I woke up on Saturday feeling the best I had felt my entire pregnancy. I was full of energy and the timing couldn’t have been better; it was going to be a busy day. I had a hair appointment in the morning, a visit to my parents in the afternoon and couples baby shower that evening. The shower was not for me, but for friend who was just a few weeks ahead of me. Before I headed out the door, I did a quick check of my blood pressure, still paranoid from the night before. It was perfectly normal!
As I drove to the hair salon, I couldn’t help but admire the beautiful day, the cherry trees were blooming, tulips were popping up everywhere. Spring had arrived.
While Mark did my hair, I brought him and Brent (his partner in life and at the salon) up to speed on our baby name, what the nursery looked like and my very busy day. About half way through the appointment my back began bothering me yet again – soon after a wave of nausea came over me. Brent left his client and came to check on me. Apparently, my eyes turned dull and all the color left my face. He joked they really should keep ginger ale on hand for all their pregnant clients, but a sprite would have to do. It helped… the nausea was fleeting.
I got in the car and began to head towards my parent’s house, but as each moment passed I was feeling worse and worse. It was as if someone were siphoning off every ounce of energy I had. I decided to head home and rest instead. I called my mom and told her about the back pain and that I wasn’t going to make it.
When I got home I headed straight for bed. I typically would not lie on my freshly styled hair, but today I didn’t care. I didn’t realize how long I had been in bed until Chris came flying in the door at 3:30 the same time were supposed to be leaving for the shower. He was very surprised to find me in bed.
“Aren’t you getting ready?”
“I am ready” I said.
He could tell I wasn’t feeling well and asked if I had taken anything. I told him I had not. The Tylenol was downstairs and I didn’t have the energy to go get it.
He left for a minute and soon returned with Tylenol, water and the blood pressure machine. My blood pressure was up again much like the night before. I assumed once the Tylenol kicked in it would go down again.
Chris took his shower and got himself ready. We talked about our options. He could go to the shower and I could stay home and rest, we could both go and only stay a brief time, or we could skip it altogether. I really wanted to go. It was like a rehearsal for my own shower a few weeks later. I decided if my blood pressure had come back down we would both go, if it hadn’t, he could go and I would stay home.
None of our scenarios included what we would do if my blood pressure continuing to climb. And unfortunately, that is exactly what had happened. 160/89. We just looked at each other unsure of what to do next. Chris decided to call my doctor. Her message said push 1 for emergency. But was this an emergency? It didn’t feel like one.
I decided to call my friend Lindsay, she’s a physician assistant and could point me in the right direction. I asked what is too high for a blood pressure to be when you’re pregnant. She said by me asking that question it was probably wasn’t good. I told her what it was; she said home blood pressure machines aren’t always reliable. I should go get it checked at the hospital by an actual person.
I relayed her message to Chris; we decided to go to the urgent care facility near our house rather than to the hospital. I loaded the baby shower gift into Chris’ truck still thinking we might make it by the end of the shower.
We sat nervously in the waiting room, but were quickly called back. The nurse asked why I was there. I told her my back hurt, I didn’t feel great, my blood pressure was up around 160/89 and that I wanted to get it checked. She asked why I was checking my blood pressure at home, did I have preelampsia? No I told her, it was a long story. She checked my blood pressure, she didn’t say anything. She pulled the cuff off and placed it on my other arm and checked again. 220/112. I told her that can’t be right. She said she would be right back. She was going to get the doctor. Chris and I sat silently in the room. I know I was scared, I think we both were.
The next thing we heard were the most frightening words I had ever heard in my life up until this point. Through the door I heard the doctor say, “Are you SURE”, “yes” the nurse replied. “She needs to go straight to the hospital she will probably have to deliver the baby.” I looked at Chris, and felt the tears start to stream down my cheeks, it was too soon. He tried to reassure me, but he was scared too.
I did my best to pull myself together on the ride to the hospital. After all what did that doctor know, he never even came into the room.
To be continued…
Felt like I could see things through your eyes in this blog. Xx as always thinking of you
Lauren Colletti said:
I am so sorry that you went through all of this. I am proud that you are able to write about it. You are very strong and amazing woman and I hope this blog gets awareness out about HELLP.
Brittany D. said:
I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes. You write beautifully and with a great deal of imagery. As Jaime said, I felt like I was watching the day through your eyes. Sending lots of hugs your way!
Jane Brown said:
As a fellow HELLPs survivor I appreciate how hard it must be to do this. So beautifully written x
Ryann Windish said:
Looking forward to reading about the rest of this journey.