I've suffered from pre-eclampsia in each of my previous pregnancies. It came on suddenly (due to, I believe, tremendous emotional stress) when I was 37 weeks pregnant with Keeleigh and the doctor induced me immediately. Looking back I can't say that enjoyed one minute of her birth. I had a headache due to my high blood pressure, felt like I was on fire due to the magnesium sulfate that was supposed to lower my blood pressure, and hated the way the epidural made my legs feel. Eventually all of these feelings gave way to nausea and the next thing I remember is looking at my screaming, bloody baby trying not to cry.
When I became pregnant with Jathan I believed what everyone including the doctor said, that I wasn't likely to experience pre-eclampsia again. So at around 30 weeks, I think, I got permission from my doctor to travel to Savannah, Georgia, on a "babymoon" with Jackie. For the next few days I walked approximately one million miles give or take on swollen feet including to the top of a lighthouse. Because I'm an idiot, that's why. I didn't want to ruin the fun and maybe I felt like I had a little something to prove--I am pregnant woman, hear me roar. Anything you can do, I can do better and so on. Well, I did it all and I came home very sick and Jathan was born the next week at 33 weeks gestation. It was an even worse birth than Keeleigh's and if a doctor had been present willing to give Jackie a vasectomy at that very moment, Ryland and Baby #4 would not be here.
Then I became pregnant with Ryland, the baby that I had begged and begged (God and Jackie) for. Yes, despite my two horrible births he was greatly desired. I was desperate not to have pre-eclampsia again. I studied all the theories and tried the protein diet recommended by some only to give up after a week or so because it's really an absurd amount of protein for me to try to intake. I wondered if aspirin therapy would work. I admit I even Googled "faith healing." I really, really wanted a healthy pregnancy.
Things went well until around 33 weeks into that pregnancy and then I went on bed rest with elevated pressures. He was finally born after I was induced at 35 weeks. His birth was an absolute piece of cake. It was only 6 hours long and for the first 4 hours, I was totally and completely chill. I was on the highest dosage of Pitocin that I could get (and it was working fine) but calm and in control. I remember the nurse telling me at one point that I must have a high tolerance for pain because most women would be crawling on the floor by then. But I was just using what I had learned in a Hypnobabies course to relax and not fear what was happening within my body. I wasn't fighting it; I was picturing it working wonderfully just the way it should. 4 hours into the induction and at 4 centimeters the doctor broke my water which changed the feeling of contractions for me. They still didn't hurt the way that everyone describes them hurting but they did feel intense and I got scared. So I said yes to an epidural. About an hour and a half after the epidural, Ryland was born with about three pushes so I kind of regretted even getting the epidural at all. I TOTALLY could have done it! Either way though I was so, so happy to finally have a terrific, enjoyable birth that ended with them placing a slippery baby on my chest to nurse. He stayed with me almost every minute from then on and I was so very grateful.
When Ryland was around 8 months old, I discovered I was expecting again. This baby was also greatly desired. I was ecstatic that we were giving Ryland a little sibling and growing our beautiful family even though many others simply did not (do not) understand. I kind of gave up the notion of a non-induced, unmedicated birth. I will go with the flow, I decided, and not worry about things beyond my control. But I did worry a tiny bit starting after about 30 weeks. I resisted the urge to take my blood pressure every day. I didn't decrease my salt intake because I really don't think that has a thing to do with it. I couldn't do much about how active I was having a preteen, a preschooler, and a toddler and all. But I did (do) pray. A lot. Thankfully I had gotten some things that had been wrong for a long time right with God before I even became pregnant so I felt different spiritually. During Lent I felt led to give up Dr. Pepper and began drinking a ton more water. I don't think Dr. Pepper causes pre-eclampsia but faithfulness to a healthier diet can't hurt!
Almost 35 weeks here...
And now I'm 35 weeks pregnant with a precious little girl. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and as always I was a little nervous perched up on the table waiting for the chatty nurse to come take my blood pressure. So I closed my eyes and prayed Jeremiah 17:14 which says, "Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed, save me and I will be saved, for You are the One I praise." I know that my health--my very life--rests in His Hands. It may very well be His will for this pregnancy with pre-eclampsia again and if it must be then it simply must be. But up until now, I know it is He that has saw fit to bless me and my baby with health. He knows the desires of my heart--a healthy, term, natural delivery--and I'm trusting Him with that hope. It's been most wonderful learning that trust over these last almost 12 years of having babies. Here's hoping I continue to grow in my knowledge of who God is so that I can forever let go of worry!
Oh and by the way, yesterday's blood pressure was 110/72. The doctor was all smiles and joked that I'm going to be full term begging her to just get the baby out. I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy every single second I can get of this pregnancy, though!