Whenever I dreamed about being pregnant, I always imagined I would be like other women, carrying to near term, going into labor at home, and rushing to the hospital in the wee hours between contractions. As it turns out, that is not going to be my story.
Earlier in this pregnancy, I started showing signs of higher blood pressure at the doctor’s office. I’ve always been someone who suffers with a bit of white coat syndrome, so I was told to monitor at home on a daily basis and report in. I’ve been doing that since around week 18 and it’s been going well.
On Friday, I had an OB appointment and my blood pressure was higher than it’s ever been at the doctor’s. This concerned my OB enough that she asked me to have some additional blood drawn before going home. Because of a quirk in our medical coverage, I wasn’t able to have it done at the lab in the medical building and was sent over to the Perinatal Evaluation and Treatment Unit at the Pennsylvania Hospital instead.
I showed up, thinking it was going to be a quick in and out experience. But when they checked me, my blood pressure was really, really elevated (I don’t remember precisely, but I think it was nearly 180/90. Not good). I was given a gown, they inserted an IV, put me in a bed, and got to work.
That first night, I was really hoping that this was an isolated incident and that I’d get to go home the next day. But by the next morning, I’d been diagnosed with preeclampsia with severe features. Going home while still pregnant was no longer an option.
Instead, a new plan started to form. If they could get my blood pressure under control, I was going to stay in the hospital until I got to 34 weeks gestation, at which point I would be induced. Apparently, that’s the sweet spot where the babies continue to get the most good from continuing to grow while impacts on the mom are slim to none.
And so that’s where things stand. As long as things continue as they look right now, I’ll be in the antenatal unit until July 11, when they’ll induce me. This plan could change again if my situation stops being stable, but right now, my blood pressure is responding beautifully to a single daily dose of medication.
I am feeling at peace with this outcome right now, though it took me several days to work through the grief and sadness of having to surrender my initial vision of what giving birth would be like.
From the beginning, finding out that I was pregnant with twins has forced me to keep giving up my vision and expectation for the coming reality, so this is nothing new. But even though I’ve had some practice with readjusting and accepting the new future as it unfold, this one was hard. Still, I’m making the choice (sometimes minute by minute) to flow with this experience rather than resist it.
I won’t pretend that I don’t have moments of regret for how this time might have been (being home, getting to nest, having more time pregnant). But I’m trying to let them go as they pop up rather than let them dwell. And each time, I come back to the gratitude I feel for having been so cared for.
I am incredibly thankful for all the doctors and nurses who’ve been keeping us healthy and safe. They have been so kind and caring. The fact that these babies and I will get through this formerly deadly disease of pregnancy is because of them.
If we’re friends on Facebook, you probably already know most of this story, but it felt like a good idea to gather it up and keep it here too. I’ll be back with more details in the days to come.