It was this very song I was singing in the ICU after the birth of my son. Wait a second. I’m in the ICU? What does he look like? It’s a boy, right? Why do people keep saying HELP? Is that my mom and why is she crying?Let me tell you the events leading up to it.
August 25, 2006. Another holy shit kinda day.
The day before I had my weekly appointment (I was 36 weeks) with my physician who also happened to be a family friend. She looked at my blood pressure and said, “Paulson, I don’t like this. Please go get your blood drawn”.
I agreed to, but walked into the lab and about had a heart attack. It was jammed packed with screaming children! If she thought my blood pressure was high before she should wait until I sat there for an hour. At the time I was working for a home health agency. I opted to go back to work and have one of the nurses I worked with draw my blood and then drop it off myself. There were very few perks being in that field, but that was one of them, and I was going to take full advantage.
That evening I just could not get comfortable. I tried sleeping in my bed, the guest bed, the couch, the floor, the bath tub, etc… At about 1 a.m. I started to get shortness to breath. It kind of seemed like I was in labor, but I wasn’t having any contractions. My husband called my bonus mom (notice a pattern) and said, “Lori’s having a difficult time breathing. Should we go to the hospital?”.
My bonus mom replied, “Breathing is important. Go to the hospital”.
After sitting in the ER for what felt like longer than I should have, my blood pressure had increased by the time my friend and doctor got there. She asked the staff where my current blood work was and panic came over their eyes. Where was is? It had been drawn earlier. Because they couldn’t find it, my blood work was done again. and this time stat.
While we waited for my labs, my doctor sat with me and very calmly talked about all of the potential outcomes. She also decided to move me up to the labor and delivery department . About the time I got up to L&D, she got my labs. Her demeanor went from very calm to VERY matter of fact. She said, “You just bought yourself a C-section my friend”.
There was no messing about. All systems were go, go, go. My husband got changed into scrubs and I got prepped and sent straight to the operating room. I thought the OR team looked very serious. The anesthesiologist came in and said, “Hi Lori. Do you know your risks?” I nodded my head. He said “Great. Sit up for your epidural”. I grabbed an OR nurse and asked her hold my hand. She did, and then I laid back and watched the room scurry about. My doctor walked in and said she would see me on the other side.
We didn’t know the gender of the baby because I feel like it’s one of life’s last true surprises. I joked with my anesthesiologist that we had a girl name picked out but not one for a boy. He told me he had four boys at home I could borrow one if I needed to.
At about that time, out of the corner of my left eye, I saw a tiny little baby being weighed–my baby. A nurse brought him up to me said, told me he was a boy and I was able to kiss him. But right then, I could hear some commotion on my right side. I asked my anesthesiologist what was going on. “You don’t need to know Lori”, he replied, while I watched him push meds through my IV.
I was out cold.
I vaguely remember the recovery room, then my room. Then I heard was being transferred to the ICU. I was confused, but I could still wiggle my toes and I wasn’t intubated. What the hell was going on? I was on a drug that someone explained it makes one feel hot, heavy and sticky. That was a very accurate description. I could hear people around me, talking about me but it was difficult to respond.
One night I dreamed I was in a video game running from a bad guy. I ran up a narrow tunnel, got to the top, looked down at him and told him, “I beat you!” It was in the middle of the night when I woke up and told my nurse that I had in fact beaten “him.” He said, “Well, okay then, should we take a bath?” I agreed.
What I discovered is that I had just experienced HELLP syndrome. Here is a link about the details ofwhat HELLP syndrome is. Even if you don’t click on it, I can sum it up for you in one sentence. It’s scary shit.
Even though it was a scary time, there are still many funny stories about that weekend. Naming my son is the one that stands out. Every time I would wake up, faces of my family would appear and start to ask, “What’s the baby’s name?”
At one point, I looked at my husband and said, “I don’t care honey. You pick”.
He looked at my mom, mother in law and bonus mom and firmly said, “There is no way in hell, I am naming that kid without her. You are going to have to wait.”
On day three I got transferred back to my room and there my little tiny baby was. He was 21 inches long, 5 lb. 3 oz. and his name was Jeremiah Cole. There was not a dry eye in the room or on the floor when the two of us finally connected.
But back to my poor friend and doctor. By the end of the ordeal she looked like she had been hit by a truck. To this very day poor honey still has PTSD. Someone told me that if one said my name her eyes would well up with tears. So having MLOs in my corner goes back eight years. She was the original. So she will be known as Original Medical Loved One (OMLO).
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say I almost died. But you see my friends, I had MLOs by my side.
I wasn’t ready back then for HELLP syndrome, and I’m not ready now for cancer. But I still have all my MLOs by my side, and that isn’t too shabby, right?