Update: 08/15/2002Since submitting my first story I have since had another baby and now another
Since submitting my first story I have since had another baby and now another story or addition.
I was told by my general practitioner that there was nothing to worry about with having another child. In fact she helped me get pregnant the second time. I still don't know why it was hard to get pregnant, I got pregnant the first time on the first try. Well the clomid worked and I saw an
OB/GYN who assured me my worrying was unnecessary since it would be rare to get sick again. But it was supposed to be rare to get HELLP at 23 when I was very healthy until the end of the pregnancy.
I didn't trust this advice and went to a new OB group that included a perinatologist. They were more assertive in my care but not enough to satisfy me. My health took a downturn the first pregnancy very quickly. I also never presented with the wonder sign of pre-eclampsia SWELLING. I
took my own blood pressures and dipped my own urine sticks. After being told
to be on bedrest at 26 weeks for a weekend for high BP and a slight protein dip, I was admitted to the hospital when the blood work showed an increase in uric acid. I did the 24 hour collection and the machine took my blood pressure all the time. On Sunday I was discharged to go home and take it easy. My husband and I were distraught since all weekend my blood pressures were low, which is good but fishy. Once home I took it again and it was higher than before admittance. I was admitted again 2 days later. I told the doctor about what happened and she ordered a manual check of my blood pressures, which revealed that the machine they were using was inaccurate!
What a mistake! I had to fight each shift about this, and my husband helped keep watch of this since many nurses would let the pressure out to what they expected it to be at and go past it. You could see it by the bumping in the pressure reader on the wall.
On thanksgiving I was so doped up with Magnesium sulfate and my protein was so high I was transferred to a better equipped hospital since I was only 28 weeks. I had to be diligent again in advocating my care, even through my drug induced stupor, to a nursing staff who was more familiar with early labor than pre-eclampsia or HELLP. I have to say that there were a few who knew about this disease but only a few. At this hospital I was seen by a perinatologist group not OB's who were more comfortable letting the lab levels get closer to the line. My platelets
drifted down each day and my uric acid slowly creeped up along with my pressures. It was on the day my baby was 32 weeks along that I could no longer breathe. I knew it wasn't the same pain as HELLP, I have had that. I felt amazingly full, like I ate too much thanksgiving dinner, but
painful. My back was killing me. I was given blood pressure medicine to get my pressures down. Now last time I was misdiagnosed with gall bladder pain at first and it was HELLP at a little country hospital, surely this would go better. A new peri came in to see my pain with a new nurse. I was given pain medicine and told it must be back cramping. The pain medication didn't touch the pain all night and I was seen in the morning by a peri I had seen before. I had various new peris and nurses in the preceding few days. He and a nurse I had previously noticed a 3-4 kilo weight gain in the last day and a half. I was finally swollen! I was told I probably had enough time to try a VBAC, so I agreed. After the second cervidil was inserted 12 hours later, my pain was so great in my abdomen ( still not HELLP pain) I was screaming. My pressures couldn't be controlled by medication and my baby's heart rate dropped significantly with every contraction. Still I had even thinned, I got to receive another emergency c-section. My baby was a 3.0 lb. baby girl who stayed in the hospital for a month over Christmas and New Years Eve. She had IUGR that estimated her size at 28 weeks, my placenta had so many infarcts it stopped providing. She was lucky and was with a staff that specialized in small babies. She came home on an apnea monitor at 4.0 lbs. I was again on blood pressure medicine for a while until it returned to normal. I was also in EXTREME pain from the swelling, my tissue hung over my scar, so I wore a tummy band. One day I lost over 15 lbs. of water weight!
I still feel I don't know enough. I am so surprised how differnet the disease can show up, fast and furious in my HELLP case, slower and relentless in my second. I owe our lives to the effective parties in the medical team. I wish it didn't have to get that far, but I can only
imagine how far it could have gone had I not been my best ADVOCATE! Learn and prepare then teach and check your charts to be sure you have been listened to!
I have an appointment with the peri who delivered Ellie, who is behind, but healthy. I want to discuss my options, if any, since I always dreamed of a big family. I am also starting the adoption procedure. But most importantly, if it is hereditary I want to be able to share this
information with my daughter.
Read The First Part of Holly's Story