By Contributor Kim Saunders (@captain.and.co)
D day. Well, actually, it's Kidney Day. Not literally. But, this week... after so many tests with so many specialists, lots of waiting and lots of peeing in cups... I find out if my kidneys are getting better. Or worse.
I'm dreading the news. I'm not convinced it's going to be good news. I've been peeing in cups for so long now... I know when ma' pee pee looks a little on the holy-heck-too-dark side. Dang.
So. Why are my kidneys kaput? They suspect Preeclampsia. I had with both pregnancies. Yup. They tell you that you normally don't get it twice. I did. First with Mini. So severely I was induced early. Then with Frey Frey. Even worse.
What is Preeclampsia? Here is the medical explanation.
Preeclampsia is a problem that arises during pregnancy and is characterized by high blood pressure and damage to other organs, such as the kidneys. Preeclampsia is considered a serious condition that can lead to dangerous complications for you and your baby. The exact cause, however, isn’t known. Researchers suspect that it may involve problems with the blood vessel development in the fetus, which in turn causes a dysfunctional reaction in the mother’s blood vessels.
Now, just before seeing my Renal Specialist... I find myself reflecting on delivery day for Frey. Almost nine months on. This was something I was never going to share. Or I didn't think I would. But here it is.
At 39 weeks... I fell into natural labour this time around. Wowsers. It was totally different to being induced. That was terr-ible. Ugh. If they ever offer the natural ‘balloons’ induction. SAY NO. Ugh. But with baby two…. It started all of a sudden. No warm up. No false alarms. And dang painful. We waited as long as we could... then rolled down the hill to the hospital cursing like a truck driver.
Of course... terry-tight-arse-me insisted on parking in a free park zone. A fair distance away and we had to walk through the park to the hospital. In the dark. Clinging onto a few trees as the super-close-contractions hit me. Dropped some f-bombs. Clambered up the stairs. More f-bombs. Through the doors. They took my blood pressure. It was high. Like super high. And the Doctor was all like ‘Oh’... Wheelchair. Delivery suite. High-risk delivery suite.
That was when the hello-how-are-you-how-far-apart-are-the-contractions-polite-calm conversation quickly changed. The mood also changed. The anesthetist was up in minutes. Epidural in (you have no choice, you have to have one with preeclampsia as it helps lower your blood pressure). Then it all got even more real. I started having full body shakes. Then mini fits. All in between contractions. And the epidural didn't work.
Mind you, six weeks earlier... I had been admitted to hospital at 34 weeks. They almost induced me then and there. And every week after that I had a little stay at hotel LGH. Somehow I always managed to 'level out' and was always sent home.
Anyway. Seizures and fits. Not good. This meant I was at risk of developing Eclampsia. Which is really not good. They quickly hooked me up to bags full of goodness. One of which was Magnesium Sulphate. It helps protects your organs. It stops them from getting damaged and shutting down. It also helps reduce the risk of having a stroke and more seizures. It also slowed down my contractions. So I'm not going to tell you every detail of the my 18-hours-of-power labour. Just an overview.
It was the standard. It hurt. I cried. I held Mr Perfect's hand. I tried to stay calm. I thought about Mini. I thought about not making it. I thought about our unborn babe. I was scared. I was exhausted. I just wanted our baby out. Happy and healthy. I actually didn't really care what happened to me. And I didn't really know what was happening to me.
Then finally... five pushes. And she was here. Our littlest babe. Our little Freya Violet. Ten little fingers ten little toes.
I hardly had time to cuddle her before they started rushing around me checking this and that, and watching me closely. And that was when the Doctor explained how sick I was. How serious it was. And how if we fell pregnant with baby three, I would get preeclampsia again. And even worse. I may not be as lucky third time around. He said something I never thought I'd ever be told... "No more babies for you". Boom. Shattered.
Then. I was on bed rest. Not allowed a foot out of bed for 72 hours. Not to wee. Not to pick up my babe. Not to do that awful first after baby poop. I was still at risk of developing full Eclampsia, even though my nasty placenta was out. I was monitored every half hour. Poked. Prodded. Poked again. Blood tests. Oh-so many blood tests they ran out of veins. I've actually got scars up my arms from so many cannulas and needles. It was awful. Every time I needed something I had to buzz. Every time I wanted to hold my babe... buzz. Every time I needed my bed sheets changed. Buzz. Water. Buzz. Pad change. Buzz. Move a pillow. Buzz.
Don't even get me started on my battle with breast-feeding. They milked me like a flat chested cow. A midwife either side. Not a drop. I felt violated. And sore. And continued the boob battles for days. That's a story for another time. But don't always judge a mum who gives a babe a bottle. Firstly, it is their damn choice. Secondly, maybe they tried. Like, really really tried. And it just didn't happen.
So. Preeclampsia. Not many people know about it. Or what it is. Or how it affects Mums and bubs. But for me, I know it oh-so well. And now, I wait. I wait to see how much damage has been done. My kidneys may be kaput... but I am still so very lucky.
And for us. No more babies. I cannot put Mr Perfect through that again. I cannot put my body through that again.