I was 19 years old, never drank or did drugs was an amazing student athlete
I was 19 years old, never drank or did drugs was an amazing student athlete in the best shape of my life playing collegiate volleyball when I got pregnant. Like I said I was healthy, took care of myself although young was very responsible and had good prenatal care. Throughout my pregnancy my blood pressure and health were good. I am 41 now and this was some 20 years ago but it all started a few days before my due date. I do remember the only sign of trouble early on was that via sonogram the baby was small for my gestational stage. At one point when I asked the sex they seemed to be overly concerned with the size but didn't relay there alarm well as I assumed everything was fine. I was a very intelligent, a science major but was treated by health care professionals like I was some young, irresponsible teen. A few days before my due date I had severe shoulder pain. So severe I probably didn't sleep for 72 hours before I delivered. I was crying, I was miserable it was an unbearable pain and when I called the advice nurse at Kaiser she said I had an appointment in a few days and that it was normal pregnancy discomfort. So I let it go 3 days and went to my appointment and at that time I was having some epigastric pain. When I arrived at the doctor's for my appointment they asked me if I had ran up the stairs I said no I had walked but that I had been in a lot of pain in my shoulder. A doctor came in, my blood pressure was sky high and they said if I did not have someone to drive me I needed to immediately be rushed to the hospital where I was delivering as I had sever preeclampsia. (I did have some knowledge of preeclampsia my mother in law had said she had had it and almost dies so I was terribly frightened.) They did not rush me by ambulance my mom took me. When I arrived I progressively got worse. At the time of delivery I was barely coherent. Barely coherent because I had not slept in 3 days and barely coherent because my blood pressure was through the roof. I remember being so warm, wanting to hold ice in my hands etc. I tried for over 24 hours to dilate and did not, could not. They were trying to induce labor, my water broke, baby's fetal monitor was stressed and I was getting progressively worse. They were trying to induce me vaginally because simultaneously with my blood pressure going through the roof my platelets were dropping. They thought that during a cesarean I would not have enough platelets to survive the surgery. By the time of delivery they told my parents and my husband that I had a 50/50 chance of making it.
When my daughter was delivered she was ok but as the day went on she had trouble feeding, was only 5 lbs and I went full term, and had an inability to thrive. She had to get a hematocrit exchange and we both stayed in the hospital for 8 days. Shortly after delivery I had to have a platelet transfusion (and at that time they didn't test for Hep C but luckily I did not contract.) I had to have blood drawn every 20 minutes, my arms were so raw they started drawing from my wrist and feet, that I recall being the worst of the event.
My daughter grew very slowly, was barely eating, had difficulty feeding and holding down her food, I was sleep deprived for about 4 years. Early in the first few months of her life I was told to wake her up every 3 hours but it took me about 1.5 to feed her. I was exhausted and overwhelmed. She was hospitalized twice before the first 3 months with RSV virus, had ear infections every month etc. Developmentally she walked and spoke at appropriate times but aside from this....another matter altogether when she was 11 she was diagnosed as being a carrier of fragile X that exhibits symptoms which my husband also is a carrier for. Whether it be the fragile X or the pregnancy complications she has struggled academically, and socially her whole life. I've put her in every therapy known to mankind, OT, special reading and math programs, etc. She was able to pass the high school exit exam but has struggled socially and with her young adult choices her whole life and is now 21.
Seven years later when I was 28ish I had my son, whom did not have fragile x. I had pregnancy complications again at about 6 months which I initially attributed to the preeclampsia returning as I had severe hepatic pain, it turned out though that I was at the beginning of gallbladder disease. My blood pressure was ok during pregnancy the hepatic pain persisted, and a week after my C-section delivery, as I was still not capable of delivering I had my gallbladder out. My son initially had a good birth score but had a large birth mark and that covered his groin to his big toe sometimes called a port wine stain but because his also accompanied and increase in size and circumference of the leg he has a mild case of Klippel Trennany Syndrome. He is a straight A student and amazing athlete.
The effects of Preeclampsia/HELLP Syndrome and a daughter with learning differences greatly affected my life and marriage. I was consumed with my daughter, neglected my marriage and barely functioned the first 4 years with lack of sleep. My husband became uninterested in my marriage and daughter although we remained married for 20 yrs. I am recently divorced and recently in a new relationship and at 41yrs of age I am pregnant with my third child. I am about 5 months pregnant right now. All genetic testing has come back normal. I'm very nervous, and very stressed about whether or not I will have complications. Medical staff seems very casual about my high risk, I'm not being seen more regularly than anyone else. It does seem that they know a lot more about Preeclampsia 20 yrs later and that had I called with the shoulder pain someone would have known what I was talking about. I literally pray and worry every day that I will not have complications like I did in my first 2 pregnancies.