Thursday, June 16, 2016

When a Surrogate Goes to the Emergency Room

I spent last night in my local Emergency Room.

First of all, I want to start by saying that I am OK. The baby(ies) are OK. I'm going to be OK.

The visit needed to happen after I woke up in the middle of the night experiencing anaphylaxis. As someone with no known food allergies, I wasn't even sure what I was experiencing. My face was swollen, my right eye heavily hooded, and my throat was nearly swollen shut. That hangy ball in the back of your throat? It's called a uvula. Mine was so swollen that I was in a cycle of swallowing it, and then coughing it back up.

 Despite this, I could breathe fine. I woke Chris and asked him to take me to the hospital, thinking I was just being, "better safe than sorry" since I am pregnant. We would only learn latter how severe my condition was, and that the doctor on call was a heartbeat away from intubating me and admitting me to the ICU.

I share this story here, on my surrogacy blog, for a reason. In the heat of the moment I was given a choice. Intubate, or submit to IV steroids. The obvious choice is steroids, right? Here's the jab. Steroids at this phase of pregnancy have a very minute chance of causing birth defects. The chances are so, so very slim, especially off of a one time steroid administration, but they still exist and I still had to make a massive decision, on my own, at 2 am.

Friends, it was the hardest decision I've ever made as a surrogate. And I had to make it in about 15 seconds. I had to choose a potential risk to the baby, or an invasive procedure for me. We chose the steroids. Late this afternoon I heard from my IVF doctor that the amount of steroids given to me would be highly unlikely to cause any complications. He approved of my decision. I could exhale.

In the hours that have followed my release from the hospital I have gained such a huge respect for food allergy sufferers. Apparently I'm now part of the club. Armed with an Epi-Pen, I'm scheduled to undergo a full allergy panel in the next two weeks to try and learn what villain did this to me.

Many people often say, "If a surrogate is on life support, who makes those calls? Whose life comes first?" This is a complex question that isn't easily answered in one word. But, if the support and approval I have received from Growing Generations, my intended parents, and a battery of doctors today is any indication, the well being of the surrogate matters greatly.

I feel lucky to live close to a hospital. To have amazing friends who helped us in the middle of the night, a husband who took me seriously when I said, "I think we need to go to the hospital", and a surrogacy community of doctors, case workers, surro sisters, and intended parents who supported my split second decision.

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