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  • Writer's pictureEbony J. Ford

Reign Victoria's Birth Story

Five years...FIVE very long and agonizing years full of loss, disappointment, false hopes, tearful smiles, uncomfortable explanations and negative pregnancy tests. That’s how long we waited to hear that our dream of becoming parents was about to come true. And despite how many tell-tale symptoms I had been experiencing for about two weeks, I just couldn’t bring myself to look at one more negative pregnancy test. I had begun using ovulation test kits, not to get pregnant, but to avoid pregnancy so that I couldn’t work myself up into thinking I had a chance at being pregnant. It seemed easier to NOT hope. But here I was reaching past the ovulation kits and into the dusty stash of pregnancy tests I hid under the bathroom sink towards the back. I had wrapped them in a black plastic bag so that if they were out of sight, they would hopefully be out of mind. I checked the date on each of them and proceeded with testing. I then put them down on the counter and set the timer on my phone for 3 minutes. But before I could even stand up, I saw 2 VERY bold lines appear on BOTH tests and my heart dropped. God wouldn’t play this kind of trick on me, would He? Could I finally, REALLY be pregnant? I called my husband at work and could hardly get it out before he began screaming. And at that moment, it truly sank in... our dream of having a legacy was coming true! 

One of the symptoms that made me wonder if I was pregnant was very strong abdominal pains. So I decided to go to the ER to make sure it wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy. Later that night we found out that I had a very high HCG and a week later that the pregnancy was indeed in my uterus. That was our only visit to the hospital our entire pregnancy. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better pregnancy as it was completely uneventful until week 26. While on vacation in Las Vegas I began to experience shortness of breath and severe swelling. I couldn’t take more than 5 steps without needing to catch my breath and I had to buy shoes that were 2 sizes larger. I send a message to my doctor updating her on my condition. She advised that I quickly return home and go to the Emergency Room. By the time I got on the plane to come home I couldn’t fit my shoes, could barely breathe and couldn’t see very well. I also realized that I hadn’t eaten or urinated in over 24 hours.

Upon my return to hometown, my husband took me to the hospital where my doctor worked. I was triaged and immediately my blood pressure set off several alarms. The nurse hit a button on the wall behind her and staff came to lift me on a bed and take me into the trauma room.  After blood, urine & radiology tests I was diagnosed with sudden onset severe preeclampsia, pulmonary edema and HELLP syndrome which meant I was in kidney and liver failure and was in more grave condition than I could’ve ever understood. We learned that I needed to deliver IMMEDIATELY and would do so via emergency cesarean section. I was to go under general anesthesia, be intubated and then attached to a ventilator for the next 24 hours and would do it ALONE. Because of how sick I was and how many people needed to tend to my extremely premature baby, there was very little room for my husband to be in the operating room with us. I had very little time to process all that was happening emotionally and even less time to consent. I felt like I was being raped of my dream, a choice, HOPE! The feeling of doom enveloped me as the rushed me into the OR. I began to hyperventilate, so much so that they quickly sedated me before my blood pressure could rise anymore.

On March 25 at 6:53 pm Reign Victoria was born at 26 weeks and 5 days weighing just 1 lb 15 oz. Despite the doctor's expectations, she was born breathing on her own and didn’t require intubation. I was then rushed to the ICU where I would unknowingly spend the next day fighting for my life as my delivery didn’t immediately heal me. I was in complete liver failure and kidney failure. There were talks of dialysis and placement on the liver transplant list if they couldn’t get things under control. I woke up around noon the next day scared, intubated, and alone. I didn’t immediately realize I was intubated so when I went to breathe, I could feel air pumping into my chest. Anxiety and fear started setting in as I realized that my hands were tied to the bed and no one was there to help me. I cried and screamed internally for what felt like an eternity until a team of doctors came in explaining that they had kept me in this state because I was in severe liver failure, my kidneys weren’t functioning properly causing them to drain nearly 30 lbs of fluid off of my body via catheter & diuretics. They eventually took the breathing tube out and my husband later entered the room. The next 8 hours were spent there in the ICU as my blood pressure was very resistant to many doses of pressure medicine as well as magnesium and its HORRIBLE side effects. I not only battled the magnesium fog but uncontrollable coughing (due to pulmonary edema) resulting in severe pain. Between the magnesium, blood pressure and pain medications I was nauseous and vomiting which only intensified the pain.

I was finally stabilized and later that night transferred to Labor & Delivery. At about 11 pm I finally laid eyes on the most fragile yet resilient little miracle I had ever seen. I was scared to touch her but I knew I had to. She immediately grabbed my finger and I knew then that not only did we give her the right name but that she was a WARRIOR!! Everything I had been through to get her here didn’t even matter anymore. All I cared about was her survival.

To Be Continued...

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