March 02, 2004
permalink Pre-eclampsia and the lead up to the birth

My blood pressure levels eventually started to rise, as my endo predicted they would, ultimately reaching levels of around 160 on 100.

This made me a bit anxious. But the endo preferred to leave them this high rather than start me on blood pressure medication at this point (I had stopped taking Renitec, an ACE inhibitor, before trying to conceive, and had needed nothing since). He said if I took another type of blood pressure medication it could 'mask pre-eclampsia' and also make me feel unwell.

Still, I worried about what such high blood pressure could be doing to my kidneys. My endo reassured me that it shouldn't do any harm over such a small amount of time and I met other women in the hospital Day Ward whose blood pressure was similar, so at least I didn't feel completely alone.

My endo also suggested that I buy a home blood pressure monitor to test my own blood pressure a few times a day, and visit the hospital day ward a couple of times a week for monitoring, instead of going into hospital as an inpatient which is what used to happen a lot for pregnant women with diabetes.

I liked going into the Day Ward as I got to sit around with other really pregnant women - chatting and reading trashy women's magazines and drinking cups of tea. It was great to actually meet another pregnant woman with type 1 diabetes (finally!). She had a really black sense of humour and when I said I was hoping to reach at least 38 weeks, she laughed!

In the Day Ward, our blood pressure was monitored, we had fetal monitoring (so we could hear our babies swooshing around - very reassuring), blood tests, and often ultrasounds. My ultrasounds and fetal monitoring sessions were reassuring. Baby's growth and the amount of amniotic fluid I had, continued to be spot on normal for the whole pregnancy. And the baby's movements were good. I was surprised to be told by the nurses that I was already having Braxton Hicks contractions though as I thought they would be more noticeable. I do remember a tightening feeling but it seemed pretty mild.

I also think that at least one nurse commented that she thought I had oedema in my tummy area. This was something that would be a major factor for me just after the birth, but none of my doctors were alarmed by it at this time.

Most of the women I met had high blood pressure (not diabetes) and were being monitored for that. Although one very amusing woman had placenta prevera and was just crossing her fingers that her bub wouldn't make a really early appearance. It was always exciting and a little freaky when the nurse would tell a woman that they had a bed ready for her upstairs, so she could go up to the ward to be induced!!

It was also here that I met women who'd had a number of babies already. Many who'd had difficult labours in the past were candid in saying they would opt for a caesarean if they could. But many had had good experiences too. Even with inductions. It was good to get their down-to-earth and balanced input on things, as opposed to some very pro-vaginal-natural-at-all-costs opinions I been surrounded by early on in my pregnancy.

Just before I'd started my regular visits to the Day Ward, I was getting some really mixed feelings from my health practitioners. On the one hand, my obstetrician seemed concerned. As soon as I developed swollen ankles she said her goal was to get me to 34 weeks. This made me a bit depressed as I was hoping to be able to carry the baby longer. I would go into her office feeling happy with myself, my blood sugar levels, my baby's ultrsounds etc only to come out deflated, feeling like a major high risk patient. My endo however didn't agree, and was always reassuring. Telling me that a lot of what I was experiencing was normal for most pregnant women. I wonder if he mentioned something to her as at one point she started instead telling me that I had done a wonderful job and that she was really pleased with the way things were going.

Anyhow, I remember after moving house and having Michael's mother to stay for a week, we went away to the mountains for a weekend together. I was 34 weeks pregnant.

We could have bushwalked. We could have done a lot. But we just stayed in our cabin. Drank champagne. Played scrabble. Got the fire going in the fireplace. I was pretty exhausted, and there was still so much more to do at home - buying baby gear (which I had left until we moved house, bad move!), setting up the new house, writing this blog, the list is endless... But I was so glad we took this time out. I remember standing on the balcony seeing a little pademellon with a little joey in it's pouch :-) A sign perhaps, that my little one would soon be on their way? .....

Posted by patton at March 02, 2004 10:20 AM
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