I have 4 children and have been diagnosed with preeclampsia in 3 of the 4
I have 4 children and have been diagnosed with preeclampsia in 3 of the 4 pregnancies. The first time was with my son Seth in 1995. I was induced with him at 36 weeks and was in shock. I was so scared because it was my first pregnancy it hadn't even occured to me that he would come early I had heard first pregnacies are always late. I think I must have been cluless because they were making me come in every 3 days for bp checks and non-stress tests, but I was truly shocked the Friday I went to the Dr. and he said to come back that evening to be induced. I didn't have a bag packed any baby clothes ready, anything. It was so unreal to me. I was really swollen. Some days I would see small silver paisley shapes floating in front of my eyes(I saw these toward the end with all my pregancies). The first thing that went wrong at the hospital was the nurse inserted my IV wrong, she didn't hit a vein probably because I was so swollen. Fluid went in under my skin and my arm and hand swelled up so much I couldn't move them. They had started the induction that evening, then turned it off and decided to wait until morning. I had a rough night. The nurse was really alarmed my blood pressure was so high 220/140 at one time, and they kept talking about my reflexes being brisk. She ended up calling the Dr. in the middle of the night and he had her put the rails to my bed up and wrap them with sheets so I wouldn't fall out and bang my head from the seizures they expected me to have. I vomited alot that night too. Finally they got my labor going the next day. They broke my water and the pain really started. I freaked out. They wouldn't give me an epidural because they had to redo my bloodwork. I went from a 5 to a 10 in about an hour and a half, the longest hour and a half of my life. They finally got the epidural in for me to push and not long after Seth was born with the help of a vacum extractor. He was 6lbs80z a big size to be a month early, which he is a big boy today 190lbs at 11years old. They immediately put me in intensive care on the nasty drug which a lot of us know as mag sulfate for 24 hrs. They also had me take phenabaritol the same medicine epileptics take to prevent seizures. I threw up all night that first night and they wouldn't let me have the baby back because the said his temperature was low and I had the air so high in my room because of the mag making you hot and nauseous. I went to a regular room the next day and stayed in the hospital one more night but was in a hurry to get home. Big mistake. they released the baby with me but said to take him to a pediatrician the next day to be checked for jaundice. I had no sleep the whole time I was in the hospital or the first night home because of bad thunderstorms. We went to the pediatricians office and they took one look at me and took my blood presure and told my husband to take me back to the hospital immediately. We live in a very rural area it was about an hour drive to the hospital were I delivered so my husband just took me to the local hospital (which doesn't even deliver babies) to see what they thought. We also had a home health nurse on the way to check the babies blood for jaundice. Well it didn't take long for them to put me on an ambulance back to The Women's Hospital. I was readmitted for 3 more days with another lovely night on mag sulfate. So let that be a lesson to any of you out there don't rush to go home too soon you might end up back in the hospital. I finally went home to baby Seth on his bililights but I had to take procardia for about a month. My Dr. said this only happens in a first pregnancy and I shouldn't have any problems again boy was he wrong.
I had my second son Brooks 3 years later in 1998. We had moved so I saw different Drs. I was really surprised when at about 30 weeks my blood pressure started to creep up but luckily I had no swelling or protein this time. One Dr. I saw tried to tell me I had chronic hypertension even before I was pregnant but I knew this wasn't so. They ordered an ultrasound and said my amniotic fluid was low. they put me on aldomet, bedrest at home and nonstress tests every three days. Finally at about 35 weeks they decided to induce. In the hospital they once again found protein in my urine, so preeclampsia was diagnosed and I was told I would need mag sulfate again after delivery. The induction did not go well. I had back surgery right before I had become pregnant and they could not get the epidural in. They tried 4 times finally when they got it in right I think they gave me too much medicine because my blood pressure dropped real low and they lost the baby's heartbeat. It was so terrifying and surreal. The head Dr. came in and ordered an emergency C-section. they were rushing around like crazy people, they put the red stuff on my belly that sterilizes you as we were wheeling down the hall to the OR. One of the interns measured me right before we got in and said I was nine centimeters, if I had been ten they would have tried forceps. It all happened so fast I kept asking the nurse if my baby was allright and she would not look at me. It was the worst feeling. The anesthesiologist was arguing with the Dr. to wait before he cut me "she's not all the way numb yet" he was saying. But the Dr. wouldn't wait he probably saved my baby's life. Needless to say I was so out of it I didn't feel anything. I just had this overwhelming sensation of thirst during the whole surgery. It was like I was thirsting to death. and they had my arms tied down like jesus on the cross. The whole room gasped when Brooks was born alive and crying. a healthy 5lb and 14oz.
I was wary of getting pregnant again but I wanted a girl so bad. I had Sylvia in 2001 and though my blood pressure went up I never had any protein or had to be on any meds except phenergan in the beginning because I had such bad morning sickness and lost a lot of weight. I had a repeat C-section at 38 weeks to a strapping 7lb 15 oz girl. No problems at all except for the C-section coming open and having to be packed with gauzed for weeks to heal.
You would think with all the complications I would have called it quits there but I guess I 'm insane because I got pregnant again in 2005. It wasn't planned, in fact I was suppose to have another back surgery. I found out I was pregnant one week before the surgery was scheduled so I had to cancel. I had a major scare the beginning of my fourth preganancy they noticed I was spotting a little blood when they examined me so I was sent for a homone test to be repeated in 3 days to see if my levels were rising. I was told my levels had went down slightly, which meant either a threatened miscarriage or an etopic pregnancy. But, when they did the ultasound miracuously, everything was fine and the baby had a heartbeat. I thought the pregnancy would go okay, each one had seemed to be progressively better as far as preeclampsia was concerned. At 28 weeks my blood pressure started to rise. Imagine my horror when at 30 weeks my feet began to swell. I went to the Dr. the next week and had protein in my urine. They wanted me to go to the hospital and be checked out. They poked and prodded and stuck catheters in me for urine samples. They did a 24 hr urine and proclaimed I had preeclampsia for a third time and they were putting me in the hospital on strict bedrest until the baby was born. I was given steroid shots and was in constant fear they were going to take the baby at anytime. I was on so many different bp meds I don't remember them all but labatelol was by far the worst it made my head crawl like it had bugs in it. The plan they said was to take me to 34 weeks and then deliver. It was constant stress being in the hospital. I had three kids at home I had to scramble to get other people to watch and take to school. I tried to keep my husband with me in the hospital at all times in case they decided to deliver on a whim, plus I was scared I needed him there. The plan was to due a C-section that Monday Feb. 20th. My birthday was Sunday the 19th. Sure enough the morning of the 19th they came in and asked if I'd eaten they didn't want to wait another day my bp readings had been too high the night before. You could stick your finger in the flesh of my leg and it would leave a hole I was so bloated. Anyway baby boy Raleigh Gray Anders was born 4lbs 9oz, his apgars were 9 and 9 but they wouldn't let me hold or nurse him. He was rushed to the NICU. He had to spend a week in that place me and my husband joked about sneaking him out in our pocket. It just about broke me leaving him and coming home 4 days later I went back the next dayand wouldn't leave until he was released. I don't see how parents who have to leave their babies for weeks or months cope without losing their sanity. I had a particularly hard time convincing the nurses to let me nurse him and that I knew what I was doing. I had nursed all my other children until they were 2 years and one was a 35 weeker with a weak suck. They would try to shake my confidence, weigh him before and after he nursed, and they kept telling me to supplement him with a special infant formula that had more calories. I never did and my baby is now 6 months old and weighs over 15lbs. a chubby little breastfed baby.
The whole experience of going through the preeclamsia is so intense I don't know if I will ever get over it. Sometimes I think I am having a post traumatic stress attack from all that I went through. But I know I am lucky I have 4 healthy children. I get to hold my baby in my arms everyday and it was all worth it.