I was 23 weeks pregnant, and my husband, Andrew, was in England on family business
I was 23 weeks pregnant, and my husband, Andrew, was in England on family business when I started to feel wrong. The first night he was gone I had horrible pain in my right side and was unable to lie down. I contacted my doctor and he said it sounded like I was having gall-bladder problems and wanted me to go to the hospital to be checked out.
Luckily, my neighbor was home and she drove me to the emergency room. They checked my gall bladder and to them it seemed inflamed. The doctors decided to keep me for observation and pain relief. A nurse from labor and delivery came down to check my baby's heartbeat and it was beating strong. I didn't think anything of it as I have never been ill or even in the hospital ever in my life. I assured my husband that everything was okay and that my mother was on her way to be with me. I figured I'd be home the next day. My mother arrived the night before and was allowed to stay with me in my room.
That afternoon I had gotten up to use the washroom and I noticed I was spotting. This concerned me as I hadn't spotted at all in 23 weeks. I had my mother go down the hallway to get a nurse. As I went to get back into bed, my water broke. It was at this point that my blood pressure rose to 160/110 and the doctors couldn't find a fetal heartbeat. I had ++ protein in my urine. The gall-bladder pain was actually my swollen liver. I had preeclampsia. The doctors wheeled me into ultrasound to confirm the worst. Our baby had died.
My mother was able to contact my husband in London and he was put on the next plane back. I was given magnesium sulfate and they waited as long as they could to induce labor. My husband made it back the next day to find me in labor. I was progressing slowly and was on morphine for pain relief. I couldn't see straight and had a blood pressure of 154/98. I had a low platelet count and was anemic so my doctors concluded that in addition to preeclampsia, I had HELLP Syndrome.
Ten hours later, our son, Elliot, was stillborn. He weighed 1 pound, 1 ounce and was 11 1/2 inches long. He had my nose and my husband's cheekbones. He was beautiful. Three days later I came home and my husband and I started the grieving process.
The night after I was discharged from the hospital I awoke in the middle of the night with chest pains and a strong cramp in my right calf. I was rushed back to the emergency room and it was discovered that I had developed a DVT and a Pulmonary Embolism. I was re-admitted for another 6 days of blood thinners and pain relief. It has been 4 months since we lost Elliot and we have discovered that I have Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome. The exam conducted on Elliot's placenta showed that it had massive blood clots that cut off the oxygen and blood supply to him.
In addition to miscarriage or stillbirth, this disease can cause early Preeclampsia, HELLP Syndrome and placental clotting. During my next pregnancy I will have to take baby aspirin and twice daily Heparin injections and have my blood pressure carefully monitored. My husband and I are looking forward to trying again this summer.