On Saturday evening, my good friend Janica had come to visit me and brought me some frozen yogurt (my fav!). Tyler had then taken her to the NICU to show her our beautiful Marshall. My father-in-law, Paul, and brother-in-law Nathanael then stopped by to visit. I LOVE visitors and was so thankful for everyone that came to see me! Within minutes of Paul and Nathanael coming in, a horrible pain erupted in my chest. It wasn't a gradual thing either. One second I was fine, the next I was in extreme pain. I was trying to stay calm so that I wouldn't alarm 12 year old Nathanael, but the pain was the worst pain I had ever felt. I quickly pushed the nurses button to tell them that I had a really bad pain in my chest. As soon as I started speaking, I began to cry. Those of you that know me well, know that I have a high tolerance for pain, and I'm usually really good at keeping tears at bay until I am alone. The nurses rushed in, Paul quickly ushered Nathanael out, and Tyler and Janica came in shortly after. Tyler held my hand, as I closed my eyes and tried to breathe calmly to endure the pain. The rest is all hazy. I know Janica was doing her best to comfort me as well. Many people rushed into the room, putting probes all over me, drawing blood, taking various readings, and filling me with various drugs. They kept asking me to rate my pain (Brian Regan fans out there?) I think I said 8 or 9 :) . . . and they seemed surprised every time they asked that it hadn't gone down - all I know is that I felt horrible and it took a LONG time to go away! I know they took me to at least one other room where they took a cat-scan or something of the sort - I remember them lifting me from one bed to the other, as I laid there freezing and shivering, the pain still hadn't subsided, and then they slowly moved me into the round chamber and asked me to hold my breath! I'm sure I didn't do a very good job of it. I think that from there they took me to the ICU and the pain slowly subsided.
I don't remember much at all after that. The next morning a doctor came in to talk with me. They never did find anything wrong with my chest - but said that it could have been caused from the stress my body was enduring because of other things. They told me I had HELLP syndrome - which stands for H -- hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells); EL -- elevated liver enzymes; and LP -- low platelet count. I guess my blood pressure had also gone extremely high. HELLP syndrome is basically a list of symptoms that have been associated together to which there is no cure - the doctors can only treat the symptoms. Usually HELLP occurs before the baby is born, and the thing that often mends it is to remove the placenta. It was a little unusual that I developed it after my baby was born. After the initial chest pain, though, I felt fine, although the doctor said that I was extremely ill.
I write this a couple weeks down the road, and I have since seen my obgyn again. He always says to me that nothing about my pregnancy was normal, but that the fact that I got HELLP after the baby was born was the least unusual out of everything else. We first found out that I only have half a uterus. When I delivered, the doc said that my placenta was flaking away. They sent it for testing, but nothing came back identifying a reason. I tested positive for CMV, which is a common virus that most individuals get before adulthood, but Marshall did not have it. Despite the fact that my obgyn and I are positive of the general date that I got pregnant (as I received a shot to release the egg), the neonatologist and nurses in the NICU say his development when he arrived was more like a 22-23 week baby, than a 27 almost 28 week baby. And they have not been able to identify any reason for why my placenta wasn't giving the nutrients to the baby, or why there was such a small amount of fluid in my uterus.
I don't know why this was God's timing for Tyler, Marshall and I, but I know that in the process many miracles happened to enable Marshall to come to our family . . .
Here are a few of the miracles so far.
Miracle #1 - That we got pregnant
Miracle #2 - Because of the fact that I had only half a uterus, I received more ultrasounds than most women, and because I received more ultrasounds my obgyn was notified to the fact that the blood flow to the baby wasn't sufficient, and the fluid in my uterus was low. He had me schedule an appointment with the hospital specialist.
Miracle #3 - I was able to get into the hospital specialist within less than a week - which my obgyn said was rare, and he was able to compare the blood flow from my previous ultrasound with the one he took and see the urgency because of the quick deterioration from one ultrasound to the next.
Miracle #4 - Despite his small size, Marshall made it through delivery.
Miracle #5 - The HELLP syndrome developed after delivery - had it come before, Marshall never would have survived.
Miracle #6 - As a sweet friend of Tyler's from Germany reminded us, we are here in America, with wonderful doctors and nurses and facilities, and Fruit Heights where we have an amazing support network of family and friends. (We had tried for 6 months to get a job in Germany, where Tyler could use his business and German skills, but nothing ever worked out. We were sad at the time, but so thankful now that it never worked out.)
You'll read more about Marshall's miracles in the other posts!