Thursday, June 13, 2013

still falling on the wrong side of statistics

This post could also be titled, "How Dr. Save my Life."

If you read my previous post, you know that I got my much wanted VBAC and found it to be much better and easier than my C-section.  MBL, Finn, and I enjoyed 2 nights in the hospital post birth, even going as far as ordering pizza the last night we were there as we knew it would be pretty non-stop once we were home again.  We were discharged around noon on Monday, May 20th and we were pretty excited to get back home and back into every day life, especially since we had seen Piper so little over the previous 3 days.  We all took naps and then ordered Thai food for dinner.  We got to bed at a decent hour and Finn slept awesome!  Everything seemed great until about 5am the following morning.  I woke up to feel a migraine coming on.  It started in the back of my head and wrapped itself around my neck and up the sides of my face.  I also had heartburn.  I thought it might have been from the thai food we had the night before--maybe MSG poisoning?  I took a Tyl.enol, a Vico.din, and some ibuprofen.  Around 6:00 or so, I decided that laying down was actually making my head hurt worse, so I went downstairs and told MBL to bring me Finn if he woke up.

Not long after I had settled myself in the recliner, MBL appeared with Finn.  At this point I had done some googling on migraines post partum and the scariest thing I read said that it could be post partum pre-eclampsia as the first and most prominent symptom is usually a headache.  After getting Finn latched on, I had MBL go get the blood pressure monitor so we could see what mine was.  He took it once and got 180/90.  I took it and got 190/90.  At this point, we decided to call my doc. While we were waiting for her to call back, MBL took it again on my other arm and got 190/100.  When she called back she had MBL take it again, but made him pump it up even higher as she was concerned we weren't getting the top number accurately.  MBL got 200/110.  I'm a 110/60 kind of girl and only had a few readings of 135/80 with Piper's pregnancy and absolutely nothing over 125/75 this pregnancy.  My OB noticed that on my chart and said that we couldn't wait until the office opened at noon and we needed to head to the ER immediately.

I was home for less than 24 hours and found myself headed back to the hospital for what I was pretty sure would be a 24 hour stay.  We called my mom, who had left for work for the day, and told my dad what was going on and that we needed to leave both our kids with him (including our 3 day old).  We were out the door within 20 minutes.  We arrived at the ER and I was thinking that maybe all of this was a fluke...  Maybe MBL took my blood pressure incorrectly or maybe it was just exhaustion or maybe my blood pressure spiked because my head hurt so bad.  I kept thinking that maybe I was just being overly dramatic.  They took me back to triage and it was confirmed that I was not being a drama pants...  My blood pressure was 180/100.  Within an hour and a half of arriving, they had done a CT scan, a chest xray, and an EKG.  They had also given me a bag of Magnesium Sulfate.  My favorite part was when they were able to rule out head trauma or any issues with my heart because it meant that I could finally be given something for my headache! A dose of dem.erol later and I was feeling a little better.  The ER doctor came in and told me my OB was on the phone and that I needed to speak with her.  She told me I was officially being diagnosed with "atypical late onset post partum pre-eclampsia" and that I had earned myself at least 24 hours in the hospital on a magnesium drip.  We called my parents to let them know I was being admitted and soon we were on our way back up to Labor & Delivery.

I spent the next 24 hours on the Mag which meant I could only have popsicles/toast/ice/water, I couldn't get up to go to the bathroom alone, and they had to measure my "output".  By the end of those 24 hours I couldn't stand up alone and could barely hold my eyes open.  All of that meant that I couldn't hold my baby (who had also been admitted due to jaundice and low body temp) and the meds I was given for my massive migraine meant that I had to pump and dump.  Not at all how I imagined the first few days of my baby's life going.  My BP finally went down to an acceptable level (140/90) after I peed out 7 liters of fluid.  That's right, y'all, I was retaining over 2 gallons worth of fluid!  It seems that getting rid of that was all I needed to get out of hypertensive crisis.  We were released on Thursday just in time for out of town visitors to arrive for Piper's birthday!

So, why the title of this post?  Well, pre-eclampsia occurs in 5-8% of pregnancies and is usually cured at delivery.  Post-partum pre-eclampsia that occurs ONLY after birth (as in I had no symptoms prior to delivery) happens in only 5.7% of pre-eclampsia cases, which means that I stood only a .3% chance of getting it.  In other words, I stood a 99.7% chance of NOT getting it, but get it I did.  Oh, and I didn't mention it in my birth story, but Finn was born with a true knot in his cord.  Having that happen is VERY rare (1 in 2000 births or .0005% of pregnancies).  Our nurse (who has worked OB/L&D for 15+ years) said that when they find it on ultrasound they usually admit the patient around 32 weeks for constant monitoring and then take the baby around 37/38 weeks.  I NEVER would have been allowed to VBAC if they had known.  Basically Finn and I are both extraordinarily lucky to be alive and well.  Often post partum pre-eclampsia isn't diagnosed until after the mother has suffered seizures and I caught it before that point.  And having a true knot can be really dangerous for the baby, but Finn was born without any issues, he didn't even have a problem tolerating labor.  I am counting my blessings and praising God that I have access to good medical care.  I have also declared that no one can make fun of me for being scared of rare complications in my next pregnancy as I am walking proof that it is possible to fall on the wrong side of statistics more often than not!!


  1. Wow!! I'm so glad you and Finn are okay! That is all so so scary! I hope you are well now and your life normalizes so you can enjoy your new baby stress free!

  2. Oh my goodness. How scary! Thank you so much for raising awareness about this issue. I hope that lots of people read this post so that they can be aware of the symptoms and monitor themselves postpartum.

  3. WOW, I just getting catching up on my blog reading and I missed this one!!! I'm so glad you caught it early and everyone is OK. The MAG is AWFUL. I can't imagine having to be on it right after giving was bad enough when I was pregnant.