr old becomes hypertensive suddenly). At this there were no worries; Justin and I were floating on a nice baby high...
We had our second appointment in the Women's Clinic and met our OB/GYN for the first time. Things were dreamy at first...there was an ultrasound and we got to see our baby - Logan - for the first time! He was swimming around like crazy making it hard for our doc to get a good look at him! But he was in there and he was healthy and beautiful. Medical concerns were brought up afterwards and it was discussed how best to proceed through this pregnancy. It was decided that at 20 weeks I would have a more in-depth ultrasound and meet with a prenatal specialist. Our doctor was very positive about the whole situation, and we left feeling great.
While in the hospital getting some routine lab work done for my endocrinologist Justin and I ran into a friend of ours in radiology. She sneaked us into the ultrasound lab, rounded up a technician, and gave us our second look at our baby. So much had changed in six weeks - that little round, gray, wiggly lump now looked like a baby! Oh, and it was very evident that that baby was a "he"! We were so excited to know!
By this point I had been to the doctor a number of times - more often than normal as we were making an effort to regulate my blood pressure on the new medication. At 20 weeks things seemed to cruising along pretty well, but our doctor still set us up to see the prenatal specialist. We had to drive an hour away. Once there first up was the ultrasound. It was very extensive and long as the technician took all kinds of measurements and pictures of every part of Logan (she also told us he was a boy and we acted surprised of course...). Then it was on to the specialist. He was less concerned with my rickets - other than the added strain that pregnancy would continue to place on my kidneys - and more concerned with my high blood pressure. Though it was under control at the moment he feared that as Logan continued to grow and put more strain on my circulatory system my blood pressure would become harder to control. My risk for preeclampsia would be very high as would Logan's risk for intrauterine growth restriciton as a result. It would be very important for me through the third trimester to have regular ultrasounds and non-stress tests to monitor Logan all of which could be done locally by my doctor. All in all, we left the appointment feeling pretty good about everything.
I went to my regular doctor's appointment ready to talk to my doctor about how poorly I was feeling - I had headaches, dizziness, nausea, and had started to notice more and more swelling in my hands and face. When I got to the appointment I found out my doctor was on vacation for the next two weeks and that I would be seeing a "fill-in" doctor, and I was worried. The nurse checked my blood pressure - it was hovering in the 150's/100's. She asked me to lie down for five minutes and returned to check it again. Still it was too high. The doctor than came in told me to rest more and eat less salt and then left. I was stunned. So was the nurse I guess because when she saw me getting ready to leave she told me to sit back down and chased the doctor down. He returned to the room ordered some lab work, sent me to ultrasound, and told me to come back the following week. I was in tears by the time I made it to my car. I was scared and didn't know what was going on.
I returned the next week. My blood pressure was lower - not "safe" but lower. The doctor called it a success, told me to continue watching my salt intake, and told me to come back in a month. This time I was scared and angry! The next day I called the clinic and scheduled the first available appointment with my regular doctor upon his return from vacation. And I'm glad I did.
For the third week in a row I was back in the clinic, but this time I was prepared to get some answers. My doctor looked through my lab results which were "ok" and looked at the results of the ultrasound which showed that Logan was slightly smaller than average babies at that stage - nothing to worry about yet, but something to watch. He also did a non-stress test. As far as my blood pressure was concerned, I was maxed out on medication, but it improved upon resting. He decided to send me home on partial bed rest. I was allowed to go to work as long as I taught from my desk with my feet up and after work returned home and laid down - absolutely no kind of strenuous physical activity! I was also supposed to start coming in for weekly appointments and non-stress tests. For the first time in three weeks I felt better - not great - but at least I felt like things were being taken care of.
I went into one of my weekly appointments feeling less than amazing. I wasn't surprised to see that my blood pressure was extremely high again. I was surprised though - and scared out of my mind - when my doctor came in and sent me straight down to be admitted to Labor & Delivery! For the first time I put on the ugly pink hospital gown, crawled into one of the uncomfortable beds, and was strapped to a monitor. I called Justin and he came straight over from work. I gave up blood and urine to lab tech. Next came a portable ultrasound machine and a biophysical profile was done on Logan. Finally the doctor came to see me. He told me that I was pre-eclamptic and there were concerns that Logan was suffering from intrauterine growth restriction. But, do to my body's response to rest (my blood pressure fell back into normal levels when I was laying on my left side) and okay labs that he was sending me home - on total bed rest. I could walk to the bathroom to use the rest room and shower. I could sit up to eat or drink. Other than that I was to do nothing but lay there. I also was going to need to start coming to appointment twice a week, but I would no longer be seen at the clinic. Instead I had to check in to Labor & Delivery for each appointment. I was told that with luck I would be able to carry Logan to 36 weeks - a much safer early delivery date.
And so began my bed rest...it was fun...for about three days. Then it became unbearably boring. And scary. My days were filled with books, day time television (we didn't have cable or satelite), blood pressure checks (I'm a pro at taking my own), and hourly kick counts. Thank God for all of the great friends who stopped by to visit, brought me movies, and drove me to and from doctor's appointments while Justin was at work.
Bed rest = comfy clothes, no make-up, and bad hair. That was probably the best part about bed rest...aside from improving my and Logan's health that is!
I went to the hospital twice a week for two weeks. One appointment each week was just for a non-stress test and usually only took 2-3 hours. The other appointment each week included not only a non-stress test, but an ultrasound and lab work - they also lasted 4-6 hours. I left each one breathing a sigh of relief that I got to go home again each time. Bed rest (and lets face it - a lot of prayer) had helped lower my blood pressure and almost eliminate all my sympotms of pre-eclampsia! At my 36 week appointment my doctor commented that he thought I just might carry Logan to full term after all! Big sigh of relief!
Despite the fact that bed rest sucked and sucked bad things were going along really well. Then the night before my 38 week appointment (and 24th birthday) I started feeling really sick, and I slept horribly. I finally got out of bed that mornig, choked down a bowl of cereal, and sent Justin off to work assuring him that I was "fine" and not to forget he had promised me an ice cream cake for my birthday. Then I waited for my friend to show up to take me to my 9:00 appointment. And I was worried - I knew what I was feeling was a bad sign.
Sure enough my blood pressure was too high again. It was a lab work/ultrasound appointment, but I never made it to the ultrasound part. My preliminary lab work came back bad - I was showing all the signs of pre-eclampsia again. My doctor came in and told me I was being admitted and induced that morning. Sure enough by 10 - only an hour after showing up for my appointment - I was back in a hospital gown tucked into my very own room with and IV and a pitocin drip. I think I was in shock because I'll I can remember thinking is There goes having any birthday cake for me today...
Tomorrow: The Birth of Logan (minus all the gory details - I promise!)