a new respect for life

My sister is in the hospital.  She is a bit over 35 weeks pregnant with her second child, and unfortunately, experiencing  the same pre-eclampsia that she did with the first baby.

What is pre-eclampsia?  I wouldn’t have known before I entered the world of baby-having and all the worries/concerns that go with it.  Basically it’s a high blood pressure related problem.  Blood pressure goes up, protein count in the urine goes way up, headaches, seeing flashing lights, fatigue… all part and parcel.  The real danger is if the PRE-eclampsia turns into just eclampsia.  In that situation, the mother generally is having a seizure.  It’s bad.  Really bad.  I’ve actually known one person who developed full blown eclampsia.  Doctors these days tend to catch the symptoms of pre-eclampsia long before that happens, but it’s a stealthy progession at times.  Like my sister put it, you can be well in the morning, and needing emergency surgery in the evening.  It’s just like that.

So, she had this condition with the first baby, and he was delivered at 31.5 weeks.  Needless to say, he had a long stay in the NICU, but is now doing really well.  This time around, since the doctors knew her history, they were extra careful with her, did a lot of extra monitoring, and once things started to go the tiniest bit downhill, admitted her to the hospital for strict bedrest and 24-hour care.  That was on Saturday.  Things basically stabilized for a bit, but now seem to be doing poorly again.  Last time she was admitted, it was a week before they did the c-section to deliver the baby.  I’m hoping she can make it a bit further than that… but again, pre-eclampsia is not a really predictable disease.  It can progress rapidly, and she’ll deliver tonight, or she could be on bedrest another two weeks.  The waiting game is the worst. 

All of this has helped give me a new respect for life.  Even after getting pregnant (which is difficult for so very many people), and carrying a baby past the first trimester into the “safe stage”, it’s still so very possible to have complications. 

This is not the only one I’ve heard of.  A friend of a  friend recently lost their baby at around 34 weeks when he pressed his elbow against the umbilical cord and cut off his own blood supply.  I can’t even imagine it.  I’ve always thought that once I make it to “such and such” point, it’s basically home-free, other than the labor part!  But I now have a new respect for life, and how it gets here.  It’s a journey, and a miracle… and every baby that is born needs to be treasured for the miracle that they are.

2 Comments on “a new respect for life”

  1. I was pre-eclamptic with the twins and admitted to the hospital at 32 weeks, I was happy with each extra day that I “earned” to keep them inside of me…they were born at 33 weeks. I’m hoping pre-eclampsia will stay far away from me during this pregnancy! It’s definitely a scary time, so know that your sister is in my prayers.

  2. Yeah, it is a scary time! Carrie, I have another friend (also named Carrie!) who had pre-eclampsia with her first, but not with her second. I will pray that is the case with you too! 🙂

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