Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Audrey's birth story and my health

While the story isn’t over yet, I wanted to share what was going on with me.

Thursday, January 12
I came home from work with a fever and was wheezing.

Sunday, January 15 (Hospital Day 1)
My breathing difficulty was getting worse, so my OBGYN on-call doctor told me to go to urgent care and get my lungs listened to. At urgent care, my blood pressure was out of control and we were told to go straight to the hospital.

I was checked into L&D. My blood pressure was nowhere as high, but the hospital decided to do a 24-hour urine test. As for my difficulty breathing, I was put on an antibiotic to get the “yuck” out.

Monday, January 16 (Hospital Day 2)
I was diagnosed with early stages of pre-eclampsia and given the induction date of Tuesday, January 24. I was released from the hospital and put on bed rest for the week.

Tuesday, January 17 (Hospital Day 3)
I went back to the hospital this morning after some blood gushing. My doctor decided the baby wanted to come and broke my water a little after 1 p.m. Within 10 minutes my contractions were already 3-4 minutes apart.

The biggest issue was my breathing and coughing. I lasted 90 minutes (4 cm dilated) without an epidural. Sadly, I had some epidural drama. The first one did not go in well at all. I could still feel everything on my right side. The anesthesiologist clearly knew something was wrong, because he hung around for about 45 minutes. He fidgeted with the needle after that, and it didn’t get better, so he had to redo the entire process. The second epidural stayed in my system for about 90 minutes, but after that the pain returned and didn’t go away – even with several redoses.

I started pushing around 9 p.m., so about 8 hours later. Instead of taking breaks between pushing though, I was coughing and spitting up mucus and trying to catch any breath that I had left in me. I just knew that something was not right. After about an hour my doctor was paged. Before she arrived though, another RN came in to help. At this point, I was begging for a c-section and the new RN kept telling me to keep on going – how it’d be better for me and the baby. The new RN tried to put an oxygen mask on me, which I’m too claustrophoebic for and started freaking out even more, which made my breathing even worse. During the pushes at this point, they would lower the bed for the push positioning, which made the coughing even worse and my pushes got weaker and weaker. Then they'd raise the bed so I could cough and attempt to get any air I could.

Thirty minutes later, I had so little air that I was seeing spots and close to passing out. When my doctor walked in, she offered me a c-section in less than a minute.

Everything else that night is a blur. I had epidural #3, but I was so exhausted, I fell asleep on one of the doctors holding me up. I didn’t even realize I had been strapped down. I don’t remember Brent coming into the room or even really hearing Audrey cry. When Brent was holding Audrey, I took one look at her, smiled and passed out. Audrey was born at 11:38 p.m.

Wednesday, January 18 (Hospital Day 4)
While in the c-section recovery room, I got to hold Audrey and attempt to breastfeed her in between coughing fits and a chest x-ray. Brent and I were busy loving on her, and the grandparents stopped in to see their first grandchild. I was on oxygen and getting blood drawn while Audrey and I were having some skin-to-skin time.

The RN was having some difficulty with drawing my blood (didn’t really have a lot of desirable veins left), so I started paying attention to the abuse of my hand. Then Audrey made this alarming noise, I looked over at her and see her turning purple. The RN grabbed Audrey and ran out of the room with her.

I’m not sure how much time passed. Probably only 5 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. The RN returned and told us everything was now fine. Audrey did stop breathing, but her heart was still going. She was now admitted into NICU.

When Brent and I woke up that morning, we got wonderful reports on Audrey. So, the new focus was on getting me better. I was still on oxygen and having breathing treatments.

That night, I finally got to see Audrey.

Saturday, January 21 (Hospital Day 7)
I was released from the hospital that night. Audrey developed a little jaundice though, so we boarded at the hospital since she was being released the following day.

That night I got worse. The coughing and breathing difficulty increased again…as did the tears. At this point, I played it up to hormones and just being hospital stir crazy. It hurt to be at any form of an inclined positioned because I couldn’t get air – so therefore I couldn't sleep.

Sunday, January 22 (Hospital Day 8)
We were discharged from the hospital on Sunday. Audrey still had some jaundice, but it was improving – so home health services provided us with the necessary equipment.

That morning I cried a lot. I just assumed it was hormones and possibly some post-pardum warning signs, so I didn’t read much into it. I still couldn’t get enough air, but I thought that going home would solve that issue.

I went downhill rather quickly once we got home. Less than 4 hours later, I was back in the ER. Basically, the trip to the ER was to determine if something was actually wrong or if it was panic-attack related.

After chest x-rays, an EKG and cat-scan – they discovered a had an extreme amount of fluid in my lungs and I was admitted into the hospital to start flushing out my system.

Monday, January 24 (Hospital Day 9)
Audrey update: Audrey no longer has jaundice!

I had an ECHO in the morning to determine the cause of the liquid.

I was diagnosed with Post-Pardum Cardio Myopathy. In a nut shell this means, pregnancy weakened my heart and it’s become enlarged and can’t function correctly.

While it’s looking like I’ll make a decent to full recovery, things will no longer be the same. This is a condition I will always have, which means I’ll always be at risk for congestive heart failure. I’ll most likely be on heart medication the rest of my life, and on a low-sodium diet to prevent future liquid build up.

Another heartbreaking change is that I won’t ever be pregnant again. Since pregnancy caused this issue, getting pregnant again will make my condition worse and likely lead to a form of heart balloon or other heart surgery. Definitely not worth the risk, but a lot of tears were shed.

Tuesday, January 24 (Hospital Day 10)
Not a whole lot has changed. I responded well to the medicines I’ve been on (I’ve already lost 3 liters of liquid…yes, 3 liters). Since I’ve responded well, I didn’t need to heart cath or additional ECHO done, which was a big relief.

I’m done with my nitro drip, but back on the oxygen. And I just started taking a new heart medication to see how that goes.

When I do get to go home, I’ll be on a “life vest” for about a month. This will make sure all stays well with my heart and give me a shock if needed.

Wednesday, January 25 (Hospital Day 11)
I started a beta blocker today, and I seem to be doing well with it so far. I also met up with the nutritionist to start going over my new sodium-free lifestyle.

There's rumors I'll be released on Friday, but there's been no doctor confirmation on this so far.

So, that’s where I’m at right now. I’ll try to keep everyone updated.

As for Audrey, both my mom and mother-in-law are staying at the house with her. So she's been in great hands being spoiled.


  1. Holy cannoli. Congrats on the birth of your baby girl, and I'm sorry to hear about all the other stuff. I hope that you get better soon and back to snuggling your little girl.

  2. Bless you. You have a lot going on right now. May you make a speedy recovery. Prayers to you and the family.

  3. First off, Congrats. Audrey is beautiful. I couldn't even imagine what you have gone through. Thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  4. Oh Ashley. I am so sorry that you have had to go through this. I will be praying for complete healing and that you are with sweet Audrey soon.

  5. Oh my goodness! What a traumatic and difficult time. I'm so sorry to hear about all of the complications your are facing. Thank goodness everything is well with Audrey, congratulations on your baby girl. I hope your recovery goes smoothly and you are back home with Audrey soon.

  6. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful babe. Please take care of yourself during this time. Much strength to you and your family as you recover!

  7. I'm praying for you and Audrey! Being a recent new mother myself I know how exhausting, and painful delivery can be (I didn't get to the hospital in time to get an epidural), but then to compound that with such heavy news is just heartbreaking. I'm sure to say that you've been on a rollercoaster ride lately would be a huge understatement! I hope that your recovery continues on a positive note and you're having plenty of time to enjoy your new beautiful baby girl :)

  8. I came across your blog about a week ago, as the result of a link to your awesome nursery (love the wall!) Congratulations on your baby girl, I'm so sorry to hear about your complications. Take care of yourself...

  9. Wow, Ashley! I'm so sorry to hear that your health has been poor, but congrats on beautiful baby Audrey!

    As you recover, and things start to be come less crazy, I'd like to encourage you to check out this cookbook:
    My husband has a health condition that also requires a low-sodium diet. We have had a ton of success making food that doesn't taste like crap from this book. Our other secret weapon? Trader Joe's low-sodium marinara sauce. We use it for everything that needs a saucy tomato product (and it has 60mg of sodium vs. the 600mg regular sauce has).
    We've found tons of tricks to help safely feed my husband. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and I hope that your road to recovery goes smoothly!

  10. Oh my've been throught a lot. My thoughts and prayers are with you...and hopes of a speedy recovery.

  11. I've been reading your blog for a few years - I think I came by it on Better After. Congratulations on the arrival of your little cutie. So sorry that you have had such a difficult time. I will remember your family in my prayers.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your birth story with us. I will keep your health in my prayers and hope you're able to go home soon. Audrey is BEAUTIFUL. Congratulations to you and your husband!

  13. Again congratulations on your beautiful little girl. Your story really tells how from a moment that should be so heartwarming and emotional in a good way, things can go the opposite. Sorry you have had to go through this traumatic experience. It's fantastic your ob knew you needed a C section as soon as she saw you and you now sound like you are in good hands. As hard as your diagnoses may be, look at the positive as well, that you and your drs know what you are dealing with now, and can lead you on a path to great health.

    Thinking of you and hope you can spend time with Brent and Audrey real soon.

  14. Oh my goodness...I am SO sorry that you have gone through all of this. How incredibly scary to have health issues at such a miraculous time. Your baby girl is absolutely beautiful. And while I'd hate for you to miss a moment of the next few weeks - remember that you need to take care of yourself so that you can fully enjoy the next several decades with your beautiful little girl. Take care of yourself. And let those grandmas help as much as possible (like THAT's a problem!) Congratulations :)

  15. Ashley, congrats on the little lady, but I am so sorry to hear about everything else. It breaks my heart to think of you not being able to be pregnant again. It seems so horribly unfair. I hope something miraculous occurs and that proves untrue. I also know now from experience that it's really hard to be separated from your newborn. I hope you guys are reunited and you're both in good health soon. You'll be in my thoughts.

  16. Oh my, I had a similar birth story with similar complications with the exception of the heart situation although I did have other complications that you might not have had. It is a roller coaster of emotions dealing with the birth of a new baby and your own health. I always have an ear to listen if you need to vent or ask questions. Get well soon because the great times are ahead of you.

  17. Checking in to see how you are doing.

  18. Ashley,
    I just saw this info for the first time & I can't even imagine how scary this all must be for you!
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and that beautiful baby of your. It makes me realize how luck I have been to have 3 baby's, the last one I had over 40 yrs old! Sending prayers and good thoughts your way!! *hugs*

  19. I'm sending you lots of thoughts and prayers. I came to look at your beer tasting party from years ago and just caught up with your story. I'm so glad that Audrey is well and I hope that you make a full recovery very soon.

  20. It sounds like your girl came into this world with a bang. I'm so glad to hear that you're doing better now, and I'll keep my fingers crossed that your ECHO goes well. I had a very similar birth experience and finally got the all clear after about 6 months. It's a long road, but when you start to feel better, it's like everything just clicks. Take time for yourself and love up on that bundle of joy. Congratulations!She's beautiful.

  21. I came across your blog while looking for decorated related things, but I also had PPCM. Nine years ago I had the same ER trips a few days after birth. It's rare I come across anyone else who's been down this path, so I wanted to say hi. In addition to my sweet nine year old daughter, we now also have a beautiful two year old daughter who we adopted at birth. Just wanted to say hello and congrats. :)