I instinctively knew around my 31st week of pregnancy that something was wrong. My feet, face, and hands swelled up so much that I cried myself to sleep each night after work from the pain. I was gaining weight at an alarming rate, even though I hardly ate much due to my severe nausea and acid reflux. My blood pressure was extremely elevated, every single bone in my body was exhausted, and it was becoming more and more difficult to urinate.
This is an example of how badly my feet would swell.
However, it would take until my 33rd week to be officially diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, which required immediate hospitalization. Pre-eclampsia is an incredibly serious disorder of pregnancy that can lead to horrifying consequences. My doctor said I would remain in the hospital until I was induced, which he thought would be the following week, except I was bound and determined to keep my son, Joaquín, inside of me as long as I possibly could. No one could believe the recovery I made in just a few short days after a series of steroid injections. Where there is a will there is a way, especially when you are a mother. I was released on strict bed rest and while I was hospitalized two more times, I was able to make it until 36 weeks before my emergency c-section. The three weeks I was on bed rest were amongst the hardest weeks of my life, although during that time period my son gained almost two pounds and he was able to bypass having to spend anytime in the NICU once he was born.
I received this fortune a week before Joaquín was born.
On 1-5-15, exactly 36 weeks pregnant, my blood pressure spiked to 180/120. My doctor had previously informed me that if it went above 160/110 I would be induced immediately. Due to the extreme exhaustion of pre-eclampsia and my scary blood pressure, it was decided that a c-section was the best way for me to deliver. I was told in five hours I would be meeting my son. My husband, Lucas, and I were both scared to death and excited beyond belief. This was definitely not how I had envisioned Joaquín’s birth story.
I am choosing to omit the details of my c-section, as they are very graphic. I am so grateful to Lucas, who sat by my head and when the tears streamed down my face from nerves he wiped them away with kisses and made me feel safe and loved. Within minutes of the initial incision, I was told to take a deep breath and as I exhaled I heard Joaquín’s cries. The surgeon told my husband to stand up and for as long as I live I will never forget the look on his face as he locked eyes with our son for the first time. It was truly the most unforgettable moment of my life! Sadly, with a c-section the mother is unable to see her child for a while, although Lucas described to me what he looked like and what was happening until they were able to bring him to me. After the fifteen longest minutes, they let me kiss my gorgeous baby’s face and then gave him to my husband to hold.
Joaquín’s first picture taken. He was 6.11 pounds and 20.5 inches.
Due to my high blood pressure, I was administered a magnesium drip for 24 hours. I would not wish this experience on my worst enemy. I knew it was going to be bad, I just never imagined it would be as bad as it was. I wanted to die. In fact, I begged to die. I was so elated when it was time to finally come off of it, but then the horrific pain kicked in. Since it had been a day, it was time for me to stand up for the first time. It is a cruel thing to ask of a woman who has just been cut in half, however it is medical necessity to prevent blood clots. Unfortunately, because my pain was so intense, every time I would try to stand up I would either throw up or pass out. It was not until I was given another round of morphine that I was able to to control the pain and finally walk.
The next four days in the hospital felt like a miserable eternity. All I wanted to do was take care of my son, but I had a lot of healing to do beforehand. Lucas and my Mom were my guardian angels. They never left my side once and took such amazing care of Joaquín and I. Nothing will make you fall in love with your husband more than seeing him utterly obsessed with your child.
Daddy’s first cuddle with Joaquín.
Despite the nightmare I experienced, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I cannot imagine my life now without my son. The amount of happiness he has brought to my husband and I is immeasurable — the best comparison I can make would be the happiness I experienced on every single trip I have ever taken all combined together. Pictures do not do Joaquín justice. You simply have to meet him in person. His personality is infectious. All he wants to do is cuddle and be cuddled and hardly ever cries. He radiates love, peace, and joy. We are so blessed!
Mommy’s first cuddle with Joaquín.
This is by far the most beautiful adventure I have ever experienced and the best part about it is that there is no end to it in sight. I do not have to pack up my bags and return home. My journey with this little guy is forever!