Tag Archive | hellp syndrome

Two Years

Two years ago today, I was in a hospital bed on day 2 of hopefully many more on bedrest. I was getting frequent visits from my medical team, consisting of nurses, doctors, specialists, maternal fetal medicine, my OB, and two people from the nicu. My OB was hoping to keep Little Miss Minion and I healthy enough to make it to 32 weeks. The maternal fetal medicine specialist (high risk doctor) gave us two weeks in a best case scenario, which would have put us at 30 weeks. I don’t remember who the nicu people were or what their positions in the unit were, but I remember the feeling of panic as they explained all the things they could do if Little Miss Minion had to come early. I remember words like resuscitation, breathing tube, ventilator, developmental delay, and prognosis. I remember thinking that there were an awful lot of people coming in and out of the room during the time the nicu people were with us. 
When Mr Minion went back to our house to grab more clothes and things, since we weren’t expecting me to be admitted the day before, I remember starting to have trouble reading my book. The words weren’t making sense. I read the same paragraph over and over before finally giving up. I sat in my bed, trying to ignore the uncomfortable straps of the monitoring belt wrapped around my stomach. I watched the numbers on my blood pressure readings slowly climb, trying to will them back down. 150/90, 175/95…my prepregnancy readings were usually around 110/70 or lower. One of the nurses came in to check on me and moved the monitor screen to face away from me. With nothing else to look at, I watched the line of the fetal monitoring contraception move. Every jump indicated that Little Miss Minion was doing well, moving around. After a while, the line seemed to be flattening out. I called the nurse, they did a bunch of stuff to try and get Little Miss Minion moving, and nothing worked. They called in an ultrasound team who did a biophysical profile on her. It’s a half hour ultrasound where they count how many times the baby moves and a couple other things. She didn’t move. I watched her heart beat, the only thing that moved on the screen. 

Soon after that, I suspect an urgent  conference of my medical team commenced and a few minutes later, I was on the phone with Mr Minion, who had gotten to the house and wanted to know if I had thought of anything else I wanted. The doctor came in, so I got off the phone. I remember him telling me that my blood pressure wasn’t responding to the magnesium anymore and that Little Miss Minion needed out. Tonight. As soon as they could prep me.
I called Mr Minion and told him. As I hung up, swarms of people poured into the room to get me ready. I continued to call and text people that they were prepping me for surgery and that the baby was coming. And the rest is history. 
Today, I watched my two year old daughter play with bubbles. She ran up and down the hall of our house, played in her sandbox, and drew on an easel with markers. Two years ago, I watched a blue screen descend in front of my face as a team of doctors and nurses saved my life and saved my daughter’s life. I watched as someone held out a tiny, tiny, tiny baby, her head engulfed in a newborn hat that was almost as big as she was, her skin purple and transparent. Everything I had expected was imploding before my eyes. 
Two years ago, our NICU rollercoaster ride began. It started with a stomach churning drop as our one pound, fourteen ounce preemie was brought into the world twelve weeks early. There was another drop over a cliff as she fought off gbs, sepsis, and meningitis. Things smoothed out as we turned the corner of what would be our halfway point. We shot down another towering drop as we found out about her brain damage and hydrocephalus. The subsequent surgery and recovery were bumpy. But then, we could see the exit. Eighty four days after starting this ride, we got off and started the rest of our lives. There are still bumps, potholes, rainy days, and times when we trip and fall. But the important thing is that we get up, dust ourselves off, and KEEP GOING. 
Happy birthday to my daughter, Little Miss Minion. I’m so happy I get to see you grow up. 

Platelet Donation

Last weekend, I finally had enough time to donate platelets. I donate blood all the time and I guess the Red Cross figured I was a good candidate for platelet donation. Donating platelets takes about 2 hours and is worth about 3 full blood donations for an adult “dose” or about 12 pediatric “doses” of full blood. Platelets help your blood to clot. Certain illness, chemo, HELLP syndrome, and lots of other things can cause a loss of platelets, which can cause lots of other problems. 

Donating was a nice pre-Mother’s Day break for me. I got up early, having made the earliest appointment possible, and had breakfast. I drove to the Red Cross center and checked in. I got a Platelet Donor pin. After the standard iron check and questions, I was ready to start! 

The chairs for platelet donation are soooo much nicer than the ones they use for regular blood donors. They reclined and adjusted, and they pushed over a table for me so that I could read. The actual procedure wasn’t bad either, although I can see why they have trouble getting people to do it. The chair sits next to a machine that will run your blood through it and spin it, to separate the platelets from the rest of the blood. The platelets go into a blood bag and the rest of the blood is pushed back into you via an IV type setup. They run the first needle into your arm, like a normal blood donation, and then they run a second needle into back of the opposite hand, like an IV. The blood comes out one arm, goes into the machine, spins around, gets split into platelets and leftover blood, and then the leftover blood gets pushed back into your veins via the IV. As long as you don’t move your hand like you are revving a motorcycle, you can do whatever you want. I read a book. 

When I had Little Miss Minion, my platelets had been dangerously low for weeks. Until the last set of labs came back, they weren’t sure if I would be able to have a C Section, or they would have to put me under general anesthesia. Luckily, mine had jumped a massive amount and I was cleared for the epidural pretty much as they were putting it in. I had wanted to donate platelets for a long time since then, but since it does take two hours, I needed the stars to align so I could go. 

I hope I was able to help someone in a similar situation. I’m not 100% sure how platelet donation works on the receiving end, but I hope a new mom was able to be awake for the birth of her child because of me. I hope she got to kiss the baby and see it, maybe even hold it, instead of being totally out due to platelet issues. And I hope that she eventually donates platelets too.