While tomorrow is a big day for everyone in my family, it brings to mind the circumstances surrounding my baby’s birthday. The morning didn’t start off well, though it ended so much better.
This was not my first pregnancy. I was no stranger to swelling and edema. Having been on my feet for days working on my classroom, I had completely lost my ankles. August 9th was no exception to the CANKLES syndrome I’d been working on. I met with my dr for my last ultrasound and the 2nd of my weekly check ins. My C-section was scheduled two weeks from then. Something felt…weird. I couldn’t put my finger on what, though, so when I told my OB that I was done and ready for this to be over, even though I love being pregnant, he just patted my knee and told me to suck it up and wait out the two weeks. It was in the best interest of my Tadpole, after all. I laughed and sighed, then left shrugging off the weird feeling I had.
The rest of the night was pretty simple. We picked up my oldest monster from the day care and went home, cooked dinner, I propped my feet up, and went to bed at a decent time.
The problems started the next morning. At 6:30, my husband woke up to go to work. He was moving around in the bedroom and it woke me up. I rolled over and dozed, though. My arm was tingling like it was asleep and, since it’s not the first time THAT happened while I was pregnant, either, I didn’t think anything about it. Peanut woke up and climbed in with me, but she wasn’t sleepy. In fact, she kept pestering me with questions. That’s when I realized there was a problem.
I couldn’t answer her. I don’t mean that I couldn’t think of an answer. I mean that the answers in my head weren’t coming out of my mouth. I couldn’t make my lips move. My arm was still tingling, too. I sat up and Peanut took that as her que that was time to get up. The fact that I wasn’t answering her finally annoyed my husband enough that he started asking me questions. I couldn’t answer him, either. My lip was numb, half of my tongue was numb. I was fully forming full responses to questions in my head, but I couldn’t get them past my lips.
I reached for his phone, opened a message and tried to type him an answer to a question. I fixed my spelling, edited the message so that it made sense. He showed it to me later. It was jibberish. Sitting up probably saved my life. I was able to get my mouth to move after a few minutes, but the words I was able to get out, one at a time, were so horribly slurred, they may as well have been jibberish, too. My husband called the doctor’s office, which was still forwarded to their nurse service. The nurse forwarded the call on to my doctor, who called my husband back pretty quickly and told him to take me into the office. He was in surgery all day, but the other doctor would take a look.
So, we dropped Peanut off at the Day Care, stopped and got me a pack of those little coconut donuts, and headed to the doctor for an 8:30 appointment. Their appointments don’t start until 9. That should’ve told me something. I sounded drunk. My ankles were still MiA, the tingling in my hand and arm had slacked off a lot. My lip was still numb and the numbness had spread to my whole tongue. She was very concerned and told my husband to get me to the hospital and get me registered.
An hour later, I was in a hospital gown, stretched out in a bed, with an IV going. My husband was sure they’d send me home, since the numbness had relaxed a lot. I still sounded drunk. He was so sure that he left me up there to go get food around 10. Naturally, that’s when all the big decisions were made. My blood pressure had hit 173/109 while I was hooked up. Apparently, I’d been having contractions. Small and irregular, but I didn’t even notice. I had tested negative for preeclampsia. My doctor decided to do the c-section that day. He gave up his lunch break to do my surgery, his fifth of the day. The fact that I ate those little donuts became a running joke on the floor, and I’m not sure why.
He made it a point not to freak me out with what he was concerned about (Tadpole’s lungs may or may not be fully developed at 37 weeks, I had just experienced a stroke, the edema in my legs was so bad that pressing on my thigh left a dent for more than 10 minutes…) when he was talking to me. He kept it brief when he talked with my husband, never said a thing about the stroke.
An hour after that, there was a little bundle of joy that was all mine. She was a sweet little snuggle buddy who only cried when they pricked her foot.
They always tell you that the pain of being pregnant and childbirth, the hard stuff that comes with being a mother, disappears completely the first time you hold that baby. They’re not always right, those mystical holders of wisdom. This time, though? Completely right.
So, on this eve of my baby’s 5th birthday, please let me give you a gift, internet. NEVER blow off swelling! The going theory is that the swelling was so bad it cut off the blood circulation to my head, thus the stroke. Don’t take that chance, any of you. Edema isn’t a thing to mess around with!
Until next time!