Ok I'm still talking about my pregnancy/recovery stuff. It's fresh in my mind. Although many of the details are foggy since I was very sick. This is a long post--stick with me!
Story was born on Friday, May 28th, and we checked out Sunday evening. When we got home, things were pretty chaotic but my parents were there to hang with Wilder. Shawn and I handled Story at night (Shawn's the best like that). Monday night I couldn't sleep, so I handled Story mostly on my own, then cleaned the house. I literally didn't sleep.
By Tuesday evening, I was completely wiped. I lied down for bed and started experiencing one of the worst headaches ever, along with some shakes, blurred vision, and shortness of breath. Shawn called the ambulance. They checked my heart rate, and it was high, but not so high that the EMTs demanded I go to the hospital. We called Shawn's dad, waited for him to arrive from Winfield to watch Wilder, then went to the hospital.
Upon our arrival, it was quickly determined that I was likely experiencing postpartum pre-eclampsia, something that's taken very seriously in that it can lead to seizures/stroke. Most of the time it happens during pregnancy, not after...weird. So, I was admitted. Story was with us. She was such a trooper and I prayed continuously that God would protect her from hospital germs. They set me up on a 24-hour magnesium sulfate dosage via IV. That was awful. I felt so, so sick. It wore me out just to go to the restroom, and I wasn't certain I'd be able to keep nursing. But we stuck it out.
After two nights in the hospital (and Shawn's brutal fight with a creaky hospital chair), my OB released me. I was a little surprised since I still felt pretty puny. I was home one night, then the next night experienced the same pounding headache/muscle spasms/blurred vision. Shawn checked my blood pressure with our home gauge, and it read high. Since he wasn't certain of its accuracy, he called 911. Again. At that point I was begging to go to the hospital. I knew my body was in a bad place. I was really scared. Before the ambulance got there, I called two friends and said, "I have an emergency. I need you at the house now (for the kids)." I'm blessed to have friends who will drop anything to help me. I'd do the same for them.
The paramedics read my pressure at 189, which is super high for me, and this time, I let them take me via ambulance to the hospital. It was a whirlwind of activity. The hardest part was being taken on the gurney into the vehicle...looking at the flurry of activity on the porch...leaving my house and kids. I told Shawn, "no, don't come with me. I can do this. Get the kids settled first. If I have to give up nursing, I do."
The ambulance ride was scary, but I took deep breaths while they worked on me (more needles!) and thought of my kids. How I needed to be strong for them. And how they are so resilient--how they'd be ok without mommy for a little while. The main EMT, Ed, reminded me of Shawn. Same kind of humor. That was really comforting and it was hard to have him leave me once I got to the emergency room.
I was admitted again. I saw my OB the next morning and she was, quite frankly, rather stumped. She said, "this is weird. We'll keep monitoring your blood pressure though, run some blood work." I can't remember how many times I was pricked. The blood work and EEG (since I was spasming) came back fine. Shawn and I thought the doctors were dilly-dallying, so we asked them to do more tests. We didn't want to leave until we had an answer. So I had an MRI (gosh, not fun), and it came back clear. Phew.
The next day, my doctor came in with a quasi-diagnosis. "There's a large anxiety factor here. You're obviously still recovering from pre-eclampsia, but when you experience that intense head pain, your anxiety/fear goes up, sets your nervous system into overdrive (spasms), and impacts your blood pressure."
So I'm a crazy person?
Though I had a lot to process from that diagnosis, it was enough of an answer for me. Something fixable.
Even though I don't feel like I was highly anxious or agitated once I got home from the hospital the first time, I could see where the doctor was coming from. I can pinpoint situational anxiety in my life for sure: worrying about my kids, freaking out if I get lost while driving, nervousness over being late or not finding matching socks, etc. Still I don't feel like anxiety is a stakeholder in my life.
Overall, the first subsequent hospital visit was awful. My emotions were out of control, and I lie awake crying "Wilder, Wilder, I want Wilder." I just wanted to be home with my boy so badly. The second hospital stay went a lot more smoothly. Shawn helped me put several things into perspective, and I felt an overwhelming sense of calm/peace about the wonderful care my children were receiving (we had round-the-clock care for each child). Story didn't stay with me that time, because I had to dump my milk (MRI fluid)...
We were also so lucky to get a post-partum room, with a queen bed. So Shawn could be right there with me. Gotta add that Shawn and I are even more tightly-bound after this experience. He is simply amazing--he scheduled the child care, took care of Story, Wilder and I simultaneously, made phone calls, arranged this and that...WOW. That's hot.
It'd be neat to say I wrote letters and watched TV, called friends, accepted visitors, but I literally just slept those two days. I was determined to get better. I could feel the prayers and support of loved ones near and far. I sensed God was going to right this.
He did! I am fully entrenched in mothering my two sweethearts, and though the days are long, exhausting, challenging...I'm just so glad to be here. So glad. I'm still processing the experience, but have mostly learned that my children must be released into the Lord's care every day. He is their ultimate guardian. My short inability to care for them in no way reflects His ability to protect them. I'm getting used to not being in charge.
Lastly, my support system came hurtling forth with such force, determination, and love that brings me to my knees. Friends and family were willing to do what we needed to keep things afloat. I am grateful to them forever.
And now you know the story!