My symptoms included upper right stomach pain, upper gastric pain, and extremely high blood pressure. At this point in my pregnancy I was 22 weeks along, and Olivia was perfect.
After being seen by a doctor, they decided it was time to admit me. I was alone and had driven myself to the hospital; my husband was still out of town and not due to make it home until the next day. He was extremely worried and was unable to change his flight and driving would have only saved him a couple of hours.
Before being admitted, my blood was drawn. The doctor had determined my liver enzymes were elevated. That is what was causing my upper right stomach pain. My liver became inflamed.
Over the course of the next two weeks, I was seen by several high risk perinatal doctors - two of which were the head of the department. At this point they were still baffled as to what my diagnosis was, due to only being 22 weeks pregnant, young, and healthy with no previous health conditions. It was almost unheard of. And believe me when I tell you, that I was poked, prodded, and tested (you should see my arms). When I left the hospital, they still didn't have a firm diagnosis, but said I was severe pre-eclamptic with HELLP syndrome. HELLP syndrome is the worse of pre-eclampsia. And I fall in to the 1% category, due to only being 22 weeks pregnant. HELLP syndrome doesn't usually affect a woman until they're well beyond 30 weeks.
Doctors had told me, you will be in the hospital the duration of your pregnancy AKA you will be living here for the next 3-4 months. Their hope was to keep me pregnant until I was 34-37 weeks, but said I wasn't going to make it until then and could foresee my symptoms becoming worse; and they were right. Over the next few days, my lab work was returning with increased liver enzymes, low blood platelets (what makes your blood clot, if you have low blood platelets you can bleed out), continued high blood pressure, and increased pain.
I remember calling my Dad the morning of Saturday, October 4th and saying I need you guys down here now. This was after the head high risk perinatal doctor had visited me saying, we need to induce labor and deliver Olivia. This is life or death. My placenta was making me become increasingly and severely sick. If the placenta is not taken out, my liver could have burst, thus cause me to bleed out due to low blood platelets.
When the doctor said I needed to deliver Olivia, I knew my husband and I were going to be faced with the toughest decision parents should never have to make. With the help of a NICU Neonatal Doctor, after delivery, my husband and I decided to let God take Olivia up to Heaven when he was ready for her.
Over the course of the week, I had turned 23 weeks pregnant. Because Olivia was only 23 weeks, she wouldn't have lived outside of the womb. And putting her on machines still wouldn't have saved her. She would have had severe neurological issues, cerebral palsy, and breathing problems. This wasn't the life we wanted for her, and as her parents it was our duty to give her the best life possible.
Olivia Kay was born in the early evening of Sunday, October 5th, 2014 and taken to Heaven the same evening; her last breath taken while being held in her Daddy's arms. The small amount of time I was given with her, was the most amazing and profound moments of my entire life.
Shortly after delivery, I had to be taken in to surgery to remove the rest of my placenta. At 23 weeks gestation, the placenta does not come out as easily. If any of the placenta is left, it can continue to make you severely sick. Doctors were able to successfully remove the rest of my placenta.
I knew that I still had a long road of recovery ahead of me. Doctors said we should see a turnaround in my symptoms 24-72 hours after delivery, but sometimes things become worse before they get better. That became true for me. I continued to have low blood platelets, increased liver enzymes, liver pain, and high blood pressure.
A few days before leaving the hospital, my blood work and blood pressure started to turn the right direction. I was sent home Friday, October 10th with high blood pressure medication and still need to be monitored by my OBGYN. I still have some liver pain, but with time my liver should fully recover.
In my 31 years, I never really knew pain, until losing my own child. There are no words to describe what loss my husband and I are feeling. I knew our decision was re-affirmed while I was having contractions/laboring. My best friend, my sister, Staci, was with me during every contraction and all I could hear was her voice talking me through the pain. While hearing her voice, I could see my Grandfathers face with his hand out. I knew he was waiting to take Olivia back to Heaven with him. I then knew, in that moment in time, our decision for her life was the right one.
They say a support system during a tragedy is detrimental to recovery; physically and emotionally. I have always known our family and friends are amazing, but they are AMAZING. My husband and I were overwhelmed with their love and support. There are no words to express our love and gratitude. The saying is true, 'what is understood, need not be discussed.' We love you all.