Having a baby is a whirlwind and this story of welcoming Parker King is no different. Her birth story is complicated and scary, but beautiful and amazing all at the same time.
This pregnancy was a difficult one for me. MUCH different than my pregnancy with Henry. From the beginning it was one thing after another. I had morning sickness, Gestational Diabetes, severe fibroid pain, I was considered geriatric and high risk, and was monitored for high blood pressure throughout. I felt challenged and pushed to my limits. With all of that said, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if it blessed me with another Parker.
On the morning of November 18th 2021 I was preparing for a routine visit with my dr. I was 35 weeks pregnant. I was also scheduled for an ultrasound that day. Getting ready in the morning I was getting frustrated because my contacts had been bothering me. My left eye had something in it (or so I thought) and I had a blurry spot in my eye. I had mentioned it to Scot and then went to change out and clean my contact. After doing this three times it finally occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t my contact. It was then I remembered that blurry vision is a symptom of high blood pressure. At the time I had been taking my blood pressure twice a day. I had had a few elevated pressures in the weeks prior but never any other symptoms. Once I realized that this could be more, I took my blood pressure and it was elevated at 156/93.
After I took my BP we immediately called the nurse line. They tried calling my doctor but they were unable to get a hold of her and instructed us to drive immediately to the labor and delivery department. I assumed they were going to bring me in for monitoring as they had in the past. On our drive there, I got a call from my doctor asking if I would just come to my routine appointment instead. At this point my nerves had calmed a bit thinking that my doctor didn’t see reason for much concern.
When we arrived they brought me in for my ultrasound and everything looked great! Baby was measuring perfect and the ultrasound tech actually made a joke about having to hang in there for a couple more weeks. I think her exact words were, “its not like you are going to have this baby today!” Haha little did she know!
We went to see the doctor and after some small talk and explanations above my head, she said I think we need to deliver this baby today. I had developed severe preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition that can lead to serious, even fatal complications for mother and baby.
In utter shock of hearing the words come out of her mouth I started laughing and crying at the same time. I was filled with excitement covered in nerves and anxiety. She instructed us to head straight the the hospital so they could start me on a magnesium drip. (A magnesium drip is used to prevent seizure and stroke in high blood pressure patients.) I asked if I could go home to get my bag and she responded with, depends on how close you live. Fortunately she gave us the green light to run home and grab some things before heading to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital shortly after and they admitted me immediately. At this point, everything was happening so fast. They started monitoring my blood pressure and were getting ready to get my IV started. A few nurses and doctors were in and out explaining the magnesium drip to me and what the course of action for the day was.
Shortly after our arrival a nurse walked in named Morgan. Funny story about Morgan, she had been a follower of mine on Instagram and had messaged me a few months prior. However we didn’t know each other at all, I just knew she was a labor and delivery nurse at my hospital. Immediatly we realized who each other were and it suddenly made me feel like my best friend had just walked in the room. She was not scheduled to be my nurse that day, but moved her schedule around so that she could. She was my calm in what was a very chaotic mess of a day.
A couple of hours had passed and the magnesium was setting in. I felt high as a kite and calm. I kept joking about how I should start smoking weed because the magnesium made me feel so good, until it didn’t! But more on that later.
Before everything began a NICU team had come to speak with us. They told us it was nothing to worry about but that its protocol to take any baby born before 37 weeks for NICU evaluation. He assured us that this was just protocol and that baby if good, would only be in their care for an hour or two.
I was scheduled to have a c-section as I had one with Henry too. When they time came, they wheeled me back. Morgan was by my side the entire time. Even when my husband Scot wasn’t allowed, I felt like I had a friend with me and it truly put me at ease! A spinal was started and we were ready to go! They brought Scot into the room and Morgan had the camera. Within what seemed like seconds, Scot was saying “Its a Girl!” and I was crying the happiest tears! We had the most perfect baby girl and my heart was so full.
They brought over baby (unnamed at the time) for me to see and capture our first photos together. And then the NICU team wheeled her away and said see you soon.
I was then placed into a high risk room due to the magnesium drip. I had to stay in the high risk department until they cleared me from the drip because it can create a fall risk. I was also not allowed to eat anything for 24 hours which sucked! If you’ve given birth before you probably feel my pain when they told me I couldn’t eat and only take sips of clear liquids. Apparently magnesium also causes extreme nausea.
A while later, a nurse came in and said she was taking me to see my baby! I was so excited to finally get to hold her! She wheeled us down and into the NICU we went. What I wasn’t expecting was to see my baby with a hundred tubes and wires in her. I was sad and confused. What was wrong with my baby? They said they were only bringing her in for observation! But all that could wait, I just wanted to hold her and see my sweet girl.
During observation they discovered that she wasn’t regulating her body temperature, wasn’t fully breathing on her own and needed oxygen. She also couldn’t eat so needed a feeding tube and they needed to clear her system of magnesium as well. Later she also encountered significant weight loss that ultimately lead to her long term stay. So needless to say, her couple hours of observation turned into indefinitely very quickly.
After a short visit ( I was. only allowed about 15 min) back to the room I went. It was then I was told that I couldn’t see my baby girl for 24 hours. I had no idea that the short visit was my only one for the first day. The magnesium drip creates a fall risk and they couldn’t allow me to see her until after it cleared my system. Thankfully, Scot was still able to see her.
The next few days were a bit of a blur. I had very limited visits with Parker because my room was a revolving door of doctors and nurses. I remember feeling like I hadn’t even had a baby. The feeling was lonely and empty. I was in the hospital after just having a baby, yet I could barely see her and she was just down the hall. And the visits I did get, were short.
After four days in the hospital, the discharged me to go home. To leave the hospital without my baby. They offered for me to stay in a hospitality room but I had Henry at home. And after those past few days, I wanted nothing more than to squeeze my sweet boy! Being away from him was one of the hardest parts of the entire thing. So home we went, without Parker. And it was the saddest most empty feeling I had ever had.
Upon my discharge I had to continue monitoring my blood pressure. They wanted me to check my blood pressure once a day and if it was high, to call in. That night, I took my blood pressure and it was dangerously high. They wanted me to come back in to Labor and Delivery so they could monitor me. I came in and was readmitted that evening. I had developed a rare condition referred to as postpartum preeclampsia which can lead to brain damage, stroke, HELLP syndrome and even death.
Throughout the night they checked my vitals every 4 hours. The next day I was put on blood pressure medication and discharged to go home. Throughout the next 10 days, I was back in the hospital 7 times for high blood pressure. I felt like I was living a nightmare. I was living in fear of having a stroke or seizure. I was petrified. I remember one particular drive back down to the hospital crying to Scot saying, “Im not ready to die, I want to see my kids grow up!” I was quite literally living in fear of dying.
The silver lining of being back in the hospital so much, was that I could see Parker whenever I wanted. As the days went on, Parkers strength and health started to improve. Each day that passed was one day closer to bringing our girl home.
Each day that past, felt like a step closer. Parker was making huge strides and we just knew we would get our girl home soon. In the interim, I was still dealing with my blood pressure but things were calming down. And after two weeks (which felt more like two months!) we received the best phone call!
I was walking out of my postpartum appointment on December 2nd when I received a call from the Nurse Practitioner in the NICU. Previous to this, they had told us Parker would be home likely in the next few days to a week. But that morning the NP called and said, today was the day we could bring our sweet girl home! Parker had passed all of her test and was ready to step out into the world! I cried tears of joy on the phone with her and couldn’t wait to deliver the news to Scot. I remember crying so hard I could barely get the words out. My excitement was beyond any feeling I had ever had! And this was the BEST birthday present Scot could have ever imagined.
That afternoon, Scot and I drove down to the NICU for the last time. There were so many feelings and emotions that day. Gratitude for the incredible nurses and doctors. Overwhelming joy for being able to bring our girl home and Henry finally getting to meet his baby sister. And a little bit of sadness for having to leave such amazing nurses, that had become friends over the course of her stay. One nurse in-particular, Katey told us how much she was going to miss Parker and thanked us for being so great. She walked us out, took our pictures and hugged us goodbye. It was a very bittersweet moment.
As we drove away, my heart was at peace.
Upon our arrival at home, I had asked my sister and Aunt to be there. My sister brought Henry with her as he had been staying with her. It was then that Henry finally got to meet his baby sister, in a moment that I will never forget!
Our family was finally all together! #WahlPartyOfFour was complete and we couldn’t have been happier!
So now, almost three months later, my heart is still so full! Henry is obsessed with his new little bestie and I cant wait to watch their bond grow. Hes the proudest big brother and it absolulty melts my heart.