Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Facing Fears

Most people know that I was induced with Phoenix due to gestational hypertension. My pregnancy with him was wrought with fears and anxieties that many do not understand. Unless you've been through preeclampsia, and a subsequent pregnancy, you just can't know what it is like. So I was estatic to get my induction date; a date after which I didn't have to be anxious and fear the worst anymore. I had prepared myself for the worst and hoped for the best.

The day of his birth was a wondrous, and scary day. We were aware of the risks of induction and of preeclampsia, but when something happens you find out you weren't as prepared as you thought. What many do not know is that I was facing an emergency C-section due to a possible placental abruption. There is a strong association between placental abruption and preeclampsia. But it is something I never contemplated having to think about. A placental abruption is a serious condition in which the placenta partially or completely separates from the uterus before the baby's born. The condition can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients, and cause severe bleeding that can be dangerous to both mother and baby.

When it came time for my OB to break my water, he did so and the worries began. My amniotic fluid was blood tinged and the bleeding continued. He ran labs to see if they would reveal a placental abruption. During this time, Phoenix was starting to have slight deccelerations and a scalp monitor was placed to keep an eye on him. I had an OB nurse and an OB tech with me pretty much all the time from here on until birth. One was watching the monitor closely at most times. It got to the point where they started to prep me for a C/S. I had to remove my makeup (hey I wanted to look nice as I was pretty out of it for Ariana's birth) and was even shaved. I knew what a placental abruption was and what it could mean, but I knew Jason did not. So while I was starting to freak out, I knew I had to stay calm so I didn't cause him extra alarm. They brought scrubs for him to put on, but I knew that if things took a turn for the worst, he would not be allowed in the OR and I would be placed under anesthesia. So, I stuffed my fear and tried not to let it show.

So here I was thinking I had avoided a drama-filled labor & birth without having developed HELLP again. And I was facing something I didn’t even want to think of. There are mom’s on the Preeclampsia Foundation website who have lost their babies due to placental abruption and they all raced through my head that day. I was so afraid. Things eventually subsided somewhat and I was able to avoid the C/S. I progressed rather quickly at then end and things went well. I had my baby boy who was healthy, and my blood pressures were returning to normal. I refused to allow myself to think about what could have happened.

I hardly thought of that situation over the last months, but last Oct we were watching one of our favorite shows, ER. One of the characters, Abby, ended up with a placental abruption at around 30 weeks, I believe. The situations were different, but that triggered something in me. The two-part show covered the baby’s NICU stay and Abby’s recovery. I sat there with tears rolling down my face, silent with so many thoughts running through my head. Jason noticed I was crying and at first thought it was just because of the storyline. He soon found out that my fears had surfaced. I faced what I had been afraid of at that time and came to terms with it, somewhat.
Denial is such a powerful thing.

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