Ashley Simon's Story
In November of 1993, at seven months pregnant, I was put on bed rest by Dr. Claire M. Weitz because I was a lifelong diabetic and I had high blood pressure which developed during pregnancy. I was being evaluated two times a week with non-stress tests and sonograms. On one of my visits, my blood pressure had spiked to numbers I didn't know existed for blood pressure. Dr. Weitz was called to the ultrasound department and she admitted me immediately.
Dr. Weitz told me to call my husband at work as soon as possible because she needed to deliver my baby quickly. Before I knew it, I was being whisked to the operating room. I remember my son being born and then whisked away to the NICU. This was on December 9th. The worst part was over, or so I thought. In the hours that followed, I was placed on magnesium sulfate and the blood pressure monitor was going off every few minutes. I knew I was very sick, but being a fighter, I didn't know just how bad it was. Dr. Carol Ritter was the doctor on-call for Dr. Weitz.
Over the next 4 days, I had two nurses with me around the clock. My condition went from bad to worse. I remember being horribly thirsty and pleading for water. At one point, I could taste blood in the back of my throat. My nurses, bless their hearts, were trying to keep me as comfortable as possible without causing me to panic. I was in HELP syndrome. I remember my immediate family – my husband, mom, dad and in-laws – were all present. The lab came in to draw blood. They couldn't find a vein. They tried and tried and tried. They finally got the blood they needed. When they left the room, I asked one of my nurses if I was dying. She said “no” and left the room. I knew she was crying in the hallway.
That night they packed my nose to keep me from bleeding to death through it. I had medicine to help me sleep, but instead, I was hallucinating. It was the worst night of my life. At some point, I realized I was coming back to life. I hadn't died, but I felt like I had that night. I remember an older nurse, Grace, coming in, getting me out of bed, cleaning me up and asking me if I wanted to see my baby boy. My nose was still packed and I was very weak, but that was the best moment of my life! On the fifth day, I was released, but my son who was eight weeks early, had to stay in the NICU. I remember he was the largest baby in the NICU at five pounds and eight ounces. I was told he would be there until late January, but three days after Christmas, he came home!
The doctors and nurses that weekend saved my life! Their care was above and beyond anything I ever expected. The doctors and nurses in the NICU were amazing, and the love and kindness we received was above and beyond any medical school teachings. I can’t thank them enough!
My oldest son, Alex, is now 21 years old and 6 feet tall! Though she tried to talk me out of it, Dr. Weitz, reluctantly agreed six years later to take me through pregnancy number two. With her motherly, bossy attitude, I happily and easily delivered my second son in May of 2000. He is now 15 years old and five feet, eight inches tall!