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Abraham's start to life was semi planned. My husband Andrew and I had always wanted children, but because of infertility on my part, the journey to parenthood took longer than expected. On July 10, 2011 I was taken to the ER thinking I had a UTI. Come to find out, I was pregnant. We were floored, yet extremely happy that after almost 8 years of marriage we were finally going to have our miracle baby due March 16, 2012.
My pregnancy was normal. I had morning sickness, cravings, aches, pains, the usual stuff that happens in pregnancy. I went to the hospital a few times for things I thought were scary, but turned out to be a normal part of pregnancy. I then continued to grow and at 20 weeks find out I was having a little boy. We decided to name him Abraham Darius.
When I reached 33 weeks, I went to the hospital for a rountine OB appointment. The tech discovered my blood pressure was elevated. I assumed it was due to the stress I had been under for the last week or so. They asked me to come back 2 days later for a blood pressure check. January 27, 2012 I went for the check. It was still elevated. The labor and delivery doctor happened to be in the area and saw my chart. He came in to tell me my blood pressure was too high and I needed to go to labor and delivery to be monitored. He felt my son was going to have to be born early. I was shocked. I told him I wasn't due until March 16. He understood my fears, but told me in cases of high blood pressure that I had to be monitored. So, I went upstairs and after getting strapped to the monitor, I called Andrew..who happened to be working downstairs in the ER. He came up to sit with me. The nurse ran in and asked me about my contractions. I told her I wasn't having them, but she said that they were showing up on the monitor and were regular. She checked me to discover that I was 2 cm dialated. I was shocked! I didn't even feel them. Next thing I knew, there were a lot of people in the room checking me, putting an IV in me so they can put me on magnesium sulfate which made me feel like crap. Then they put a catheter in me and gave me steroid shots to mature Abraham's lungs. While I was uncomfortable, I was more scared than anything. I was wondering why was my son coming now, why was my blood pressure elevated, why was my cervix opening, what was going to happen to my baby? Because the NICU at the hospital didn't work with babies younger than 36 weeks, I was transferred by ambulance to their sister hospital 45 minutes away.
The ride was uncomfortable, but the EMTS were very friendly and compassionate and helped put me at ease..somewhat. I don't remember too much of that day except that when I got checked again, I was 4 cm dialated. Everybody was on standby since it looked like I was delivering that day. The doctors and nurses worked overtime to stop my labor and after several hours, they did. I stopped dialating and the contractions completely stopped. I was put on 24 hour urine collection and not allowed to get out of bed at all. Strict bedrest.
24 hours later, one of the doctors came in to tell me I had preeclampsia. Andrew and I were shocked at the news. I didn't know I was at risk for coming up with anything like that. I had been faithful at taking my prenatal vitamins, I exercised, didn't drink or smoke, tried to keep my stress levels low in spite of the fact we moved from Japan to Virginia when I was 5 months pregnant. The doctor told me the good news was that I had a mild form and that Abraham and I were stable. The catch was that since I had advanced to 5 cm, I wouldn't be allowed to leave the hospital until I gave birth...3 weeks later. That meant I wouldn't be carrying my son to March like planned. He would be born sometime in Februrary. They took out the catheter, took me off the magnesium sulfate and moved me to a different ward where I would stay until Abraham made an appearance.
I was placed on modified bedrest meaning I could only get up to go the bathroom or take a shower or maybe grab some water down the hall. Abraham and I were checked every 4 hours to make sure we remained stable. Every morning, 4 doctors would come into my room to ask meAndrew and I stocked up on books and clothes to get me through the 3 weeks. Come to find out, Abraham and God had other plans.
January 31, I had an ultrasound to see how Abraham was growing. They said he was 3 pounds 15 ounces. I knew that wasn't right because last ultrasound said he was 4 pounds. But the tech was adamant that she was right. 2 of the doctors handling my case talked for over an hour about the results and what they were going to do. The decision was made to induce me as soon as I hit 34 weeks...3 days later. They thought Abraham had mild growth restriction which meant his growth was starting to slow down...in other words, the placenta was starting to act up. I was devastated. Throughout my whole pregnancy, Abraham had been measuring 2 days ahead. Now they were telling me he was measuring behind. I asked them if he had lost weight. They said he didn't, but they didn't want to take any chances. They explained that even though we were both stable despite my elevated pressure, they didn't want to risk my uterus turning hostile and something bad happening to either on of us. I decided to let the doctors do their job and cooperate. By cooperating, that meant more monitoring, but by then, I just wanted my son and I to be okay. I knew the only cure for preeclampsia was delivery of the baby and placenta. I wanted to feel better and felt that if my son's chances were better outside of me than inside, that's how it had to be.
Februrary 3, 2012 I was moved to labor and delivery. They put me back on magnesium sulfate to keep me stable and then they started the pitocin at 2:15 PM. I got my epidural an hour later. I started pushing at 11:15PM and 11:34 PM, Abraham came into the world screaming. There were 10 people in the room. Andrew, my mom, 3 NICU doctors, the doctor who actually delivered my baby, and plenty of nurses. Abraham weighed in at 4 pounds 10 ounces and was 17 inches long. He scored a 9 on the APGAR and since he was in awesome shape at birth, I got to hold him before he got whisked to the NICU. After cleaning me up, I was moved to the postpartum unit of the hospital to recover and to continue to be monitored.
I remained on the magnesium sulfate for the next 24 hours and was on total bedrest and fluid restriction. Once my labs came back normal, I could see Abraham in the NICU for a half and hour. It was hard seeing him in the incubator, but I was allowed to hold him and do the kangeroo time with him. I wanted to hold him forever, but I had to go back to my room for further monitoring. The next day, my blood pressure was normal again. But then, baby blues and an emotional breakdown hit. I felt like I had failed my baby. I was upset that I couldn't carry him to term. I could hear the other babies with their mothers crying and there I was in the room with an empty bassinet because my baby was in the NICU hooked up to monitors with an IV in his arm. I felt jealous of them, angry at myself that I came up with preeclamapsia, and angry when I found out some ex friends who are notorious for doing terrible things to people were expecting a baby and were going to carry to term with no issues. I was also scared as to what the future would hold for Abraham coming into the world 6 weeks early. I wondered if I was going to be okay. Thankfully I had an wonderful doctor and social worker who told me there was NOTHING I could have done to prevent coming up with preeclampsia. A lot of women come up with it and they make full recoveries with no problems in the future. I thought it came on from a conversation I'd had the day before my appointment. I was told I would have gotten diagnosed even if that conversation hadn't happened. I cried for a good 10 minutes grieving over the fact I didn't get to have a normal pregnancy, cried over everything I went through those last two weeks, cried for my sweet baby who was in the NICU instead of in the room with me, I just let it out.
Four days later, I was discharged from the hospital with a clean bill of health. During the time Abraham was in the NICU, he developed jaundice and had to be on the blue light for while. Durign that time, I started pumping to help Abraham gain weight and get rid of his jaundice. Once the jaundice cleared up, he had to have a feeding tube placed in his nose and learn how to eat from a bottle. I wanted to nurse, but the nurses said he weasn't ready yet. So, I kept pumping.
Andrew and I were at the hospital almost everyday to visit Abraham. We made sure to be there for his 2PM feeding and visit for a few hours before we had to go home which was 45 minutes away depending on traffic. We developed a true bond with the NICU team. They answered all of our questions and were very professional. But most of all, they were compassonate and made us feel very comfortable. However in the mist of all that, I developed postpartum panic and anxiety attacks. One night I was so exhausted emotionally and physically I just started sobbing uncontrollably. Since my mom was staying with us, she put us to bed early. We took the day off after being assured that we weren't being bad parents for skipping a day.
On February 23; my birthday, we got to room in with our baby. It was tiring, but good. I tried to nurse, but Abraham wouldn't take the breast. The next day, we brought our baby home from the hospital. Abraham weighed 6 pounds 2 ounces. Today, he weighs close to 11 pounds and will be 3 months on the 3rd. He's reaching his milestones and eats like a linebacker. I'm still struggling with what I went through, but it's getting better. I have a lot of support and love to help me out and looking at Abraham and seeing how well he's doing makes me thankful that God has placed the right doctors and staff in front of me to rece