January 30, 2007 at my 5th obstetrician appointment he said "Well, there's some protein in your urine." I casually replied "So does this mean I can stop going to work?" When he answered yes I was pretty floored. While I'd be overjoyed not to return to my job being ordered by your baby doctor not to work is a whole different ball game. I went home that day with a urine collection bucket to use as it's name implies and had to drop if off in the morning. Kyle happened to be working 5:30pm-6am, so for once I had no problem waking up so early. When I dropped it off they said either it's good and we go on as normal or I'd be referred to the UWMC Hypertension Clinic which meets on Thursdays. As it was Thursday they said for the next week do "modified" bedrest and when I had my appointment they'd give specific restrictions. By 11 am they called to say UW wants me now. Pack for 4 days and go ASAP and be sure to lie down in the car. As Kyle had slept only about 3 hours so far we had Thomas drive us over. My blood pressure was 154/104. They started magnesium sulfate, Thomas went home, Kyle stayed the night and we were so clueless about what was happening. I spent the next few days in the hospital bed hooked up to monitors that had to be adjusted constantly because my little peanut was so small when he moved he fell off the monitor. Sunday came (you know day 4 when I should have gone home) and my doctor kind of chuckled when he said he couldn't imagine why they said pack for 4 days, I was staying until I had a baby. At this point I was 27 weeks. We hadn't done our taxes. We had no baby furniture. My baby showered was scheduled for the end of March. I couldn't stay!
But, of course, stay I did. We actually got a notice from the hospital informing us that my diagnosis of severe preeclampsia may result in a poor birth outcome. On February 16 our son, Reese, was born. He was 2 pounds 2 ounces, 13 3/4 inches.
He spent 46 in the NICU 70 miles away and 13 days in our local hospital learning to nipple feed. He came home at 2 months old weighing exactly 5 pounds.
With my next pregnancy we knew I was high risk from the get go. I had my first OB appointment at 6 weeks and went every 3 weeks for awhile, then every 2 weeks, then weekly. At week 36 I started going twice a week. At 16 weeks I started going to UW Hypertension clinic. I started blood pressure meds before it got out of hand. We were able to prevent the same problem from recurring and made it to 38 weeks.
Unfortunately a large number of preemies are not a result of a known issue. Women go into preterm labor for no apparent reason. Luckily with Reese we had 2 weeks of me being an inpatient to meet with neonatologists and social workers, so we had time to get used to the idea and get an idea of what to expect. Every year, 20 million babies are born too soon, too small and very sick ― half a million of them in the United States. The March of Dimes does valuable research to help. Find out what you can do here.