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Christmas 2017 I was sick, could not handle food or drinks, I thought it was the flu. January 2018, I was still sick and struggling with food, people started joking about pregnancy, I shrugged it off and thought no way. We had a pregnancy in 2017 that we lost, shortly after discovering it. I had always struggled with weight and cysts and have been told on several occasions pregnancy was not going to happen for us. Finally, after a few more days of sickness, I decided to ease my mind and take a test, I shoved the test in my bag, ran upstairs to take the test, and when the results popped up, I couldn’t believe it; positive. I screamed from the bathroom, yelling at my husband. He was scared and started running up the stairs, unaware of what was going on other than I was screaming in the bathroom. I flung open the door and threw the test at him screaming “Look what you did to me!” We rushed to the ER to get it confirmed and make sure if I needed any kind of hormones or assistance, I received it right away. It was confirmed, they said to come back in 2 days and get more blood work. We did just that, my numbers were increasing this time! We were pregnant!
Over the next few weeks, I went to the lab every other day to ensure my hormone levels were increasing and everything looked right, Jan 25, 2018 we heard our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I was in love, head over heels for a human I had not even met yet. From there on, we announced, and had a normal pregnancy, until 20 weeks. At 20 weeks, I was at work when I experienced a weird episode of extreme headache, dizziness, shakes and chills. I knew something was not right, so I went to my doctor, we did a urine test and checked my vitals, there was protein in my urine and my blood pressure was elevated, something I had never experienced. The blamed weight, we knew it was not. Even as a bigger woman, other than the ovarian cyst problems, I was in good health, and never had a high BP reading. We were sent to a specialist and monitored closely. From there out things we rough. We were told we were not going to pass 39 weeks, then it was 38 weeks. My blood pressure would spike, and symptoms would come and go. I was then monitored biweekly with weekly ultrasounds, the baby was doing fine, small, but fine. In between appointments, if I had those “episodes”, I would have to go into the Labor and Delivery Triage, be monitored, and every time I was sent on my way.
At 33 weeks, something changed. The headaches, upper right quadrant pain was consistent, nothing helped the pain and discomfort. My BP was staying higher, versus the roller coaster thing it was doing previously. I went in for my check and told my doctor something was not right. The next week and a half, I was in triage 6 times for spike in BP, pain, ad headaches. My next appointment just before 35 weeks, I demanded I was examined. They sent me to triage, finally listening to me that something was wrong, I had another drastic spike in BP and was admitted. We spent the next week in antepartum doing treatments of magnesium to maintain my symptoms and steroid injections to help our daughter. The doctor came in and let us know we would be induced 8/5/2018, at 36 weeks. They went over the risks of keeping the baby in womb versus being born early, they were sure it was time and we needed to get her out, so we agreed.
August 7, 2018 at 7:36p our daughter Riley was born. She was small which was fine, they placed her on my chest and my world was complete. Then she started struggling to breath, she was not getting enough oxygen and was not doing well. They took her from my chest and wheeled her out to the NICU and intubated. My bleeding could not be stopped. My husband refuses to talk about the night our daughter was born because that night he was faced with losing his daughter and his wife on the night that was supposed to be the happiest of his life. Eventually, we were both stabilized. I started to do better and when I was stable enough, they wheeled me in to see my baby. She was surrounded my machines, making this almost whimper sound, that if anyone was breathing too loud, could be missed.
Over the next few days, they would try to get her off the breathing machines, but she was not tolerating it, her lungs were too weak. They did a procedure and injected medicine into her lungs, my husband watched the whole procedure as it was done in room, he could not leave his little girl alone, I could not stomach to hear or see it, I waited outside. After that procedure, she started to do so much better. She began to improve and get stronger, August 20th, we took our baby home. She is growing and getting stronger every day. She still has weak lungs, she gets every cold she encounters, but she is a fighter.
I found PSP a months after going home and knew this was my calling, I was meant to help parents that must endure what we did. Our division was created in honor of our niece and daughter. Both born early due to preeclampsia complications.
Riley and Sofia, if there is anything you two takes from this, please let it be that, yes you are small, but yes, you are mighty, and there is nothing you girls cannot overcome. Your family stands beside you in everything, and hopes to honor you, your courage and your strength, by helping other families enduring the struggles we did.
“When life gets hard, fight like a preemie.” -Unknown