My name is Kristina Lowman, I am 32 years old and a two time preeclampsia and HELLP survivor. This is the quick brief story.
My pregnancy started out great.Â I was a healthy 24 year old, taking all my vitamins and going toÂ every doctorâ€™s appointment on time.Â I only had morning sickness one day about a month into my pregnancy, but there was a lot of stress due to the passing of my grandmother.Â I thought everything was going great.Â On May 22, 2003 I went for my routine checkup.Â When my blood pressure was taken, it was slightly high but came back down when my Dr. had me lie down on my left side.Â I did have a lot of water weight, but I just assumed it was from being on my feet and outside earlier in the day. I was told if I started to feel ill, with severe headaches and seeing spots to call him.Â I was sent home and feeling good.Â About 12 hours later I started to have a horrible headache and when nothing would help I called my dr.Â He was with another patient at the hospital so he had me go there to be put on the monitor.Â He believed I would be sent home in a few hours. When I arrived at the hospital my headache had gotten worse.Â My blood pressure was taken.Â It was 169/119.Â The doctor was surprised how much things had changed in the last 12 hours. He decided to keep me for 24 hours but my condition worsen and only 2 hours later he told me I would be in the hospital until I delivered.Â I remember thinking I am going to be here for 3 months!!??Â Then he told me I would not make it to August, most likely not July and he hoped to get me to June.Â I was only 27 weeks pregnant and had developed preeclampsia. I was not aware of anything about this until my doctor educated me.Â No one in my family has ever experienced this either. My mother and grandmother had healthy pregnancies.
My health and the babyâ€™s health got worse daily.Â My pressure continued to rise. I had to be kept in a dark and quite room for fear of me having a stroke. No tv, no phone so there would be no sudden noise. Only my husband and parents were allowed to be with me.Â I have no memory after my first day in the hospital.Â I was put on magnesium, tests done daily, ultrasounds daily, monitored 24/7.Both of our lives were starting to become in danger.Â After only 4 days into my hospital stay the doctor said it was time.Â Delivery is the only cure to preeclampsia and the only chance for my baby and I to survive. An emergency c-section was ordered.
At only 27 weeks gestation, my 2 pound miracle Kailey was born. I have no memory of her birth except being in a dark room then going to a bright room for the emergency c-section. My blood pressure at one point was in the 200s.Â Kailey was born on a Tuesday and I have no memory of any events until the Friday after she was born. I was kept in the hospital for about 1 week to get me healthy.Â I was then sent home to my parentâ€™s house where someone could be with me for 24 hours a day due to my husbands work schedule. This went on for about a month due to medications and my health. I eventually recovered, but it was a long time! I am so great-full for all I was given, but to this day, it still bother's me I have no memories of her birth, and waiting to hear those words, It is a girl! (we waited for the surprise!) Nor do I remember her first week of life! She is now an active and petite 7 year old! She went though a lot her first two months and still has some affects of her prematurity which include mild cerebral palsy.
In June 2006, I was excited to find out I was pregnant with my second.Â Once again we decided to not find out the sex and wanted the surprise!! I kept my same OB/GYN since he was well aware of the past and he saved both our lives.Â He was so kind and caring whenever I might call and have a question! Around the 27 week time I was nervous with everything that went on with Kailey, but more aware of what could go on in a pregnancy! In December of 2006, I started the swelling again and some higher blood pressures.Â My doctor kept a close eye on me and took me off work to be on bedrest. Throughout December and January I had a few hospital and overnight visits and monitored, for the preeclampsia was starting again for me! I was given the steroid shot again for the baby's lungs. We were preparing for the possibility of another early delivery at anytime. On January 19th, I stopped in to see my doctor after not feeling very well. This time around I was having a lot of upper stomach pain, swelling, high blood pressure, protein in urine, headaches and blurred vision.Â I was admitted to the hospital that night and again monitored. This time I would be here until I delivered.Â My test showed the preeclampsia had worsened and now showed signs of HELLP. On Saturday evening, my doctor told me the time was near and would deliver me first thing in the morning as along all went well for the night.Â I at least got some notice this time! I was 33 weeks and scared even though I was further along.Â But I was sicker due to the HELLP.
Sunday, Jan 21, 2007 (the day the CHICAGO BEARS won the division championship!!)Â was going to be our baby's birthday.Â That morning as they were prepping me for the c-section my blood work came back not so good.Â My bleed time was way too long! (this was due to the HELLP) I was told the upsetting news that I would have to be put to sleep for the delivery of my baby.Â I once again would not remember my child's birth or hear those surprising words... "Congratulations it is a girl!" I once again had to get my health better before I could do much for my baby.Â Addison was born without any complications at a healthy 3#15oz. Thank goodness for her health since mine wasn't as good. I recovered for about a week in the hospital. I was once again on the magnesium.Â We were more aware of what we were dealing with this time around and a little more prepared, but you are never fully ready for this illness and all it affects! Addison is now a VERY active 3 year old!