Friday, October 03, 2008

The Hayden shaped hole in my heart.




We left for the hospital at 2 a.m. on September 24th. My contractions were 4 minutes apart and were lasting 90 seconds each. When we arrived at the hospital they took my blood pressure and it was high, but not alarmingly so. The labor proceeded naturally. As the contractions worsened, Hayden's heart rate dropped and then stopped on three occasions because the umbilical cord was being compressed. They moved him around and added an internal monitor to make sure he was okay. Meanwhile my blood pressure continued to climb. I was put on magnesium sulfate to reduce the chance of seizure and the labor continued naturally. The magnesium slowed the progression of labor so pitocen was hung.  I don't recall anyone asking me if that was okay.  the pitocen made the contraction feel  100 times worse but less productive.  I asked for an epidural and was given two.  The first wore off in 20 minutes and the second never took. I entered the pushing phase with immense relief. I was ready to push this baby out! I pushed for an hour and twenty minutes and made no progress. Hayden was just too big. All the while my pressure climbed and climbed reaching 210/110. The pain was awful, but my main concern was my blood pressure. I could hear the fear and concern in the doctors voices as they discussed the situation. At one point I asked the doctor if I was going to die. She didn't respond. I then begged for a c-section fearing that anymore pushing my blood pressure would go even higher. The doctor was worried that my blood pressure would bottom out if they had to cut me and they might lose me. She said she was going to see if she could use the vacuum to help bring Hayden out and if that didn't work she would do the c-section. When she checked, Hayden was not close enough to vacuum out. They immediately rushed me in for an emergency c-section. I was given a spinal block which did not take so they had to put me under. During the surgery my pressure bottomed out just as the doctor had suspected it would.  
I woke up in a daze as they told me my son was perfectly healthy and weighed 9lbs! I had hoped to see him, but it wasn't meant to be. My temperature spiked and I was placed in ICU with what they originally thought was pneumonia, but later found out was an infection of the uterus. My water had broken early without me knowing it resulting in the infection. 
Once my temperature was under control the doctor gave the okay for Hayden to come and see me and shortly thereafter I was released back to the labor and delivery unit. Again, our time was cut short. My blood pressure increased and they placed me on a monitored unit. They were very understanding and gave me a private room where Hayden was able to visit.
Throughout all of this the cardiologist was looking at my chest x-rays, which were taken because they thought I had pneumonia, and determined that one side of my heart was larger than the other. They did an ultrasound on my heart and found what they thought was a hole. The doctor ordered a TEE which is the most awful test ever invented. Despite the anesthesiologist claim that she gave me plenty of sedation, I remember every second of the test. Unfortunately the test confirmed the doctors suspicions. I had a hole in my heart. The cardiologist thought that I needed a heart transplant and at the very minimum immediate open heart surgery.  His recommendation was that I be taken to a hospital in Pittsburgh to be seen by a cardiac specialist.  Needless to say, my world turned around a few million times in the space of a few minutes. I went to the hospital expecting to come home with a baby and was being told I would be having open heart surgery. I was transported by ambulance to AGH where I underwent a Cardiac MRI another agonizing test where I was stuck in a small tube for one and a half hours and tormented with breathing exercises. This test confirmed the hole in my heart and gave the doctors more information regarding it. The good news from this test was that I only had one hole in my heart. Up until this point they had suspected a hole in both chambers of the heart. My final procedure was a Cardiac Cath. While slightly unnerving, this test was the best of the worst. Watching a monitor as a catheter is snaked through your heart is a strange experience. This test provided a measurement of the pressures in my lungs and heart. Basically it allowed the doctors to see how much of the blood flow in my heart was being diverted by the hole. The results were that roughly 1/3 of the blood in my body only makes its way from the heart to the lungs and never circulates through the rest of my body. The good news was that given the pressure and condition of my heart, which was very good despite having lived the last 29 years with a hole, the cardiac specialist and surgeons agreed that I could come home, be with by new baby and family, and recover from all that has happened. The surgeons words to me were "You've lived with this for 29 years. It's not going to kill you in a few weeks or a few months, or even a few years. This is something that would take years." And so it was agreed that I would come home. I'm still on a dose of antibiotics to clear up any infection. I'm also on two types of blood pressure medication until my blood pressure is under control. And I will have to have open heart surgery at some point in time. For now, I am here with my precious boy who saved my life. If I hadn't had him who knows when they would have found the hole in my heart. The doctors suspect it would have been years from now and that by the time it was noticed I would be in heart failure. Throughout the hospital stay and the endless testing, the thing I kept reminding myself of was that I could miss these moments with Hayden if it meant that I would be here for all the rest and that is exactly how I expect this all to work out. I gave up the first week of his life so that I will be here for every delicious moment that remains. Nothing happened the way I expected it to, but everything happened the way it was meant to. One night in the hospital I prayed like I have never prayed before. I asked God to let it all be over and let me come home and be with my baby. The little voice that responded said that everything that had happened up to that point had been for a reason. Now I can see that it was true.

14 comments:

aola said...

It is such a relief to know this is all going to work out fine... so glad you are home with your family.

much love comes your way

Kelli said...

omg. I don't even know what to say I am so utterly shocked. I had been wondering if you had had him, how things were going, when we would get an update... But, wow. You are so right - thank GOD that you had him and they discovered this now!!! I am so happy Hayden is healthy and that you are enjoying some time with him. Keep us updated and I will definitely be thinking and praying for you.

Congratulations on your boy. :)

Emma said...

So glad you're home and able to spend time recovering and enjoying your little boy.

Anonymous said...

please please please call me (my # is on my fb page) or e-mail your number as soon as you are able, I really want to just talk and I still have what I think is a # from CA...hopefully tomorrow isn't too soon? please let me know. I love you, and i'm so glad you're home. i haven't been thinking and praying about much else in any free moments all week.
Becky (Mead) D

McMom said...

I am so thankful you are home and able to enjoy your family!! When I first heard about what you were going through my first thought was that if you had not been pregnant they would not have found this problem. Now that you know you can heal and plan when you want to go through with the surgery.

I have been praying for you and will continue to do so! Enjoy your time with your family and you precious boy!

Hugs!

McMom said...

Awwwww! What beautiful pictures!!

Cara said...

Your beautiful boy is wonderful, and you have been on my heart this whole time.

Medical testing has got to be the modern equivalent of the inquisition.

I'm so glad that you are home now, and that you have the luxury of time to plan when to have the surgery you need.

He's beautiful! Erin looks like a completely at home big sister!

Kristen said...

I have been so worried about you! (Thankfully Aola was updating us when she had news.) I can't believe all of this has happened to you in just a week!

I am so proud of you for being such a trooper through this. We love you! And can't wait to see more pics of Hayden! (Erin looks beautiful as usual.)

Jeanne said...

Oh Sandra, Hayden is gorgeous! Of course, right? I have been praying for you and your family with my small group, too. I'm so glad for your perspective on your blog, for compassionate and thinking doctors and for the way this has turned out. Blessings to you and Hayden and David and Erin. You did great, girl!

Elaine said...

I was anxious just reading your blog post. So I'm so glad that you are all safe and healthy. Thinking about you and your family during this time of joy and transition!

Kelli said...

Beautiful pictures!

Denise said...

Sandy....... I am thankful to the Father God for keeping you safe and for allowing this precious baby boy to come into your life and to bring to attention the need in your life..... How precious is the love of the Father that will bring all things around for good.... I am beyond thankful for your life and the life of that beautiful boy... You take care of yourself and we will just believe that God will heal that hole over the next few months...He can you know..........

Please send me your address so that I can send you a little something ....

Love AD

E. Michelle said...

sandra. i am so glad you are doing better. I have been thinking of you so much.

Becky said...

he's beautiful. so beautiful.

I am so glad you are okay and that they found the hole. much love. enjoy the babe.