How it happened

At my 20 week ultrasound, Baby “B” (Lina) was much smaller than Baby “A” (Cole).  He was 14 oz, she was about 8 oz.  My OB told me that for my next ultrasound (at 24 weeks) I should make an appt with the perinatologist at the hospital.  We were a little concerned, but there didn’t seem to be anything too urgent (she wasn’t rushing me to the hospital, just suggested it for my next routine ultrasound).

 At 24 weeks (Sept 18), “A” was about 1.5 lbs, “B” was about 1 lb.  The peri said that “B” was about 13th percentile, which was not technically IUGR (intra-uterine growth restriction – IUGR is for <10th %ile) but the “dischordance” in their sizes was somewhat concerning.  She wanted me to rest as much as possible and work from home at least 3 days/week. I’d also be monitored much closer going forward.

 The next day I had my routine 24 week OB appt.  My BP was 140-150/100.  My ankles were extremely swollen (they had been for awhile) and I had gained 10 lbs in the last 4 weeks.  My OB was very concerned and ordered a bunch of bloodwork and said no more work (or work from home 5 days).  I was freaked out.  I told my boss I was taking the rest of the week off, and would start working from home the next week. He was totally fine with that.  I basically laid in the la-z-boy all day. 

 I went back to my OB the next week (Oct 25) for a follow-up and my BP was much better (~138/74).  The swelling was down, and I’d lost all 10 lbs.  My bloodwork came back fine.  There was a little protein in my urine, but not even enough to be concerned about. So I figured I was on the right track. I kept up what I was doing.

On Oct 2, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling nauseous.  My upper belly also hurt – pressure up against the diaphragm. I was a little concerned, but I kind of thought it was gas.  I had felt the same way the day before, but it went away when I ate some lunch.  I’d also been feeling it a week ago, but again – it went away by mid-afternoon.  In any case, I had another ultrasound with the peri that day, so I figured I’d just mention it to her.  The babies had both grown proportionally (“A” was about 2lbs, “B” was about 1 lb 3 oz).  She was still so much smaller, but at least they’d both grown.  My BP was OK.  When I mentioned the nausea and pain though…Dr Bond kind of raised her eyebrows and said “I think I’d like to order some bloodwork, and we’ll do bloodwork every week from now on”.  So I left her office and lingered by the nursery, looking at the babies.  I went down for the bloodwork and went home.  I don’t think I was home for more than 15 minutes when she called me and said I had to come back to the hospital.

When I got there, the OB on call from my practice met me and told me that my liver enzymes were elevated and my platelets were down.  This indicated a severe form of pre-eclampsia called HELLP Syndrome.   They would have to give me steroids to mature the babies’ lungs and deliver them in 48 hours, once the steroids had a chance to work.  They would transfer me to Columbia University Hospital in the city, because that was the best place for the babies.  Greenwich Hospital wouldn’t be able to handle babies that small.

I think I was in shock.  I was only at 26 weeks and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  I think I wanted to believe that they would be able to monitor me, keep me in bed, and keep me pregnant for a little longer.  But when I got down to Columbia they basically explained the same thing.  They said that even with ‘regular’ pre-eclampsia, they could sometimes do that. But HELLP Syndrome was so serious, and so quickly progressing, that they couldn’t do it.  The doctors explained that some docs actually don’t even think it’s responsible to wait the 48 hours, but with my bloodwork they thought that the risk wasn’t so great and the benefit of the steroids to the babies would be worth it.

The next 2 days (day and a half, actually) were surreal.  I was quite uncomfortable,  and hardly slept.  My mood was OK though. I don’t think I actually believed what was happening.  It felt like it was happening to someone else.  On Thursday morning, they said they expected to deliver the babies that evening around 5pm (48 hours after my first dose of steroids).  But then…they listened to my lungs, and could hear fluid building up.  They decided to pull it forward, and they scheduled the c-section for around 11:30 to give Esref a chance to get there.

And so that’s how it happened. 

Cole, Day 2Cole Kaya Cezzar was born on Thursday, October 4th at 12:04 pm, at 2lbs 3oz (1015 grams).  This is him, the next day. I hadn’t seen him yet, but Esref went and took the picture. He’s blue, because he was under the bili-lights for the first week.



lina-day1.jpgLina Belen Cezzar was born at 12:05 pm, at 1lb 2oz (519 grams).  Here she is a couple hours after she was born. They brought her to me in my room for a few minutes before they took her down to the NICU.




1 Response to “How it happened”

  1. 1 Jen @ amazingtrips January 14, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Patrice, all day you’ve been in my thoughts. I came back this afternoon to read through your archives so I could better understand what happened. Once I saw “HELLP Syndrome” my heart sank. I too had HELLP Syndrome. I remember being so angry with my body that I couldn’t keep our children in longer. I wasn’t dilating, I wasn’t having contractions. But the doctors went in and physically removed my premature babies from my body, because if they didn’t I would die.

    So what about me? What about THEM?

    I am full of wishes. Wishes that this hadn’t happened to you. Wishes that if it had to happen, it would have happened a month or even a week later, when your babies were a little bigger and a little stronger. But because we have no control – I am also full of prayers. I pray that although this is the coldest and darkest time in your life, you will very soon find warmth and light, peace and healing.

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About Me

I'm a grieving mom. I have one beautiful daughter, Annika, who's 3 years old now (born 12/28/04). I also had twins, Lina and Cole, on 10/04/07, born at just 26 weeks. We lost Cole after just 23 days due to complications related to his prematurity. Fiesty little Lina overcame so much and just when she was getting ready to come home with us, suddenly had a complication unrelated to her prematurity and passed away on January 11, 2008. This blog is about getting through it. More...

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