Happy Birthday Miles

3 Jan

For about a week before Miles’ birth, I was sick. Horribly sick.
I visited my doctor every day, felt like I was getting better, but each night would find me feeling as though I might die.
The flu! they said.  False labor! they said.

On Jan 3rd, 2005, I showed up at my doctor and told him I felt like I was going to die – literally.  He took some blood and told me to go to the hospital for a gallbladder ultrasound.  We had to wait a couple of hours or so between appointments so we went home so I could lie down.  I remember feeling like I could not get up ever again.  I only did because of Dave’s help.

The ultrasound was normal, they got me back in my wheelchair and were about to send me home.
Dave had decided that there was no going home.
He called my doctor who was at the same time trying to get ahold of the doctors in charge of the ultrasounds to admit me immediately.  “There is something going on with your liver. We’re not sure yet what is happening, but you need to be admitted.

I remember getting all checked in – it was 2:00 or so – and Dave going to the car to get the hospital bag.  Before he could come back, a doctor had already been in to see me.  “You are very sick.  You have HELLP syndrome. We need to take your baby now.  We are going to take blood again to check your platelet levels and then you will have a sedated c-section within the hour. No, your husband can not join us. This is an emergency.”

I have what?  Wait, what?  Wait! WHAT?

Unfortunately the blood work did not come back as planned. My platelets were too low to do a c-section.  A transfusion came next to boost them up in order to proceed.  Later I found out my liver enzymes were climbing, platelets were dropping and my red blood count was nowhere near where it should be.  I was strapped to the bed, 3 IV’s in my arms. Miles heart rate was above 190.  Mag sulfate to ward off seizures was added to my IV’s and all fluids were eliminated for upcoming surgery.
Except there was no surgery.
My platelets dropped dangerously low and it became clear there would be no C-section.
I was officially in the “stage 1” form of HELLP.  The most severe.

High doses of pitocen were started and I begged, cried, pleaded, sobbed for an epidural to no avail.
You could be paralyzed if we try to do an epidural, the anesthesiologist told me.
I will TAKE MY CHANCES! I said.
He didn’t budge. (Thank you, sir.)

I was unable to move, 3 tubes coming out of my arms, 2 monitors on my belly. I could only turn slightly to my side during contractions and I thought I was going to die.  They kept coming to take my blood levels – You’re platelets are 30 pts away from the ICU.  It took me 5 minutes to go from 5 cm to 10 cm and all of a sudden, crash cart in the room, but no doctors yet, it was time.

My nurse frantically got the doctor while I pushed out Miles on a bed not quite broken down yet with a doctor running in, gloves not even on. Dave remembers the room being full with doctors and nurses.  My bleeding took a turn for the worse and I was poked with shots to stop the hemorrhaging while the doctors worked on me.

Afraid I was going to go into seizure, they gave me my baby for a quick minutes before they made Dave take him away.

I had to stay on bed rest for a full 24 hrs after delivery with magnesium sulfate on drip. I had my veins prodded and poked every few hours until they saw my liver and platelets headed in the right direction. I was not allowed anything but a few ice chips per hour. They counted. I counted. I asked for more, they said no.
milesbday2 I was left with swelling in the brain, thoughts of possible stroke (dismissed after MRI), fluid behind the eyes, huge amounts of memory loss and lab work and clotting times that didn’t go back to normal for a full year.
I do not remember my first-born meeting my second-born but I was told he sang Miles Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

In fact, I don’t remember much of my life prior to and one year after HELLP. There have been many times where I nod and agree with memories of past events without a trace of memory in my mind.  My family has gotten used to saying, “Do you remember when….” and I say, “No, I don’t”.

Miles started out very much like this. ALWAYS mad and ALWAYS crying.  Oh, it was not easy.
(It’s OK to laugh! He sure did when I showed him this one! The red eye is a nice touch, don’t you think?)
The memory of his birth is one that will never leave my mind. At my 6-week-postpartum checkup, my doctor said, “It is rare that a woman dies in childbirth in the US these days, but what you had, HELLP Syndrome, that is one disease that still takes the lives of women in America.

Today, Miles is not an angry, mad child. Oh he has the eyes and smile of a prince. He is sweet and sensitive and kind. He is athletic, and social and fun and he is my amazing middle child who took to being a big brother like he was made for the role.

First birthday.


Second birthday.


Third birthday.
Fourth birthday.

OH how I loved 4.  I did not want him to turn 5.

But time does not stop. No matter how we parents wish we could pause it.

And poof! He was 6.
And a toothless cutie-o 7-yr-old who rocked the homemade sharpie birthday shirt.
milesbday12Today, as tradition, Dave got up early and got donuts.  We all gathered around the table to sing him happy birthday but Cora decided that this was not her day to be a kind sister.
Sadly, the morning was spent with tears, tantrums and she and I missing out on his birthday donuts breakfast.
By the time she was ready to be kind, he was done, it was over and teeth were being brushed.
milesbday13When I stare at this picture, I see his face thinning out, lengthening. I see his baby face is gone and he has gone from loud and crazy to sensitive and “cool”.  Baby Miles is gone.  This is one of those birthdays where I see just how fast time goes and just how much I long to hold on to the ticking of the clock and push pause.  How we got to this moment already is beyond me.

But we are here. And 8-yr-old Miles loves sports – soccer especially right now. Dad is coaching his basketball team and will also coach his baseball team.  He is into Skylanders and Minecraft and loves pizza and noodles.  He is appreciative and such a hard worker. He works harder than we expect him to.
He’s the first to help with shoveling the driveway, crushing up boxes and pretty much anything physical.

He’s going to be an amazing man.  I’m excited to watch him grow into that man, as much as I want to hold time for a while, watching him grow has been one of the biggest honors and joys of my life.

And don’t worry. Because I missed breakfast, we shared his favorite lunch today – just a mom and Miles lunch date.
Happy Birthday my sweet son.
You bless our lives immensely.


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