I was in perfect health. May 21, 1984 was my due date. I didn't make
I was in perfect health. May 21, 1984 was my due date. I didn't make it that long - by April 5 I could no longer work. I was very ill and exhausted and I didn't know why. Two weeks before I delivered, my doctor forgot to take my blood pressure. I had some swelling around my ankles and was gaining a lot of weight. I told the nurse practitioner and she didn't do anything. My doctor told me to cut down on my eating.
I was 29 years old and this was my first baby. By the following week I had severe nausea. I was so sick I thought I had the flu. My doctor prescribed suppositories to help me though this. They didn't help. One day I was so severely ill I had to ask my husband to stay home with me. I didn't know what was wrong but I knew I was very sick. I had severe abdominal pain. My doctor prescribed something for an ulcer. It did nothing to cover the pain. I drank the whole bottle. I asked my doctor if I could take Tylenol for the pain. When he said ok I started taking up to 8 in a 24-hour period to cover the pain. I had some generic Tylenol but discovered the true Tylenol took effect faster, within 16 minutes. So I would take 2 and be in severe abdominal pain for 20 minutes have 2-3 pain-free hours and then the pain would resume with a vengeance.
By April 17 I was in sad shape. I had taken Tylenol for almost a week and I felt terrible. I was up to 10 Tylenol in a 24-hour period. I could not sleep because of the abdominal pain. I tried to soak in the tub to help it. It didn't work. I called my Dr. on April 18t at night and told him the abdominal pain was sharp, and he said to come in to the emergency room. By that time I had swelled up to a balloon. I was too sick to eat. I told my husband I was better off in the hospital so he could go to work. I spent a sleepless night while they pumped liquids into me. My kidneys had stopped working. I didn't know this at the time. They asked me how I felt the next morning and I said a little better. They tried to get me to eat. I could not. They were giving me shots for the pain as well as an IV. It was hell on earth.
The next morning my doctor was going to test me for an ulcer, but then all at once they decided I had preeclampsia. They called my husband to come back from work at noon. They were going to induce me into labor 5 weeks early. This was April 19, 1984. Just before they hooked me up to induce me, they decided my blood was clotting in my veins. They decided a C-section was necessary.
The doctors all went to lunch and then at 1:00 p.m. they started in on me. They couldn't get the IV into my arm as I was so swollen. They just kept stabbing me until they gave up and put me to sleep. My tiny baby was born the next half hour. My blood pressure went through the roof in surgery.
When I woke up I felt someone had hit me over the head with a sledgehammer. My ears were ringing from the high blood pressure. I was so weak I couldn't move and could only moan. The bed sheets were covered with blood. I was hemorrhaging. They glued me up with 2 units of whole blood and 10 units of platelets to stop the bleeding. I asked the nurse if I was going to die. She didn't say anything. Then I really got scared.
The platelets worked! In 4 hours I could raise myself up a little bit so they could change the bloody sheets. My skin had hemorrhaged from the high blood pressure. To this day I still have broken capillaries from the extreme blood pressure. They had to wash the blood that had seeped through off my skin. It was worse around my abdomen, breasts, and thighs. I was terrified. I spent the next 2 days in intensive care. I didn't see my baby until the 3rd day after she was born and I didn't care. She was born 4 lbs. 5 ounces and went down to 3 lbs. 14 ounces.
She is 16 years old now, almost 17. She just outscored everyone in her class on her Algebra 2 semester exam. She had a 100. Perfect. She is 12th in her overall class rank. No significant damage to her.
It was an ordeal that I decided never to repeat. We decided one child was enough. To this day I am amazed anyone can have 4 or 5 children. It seems incomprehensible to me. I am happy with what I have.
All I can say is your doctor can really make a difference in your care. I had a bad one. But on his behalf, my symptoms were very sudden and were extremely severe. He said I was his worst case in 10 years of maternity practice. I made it and I am glad. It took me a year to feel better.
I went back to work 6 weeks after delivery. No one can believe I went though such hell. No one really believes my story. Unless you have experienced preeclampsia personally, like I did, you could never know how terrible and terrifying this illness can be.