We have hit the 27 week mark and celebrated the last week of the second trimester with a big appointment at the OB office, complete with a follow-up ultrasound. I have spent the last week in frequent contact with my OB office and on frequent bed rest due to a headache that wouldn’t go away, blurred vision, and high blood pressures. All of these are unfortunately signs of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition that can affect 5-8% of pregnancies, but that typically starts later in the third trimester (Preeclampsia Foundation). For me to be having signs of this condition this early into the pregnancy was scary to say the least. Thankfully my blood pressure has been staying down with bed rest. Unfortunately Tylenol has not been effective for the headaches or blurred vision for me and I stopped taking it after a few days due to the ineffectiveness and some right upper quadrant abdominal pain (which can indicate liver problems). So I ventured into this appointment with my Mom at my side (my husband was unable to take the day off of work) with a bit of trepidation.
First up was the ultrasound. Catriona is a bit of a mover and a shaker so it created a challenge for picture-taking, but everything look great. The fluid levels were good, the placenta is healthy, her head is down and she is ready to roll and the best news of all is that the membranes fused! Although there are still some (slight) risks for early delivery that go along with a late fusion we are now talking a week or two early as opposed to months early which technically means we have an excellent chance for a full term (after 37 weeks) healthy and happy baby. Now lets just hope that she doesn’t come on Liam’s birthday! Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers for the last few months that we would get our miracle, they certainly helped to get us through this stressful time. We feel so lucky to have this great news to share and to see how healthy our little girl is now that my body has decided to behave properly!
Next up was the visit with the nurse midwife and the OB. It was a tag team visit due to the high blood pressures today, that ended up with a trip to the hospital. While we have an excellent health care system up here in the Northeast, and some of the best prenatal care in the country, it is still very concerning to have more than a week of high blood pressures and headaches, so it was off to the hospital for me to test for preeclampsia ( a set of tests that includes a urine collection, liver function panel, creatinine, and CBC), and calling out of work for at least the next week until my next OB visit. The midwife and OB were hopeful that the headaches, blurred vision, and high blood pressures (because they were not critically high and were only pre-hypertensive) could be due to a migraine headache caused by increased estrogen levels rather than preeclampsia because it was so early in the pregnancy. After a couple of hours in the hospital, and a couple of blood draws we had our second round of good news for the day, no preeclampsia! I am now on migraine medication and monitoring side effects, but my blood pressure is almost back to normal and right now I am pain free for the first time in 8 days (though a bit foggy and tired from the medication).
For me the best part of the day was being able to make it home in time to tuck my little guy into bed. He loved seeing the new pictures of his sister and was so happy to get some extra Momma snuggles tonight!
Conan and I are thrilled with the news, and are very hopeful that after the next week life will get back to as close to normal as we can! Thank you again to everyone for the thoughts and prayers! Lets hope the remainder of the pregnancy is now stress free!
*****Preeclampsia is a pretty scary and potentially life threatening condition that affects 5-8% of pregnancies in the United States and accounts for approximately 18% of maternal deaths in this country. To educate yourself more on this condition please visit preeclampsia.org which provides excellent resources in learning the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia. Also keep in mind that while giving birth does solve the problems caused by preeclampsia for your infant it does not always solve the problems caused by it for mothers. Be aware and educate yourself on the potential post birth problems that can occur for mothers who experience this condition.*****
Preeclampsia Foundation. (n.d.). Preeclampsia Foundation. Retrieved February 19, 2015, from Preeclampsia Fact Sheet : http://www.preeclampsia.org/pdf/Preeclampsia%20Fact%20sheet%20v2.pdf