I began to show symptoms during the seventh month of my first pregnancy. I swelled
I began to show symptoms during the seventh month of my first pregnancy. I swelled up; my face was puffy, I had to wear my wedding ring on a necklace and I could only wear sandals. I knew my OB was concerned, but I don't think I knew why. This continued until my ninth month when my blood pressure starting edging up. During my 40 week checkup my blood pressure was higher and I had protein in my urine. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia; my OB scheduled me to be induced, but I went into labor before they had a chance.
My son arrived healthy and perfect at 7lbs. My preeclampsia developed into HELLP syndrome and I spent 5 days in the hospital until my blood count and liver enzymes went back to normal. It took 2 weeks for my blood pressure to go back to normal. Several times the OB told me I was much sicker than I looked, but I don't think I understood just how sick I was. The OB had explained to me that I had a very serious form of preeclampsia, but I was woozy from Magnesium, and I didn't understand what HELLP syndrome was, or remember what he had called it until after I had my second child.
We decided to try again a few years later, but I was very worried about having preeclampsia again. It was traumatic for both me and and my husband. My PCP told me not to worry, I wasn't likely to have it again. At about seven months I swelled up, and I knew it was happening again. At 32 weeks I developed a terrible pain under my ribs, but then it went away. A couple of days later I had and OB appointment. My blood pressure was high and I had protein in my urine. It was official; I had preeclampsia again. They took blood and told me to take it easy, though my doctor didn't put me on bed rest. Two days later the pain was back, and this time it didn't go away so we went to the ER. I spent the night in the hospital on pain medication and they were very close to taking out my gallbladder when the results of the blood tests from my doctor visit and my ER visit arrived within minutes of each other. They realized I had HELLP syndrome and within an hour I was in an ambulance heading to a hospital with a NICU. They said I had to be induced right away. Even then, I don't think they realized the epigastric pain was caused by the HELLP syndrome.
My daughter was born at 33 weeks weighing 4lbs 1 oz. She was amazing healthy and was able to come home after 2 weeks in the NICU. I stayed for 5 days until my blood count and liver enzymes were back to normal. Leaving the hospital without my baby was heartbreaking.
My children are 7 and 10 now, and doing great, but I still feel haunted by my experience with preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. My husband and I decided to not have any more children; we were too scared to go through that again. Since having my second child, I have read everything I can about preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. I worry about related health problems years down the road for me, and I'm scared my daughter will go through it herself someday. As I read the newest research I pray that someday they will understand what causes preeclampsia and find a cure.