A Year Ago Today...
Updated: Feb 24, 2022
As I look at a year ago today, I come across a picture that just says it all. The picture shows my daughter in her sleep sack laying on our bed, next to me as we finished our final day before Thanksgiving
Break in distance learning. I was definitely feeling burned out, as I remember I didn't even want to cook anything. We ordered our favorite Habit burgers, shake for her, fries for both and were just hoping to make it through the day. Little did I know why I was so exhausted.
Amara couldn't nap that day, that's why we watched a movie in Mom and Dad's room, cuddled, and she just wanted to be close to me. I remember having a headache and light really bothering me. Pain in my lower pelvic region, along with dizzy spells the past few weeks. Laying down was the perfect end to the day. Sadly I wasn't too worried with how the day at school went, my mind was just elsewhere.
My doctor had set up a routine appointment via video to check in with me. She asked if I had taken my BP lately, and I knew it was something I should have been doing more of. I just kept putting it off. She told me she'd check back in after I had taken it. When she called me back, I told her the numbers and she really thought something was wrong with my machine. I did it again as she waited and again the numbers were about the same. Now it was a bit of a concern. I looked online to see what my numbers meant and the results were not good. It had to be my machine. But as she said, I would go to Kaiser to have them check. Since my husband couldn't come home just yet, I would have to wait and go to the ER in the evening since the regular OBGYN office would be closed.
As I was prepping a bath for Amara after dinner, I noticed my patience getting shorter and shorter. My voice more demanding and tone less loving. I felt like my head was in a cloud and then I started to have some thoughts about "what if something is wrong." That made my patience even smaller. As my husband came home, I darted into our room to get changed and head out the door to the ER.
When I approached the hospital, I chuckled because the doors I was going through were the same ones I came through when my water broke with my daughter. What if I was going to deliver this guy soon? Gosh, I hope not it's too soon.
As they had me give my info and lay down for a quick BP check, nurses started to get more frantic. They also had to check it multiple times. Because of the numbers I was not going anywhere. Time to get in a gown and settle in. Due to it being so high, magnesium would have to be administered right away. When they took me off of it to see if my numbers would settle, they noticed numbers lowering but then going back up again. I kept asking the nurses what this meant and a few seemed optimistic, but one mentioned it could mean inducing labor. It was all up to the man in the white coat about to come in.
The doctor on call came in to pay a visit and ask me how I was feeling. My heart racing had slowed down, pressure was going down, and vision was normal. He mentioned that they would have to do some tests to see if this was in fact something called preeclampsia, but he was sure it was along those lines. He had made some calls to colleagues because he wanted to be sure he was going about this the right way - all signs pointing to inducing labor 5 weeks early. As the word "induce" came out of his mouth, my eyes swelled up with tears. Not again. You're not doing this to me, my son, or my daughter waiting for me at home. She's counting on some time with me before our son arrives. We have winter break just around the corner, and I had some big plans for horse rides, zoo trips, baking- all just the 2 of us. I fought this doctor, I fought him many times explaining this just can' t be so. He let me know that I can get up and leave, but I am going against all medical advice. If I go home right now, the chance of a heart attack or stroke are very likely. He didn't want to scare me, but it could be fatal to me or our child. Tears just were not being held back now. A nurse rubbed my back and just told me to hear him out.
I called my husband and he as well was in disbelief. Just a few more weeks he said, then our son will be ready to join us. I had to let him know what all nurses said and how they mentioned they'd seen this time and time again, it's not worth fighting back. Hanging up with him, I knew it was the right move to continue with inducing. If something doesn't go right, I will do all I can in my power to help this little one.
I was going through all the emotions- ticked off, sad, scared, and mostly I just couldn't get over the fact that I was mentally not ready for this. I wanted more time to prepare- finish his room, pick out the hospital outfit, pack my clothes, and most of all just have more time with Amara. What will she be thinking? Mommy has never just left like this...she will be worried when she wakes up and I'm not there.
We called my mom and thankfully she was able to come in the wee hours of the night to stay and get settled for what lies ahead. I had my husband stay home to rest up because who knows what's going to happen next, but I knew it was a long time until delivery- inducing tends to take a while. I also knew no turkey this year....thank goodness my husband urged me to stay home for the holiday. We had plans to travel 3 hours away and he didn't like the feeling of it- I was hesitant, but wow was he spot on! Guess gut feelings are meant to be listened to.
As we waited for time to pass, I saw no reason to not pull out my laptop and lesson plan. I had not planned to be out just yet and thankfully had started on plans, but was nowhere near ready for a sub to come in. Being in distance learning we had no clue if we'd be back in the classroom come winter time or not. A nurse came in and saw me sitting up, with minor contractions, typing on a computer. She was appalled and told me to put it away. She said my body was already in distress, what am I doing? When I explained I am a teacher, she said this is why teachers are alway stressed, the job is never done. I knew I had to get this done because I remember with my daughter, once the baby arrives there is no time. And I would not want to be anywhere near a computer at that point.
The waiting game continued and all I could think about was how different this was than expected- this baby is going to need a lot of care and the talk of NICU kept circling me. We've never had a baby in the NICU except for when she had RSV. How will I nurse him? How will we do skin on skin if he's in there? What if he's in there a long time and we don't get that bonding time? 34 weeks meant a definite NICU visit, unless he was going to wait it out a day or two and make it to 35 weeks. Nurses were hoping to get a little more time until delivery so they could give him a steroid shot beforehand to mature his lungs a bit. Just the thought of him getting that shot worried me because I knew immature lungs means more illness and sometimes more severe viruses. If this is the case, he's going to need more care and I vowed to myself then and there it would mean Mama needs to be home longer with him. Leaving our daughter and going back to work was the hardest thing ever, especially with the amount of times she was sick. We just aren't doing that again.
Thanksgiving Day, November 26, went and came. It wasn't until later Thanksgiving night that we started to see some action....it just took me back to my daughter's birth. Would he be a turkey baby or black Friday baby? With Amara it was would she be a 2017 baby or 2018 baby? Our son was holding strong and made it to the 35 week mark. They were able to give me the steroid shot so his lungs could develop stronger. Now it was just a matter of time.
1:18AM our son, Armaan joined our world. Considering all I had been through a few days prior, his delivery went beautifully. I wanted to be a. bit involved in the delivery , but considering the way it all started I told myself to just relax and let my body and the doctors take their course. I am grateful for the delivery physician I had as she let me feel his head as he was coming out. His beautiful soft, silky hair right away reminded me of his sister. The worry about getting work done, what's going to happen to my classroom, and how this will all go suddenly disappeared as he entered my arms. The first look as he heard my voice, as if he knew me already, made my heart skip a beat.
The magic of all of this was when he was born, BP went down and stayed down. In many preeclampsia cases, giving birth tends to solve the problem. Unfortunately, since then I have done some research and learned that many women also have organ failure, consistent high BP, and other health troubles. Their babies also have to stay in the NICU. We were blessed with him being born a day later, at the 35 week mark so that he didn't have to go in there. His weight also being 5 lbs was not as concerning as well.
November 25 was a game changer for me- a wake up call to life. Our family continually says "Armaan changed her life" because for once I realized if I don't take care of myself first, the rest will fall apart. Being someone who has always put others ahead of her, used food as a coping mechanism, and nonstop worrying about things I don't always have control over knew at that point something would have to change. And it wasn't even a plan in my head as to what will help me make this change- I just knew it had to happen. Immediately.
This Thanksgiving, as I am coming off Whole30 and learning what my body needs to feel fueled- I am thankful for all I was able to take in this year. I have to really thank IIN (Institute for Integrated Nutrition) for that because they taught me so much more than just what healthy eating looks like. Trying different eating strategies, stress techniques, journaling, and even practice coaching others has been such a blessing this year. It gets me so pumped up because I want to help others who've been in my shoes or battled bad health their entire life. I want them to see more color to life and experience that surge of energy.
I am especially thankful for the little man who entered our lives on November 27. Whenever I look at him I am reminded of all that he brought with him. His sense of connection emotionally with me doesn't surprise me- he's my reminder of taking deep breaths and even if the sea is rocky, keep sailing along because all will be OK.