It was the strangest thing. Everything was going smoothly and uneventfully. Then with every succeeding doctor visit, my blood pressure was rising. By this time, it was evident that I was starting to develop preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is essentially a condition where there is reduced blood flow to the placenta. It causes high blood pressure, headaches, swelling, sudden weight gain. I had the sudden weight gain. I was above the average recommendation, but it was a lot of water weight. (So much water weight, that after birth, I immediately shed 25 pounds.) This is hard to write about because it brings back many bad feelings. The feelings of complete and total frustration. They have no idea why people get preeclampsia. It’s common in first pregnancies, older pregnancies, people with history of high blood pressure, those who are obese and those having one or more baby. Other than it being my first pregnancy, none of those applied to me. I felt completely helpless having a condition that no one knows what exactly causes it.
Again, after doing tons of research, I was trying natural methods. I drank more water than ever, I ate so much fruit. Hot water with lemon, etc. Yet everytime, my blood pressure would be high. I tried meditating. I tried coming early to my doctor’s office in an effort to relax before my blood pressure reading because I tended to get anxious and screw up the reading. They took to taking me to another room and leaving me to rest there for up to half an hour before my appointment. Going into my 9th month, I was on bed rest. I wasn’t allowed to do anything. The swelling was so bad that water would literally pool around my feet. I would put socks on and upon taking them off, I would have an indentation where the sock was. It was brutal. Eventually they put me on blood pressure medication. If you’ve read the previous two posts, I’m sure you know I was thrilled to be taking medication while pregnant.
The blood pressure medication worked for a little while but again my blood pressure would rise and continue to rise. I was somewhere in the area of 130/110. I learned a lot about blood pressure the last few months of my pregnancy. I learned the last number is important because that number is what your heart is pumping when it’s at rest. Ideally that number should be under 80. So clearly we had a problem.
It would come to head as soon I hit 37 weeks. I went for my bi-weekly checkup. By that time, I had to go to the doctor’s office twice a week. I also had to go to the hospital every two days from 35th week on to get my blood pressure, blood, and urine checked. I would have to wait there for half an hour while they listened to his heartbeat. That was the only positive of it, I got to hear his heartbeat on a regular basis. On that fateful check-up she said we’re going to induce you next week. I protested, they kept telling me that James was fine, his heart was strong. In my mind I wanted to go as long as possible for him, regardless of my discomfort. My doctor turned to me and said, “You could have a stroke”. This decision had been taken out my hands.
I felt so frustrated by my body. I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing and yet it was failing me. More importantly, I felt like I was falling down at the first hurdle with James. To this day, it still bugs me and makes me hesitant about another pregnancy. But that’s a little far off. Times like this, I need to remind myself that I delivered a healthy child. A boy who is happy and thriving. That’s all that matters.