Wednesday, December 3, 2008

this woman's work - day three

I believe I was 17 weeks pregnant, just woke up from a nap. Mamacat and I were the only ones home, "Come into my office, I have a present for you" mom says. It was cozy and warm in our house, there were yummy smelling candles burning in mom's office, I plopped down on her comfy chair and she handed me a pretty bag with tissue paper. Inside were the cutest pair of red leather baby booties. My immediate reaction was to start crying, my smart mother had caught onto my secret pregnancy, I had been scared and alone for 17 weeks, too fearful to get the words out, although I'd really wanted to. Mom cried and talked with me, I told her I was scared and didn't know exactly how to take care of my pregnant self. That day was the beginning of my HUGE learning experience. We got me a special liquid prenatal vitamin from Good Earth since I cant swallow pills. I asked my mother to be my midwife, from what I knew, I didn't want to have my baby in the hospital, I wanted to do it by myself at home without drugs. We looked into hypno birthing classes but wouldn’t be starting those until a few weeks before I was due.

Only a few weeks later I was able to have an ultrasound. My mama and Jade were with me. Chaz was late, he always made me very nervous during this pregnancy, I was so so lucky to have my family and friends my super support system during this pregnancy, or I swear, I might've gone crazy. At the ultrasound the tech showed me all my little baby's parts and heart and every little organ. I started to get really hot and dizzy, she had me lay on my side to take a break from the ultrasound, they got me some water. When I started to feel better we resumed and found out we'd be having a girl. I was very excited to hear that, I remember the first person I called to tell the news was my dad, he congratulated me.

I was working at DogMode, I loved that job and my boss and co workers were excited and supportive. I just had to make sure crazy doggies weren’t jumping on my growing belly....and let me tell you, it was growing! Jump to the end of March- my mom journeyed to Washington to assist in Lucas's birth. I was too pregnant and needed to work, or I would've liked to accompany her on this trip. While my mom was gone I got sick, nearly got pneumonia- my voice sounded like Marge Simpson's-but I was trying to hang in there. Some days I would come home from work and cry. My back was KILLING me and I never knew a person's feet could hurt so bad, I would crawl around on my hands and knees to avoid the pain that walking gave me. My entire body was swollen. When I'd wake up in the morning my rings would be stuck on my fingers, I had sumo wrestler feet and ankles, my face and nose felt huge. I felt uncomfortable all the time. I was only 6 months pregnant.

April 7, Lucas Jude was born, I remember our computer was down and waiting nearly an hour for our first photo to download on cath's old computer of our newest nephew. That birth was a whole other story. I think it was the following Friday that my mother/midwife got back into town. We had a prenatal scheduled. We found that my weight gain was kinda high in just a week's time, I was spilling protein in my urine, high blood pressure and pitting. NO wonder I hadn't been feeling too well. My mom immediately told me to lay down, take it easy. She needed to make some phone calls. She called Sonya-homeopathic practitioner, we'd end up making a trip to her home in Orem so she could evaluate me. We also called Dallin Moody ( who baptized me) to meet us at this appointment.

At Sonya's she told me I was really sick and that my liver was overworked. She gave me some remedies, I remember belladonna and acidophilous. Dallin gave me a sweet blessing that made me feel better. The next day I went to BetterBirth and had my blood drawn and some labs taken. I was still spilling a lot of protein. My mother midwife put me on bed rest and scheduled me with an OB that the midwives worked with. Until this appointment I was not allowed up. Mom started to research my condition. Toxemia or Pre eclampsia was my diagnosis. Basically pre eclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision. There isn't a known cause for this disease. I was scared!

At 30 weeks gestation, at my appointment with Dr. Christensen they checked my protein in urine again and blood pressure, both were high. He examined me a little more and did ultra sound to check on my baby but concluded that I needed to be put on bed rest and admitted to the hospital immediately. I remember calling Chaz and crying while I told him what was happening. Mom got me some soup from Wild Oats and we headed to LDS hospital.When we got the hospital they monitored my blood pressure again and decided it was too high and at risk for seizure....So they gave me an IV of magnesium sulfate to help my blood pressure. THIS WAS HORRIBLE! My body was on fire from the inside out, it made me vomit. I was miserable but it brought my pressure down a little.

My mom found diet to be key in keeping my liver as healthy as possible and in keeping blood pressure as low as possible. At this point I was put on a pristine diet with no toxins. Everything had to be organic, natural, no artificial flavor or color, no msg, no added anything, no extra sugar or fat.& I needed to put as much protein in my body as possible to make up for all I was losing. I had to watch everything. You' be surprised how much of what you eat is not-so pure. You'd be even more surprised that the hospital I was staying at fed me worse than horrible for my sickness. Fake, processed meat, jello, instant mashed potatoes, sugar-filled yogurt and desserts. My mom had to bring in my meals to avoid eating the poison I was offered at the hospital. We asked if there was a time we could speak with the hospital's dietician. He didn’t know much either, he did say there was an alternate menu I could choose from and substitutions I could make, which were helpful BUT not good enough.

My goal was to stay pregnant as long as possible, keep getting nutrition to my baby so she could continue to grow and keeping all my symptoms as low as possible, the only cure for toxemia is to deliver your baby, so at this point I needed to try and keep everything under control to a certain point until symptoms were too dangerous for my baby or myself. So we knew I'd be delivering early, now it was just a matter of how far I could get until then.

After the first day I got to remove my blood pressure cuff and they just begin coming in every 4 hours to get a reading, check my reflexes, and ask me the same slew of questions every time: "how is your vision, do you have any pain in your upper left abdomen?" Since we knew I'd be delivering early, they gave me two shots of steroids to help baby's lungs develop faster.

We decided the only thing the hospital was doing for me was boring me and feeding me bad food. I knew I could be on strict bed rest at home where I could feed myself better easier and be in the company of my family. My doctor would always come check on me in the early hours of the morning, so this is when my mom came to catch him and request I be discharged, since she was my midwife. We proposed that I was at a stable enough blood pressure (still high) to be on bed rest at home. We promised to keep a chart of my blood pressure every four hours just as they were doing in the hospital. He was okay with that, we had to still go in twice a week to have ultrasound to measure baby's growth, amniotic fluid, check blood pressure and a weekly non-stress test. I had to do a 24 hr urine analysis, but this was good news. Hallelujah!

I made the family room couch my house/bed. I ate, slept, hung out, and took care of myself there. On special occasions I could go on outings, I had to be in a wheelchair but I remember taking a gateway trip and even one to target and the mall. I lived for these funny outings! Chaz and I decided to give our baby a name, now that we were going through this crazy and scary sickness, she needed to have a name, we already liked Presley, but now we agreed, that Presley Brynn is who she would be.

Things on my house couch were okay, for the most-part, even though my blood pressure was still high, we were maintaining its level. My wonderful midwife of a mother kept doing her research, there were so many remedies and herbs that were helpful at this time. I remember taking calcium magnesium which was sort of the same as the mag sulfate they gave in my IV in the hospital, we also learned that the herb alfalfa was extremely good for cleansing the liver so it could do its job. I also could soak my swollen feets in Epsom salt which had magnesium in it as well. I made the alfalfa tea twice a tasted like grass, but I knew it was good for my baby and I so I did it. My bi weekly appointments were okay, baby was still growing slowly and my symptoms were always about the same. Presley remained in the breech position.

I took it one day at a time, each day I made it was so helpful, happy to me. Each week-a miracle. Now, 34 weeks- the night before my appointment I was having these silly repeated kicks in my belly, almost like she was knocking to get out. Before I fell asleep that night I remember thinking in my brain, that it might be time for my Presley to come now. The next morning, we had arranged for Christine to take me to my appointment, my mama had other appointments to attend to and Steen was just as involved in my 'bloodps' (blood pressure as we called it) as I was. I remember as we got onto the freeway talking about how at 34 weeks, my baby should weigh about 5 pounds. We got there and went through the drill, blood pressure-high, protein in urine-high, now time for the ultrasound. Amniotic fluid lower than before...and judging by measurements, Presley wasn't growing anymore. "You're going to have your baby today, Natalie" the nurse says to me. !!!panic!!!

Christine and I then try getting ahold of mom, she's not answering, she's busy. We leave messages. They schedule an emergency c-section because of her position. I call Graham to get ahold of Chaz and let him know. They then admit me and say they'll need to do the mag sulfate again. I ask them to refrain until my mom gets to the hospital, we've now gotten ahold of her and she's on her way. They say its too risky and they cannot wait and do it anyway. This again! I'm hot and miserable, and now anxious and scared, right as my mom walks in, I puke. I get to see my dad and my grandma and get prepped for surgery. Chaz makes it just barely in time as they roll my bed into the operating room. They give me the epidural and I feel like its hard to breathe but I am awake for the whole thing. It seemed like it was just minutes and my baby was out, I didn’t get to see her they passed her through a window and begin suturing me back up. After surgery I'm resting in my room waiting for my epidural to wear off so I can see my little one. Everyone else has been in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit to visit her but me. Chaz shows me a picture of her.She has dark hair and she is 3 lbs 4 oz. 19 inches long. I think it was probably 10:00 at night when I ask if I can see her. They ask me to try sitting up, if I feel dizzy or nauseous, then I shouldn’t be up, I feel slightly dizzy but I tell them I'm okay and to take me to her. They wheel me to the NICU and take her out of her little incubator for me.

She is a little thing but feisty. Never needed any help breathing. Just hooked up to a feeding tube and and IV. I hold her for as long as they will let me, Oh Prelsey Brynn, you are here.
Love, Natalie

presley brynn born may 12, 2006


  1. How brave this Natalie sister is of yours. And Presley...such a little fighter. This story makes me more appreciate the health my babies have had. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, I hadn't heard Natalie's story before. I remember that her babe came early, but didn't know about her condition.

    Natalie, you are so strong.

  3. nat was so brave. i am sure i would not have lived through that. you were really sick and you didn't complain. i never once heard you just kept going and doing all the right things.
    and you nursed and pumped milk for that little pretzel. look at her now.
    you, nat, are one strong lady and i love you.

  4. I am more than proud of Nat's courage and determination to do what needed to be done. Pretzel has a strong woman to lead and guide her. Hugs to you, my babies.