It's a boy

7 min read

Today is exactly one year since I found out I was pregnant with baby #4, so I guess it's time to share my story.

Baby #1:  Born August 31, 2000, 8 pound healthy baby girl born vaginally no epidural.  Total time in labor 6.5 hrs.

Baby #2:  Born April 21, 2006, 7lb11 oz healthy baby girl born vaginally no epidural.  Total time in labor 6 hrs.

Baby #3:  Born March 10, 2011, 6lb15oz healthy baby girl born vaginally no epidural.  Total time in labor 7 hrs.

Baby #4:  Born September 12, 2013, 7lb9oz healthy baby boy born by c-section(obvious epidural).  Total time in labor 24 hrs.

I listed those statistics so everyone could see how different my fourth labor and delivery was from the first 3.  My issues however started way before I actually went into labor, but they were always brushed off as being "normal pregnancy symptoms".  My first 3 pregnancies went by without much in the way of complications including no swelling what so ever.  At 20 weeks pregnant with #4 I had to take off my wedding ring due to swelling of my hands.  I continued to have other issues including terrible back and leg pains, chest tightness, and low iron and potassium levels.  My blood pressure was normal all the way up until the last month of my pregnancy when it started to slowly creep up.  I was swollen so bad that I could not wear shoes for the last 8 weeks of the pregnancy, but my doctor kept saying it was normal and happens when its hot out.  The morning of Sept. 11, 2013, I started having contractions and decided to go to the hospital a few hours later expecting a quick and easy delivery.  I spent the entire day and night in labor and never progressed beyond 6cm.  The following morning my doctor came in to give me the horrible news, I was going to have a c-section.  The thought of that scared me so much but I was physically and emotionally exhausted and just wanted to hold my baby, so I agreed, and within 30 minutes it was all over and I got to see the most handsome little boy I had ever laid eyes on.  My doctor said the reason he was not coming out was because he was trying to come out forehead first and just could not fit that way.  Everything went smoothly and I was taken back to my room to recover and spend time with my son.  I had a hard time adjusting to a c-section recovery and hated not being able to get up right away and just do things the way I wanted to.  The next 2 days went by with not much going on and I was able to breastfeed Noah, but I was anxious to get home so that I could properly bond with my baby.  I did notice that I had a HUGE amount of swelling(that I thought would get better after delivery, but got worse), but the nurses told me it would go away once I was able to get up and walk more.  My doctor released me to go home, but due to some issues with Noah we did not leave yet.  At the time I was frustrated because I just wanted to go home, but looking back at it, that saved my life!  Around 3am on the 15th I fed Noah and changed his diaper, got him back to sleep and laid him in his little hospital bed and climbed back up into the bed.  I started noticing I was having trouble breathing so I tried changing positions a little to see if that would make a difference, it didn't and it kept getting worse.  I was able to get out of bed and walk over to the couch and wake my husband up to tell him something was wrong.  He got the nurse who quickly brought in a wheelchair and raced me down to the ER.  I told my husband to stay with Noah and I would be back soon.  As soon as I got to the ER I was put in a bed and hooked up to every monitor they had.  As soon as all the machines started taking their readings I heard every alarm go off.  I turned to look at the screen to see what the numbers were.  My heart rate was 240, blood pressure was 170/98 and oxygen level 66.  I was immediately put on oxygen and an IV started.  They told me they needed to get a chest x-ray and took me down to radiology after switching me from the normal oxygen in the nose to the full blown oxygen mask.  I got on the xray table and was told to lay down, which I quickly discovered was not going to happen due to the fact that when I tried I felt like I was drowning.  I told the doctors I could not lay down and they got upset with me and took me back to the room where they tried to do a mobile chest xray and I was not cooperating very well because I could not breathe and felt like they were not taking me seriously and even suggested that I was just having a panic attack.  The last thing I remember was hearing one of the doctors yell "get the crash cart!"  I woke up 2 days later in a different hospital only to find out that I had been careflighted there from the first hospital, and had spent the last 2 days in a coma on life support.  I started having all this information thrown at me about what had happened and what my body was going partum cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, respiratory failure, but the only thing running through my mind was where is my baby?!?  I felt better once I found out he was in good hands being taken care of by my sister.  I learned that I was in the heart and vascular ICU at one of the best hospitals in Ohio surrounded by my wonderful family.  Once I was finally ready to take in what had happened I listened to everything the doctors, nurses, and my family were telling me.  It was so overwhelming and I found myself getting very emotional.  A couple hours after waking up one of the nurses asked me if I was ready to get out of bed, I wasn't really sure if I was or not, but I was determined to do it anyway.  She told me I was just going to get up and walk over to the chair and sit for a little while and try to have something to drink.  I noticed the chair was a few feet from the left side of the bed, so me being the hard headed woman that I am I sat up in the bed and swung my legs over the right side of the bed and waited for the nurse to come over to help me get up.  It took me awhile to get the strength to get up all the way and it was difficult at first due to the fact that I was still recovering from a c-section as well.  After I was up on my feet I walked over to the chair, all by myself, but the nurse stayed right by my side.  My family watched as I walked by, sat down and smiled.  I was able to sip on a few different things even though it hurt so bad to swallow after having a tube down my throat.  I had a hard time talking but had so many questions so I sat there talking to everyone for a few hours.  I didn't ever want to get back in that stupid hospital bed, but I started to get tired and didn't want to over do it so I got back in the bed and said my goodbyes to my family.  After everyone left I got so emotional and just sat there holding my husbands hand and crying.  I missed my baby so bad and just wanted to hold him but he was not allowed to come into the ICU.  The wonderful nurses knew how bad I needed to see my baby and were determined to make it happen.  So the next day they were able to convince the dr to transfer me out of ICU and worked it out with my family to surprise me as soon as I was transferred to my new room.  My mom and my sister brought Noah in and I was so happy!!  The nurses and my family watched as we were reunited and there was not a dry eye in the room.  I held on to him and never wanted to let go.  As I looked at him I realized how important it was for me to recover and I was more determined than ever.  I got to spend a few hours with him and then had to say goodbye again so that I could get some rest.  The doctors told me I would probably not go home until Friday(and it was only Tuesday), but I missed my kids so bad and just wanted to go home so I did everything I had to do to get out of there.  I surprised everyone when I was released on Wednesday(just 2 days after being taken off life support!)  Me and my husband went and picked Noah up from my sister and started the hour long drive back to our house.  I was so emotional when I returned home and cried and hugged each one of my girls and didn't want to let go.  I knew the road ahead was going to be tough, but I also knew that I was alive for a reason and under no circumstances was I going to let my kids grow up without their mom. So now, almost 5 months later I continue to take my medication everyday and listen to my body.  It's not easy sometimes to take care of myself while taking care of 4 kids pretty much by myself since my husband is a truck driver.  But the most important thing I learned from this experience is the best way to provide for my kids is to take care of their mother!! I know my journey is far from over and I learn new things about myself everyday and will continue to update as I progress.

My Details

  • Date Diagnosed: 16/09/2013
  • Child: 4
  • Initial EF: 20
  • Current EF: 25

Story By Rachel Blanken

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Woke up confused.

I have a hard time finding another story quite like mine no matter how hard I look. I was 26 and pregnant with my second

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