Friday, November 6, 2009

Fear not

Fear is hard to overcome. When your fear is only 2 years old it's impossible.

When I gave birth almost 2 years ago (although giving birth is altogether too benign a way to describe the horrors of my c-section with the triplets) I suffered through some awful complications. I could go on about the surgery itself, the recovery from the surgery, the blood transfusions and so on, but the worst part started before that. The two nights before I had my children I couldn't breathe.

I lay in bed that Sunday night in February coaching myself through the feeling of suffocation. You'd think I'd have awakened my husband, called a doctor, or something, but I guess I thought it was just those crazy kids smothering me with their fat little bodies all pressed up against my lungs and diaphragm. It's pretty normal to be short of breath when you're pregnant.

But it wasn't that. It apparently was that my blood pressure was sky high. I was heading into pre-eclampsia, that delightful unhealthy space where your body is giving up the battle to support other life forms within you. And mine was giving up quick. Apparently high blood pressure makes it hard to breathe but the doctors were afraid my lungs were filling up with fluid as the heart was giving out. Pulmonary edema you know. Not a good problem to have. So to the hospital I headed. They tried to stabilize me and I had what the doctors would probably call a 'good night' but for me it was a living hell.

I still couldn't breathe. I also suffered from extreme hot and cold, had to sleep with three belts with cold metal monitoring devices strapped to them wrapped around my body. It was terrible.

I'd like to say I was strong and determined to make it to 36 weeks, full term for triplets, but 2 nights of not breathing crippled me mentally. I was just at 32 weeks and like hell I was suffocating for 4 more. I gave up. I told the doctor my resolve was gone and to get those damned kids out of me. We had already gotten steroid shots, so the babies were in great shape to come out, albeit early. There was nothing left to do but stop mom from dying slowly mentally and physically.

The problem was that the high blood pressure takes weeks to get down. Sure, they put me on drugs after the birth and monitored me closely, but I was still having incredibly high numbers. 150s over 100s. And I could not sleep in any position except sitting up. A week later, when I went home I had to sleep in the recliner downstairs sitting up. And still I suffocated. When all the lights were out and it got too dark? Suffocation.

I had to have DH create a soundtrack of soothing music to play on loop all night so that when I was awake I had something to hold onto reality. For a week I slept in the living room with a soundtrack. (The babies didn't come home for weeks after me so no problems there.) I finally made it up to my own bed but had to sleep with a hundred pillows like I had while pregnant. Two weeks into recovery I visited my OB. I explained that I couldn't lay down because I couldn't breathe and he urged me to try while telling my mother in law it was all in my head. Nice.

I'll tell you what, my head sure was convincing.

Somehow I got through this and eventually lay down again and life went on, but when I lay down to take a nap today? Couldn't breathe. Panic set in. Am I already succumbing to pre-eclampsia? Am I going to go through this all again? It doesn't take much to remember the incredible fear and feelings that went along with feeling like I was suffocating. My attempts to rationalize what happened today don't help. I have some serious fear to overcome in the next 2 months before I give birth. Because this is only going to get worse, and while I may not get that sick, I had better get through whatever is handed to me and I had better not get any more fears along the way!


  1. Mira, I forgot you had such troubles after the trio was born (or maybe you never really said so as not to scare us still pg people). I hope that all goes smoothly this time around--can't believe you're near the home stretch! Keep us posted.....

  2. Wow....what a trial. I hope for an incredible experience this time Mira. Sending positive thoughts and prayers. And am very excited for you.

  3. I think of you often, knowing you are also taking care of triplets while being pregnant too. This is SO much harder for me than just being pregnant with the three and it's somehow comforting knowing someone else out there is doing it too. I've never been so exhausted. I hope the last couple months go smoothly for you. I think I'm down to days or weeks. Yee.

  4. Oh, Mira...

    I'm so sorry that you're struggling like this. I wish I had something profound and encouraging to offer, but having never been where you are right now, I'm at a loss.

    I'll be praying for you.

  5. oh hon, that brings back memories. bad ones. I am sorry you are going through this. Hang in there, you got through it once and you will again. (((Hugs)))