Torgesen Family Times

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Alex’s Birth Story, part two


Here is part one of Alex’s Birth Story, here.



Picture Taken: Feb 5 2007 (~28 weeks)

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There I was at ~28 weeks pregnant and basically fine.  I could feel our baby moving a lot and he even had hiccups regularly.  I went to Washington DC for a conference and other than feeling a bit puffy on the flight, but it resolving after touchdown, I had no other symptoms.  I also had a month where my weight went up by 10 pounds in one month.  They check you each and every month (oh the joy!) during pregnancy and monitor your weight.  Between 24 weeks and 28 weeks, I gained 10 pounds.  The next month I only gained 5.5 lbs.  So, looking back this was not a good sign, but not something totally out of the ordinary either (they thought I was just eating too much).  I also was not able to wear my wedding ring, I don’t remember exactly when I had to take it off, but it came off by this point.  I knew I had to take it off when I was not able to remove it for a few afternoons/evenings in a row.  I had to remember to take it off in the mornings, when I was usually less puffy. 


I remember coming into work and looking at the line my socks had made around my ankles, but didn’t think much of it.  It’s normal for pregnant ladies to get a little puffy here and there, it even says so in the books.


One fun that thing that happened during this time was that it snowed.  Like a foot or two.  Lance was caught in hours of bad traffic and it was dark outside when he got home after a long day.  But, he came home from work, put on his snow gloves and headed outside.  When I asked him what he was doing, going outside when it was dark, he simply replied that he had to build a “big snowman”.  I asked why and he replied that he had to teach his boy how to make a snowman someday and therefore he had to practice.  What a proud Daddy-to-be!


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Looking back at the pictures of me, I was showing signs at about this time. But, it was intermittent.  Sneaky.  Made me doubt myself and my body. 


I was so tired. Extremely tired in the third trimester. And not like in the first trimester, not like that at all. I would get out of bed to shower, then get back into bed to rest. Then get dressed, then rest. The last few weeks were rough. But, I thought it was all normal.  This is what everyone says is “normal” that you are tired when you are in your third trimester.  I was definitely understanding what everyone was talking about, but what I didn’t know, was that this was on it’s own level of tiredness.  I was sliding downhill, but just didn’t know it. 


At one point I distinctly remember, I think it was about 32/33 weeks (pics below), I did not know how I was going to make it another 8 weeks.  I simply did NOT know.  I felt so horrible, felt so tired, I didn’t even know how to make it one more day.  Obviously from the pictures below of me during this time, I was not doing well.  I was extremely puffy, you can see around my eyes and my face that it just looks different.  Go ahead, compare it to the pictures above, scroll back and forth.  There is a big difference. 


At my 32 week appointment, I told my doctor that our baby had turned.  He was always transverse (side-to-side) which was very uncomfortable for me.  But, I could tell when he turned and it was so much better.  She confirmed by feeling my tummy that he was indeed head down.  That was another fun moment.


Picture Taken: March 10th, 2007 (~33 weeks)

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Saturday March 17th

We had scheduled quite a few birthing and baby classes at the local hospital.  Saturday March 17th we were going to a baby class, I can’t remember which one.  I woke up pretty puffy, and all the books say you are supposed to drink tons of water each day (like 2 L of water each day), especially if you’re puffy.  But, the troubling part was that I wasn’t peeing much.  Not much was coming out as was going in.  I didn’t think much of it.  I just thought that my body must have needed the water for some reason.  Little did I know that my kidneys were shutting down. 

Sunday March 18th

The next morning I was severely puffy.  Like the underneath of my eyes was puffing out due to the severe edema. I asked Lance if I “looked puffy” and he took it as if I asked if I “looked fat” and said “no, dear – you don’t look puffy”. This made me doubt myself and wonder if I was just crazy.  By this point, I suspected that something might be slightly wrong. 


I saw a friend that day who is an OB/Gyn resident, we were going to an art exhibit.  I hadn’t seen her in a long time and she said I looked puffy and asked what my Blood Pressure was. I said I didn’t know, the doctors hadn’t said anything out of the ordinary. She also asked if I had a headache or a pain in my torso, in my mind I was wondering why she was asking me. I said no, I had none of those symptoms because I truly didn’t.  Looking back, I totally should have told her that this puffiness was new and that I wasn’t peeing much.  I wished for so long to go back to that day and re-do it all over again.  What would’ve I done differently?  Would it have made any difference?


We visited for a while and I went home, exhausted. I got really nervous and read the pregnancy book about all the things that can go wrong.  Pre-Eclampsia in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” obviously stuck out with all the symptoms I was having but, couldn’t believe that this could be me.  The classic symptoms are this:


Preeclampsia 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 are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms.
Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks gestation (in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters or middle to late pregnancy), though it can occur earlier. Proper prenatal care is essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia. Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and toxemia are outdated terms for preeclampsia.
HELLP syndrome and eclampsia (seizures) are other variants of preeclampsia. 
Globally, preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. By conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year.


Monday March 19th

The next morning I went to work (what else was I supposed to do?) and went to the grocery store at lunch to get some food with the purpose of also checking my blood pressure at the pharmacy machine. I checked it and it was high, like 145/90 high.  Not off the charts or anything, but high. I called my Dr. office and told them my symptoms and they said to come in at 3PM.  It was approximately 11 AM at that point.



To be continued…


JOLT said...

Man oh man. I wonder if I noticed you were getting puffy? It is so obvious in those photos. I know I was in San Diego at a conference so I didn't see you that last day at work.... It's amazing to look back at your experience now that I know so much more about pregnancy having been through it myself. I'm also very glad to know that this scary time had such a terrific outcome. Hugs to you Allison.

atorgesen said...

I don't know, it was sneaky. I definitely remember my ankles. It's crazy it's been almost 5 years!