I think it's fair at this point in the birth story to acknowledge that I always had a sort of intuition that my pregnancy wouldn't go to term.
I celebrated week 25, which is when fetuses are typically considered viable, and I celebrated week 30, when surfacant typically begins to cover the lungs and allow them to expand with breath. I would rub my belly and tell baby Rocketship that he or she should stay in there as long as possible to grow big and strong.
My pregnancy wasn't so pleasant. I.had recurring yeast infections throughout my pregnancy, the sensation of which was like constantly having small amounts of fluid leak from my vagina. This led me to be paranoid that I was leaking amniotic fluid.
Around week 30, I began to swell, particularly around my ankles. At that point the midwife didn't think the swelling was problematic -- ankle swelling is pretty normal, hand swelling is a flag.
Week 32, while we were out buying paint for the nursery, I began to feel dizzy and my heart raced. I wanted to go home right then, and spent the ride home trying to explain to Tim my fears about an early birth that were, to that point, unfounded.
This brings me to my week 32 appointment. Tim decided to come with me, since he hadn't been to an appointment for a while, and I wasn't feeling right. When they led us back, they weighed me and I had gained ten pounds. Considering that I had lost weight during my pregnancy, and had barely made it back to my pre-pregancy weight, this was significant. Gaining 10 pounds in two weeks was a red flag by itself, but I found it very unusual for me.
After I peed in a cup, I went back to the exam room where Tim and I waited for Mary the midwife. When she finally came in, she asked me how I was feeling. I said, "Well, I gained ten pounds I'm two weeks. I know that's not good."
She said, "And your urine dip shows protein. Your blood pressure was fine. I doubt we're talking preE. Have you had sex lately?" She explained that semen could have been the source of the protein. I said no, because of the yeast infections. Mary said that yeast could've been the source as well, and we continued our appointment. I pointed out the swelling to her, which she thought looked fairly normal still.
Before I left, Mary decided to do another protein dip with a fresh urine specimen to see if the first sample was a freak accident. "I doubt you have preeclampsia," she said. "But we need to send you home with a 24 hour urine collection just in case. Call the messaging service on Saturday morning and I'll call back with the results."
So I went home with a "hat" to collect urine in, and a jug to hold the urine that needed to be stored in the fridge, and I collected urine for 24 hours. I brought the urine back to the lab, and went home to find that I had been accepted into the University of Michigan. We went out for celebratory ice cream and went to bed, expecting to call, not have a problem, and finish the nursery with our Saturday.
At this point, I need to stop and summarize and think about how I had agency in the story, and how I am grateful for how the circumstances unfolded. I'm glad that I knew the symptoms of preE, and brought them up to my healthcare professional, even though red flags weren't fully raised for her. I'm glad that I was taken care of -- Mary did everything in her power both to reassure me that she thought I was fine at the same time ordering the right tests. I'm glad that Mary was the midwife that saw me that week, and the midwife on duty that weekend to take care of me.
So that was Thursday and Friday March 9 & 10. I can only do this small steps at a time.
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