My first appointment with my OB in my third trimester started out as a routine check-up, but quickly took a turn for the worse. The first abnormal thing they noticed was there were trace amounts of protein in my urine.
Throughout my pregnancy, I had blood pressures within the normal range, but on this day I had blood pressure readings ranging from 180/130 to 195/145.
The next suggestion that they gave me was doing a “no stress test” to monitor my daughter’s heart rate and my blood pressure for thirty minutes while laying down.
By the end of the test, my blood pressure levels had lowered a little, so they sent me home with an order to buy a blood pressure cuff and monitor my levels every hour to ensure they do not reach those levels again.
A few hours later, my OB office called and said I needed to admit myself to the hospital. They told me they already had a bed waiting for me, and that I was to go immediately for a 24-hour urine test to retest the amount of protein in my urine.
The doctor came by the next morning, with mixed news. She told me that the protein in my urine was a troubling thing, meaning that my kidneys were not processing protein correctly.
This could mean that my daughter was getting toxic substances transferred to her if my body was malfunctioning in this way.
She said that she would wait for the 24-hour urine test to be finished and processed before she could decide the severity of the preeclampsia they thought I had.
This was the first time someone had put a name on what was happening.
She said the best-case scenario would most likely be bed rest at the hospital for the remaining seven weeks of my pregnancy, but the worse case scenario would be giving birth early, possibly in the next few weeks.
They had to take me by ambulance to a different hospital to see the pregnancy specialist there.
My 24-hour urine test continued at this hospital, and they debriefed me about the next steps in the process. They told me I was going to have a sonogram, and get more blood work done.
A transport employee from the hospital came soon to take me to my sonogram.
Night came and went, and the next morning my husband and I were reviewing the breakfast options when we heard a knock on the door.
Asking if I had eaten breakfast yet (which I had not quite gotten around to), she told me that I was going to have my baby that morning, maybe even sometime within the next hour or two.
They assured me that this was a more common thing than I thought, and that everything would be okay.
It seems like yesterday that my husband and I sat in our dimly lit hospital room calling all of our friends and relatives to let them know of the early arrival.
They started me on a magnesium drip as soon as they realized that I was going to have an emergency cesarean section to prevent any possible seizures with my blood pressure being so high.
A few hours later that felt like minutes, a team of medical staff came to switch me to a different gurney to bring me into the surgical unit of the maternity ward.
The rest of my recollection from my time in the surgical room was mostly just a smattering of photographic memories in my mind.
I remember the anesthesiologist having an impossible time numbing me in my spine, and the nurse holding me in a ball around her arms to prevent my involuntary movement caused from being so frightened.
And then I remember when everything went numb.
The tugging and the pushing felt realistic and terrifying; I could only imagine what it would feel like if my body could still process the feeling of pain.
The first cry I heard did not come from next to me, but across the room.
Soon after she was born, my husband and daughter both left the surgical room to transport my daughter to her own hospital room in the NICU.
In the recovery room, I named our daughter. Coralee Mae Foltz: Born September 25, 2015 at 1:08 PM, weighing 3 pounds and 11 ounces.
Since I was still on the magnesium drip, I was not allowed to leave my bed to go see her or hold her for the first time for almost 26 hours after delivering her.
We were only now realizing the path that lay ahead of us.
From the author: As a graduate student in English, I decided to research and provide the answers to many common questions and concerns about caring for preemies. Although it can be a scary time, just know that you are not alone. Other parents have experienced the same things. I hope my book could be helpful in dealing with the uncertainty and anxiety that comes with the experience of caring for a premature baby.
The Petite Book of Preemie Care: Tips and Advice from the Mother of a Premature Baby by Anna Rose Foltz provides answers to many questions that may arise for parents and family members of a premature baby. You can preview the e-book by clicking here.
About Anna Rose
Anna Rose Foltz is the mother of a premature daughter born September 25, 2015. She is a stay-at-home mother and a graduate student at Bradley University. Foltz studied journalism and sociology as an undergraduate at Illinois State University. She lives with her husband and daughter in East Peoria, IL. This is her first e-book.