I realize that for most people reading this blog it is extremely confusing as to why I have a natural born child, but yet now need a surrogate. Infertility can come in many shapes and sizes. I am not the traditional definition of “infertile”. I can get pregnant just fine. However, my body does not handle/carry pregnancies well. I get life threateningly ill.
Ten days after Teagan’s birth I was hospitalized the day before Christmas Eve with preeclampsia (yes you can get it up to 6 weeks after delivering a baby!!!) My blood pressure was so high that I was admitted to the hospital and put on an IV of magnesium for 48 hours to keep me from seizing. I spent the next 5 weeks on house arrest taking anti-stroke and anti-heart attack medications. Once you have preeclampsia it can reoccur in subsequent pregnancies. I knew if I ever tried to get pregnant again I would now be considered high risk.
When Teagan was 18 months we knew we wanted to try again to give her a sibling. We went as far as moving home to MN from Seattle because we knew in doing so we ran a huge risk and we would need all the family support we could get. In June we moved back to MN, in August we moved into our 4 bedroom house (with an empty bedroom waiting for our future baby), and by October we were pregnant again.
4 weeks into the pregnancy I started to become very sick. The food aversions were so bad I could not eat….anything. I would violently gag. The nausea was relentlessness, I couldn’t regulate my body temperature, my legs were so weak I barely made it to the bathroom. The OBGYN said it was bad morning sickness and prescribed me three different medications. None of them worked. My mom began to watch Teagan. I was completely bedridden.
At this point I made an appointment with the OBGYN to see me (they don’t typically see you until week 8). Upon arriving at the office I was too weak to fill out the paper work. I told the receptionist I was about to faint. I was taken to a room and laid on the bed, I couldn’t lift my head to turn and see the doctor come into the room. The doctor put me in a wheel chair and sent me directly to the emergency room. I was told I had suspected Hyperemisis Graviderm (HG). Imagine the worst stomach flu of your life lasting for months – that was the hell that HG is. There is no cure. Every 3-4 days the only thing I could do, was go to the ER for more IV fluids to keep the dehydration at bay. I started running out of veins and to this day still have vein scarring in my left arm from so many IVs.
1 in 3 babies do not survive a mom having HG. At the 6 week ultrasound it showed a heartbeat under 100 and a baby that had stopped growing. By 8 weeks it was confirmed I had miscarried. The day before Thanksgiving, I had a D&C (a surgery to remove the fetus). I started hemorrhaging over the course of the next few days following surgury. It was found some of the tissue had not been removed and was still in my uterus. I had to undergo a second D&C on November 29th.
Regardless of no longer being pregnant, my body still had pregnancy hormone in it. It takes about 6 weeks to be out of your system. As HG is basically an allergic reaction to the pregnancy hormone I continued to be sick for another 5 weeks into January before the worst of it subsided.
All in all – I had lost a child, been bedridden, starved, was unable to watch Teagan, thought I might die from dehydration or starvation from early November through mid January. When I finally got through the worst of the physical symptoms and was finally able to process what had just happened the mental toll hit. And it hit hard. I spent the remainder of January and February battling postpartum depression, having full blown anxiety attacks (something I never had before), and almost 6 weeks with total insomnia.
I was diagnosed with PTSD from my HG experience by a psychologist and its something I am still working through to this day. HG has a re-occurrence rate estimated as high as 90%. I was told if I tried to get pregnant it would most likely occur again and it would be worse. The only treatment plans available would be at home IVs and possibly feeding tubes. Between that and the high re-occurrence rate of preeclamsia I made the earth shattering decision that I could not (physically, emotionally, or mentally) get pregnant again….and that’s where Brandi comes in.
In my darkest chapter a complete stranger rose her hand and said I will save you from this nightmare. I will give you hope again. I lovingly call Brandi my unicorn. She is one in a million, I will never find another one like her. She is magic. She is my miracle.