Saturday, December 20, 2014

University of Utah Emergency Room

After my one week midwife appointment, we headed to the hospital to see Liam in the NICU. We stayed until about 8 or 9pm or so and then headed home. Luckily, Cade and I live so close to Primary Children's that it only takes us about 5 minutes to get home. Once we got home, I was incredibly tired. I tried to go to sleep but I couldn't. Every time I layed down I started to shake. I felt horrible and my body felt weak. Over the past few nights since I had Liam, I would wake up not being able to breath. It was so scary! Although, on this particular night it was worse. Cade tried to calm me down but I knew something just wasn't right. I tried to keep laying down but eventually I started shaking uncontrollably. It was almost like I was having mini seizures. We took my blood pressure and it was way high around 160/120 or around there. I can't quite remember all the details anymore. Cade and my mom insisted that we go to the hospital. For once in my life, I didn't object. This was the absolute worst feeling of my life. I would go through labor again over the shaking. We went to the University of Utah E.R. because it is closer to our house than the Intermountain Medical Center where I delivered Liam.

When we got to the E.R. I was so weak I could barley walk. I was pretty grateful when they got me a wheelchair. They took me to a room and asked me to do a urine sample but I said no. I couldn't. My limbs were shaking uncontrollably and I just wanted to be stable.

They hooked me up to a lot of monitors and started to try and figure out the problem. An EMT came in and gave me an IV. This was the most painful IV of my life. At one point it became so painful that I couldn't answer the questions the doctor was asking me anymore. I just layed there and pointed to my arm. A few seconds later the doctor realized that the EMT left the tourniquet on my arm. It was on for about 20 minutes and it was terrible. I begged them to take the IV out because it just hurt SO bad. The doctor was pretty mad at the EMT.

Eventually I had to pee pretty bad so I decided I could do the urine test. I had a temperature so they thought I might have a UTI. It was quickly determined that I had a pretty bad UTI so I was given medication for that right away.

The doctors were also worried about preeclampsia turning to eclampsia, peripartum cardiomiopothy (heart failure), and a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs) - all of which can happen after birth.

They did a chest X-ray, an echocardiogram, EKG and a CAT scan. Unfortunately they had to redo the IV. I begged them not to put it in the crease of my arm again because it hurt so bad but they said they had to because when they do CAT scans the IV can blow out and then they have to surgically remove them. This prospect was kind of scary so I let them redo it in the other arm and had someone else do it- not the EMT guy (although he was there). It was better this time- some people are just better at giving IVs than others.

Getting a CAT scan was the weirdest thing ever- they give you iodine in your IV and it makes your whole body really hot. It's weird.

It was also kind of funny because when the doctor was doing the heart ultrasound I was leaking milk all over. He also kept telling me not to move which was incredibly frustrating because the reason I was there was for uncontrollable SHAKING. Sorry dude!

Eventually, they also gave me blood pressure medication which made me feel so much better and the shaking finally stopped. I was so grateful for the blood pressure medication!

Side Note: I thought that the midwife was being a little overzealous when she said she was going to admit me to the hospital earlier in the day for high blood pressure, but I guess she probably should have- maybe I could've avoided the ER trip.

Since I was stabilized, the doctor asked me if I wanted to go home. They couldn't find anything majorly wrong and they didn't have any rooms available for us to go to or they would have kept me for more testing.

It was 4 am and we were all exhausted so I opted to go home.

I am pretty sure Cade was on the edge at this point. I joked that it would put Cade over the edge if the midwife would've put me in the hospital when Liam was already in the hospital, but I never imagined that I would have to actually go to the E.R.

I don't have any pictures from this night- Thankfully! Just imagine me looking like death and Cade and my mom with tired and concerned looks on their faces.

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Midwives Apt 1

My one week postpartum check-up was set up for Thursday, the night after Liam went into the NICU. I thought about canceling the appointment but decided I just wanted to get it over with because I didn't know how long Liam would be in the NICU and I didn't want to reschedule. I was also having some pain that I wanted to ask about. The appointment went okay, but my blood pressure was still really high and I was still extremely swollen. My midwife, Melissa, said she would have admitted me to the hospital if Liam wasn't in the NICU. She very sternly told me that I needed to sit as much as possible and the only place I could go was to the hospital and home. I was also supposed to keep my feet up and not doing anything like Laundry or Dishes for 3 weeks. It was like postpartum bed rest. She told me it was important to have someone with me for at least two weeks because Cade would be going back to school and she said I would need physical and mental support. It was kind of hard to grasp needing so much help, but I knew what she meant. I was so grateful that my mom stayed to help.

Bilirubin Tests

While we were still in the hospital after I had Liam, the pediatrician came in and talked to me about him having high bilirubin. He said that it was critical for me to get a doctors appointment the day after we went home because Liam's levels were high. The next day my mom and I took Liam to his first doctors appointment with Dr. Fox. The appointment went well and Dr. Fox was great. He explained everything really well and told me what would happen after Liam had his bilirubin checked. He said the mostly likely scenario was that we wouldn't have to do anything, the second scenario was having bililights delivered to our house (if Liam's level was about 18) and a third, very slim chance would be heading to the hospital for Liam to be put on the lights (If Liam was above 20). In my mind, we were just coming to the Dr. as a precaution. I really thought this was the end and I did not think we would have to have the lights at home or have to go to the hospital. Liam had the test and did really well. He cried a little but nothing major. We headed home and waited for the call to hear the results.

A few hours later I got a call from the doctors office explaining that Liam's level was 19. They called Intermountain Home Health care and set up a time to deliver the lights. The doctor also said that if they didn't drop the lights off for some reason, then we needed to take Liam to Primary Children's ER immediately. While we waited for the lights, we put Liam on a blanket in the sun and cranked up the heat in our apartment so that he could be naked in a diaper. Luckily, the lights came a few hours later and we didn't have to go to the hospital.

We kept Liam on the lights all night. I had a really hard time putting him in the bed. I just wanted to cuddle my little guy and I was almost in tears having to put him in there. I felt kind of blessed that I was nursing him because that meant I got to hold him for the short time he was off the lights. He was on the lights for 21 hours of 24.

The doctors office was supposed to call and set up a follow up appointment for the following day but they never did. I eventually called and said we could do the appointment for either Thursday or Friday but luckily I got an appointment for Thursday at 5:00pm (with bilirubin, sooner is better than later).

We went back to the doctors office and saw a different doctor because Dr. Fox was gone. The new doctor thought that Liam was looking great and would probably be office the lights by Friday. He was pretty orange but they said color doesn't necessarily indicate high levels. I was hopeful.

Since the office was closing, we had to go to the lab to do the bilirubin test. The tech who did Liam's test was not very good and it took about 10-15 for her to do it (I later learned that they can do it painlessly in 30 seconds at Primary Children's- go Primary's!). Liam screamed the whole time. Thankfully my mom was holding him because I was incredibly weak.

We headed back home and Cade watched Liam while my mom and I headed to the store. We needed a few things and I was anxious to get out of the house-(who knows why, I was still in a lot of pain). As soon as we got to the store, the Dr. called and said that Liam's level was extremely high and we needed to head to Primary Children's ASAP. His level was 23.7. He said that it was important for Liam to be put on the lights right away because high bilirubin can cause brain damage and a lot of other side effects.

We left the store immediately and my mom called Cade because I was driving. Cade got Liam ready and we had one of our friends come over and help Cade give Liam a blessing. Then we quickly headed to Primary Children's Emergency Room... be continued.

My little pumpkin baby

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