15 September 2010

Blood Pressure

I had one of my weekly prenatal visits today. Not surprisingly, my blood pressure has been steadily climbing the last few visits. I'm fairly convinced that it's within normal ranges when I don't have an appointment. We totally love our doctor -- I talked about the stress of me being the only one working, trying to figure out the financial end of things while I'm leave, being turned down for financial assistance (another story for another time, perhaps), getting closer to facing the unknown about what it will be like with Ewan and his heart once he's here -- we are certainly dealing with an above-average amount of stress.

Until that 20-week ultrasound (and even in my final two visits with the midwives, after we found out about Ewan's heart), my blood pressure was in very healthy and normal ranges -- just like it's always been (I classically fall within a few points of 105/65 or so). Ever since then, every appointment sees numbers that have been steadily climbing and today's numbers were the scariest yet. I'm not surprised, but wish I could convince those subconscious parts of myself that are in charge of these kinds of physiological responses that it's all going to work out and that there is no reason to stress.

A friend reminded me today of leaving my burdens at the cross. I wish I knew how to do that. I know the verse about casting your cares on Him, about giving up your heavy yoke, about how worry profits us nothing, and about how we can't change anything by worrying about it -- when it comes right down to it, I guess I don't know what all that really means -- how it looks in real life to do that. I can say it, I can pray it -- but how do I actually live it? How do I still deal with the things that need to be dealt with (especially those things that I cannot delegate to another), but not worry about them -- especially when we keep running into brick walls with so many of the options we explore? They all seem to be rolled up into one big, hot and tangled mess for me. I don't know how to untangle it so that I'm not carrying a big burden of worry, but also not Pollyanna-ing my way through it -- burying my head in the sand and denying reality. I want to be able to do just that and have been praying toward that end, but it has yet to bear itself out in my day-to-day reality.

So, I'm on blood pressure medication now -- humbling for the woman who's always had a BP in a very healthy and athletic range. We have a non-stress test (NST) scheduled for Friday to see how Ewan is handling it once I'm on the BP medication for a few days. And blood was taken today so they could test for anything that would point to pre-eclampsia (which, thank God, there are no other symptoms pointing to this -- just the BP). I have a very good and very understanding doctor, but we all agreed that it is going to be best to eliminate the element of surprise where we can so we can all know exactly what we're dealing with.

She was very reassuring, telling me I know I can tell you not to stress about this -- that it will all work out and that in the end, you're going to take home a happy and healthy baby. I can tell you that all of this will be worth it. It's so easy to know it here (pointing to her head), but in real life, it's hard to know it here (pointing to her heart).

Ain't that the truth?! (See why we love her?)

In other news, Ewan is still doing really well in utero. He's moving quite a lot (seriously, my belly has looked like a cartoon lately with all the feet, elbows, knees, and fists sticking out of it) and his heart rate is quite healthy in the 150s. I'm technically full-term now at 37 weeks, but he hasn't dropped yet, so it will still be some time before we see any action in that regard (thank goodness, I say). I'm glad he's as strong and resilient as he is, and am thankful for the continual (and not subtle!) movement that reassures me he's doing just fine in there.

I can completely understand why my stress level is the way it is, and why my blood pressure goes to the levels it does when I'm at the doctor. Though I wish it were different, I have to be a little bit nice toward myself in that regard too -- it would be hard for anybody to go through something like this and not see the effects of it manifest themselves in this or in other ways on their overall health. I wish I could control those things, but it's just another area where I feel so entirely powerless to change anything. I want to do better by Ewan because I know he deserves it (and really, most of the time I don't feel as hypertensive as I do when I go to the doctor lately), but the last thing I need is to pile more on to the burden that for now, I don't quite know how to cast down.


Anonymous said...

BP is NOTHING to mess around with. I had a "stroke like episode" with my son and he was born at 32 weeks, emergency c-section. My daughter was born at 35 weeks. My bp was beyond crazy with both and I was told to never get pregnant again or it would kill me and my unborn child. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do everything you can to bring your numbers down.

As to getting turned down - dont give up. Never, ever, ever give up when it comes to dealing with the Gov't and your child. Reapply. Go thru a review board - just dont accept NO the first 50 times you hear it.

I know it easy for me to say this - but do try to focus on what is right with this pregnancy. For this moment in time, Ewan is safe inside your body where you can give him life. He is safe. You can not change Ewan's heart. God has already written Ewan's story and placed you and James as his parents. What a blessing that Ewan already has two wonderful people in his life.

Praying that you find comfort and peace in this storm you are in the middle of.

Shannon Egan

ANewKindOfPerfect said...

It cannot be easy to keep your stress down, while in your situation. I hope that the blood pressure meds lower it and your bloodwork and NST look fine!

Jill said...

I know for me I had to continuously and consciously say I am not going to let this bother me, and in that instant, I would go to God in prayer. During the last month of pregnancy, I think I prayed more than I didn't. I think I spent literally a good 15 to 16 horus out of my day in quick silent prayers.

I wish I had a better way to tell you to leave it at the feet of Jesus. It's harder than it sounds. Just continue to pray that God takes it from you. Pray for peace and comfort. Pray for the Holy Spirit to come upon you and calm your heart.

As far as the government assistance, reapply once you no longer have income. (Even if it's just for a short while.) Even if you don't qualify for any sort of government assistance, look into United Way to help with utilities, go to food banks for groceries (there is no shame in that...I have gone a few times...it's humbling but a HUGE help.) And make sure you talk to the social worker at the hospital.

I'm continuing to pray for you. Those last few weeks were the hardest for me. Keep your head up and continue to pray!

Love ya!

Tea said...

Praying for you.

Baby Hung said...

we continue to pray for you and wish you the best, praying you yield your worries and control over to God too.

take care in your last few weeks!

Danielle said...

Continuing to pray for you. Through our heart journey before Aaron was born, I continually prayed for peace and for God to take those burdens and worries away, but it's hard! How do you not worry about your precious child that you know is going to have to endure so much from the moment they enter the world, and wanting to do everything in your power to keep him safe before he is born...I completely understand how you feel.
Keep up everything you're doing...you're an amazing mother. Sending prayers and love your way.

Stefenie said...

Lay your burdens down...that's what it says right? I know, it is hard to turn that over and trust that we will be taken are of but we will. Trust in that.

Don't get too worked up on being turned down financially right now. A lot of times you are turned down while pregnant but once the baby is born you will get approved. Appeal their decision and keep applying. They try to make it extremely discouraging so you give up. Don't. Keep fighting!!

Take care of you too. That is the best thing you can do for Ewan right now. Take some deep breaths, put your feet up, read a good book, curl up and watch a movie....shut away all of that stress for another day. {{{HUG}}}

If you need anyone to talk to feel free to e-mail me jacks_rswl@mepotelco.net I've been there!