I went to my normal weekly doctor appointment on Wednesday. I’d been having some significant swelling with elevated blood pressure, so the week prior they had me do a 24 hour urine collection to rule out pre eclampsia. My urine test and an additional blood test came back perfect, so at that point I just had some insane swelling along with pitted edema (when you push in on the swelling and it leaves an indention) and higher than normal blood pressure. My doctor decided I have gestational hypertension – basically hypertension just because I’m pregnant. My normal has been 120/70 like clockwork. Two doctor appointments in a row it was in the 140’s/90’s.
At this appointment it was elevated again, so they had me lay down for a few minutes and then they checked it again. My doctor told me that if it stayed high, she would be sending me to Labor and Delivery for monitoring. After I layed down for a little bit, they checked it again and it had dropped into the 130’s/80’s. Not perfect, but closer to normal so they let me go home, but told me to monitor it twice a day and keep a log to bring back next week. She also said that if it ever got over 150 on the top or over 100 on the bottom, to call their office if it was during the day or if it was after hours, to go straight to L&D.
I went home and took a good two hour nap and when I woke up, I started on some laundry. As I was sitting on the floor in the laundry room folding clothes I started feeling kind of weird, like a little nauseous and light headed. I thought I was just hungry so I ate half a sandwich and layed down on the couch for a little bit. After that we had some visitors and I stood outside with Nolan and talked to them for a few minutes and kept feeling slightly lightheaded. Nothing major, just didn’t really feel like myself. When I came back in, I did a few things around the house, nothing crazy, and then layed back down on the couch. Nolan had picked up a blood pressure machine from his sister earlier that evening for me to track my blood pressure with so I decided to go ahead and get a evening reading and get started on my log for next week’s appointment. My very first reading was 161/126. I was shocked! I had never seen it that high. But it was a new machine so I was like well maybe the machine is off, or maybe I’m sitting weird, so I took it again. This time it was still in the 160’s/120’s. So definitely in the “go to L&D” area. I called Nolan (he was outside at the shop) and told him my blood pressure was high and that I was going to lay down for 30 minutes and check it again, but if it stayed high we needed to go to the hospital and get checked out. So I layed down and checked it 30 minutes later and it was still in the 160’s/120’s. I told him that I just wasn’t that confident in the new machine because I had never seen my blood pressure that high, so we decided to go to his mom and dads and check it on their machine that I know has been checked against a manual cuff and would be accurate. They only live 5 minutes from us and in the 5 minutes it took to get to their house, my first reading on their machine was 187/111! I layed down on their couch and it got back down to 169/117, and at that point we decided that if riding in the truck for 5 minutes shot it up that much higher on the top number then we needed to go ahead and go to the hospital. So we ran back to our house to switch to my car – because luckily I’d packed my hospital bag and Whitlee’s diaper bag, as well as installed the car seat – and I was concerned with high blood pressure that we may be looking at an early delivery and I wanted all of my stuff.
We headed to the hospital about 10:30, got there right before 11:30 and had to go through the ER to get sent upstairs to L&D. They got me checked in and about 5 minutes later they called me to the ER triage for vitals and quick questions. My blood pressure there was 190’s/150’s!! I was so relieved that we decided to go in… my BP was dangerously high. I was told much later that blood pressure that high could have sent me into seizures. They took me upstairs to L&D and got me into triage there and hooked me up to the monitors. My doctor was actually in the hospital on call and she came by and said we’d monitor for about an hour and see what my blood pressures came in at and make some decisions. So after about an hour and a half, my nurse came back in and said they’d be admitting me and we’d start on magnesium sulfate to try and lower my blood pressure as well as provide some neurological protection for Whitlee’s brain in case of early delivery. Once they got me in a room, they started my IV and inserted a catheter. That was the most awful part. On magnesium sulfate, it can affect your kidneys and reflexes so they have to monitor urine output and check reflexes extremely often so yea, that was real fun. Also, I didn’t tolerate the magnesium very well and felt like I was drunk the whole time. They told me I’d feel flushed and maybe groggy, but I knew it kicked it when all the sudden my ears felt like they were on fire! Shortly after that, my eyes went all weird and I felt like I was dreaming, but I was definitely awake. Such an odd feeling. By this time it was about 2:00 and we tried to get some sleep.
The next morning about 11, my doctor came in and we talked about our plan. She said I had a few good blood pressure readings through the night, but they were still all over the place. She decided to discontinue my Procardia early (I was scheduled to stop it on Sunday anyway), stop the mag after 12 hours and start me on a hypertension medicine called Labetalol and see if that would lower my blood pressure enough to go home. She told me that if my blood pressure hadn’t shown any improvement last night (thankfully it did a few times), she was gearing up to do a c section. It was too dangerous for me to keep having BP that high. She said I’d get off the mag at 2, get my catheter out (THANK GOD) and move to a postpartum room where I’d stay another night and we’d see how I did on just the Labetalol. She said she wasn’t in any hurry to discharge me until we were sure I’d be stable if I went home, but she wasn’t in any hurry to deliver me yet either.
Thankfully, the Labetalol ended up working. I’m on a pretty small dose on it and I was discharged late Friday afternoon with instructions to once again, log twice a day and anything over 150 on top or anything over 100 on bottom, to come back. Our current goal is to make it to 37 weeks and at that point any little hiccup will probably result in delivery. We’ve now had celestone injections for her lungs (at 28 weeks) and magnesium sulfate that helps with her brain development and they said because she’s a girl, that also helps with lung development. But we’re just hoping my blood pressure will stay normal and we can keep her in there for at least 22 more days. I’m really just trying to take it easy until then. It’s really hard because her room isn’t quite finished and I’m itching to nest, but I don’t want to push my luck and be back in the hospital.
So that’s where we’re at. Hopefully I’ll be back on track tomorrow with my 34 week update. As I mentioned before, I’m off the Procardia now, so she could come at any time so I’m keeping an eye on blood pressure and keeping an eye out for contractions. We may be meeting our little girl any time between now and January!