When a healthy pregnancy turns into weeks at the hospital

Pre-eclampsia turned Andreya’s world upside down

Andreya thought she had the perfect pregnancy. Her baby boy was developing beautifully, her vital signs were good, and she wasn't in any pain. That all changed at her 31-week appointment.

Somehow, her blood pressure was high. The medical assistant decided to wait a few minutes and take it again. When they got the same results, Andreya was immediately sent to Fairview Southdale Hospital.

“I was admitted for the night," Andreya says, "and the nurses found that my blood pressure still had not decreased by the next morning."  

When Andreya's OB-GYN, Mary Dahling, MD, came to check on her, she decided to consult with Daniel Landers, MD, a specialist from University of Minnesota Health Maternal-Fetal Medicine. He performed a 3D ultrasound to check on the baby and delivered some surprising news.

"My baby was fine, but Dr. Landers told me I was not going to be able to leave the hospital." 

Andreya's health continued to worsen as the days went on.

“I had hypertension, my protein levels were high in my urine, my whole body was swollen, and my reflexes were more pronounced than normal," Andreya says. "Within a few days, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.” 

A serious complication

Pre-eclampsia is a dangerous condition that only a small percentage of pregnant women develop. 

If not treated appropriately, it can be life-threatening for the baby and can lead to critical complications for the mother – including stroke and organ failure. 

In Andreya’s case, her doctors said it would probably be too dangerous for her to carry the baby past 34 weeks. That was still three long weeks away.

To make matters worse, Andreya’s mom had gone on vacation the day of her 31-week appointment.

“I kept telling the doctors I was not going to make it until 34 weeks," she recalls, "but I needed to wait for my mom to come home." 

Meanwhile, Andreya was put on a magnesium drip and blood pressure medication. Her blood was being tested daily. She got an ultrasound to check on the baby every couple of days. The Birthplace staff tried to do everything they could to steady her nerves.

“Everyone at Fairview made me feel super comfortable," Andreya says. “They brought me to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to show me around and explain everything that could happen, since my baby was going to be a preemie.”

On her sixth day in the hospital – the day her mom was coming home – Andreya’s health continued to decline.
 

Starting labor, eight weeks early 

The next morning, Dr. Landers recommended that Andreya be induced, for her safety and the baby's. 

“They ripened my cervix and I had contractions, but nothing was happening,” Andreya says. “We ended up waiting two days to see if anything progressed, but it didn’t.”

That meant delivering the baby by cesarean section.

“Luckily, my baby boy, Elijah, was born healthy – crying and breathing on his own,” Andreya says. “He only had to be on CPAP (a device to help him breathe) for one day, and then he was fine without it!”

But Andreya wasn't fine. She was still in a lot of pain, her blood pressure wasn’t stable, and she was still at risk for seizures.

“I was so lightheaded I couldn’t stand up for two days,” she recalls. “Those two days were hard, because I couldn’t go to the NICU to visit Elijah." 

On her fifth day postpartum, Andreya could've gone home. But since Elijah still wasn't out of the woods, she moved into the NICU with him.

“It was great that Fairview Southdale allows parents to board with their babies if they’re born premature,” Andreya says. “I knew that I would be taken care of and so would my baby.”
 

Care that went above and beyond

Having toured several hospitals around the metro and knowing that family members had delivered their babies at Fairview Southdale, Andreya was happy she did, too. 

“My care team made me feel like a person, not just a number,” Andreya says. “Not only was The Birthplace a great place to stay – with nice rooms and amenities – but the staff made me feel like my experience mattered. They let me request nurses I was already comfortable with, they kept my mom super informed, and they helped me with everything my boyfriend, Joey, and I needed throughout our entire stay.”

That didn't stop when she moved into the NICU.

“All the nurses from The Birthplace would come check on Elijah and me,” Andreya says. “I also loved the NICU staff. Becky, my nurse practitioner, would always come in and tell Joey and me how Elijah was progressing, and what needed to happen in order for Elijah to go home.”

The doctors estimated that baby Elijah would have to stay until his original due date, which would mean eight weeks in the NICU. Fortunately, Elijah was strong enough to leave in half that time.

“He was 3 pounds 12 ounces at birth," Andreya says, "and 5 pounds 1 ounce when he left the hospital.” 

If you’re looking for a care team that will go above and beyond for you, book a tour of The Birthplace at Fairview.

Related Articles

October 04, 2018 Is there any exercise I should stop doing now that I’m pregnant? Our experts answer your pregnancy questions.