Fifteen years ago...
Posted On Tuesday, May 03, 2011 by Jenny
I think my story is a little out of date, after looking at some other women's stories here, but I hope it will help!
I was 23 when I had my son, my only child, and had a difficult pregnancy symptomatically, although without any true complications - severe vomiting and nausea in the first trimester, migraines in the second (I had them prior to pregnancy as well but they worsened for a time in mid-pregnancy, the worst I'd ever had), and then various small issues toward the end.Â I dilated to 2 cm very suddenly 3 weeks before the due date and then stopped, having nothing but severe, unproductive, Braxton-Hicks contractions for the next 5 weeks.Â Finally, a few days short of the 42 week mark, the clinic I was going to noted my blood pressure and protein had been steadily rising and told me my labor would have to be induced right away, which they would have done in a week anyhow if I hadn't naturally gone into labor as I was so overdue.Â I had heard of pre-eclampsia but other than having been a little dizzy now and again and once or twice having developed red palms and a VERY puffy face due to water retention, I didn't feel particularly ill, just very, uncomfortably and hugely pregnant.Â I don't think, at the time, I realized the seriousness of the situation.Â I had been walking around at Walmart the evening before and felt dizzy, then took my blood pressure at a machine and it said it was 155/85 or so, but my friend said "well sometimes these machines are sort of off".
The clinic was just across the street from the hospital - I went to the hospital and was whisked upstairs in a wheelchair, feeling rather silly because I felt fine and perfectly capable of walking. They hooked me up to about 10 machines, for blood pressure and monitoring, magnesium sulfate, heart monitor, the whole bit.Â By now my blood pressure was going up into the 160s.Â (Pre-pregnancy and in early pregnancy it had never gone above 115/75 or so!)Â After several hours when they gave me an epidural it went down slightly.Â My son, Aaron, was born in the wee hours of the morning without any need for a C-section and was a whopping 9 lbs 3 oz, only with very mild distress, white hands and feet and a little cold, so he rested in the incubator for a bit.Â I was not as well off.Â I think I lost consciousness, or close to it, right after he was born - I seem to recall the room going dark, then coming out of it, and later, after they took him to the nursery they drew my blood for some reason and I nearly lost consciousness again.
I spent 2 or 3 days in the high risk maternity ward on the magnesium drip before my blood pressure came down and was ordered onto 6 weeks bed rest, told not to pick up anything heavier than the baby or to work for that time.Â It felt like it took me a full year to get my energy level back to anything resembling normal.Â Everything I'd been told was normal for post pregnancy recovery didn't seem to fit.
Several years later, after continuing problems, I was diagnosed with PCOS, and I seem to have some symptoms of autoimmune and/or thyroid issues as well, although the symptoms of all of them are rather strange and variable.Â The migraines came back and worsened considerably until I had to go on a daily medication to prevent them.
I was poor at the time I was pregnant and went to a big inner city clinic.Â I think the pre-eclampsia may have been present a while before it was caught due to their being overburdened with patients and perhaps not catching it early on, thus lending to the severity of it.Â Or maybe it just wasn't as well understood 15 years ago.Â I'm very interested in the research being done now and any light it may shed on the health problems I am now experiencing, which I'm starting to see how they could be related.