Monday, February 17, 2014
Around mid-morning, I was standing in the nursery putting clothes away. Suddenly, I felt the loss of some of my Amniotic fluid. After a few calls to the doctor’s office, we sped off to the hospital.
During the check-up, the tech confirmed that my water had not broken. However, the baby’s heart rate had dropped to 70 beats per minute, and my blood pressure was elevated. Thus, they made the decision to check us in and prepare me for delivery. We were taken to my labor and delivery room, where we eventually spent the next 15.5 hours anticipating the arrival we all had been waiting for.
2:00 P.M. – My labor began, as the nurses gave me inducing medicines. As every woman who has given birth would say, the pain was like no other, the worst I have ever experienced. While I was given an epidural, the relief was short-lived. The intensification of the pain would mark the beginning of a long night ahead.
With labor progressing, my dad and in-laws changed their original plans, as they had hoped to make the 8.5 hour trek from Knoxville to Norfolk the following day. Instead, they abruptly departed at 5:00 P.M. in order to arrive in time for the delivery.
After many hours of labor had passed, things started to unravel, as I had only dilated 2 centimeters. Every hour, I was given bolus amounts of pain medicine through my epidural to help alleviate pain that never seemed to downgrade to a tolerable level. The anesthesiologist was even concerned that the epidural was not working, after checking the placement of the epidural and given the amounts of medicine she had given to me. In the midst of the agony, my body started to continuously convulse. In addition, my heart rate remained elevated, and my heart condition began to spiral out of control.
While all of this was occurring, my dad and in-laws were driving through the Shenandoah Mountains in the middle of a snow storm. My mom and dad were conversing back and forth regarding my labor via text through my mother-in-law since my dad was driving.
For those who may not know, I have a heart and adrenal condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST). When I experience attacks/storms, the adrenal glands shoot out large and abnormal amounts of norepinephrine for no real reason and at any time. This then puts my body into extreme “flight” mode.
When I undergo attacks/storms, my body instantly develops a rapid increase of heart rate (in the high-100′s to low-200′s, more than my “normal” elevated heart rate), dizziness, sweatiness, and inability to walk or talk normally. Symptoms also include upset stomach, nausea, the urge to urinate, and strong heart palpitations, among others, and all at the same time. These attacks can last for a few minutes to several hours at a given time. The symptoms are similar to that of a heart attack.
While my body continued to convulse, we discovered that the nurses and the on-call doctor did not know anything about my condition. They informed us they were continuing to research information about POTS throughout the night in order to better care for me.
In the midst of all the craziness, the nurses burst into the room at one point and confirmed that the baby’s heart rate was fluctuating from the 70′s to high-100′s. He was in distress. I was given an oxygen mask and was told to wear it indefinitely. In addition, I was going in and out of consciousness due to my body convulsing, elevated heart rate, and my POTS/IST symptoms spiraling out of control.
Tuesday, February 18th
12:00 A.M. – The doctor informed me that he wanted to give me a medicine that would speed up my dilation. After talking to him and learning about the side effects, including an elevated heart rate, I emphatically told him, “No, do not give that to me or you will actually kill me.” After a few seconds, he said “Hold on” and thought through the potential for disaster. Ultimately, he agreed and decided against the additional medication.
2:30 A.M. – My dad and in-laws arrived at the hospital after a nine hour, adrenaline-filled car ride. They walked in to find me in my hospital bed, shaking like a leaf, hooked up to an oxygen mask and monitors. The doctor filled them in on all the events that had occurred throughout the night.
3:15 A.M. – After confirming we were still several hours away from delivery, the doctor stated that he would come back in three hours to check on the progress of the dilation and told us to get some rest.
4:15 A.M. – The doctor burst through the door into my room in a panic and expressed to us that he was extremely concerned about the baby’s heart rate and mine. He concluded that we needed to have an emergency C-section as soon as possible to save us both. The baby’s heart rate peaked at 190, and both he and I were in distress for too many hours. By this point, I still had only dilated 2 centimeters, and we could not wait any longer.
4:45 A.M. – I was rushed back to the operating room for the emergency surgery, crying and fearing the worst for my precious baby.
To be continued…