My mom is currently back in school to fulfill her dream of becoming a RN. She has about a year left. I'm so very proud of her for working hard to achieve her goals. Her next rotation will be in labor and delivery.
This weekend while we were camping, I overheard my mom talking to my cousin in a hushed voice. I asked what the big secret was. My mom went on to tell me that she was talking to another RN student who just finished her rotation in labor & delivery. The other student said she had a wonderful time helping deliver babies, except for one mother who had HELLP Syndrome. That mother tragically died shortly after her delivery. Her husband, two older children, and newborn baby were left without a wife and mother. That ranks right up there as one of my biggest fears.
If you haven't read my entire blog (or you don't know me in person), you may not know I had HELLP Syndrome during my labor, delivery and post partum period with Lexi. It was awful and scary and I don't really like to talk about it much. That's probably why my mom was trying to talk to my cousin without my hearing the conversation.
Despite the fact that my mom has been very supportive of our choice to adopt, she has casually mentioned that she thinks I'll get pregnant again at some point. That is something that I sincerely do not want to happen, and it has annoyed me each time that she has made the off-handed light-hearted remarks. I have tried to remind her about the awful prognosis I was given in that delivery room in 2006. I still remember my midwife's words. "Your platelets are a third of normal levels and dropping. Your liver is shutting down. We have to get the baby out as soon as possible. We're starting pitocin and if we move to a c-section it will be to save the baby. You most likely would not survive the surgery. You could stub your toe and bleed out." I'm a straight shooter, so I appreciated the candor, and I sat in a hospital bed trying to absorb what I had just heard. I was processing the fact that my unmedicated natural birth wasn't going to happen while pushing that concern of death into the back of my mind.
I remember my mom breaking into hysterics and my husband silently crying as he googled HELLP Syndrome (we didn't know what it even was). I've seen my husband cry exactly twice in twelve years. I told him not to tell me what he read at the time, but he later told me that it was the statistic that one in four women will die from HELLP. I remember telling my mom to leave the room if she couldn't stop crying. I didn't need to hear her sobbing to people on the other end of the cell phone while she asked them to pray for me and my unborn baby. Don't get me wrong; I appreciated the prayers beyond measure. It was the sobbing I could do without. I had to be strong in that moment and I didn't cry until. . . I don't really remember. I'm typically a crier, but this time in my life demanded strength beyond tears.
The weeks following Lexi's delivery were emotionally and physically difficult. I am a holistic health practitioner and I know the body does things for a reason. I needed to know what I did or didn't do to have this horrible condition. Anything.
During and after my recovery I did as much research as I could on HELLP. There was very little information to be found. I filled out a survey about my experience with the syndrome to try to help with research. I wanted to know what I did wrong (I had a very healthy pregnancy before that) and what I could do to prevent it if I were to have another pregnancy. There was no information to find. I had a few theories, but I found no proof to support them. I visited three doctors and they all had the same statistics to tell me. One in four women will die. I have a one in three chance of having HELLP in subsequent pregnancies. None of that was comforting, nor did it lead me to desire another pregnancy. The desire for another child still lingered inside me though. Hence, adoption.
After my mom told me about the story that her friend recounted about her experience in labor & delivery, I knew that she finally got it. I don't think I'll hear anymore off-hand, light-hearted comments about another pregnancy. I could tell by the look on her face that she finally understood. I actually said, "Do you understand why I can't ever be pregnant again now?" My cousin piped in without missing a beat and said, "I've always understood that."
Thanks. It's nice to be understood. And now I can cry a little about it.