Thursday, September 6, 2012

It was not just for the pizza.

For 3 out of my 4 pregnancies I have lived in NH, about 1 1/2 hours away from The Brigham and Women's Hospital.  I have lost track of how many times people asked me why I chose to have all of my prenatal care and deliver my children at The Brigham.  Of course people asked why.  The traffic was crazy several times.  The money to pay for parking was outrageous as usual.  The "just run in" and get checked was at least a 4 hour journey.  Those of you who know me well, know that I have Boston in my heart.  It is my home away from home now that I live in a town that feels like Mayberry sometimes.  And of course, there is Regina's on Thatcher Street...the very best pizza in the world.  You know I used every doctor's appointment as an excuse to eat up and introduce my children to the best pizza.

14 years ago my sister delivered her first child, Haley, at The Brigham with Dr. Mansour.  He has his own practice there and usually is the only physician in the practice.  That means he delivers each and every baby himself, you don't have to worry about getting whatever doctor is on call at the moment you go into labor.  Unless he is out of the country (only happens a couple of times a year), Dr. Mansour will deliver your baby.  So, 14 years ago Dr. Mansour saved my sister's life.  She had a healthy pregnancy with a healthy baby, and during the afterbirth an unexpected complication occurred.  They responded quickly and saved Gail's life, but also avoided a hysterectomy.  My sister went on to have her son, Mitch 2 years later.

When I lived 15 minutes from The Brigham during my pregnancy with Caroline, Dr. Mansour was the obvious choice.  He saved Gail's life, I trust him.  That's it.  And it didn't hurt that the best Children's Hospital in the country is physically connected to The Brigham in case anything were to come up for our baby.  So when we moved to NH, I knew I would travel for him.  Something in my being told me not to switch care.  I drive to Boston for pizza, I better drive there for my baby.  It was just the right decision for me.

Then the shit hit the fan on May 10, 2012.  When I walked into the hospital that night I knew I wouldn't walk out of it pregnant.  I was praying that I would not get fresh air for several more weeks - an odd thing to be praying for.  Clearly things were bad.  It's never good when they send 2 neonatalogists to you that night to tell you about the dangers of delivering a baby at 27 weeks.

God willing, we got another 10 days further before I became septic.  I developed an infection quickly and started to feel nauseous, cold, and overall like I had the flu.  I called the nurses to come and check my vitals and run the non-stress test earlier than usual because I just didn't feel right.  Initially everything was reporting fine, but the mom in me knew I was giving birth that day.  I called Josh and told him to find someone to watch the kids and get down asap.  Within the next 10 minutes I started contracting.

I transferred to L&D quickly and had more medications than I can remember.  They cranked the pitocin and quickly got to 18/20 on that.  Even though I was in labor and contracting, my body knew it wasn't time to deliver the baby so it wouldn't dilate.  Ethan's heart rate kept going to 200 and alarms kept going off.  Josh made it with about 1 hour to spare and then came the emergency c-section.  I really wasn't nervous about surgery.  I don't get nervous about that stuff.  It is what it is, I am healthy and go to the best doctors in the world.  It was going to be what it as going to be, God's plan.

Ethan was born and then transferred to the NICU.  I could tell that the section wasn't going smoothly.  Everyone in the OR was quite professional, and I think some other people may not have realized there was cause for concern, yet I knew something was off.  I'm not sure if it is because I work in a cancer setting, and I know the dance medical professionals do when things aren't great.  Heck, I have done it myself.

Apparently they struggled to stop my bleeding and somehow my bowel became involved.  All of this was complicated by my sepsis and having been on blood thinners for months (because I had 5 blood clots within the past year).  In short, not good.  The table was flipped with my head down towards the ground, lots of meds were pumped into me to help my blood to clot and I was tranfused with platelets, and maybe blood - I cannot recall that detail.  Dr. Mansour leaned over the blue curtain and said "everything is fine, but..." and proceeded to tell me what was up.  Josh and I heard Dr. Mansour thank the other attending physician for assisting, saying "can you imagine how much more difficult this would be with a resident?" or something close to that.

I looked to Josh, reassured him that everything would be OK.  That this is why we drove to Boston all of those times, to have the best of the best care for me and Ethan.  It was not just for the pizza.

It wasn't until 3 months later that I learned all of what happened in that surgery.  That I learned at some women in my position die...and who knows just how close I was to having a hysterectomy at 31 years of age.  Dr. Mansour saved my sister's life and mine.  Not quite sure how to thank a man for that.  At 5:30am that morning I was healthy, and at 1:00pm not so much.  Life is fragile.  I am thankful that my family is not grieving their wife/mother/sister in addition to their sweet son/brother/nephew.  Even when life is dark, there are gifts and blessings.

1 comment:

  1. are such an amazing, courageous woman! I have read your blog through tears and am truly in awe by you! I have spent many moments thinking of you and your family throughout this difficult time and am touched by the courage you put forth...I thank you for this glimpse into your life as it helps us all to take a step back and appreciate all that we have and rejoice in the memories of the past when tragic things happen. Thank you...