I got pregnant when I was 36 and since I was diagnosed with essential hypertension four years earlier, I knew my pregnancy wouldn’t last full term. My doctor said to figure on induction or a C-section at about 36 weeks to reduce the stress on my system.
The first five months went without a hitch. At the beginning of the sixth month, I was promoted at work and my husband and I took a weekend trip to New Orleans. I wasn’t sure if I was overstressed with the pressure of work or whether it was the hot, humid conditions in New Orleans, but I began to swell during our trip, which was the first sign of toxemia. When we returned home, I was put on partial bedrest for the next few weeks–I could go to work but had to stay in bed the remainder of the time.
At 27 weeks, I was planning to attend a friend’s wedding. That afternoon, my blood pressure was hovering around 170/100, and my sister (who is a physician) called my obstetrician, who ordered me to the hospital. We arrived at triage and while the doctor was questioning me, I felt the corner of my mouth twitch. Apparently, I was beginning to go into a seizure. They put me on medication to stop it and told me to I would be in the hospital for six weeks. Then, that night, my obstetrician told me she was going to be going out of town but I was going to be put in the care of a high-risk specialist, as she thought I would probably deliver in the next few days. What a shock! I thought I would have at least six more weeks until the delivery.
The next few days were brutal–one minute I was being set up in a hospital room; the next, I was being prepped for delivery. At exactly 28 weeks, the doctors decided to perform the C-section. Because I had back surgery previously, they couldn't give me an epidural and I was put under general anesthesia. On July 8, Anika Claire was born at two pounds, six ounces, and 14¼ inches long. She was growling like a tiger, her Daddy said!
What a miracle girl! She needed no ventilation for the first few days and then was only assisted in breathing for a few days. She had absolutely no problems and basically just needed time to grow and eat. After seven weeks in the NICU, we brought her home weighing three pounds, 13 ounces. Today, at 20 months, she weighs 23 pounds and is absolutely perfect and delightful. She’s amazing, and we are so thankful.