Ethan Gabriel born on October 30, 2010 at 31 weeks, 3 days
2 pounds, 15 ounces
NICU for 34 days
Birth, NICU Stay, Homecoming
I too can say I am a HELLP survivor. The month of October I had been having a lot of headaches and nausea but chalked it up to the start of the third trimester. My weight gain had become huge! Little did I know that is was fluid being retained in my body with no place to go.
I had an appointment on Wed 10/20 and everything seemed to be okay. Over the weekend my mother noticed my legs and ankles swelling a bit and I had a terrible headache that wouldn't quit. I thought it was because the bedroom windows were open to let the crisp, fall air in. Nope!
Monday 10/25 I went to work and when I went to pick up my son, Michael, at my mother's house, my legs were huge. She took my blood pressure and it was high. I went to the Doctor's immediately. They took my BP and it was 208 / 108. My protein in my urine was +4. The ambulance company would not come pick me up (due to the severity of the BP) so I was dropped off by my Doctor in her car at the hospital next door. They pumped me full of magnesium (enough to turn me into a rock according to the Ambulance Paramedic). I was transferred to a hospital with a NICU 30 minutes away.
Over the next 6 days a team of Doctors tried their best to control my blood pressure with pills, shots of hydralizine, and magnesium. Saturday 10/30/10 they decided to induce my labor. I begged for a C-Section but was unable to have one as I would have bled out as my body had very little platelets left in. They started the induction around 9am. I couldn't feel any contractions - the Doctors and myself were unsure why. Doctor checked me I was 6 cm dilated. Within 1 minute after she walked away I needed to push. I had gone from 6cm to fully dilated in about 1 minute! My blood pressure spiked to an all time high and they injected me with hyrdalizine which dropped it dangerously low. At that point I literally went blind. All I saw was a black circle - similar to an eclipse.
Ethan was born at 6:02 pm and whisked away to the NICU. They gave me my first glimpse of him which I wasn't even able to see him. My face started to go numb and droopy. At 3am me and my husband were awoken to Doctors informing me that they thought I had a stroke during delivery. I was terrified and speechless. My mind was racing with thoughts of my children, husband, and family. After a CT Scan and MRI stroke was ruled out - thankfully! However, I ended up having hemorrhages in my eyes and brain. It took about three months for my vision to return to normal. I am truly blessed by Ethan
- Remain patient. Preemies need a whole 'lotta love, holding, snuggling and caring!
- Get to know the Doctors and Nurses caring for your baby in the NICU.
- Talk to the other parents there. They are under a lot of the same stressors as you.
- Be informed of the stress signals of a preemie. Some hospitals don't inform you of them.
- Get your preemie involved with Early Intervention!! They are miracle workers!