Before leaving the hospital, the doctor very carefully went over the signs and symptoms of post-partum pre-eclampsia. She said it only happens in 1% of patients, but she wanted me to be cautious of any headaches, spotty vision, or progressive swelling. My systolic blood pressures were in the 170s during delivery but had improved in the days following. They did not do any further testing during that hospital stay.
We arrived home from the hospital around 2pm and settled Amelia in to her home. We took naps, unpacked, and started our life at home. That evening after dinner, Matt and my dad ran to the store and mom was rocking Amelia in the nursery, so I thought I would sneak in a quick shower. While getting in the shower, I caught a chill like I have never had before. I could not stand. Somehow I made it to the seat in our shower but was shaking uncontrollably and could not stand. Finally I made it to my feet and stood under the hot water. I knew my mom wouldn't hear me yell in the nursery so I waited until I thought Matt had returned. I yelled his name and he came into the bathroom. He wrapped me in a towel and got me out of the shower. I received a flu shot before leaving the hospital and thought this was a side effect. I slept on the sofa that night and shook all night long. Amelia slept in a baby rocker next to the sofa. In the middle of the night I saw spots, but once again found reason to attribute this symptom to just being tired.
Then in the morning, I woke with a severe headache. Again, wrote this symptom off. It wasn't until I began to swell in my legs that I began to worry. I could barely bend my toes they were so swollen, and different from my previous swelling, I was now swelling in my upper thighs. My mom went to CVS and bought a blood pressure cuff. I know these are not always the most accurate, but I just couldn't get it together enough to leave the house yet. The monitor read 160/107. We called the doctor's office to notify them we were going to the fire station for a proper check, but they advised we return to labor and delivery instead. Once we arrived, my blood pressures were in the 140s. Of course, the doctor on call was...Dr. Foutz, the one that had started and then stopped my induction 2 weeks prior. Matt was not very happy, but I asked him to be patient and listen to what she had to say. She wasn't too impressed by my blood pressures, but once she examined me, she became concerned with the new swelling and how reactive my reflexes were. She said that was a sign of possible seizures. She then ran some labs and was shocked how much my labs had changed in 48 hours. My liver function tests had more than doubled and were very high. She decided to admit me for "post-partum pre-eclampsia". I couldn't believe this was happening to me. I was devastated that I had to be admitted and so scared I wouldn't get to be with my baby. But the hospital allowed Amelia to stay with me. They were not very accomodating though. Due to security reasons, we could not use one of their bassinets nor would they allow us to bring in her carseat. We told them she had to sleep in something and they needed to help us figure this out. We then got special permission to bring in her carseat and the poor thing slept in it for 2 nights.
Once admitted, I had to be on bedrest. This meant a foley catheter! Yes, that is right. I have been putting catheters in patients for 5 years and now it was payback time! The did an ultrasound of the liver (which was normal) and then started IV magnesium sulfate. This drug relaxes every muscle in your body. The point is to lower the seizure threshold. With every muscle relaxed, I could barely chew and my eyelids drooped. I looked like a mess! My blood pressures still fluctuated but I diuresed 10 liters of fluid in 24 hours!! That is 22-25lbs of weight in 24 hours! I felt like a new person! It was unbelievable...thank goodness i had a foley catheter, that's a lot of urine!
After 2 nights, they felt that my blood pressures were stable and my labs had returned to normal! I was finally able to go home with my family. I have never been so excited. Now, we had to rush home and shower so we could make it to Amelia's first doctor's appointment on time!