Posted in Volunteer Happenings on February 03, 2011 by Website
A new Community Forum section called "Writing Heals" encourages survivors to share original poems, songs, short stories and quotes dedicated to their unique experiences. The goal of the forum is to provide a space to promote healing through shared expression. On a quarterly basis, we will feature a piece in our newsletter along with a brief interview with the author.
Writing has been proven to yield measurable improvements in psychological and physical health. When we write, we must slow down our thought processes and organize our thoughts. This process promotes self-awareness and understanding. As we write about a stressful event or trauma like a preeclamptic pregnancy, it helps us understand the event as well as how and why we may have felt certain emotions, an important part of the grief journey. Survivors have reported feeling relieved and beginning to heal through writing. If you already have a ...
Who can stay "heart healthy" when they're trapped inside looking at a blanket of snow? Hey, unplug the snow blower and get out your shovel... or better yet, grab a sled and revel in it! In all seriousness, we wish our friends across the preeclampsia universe warm cups of hot cocoa. And for those in the warmer climes, yours truly included, there will be no boasting about too much sunshine!
Thanks to St. Valentine's Day, February has been embued with images of hearts and emotions. The women's heart movement has adopted the month and we would be wise to pay heed to those healthy heart messages. After all, preeclampsia survivors - particularly repeat offenders - have double the risk of developing heart disease in the next 5 to 15 years of our lives. If your physician hasn't asked you about your pregnancy history, make sure you let her or him know all about your pregnancies - the good, the bad and the ugly. It ...
Posted in Preeclampsia Information on February 01, 2011 by Website
February Volunteer Profile
Kim Timer, Volunteer Beat Editor
What was your experience with preeclampsia?
I had a normal, routine pregnancy with my son, who was due March 28, 2007, up until week 31. At that time, I had gone to my normal doctor’s appointment and they told me I had gained over 10 pounds in a week and told me my blood pressure was elevated, but after stabilizing my blood pressure at the hospital, I was sent home. The night of February 4, 2007, I was experiencing what I thought to be gas pains but I was able to get to sleep. The morning of February 5, 2007, I woke up bleeding and my husband rushed me to the hospital. My son, Liam, was born at 32 weeks and taken to the NICU. Between the abruption and the preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome I would later discover I ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on January 31, 2011 by Website
Preeclampsia survivors make a difference every day. For some, that difference is finishing a marathon; for others, it's an opportunity to use special talents to develop a new awareness project.
Our new Southwest Regional Coordinator Nicole Purnell has volunteered for many years to raise awareness and funds as a tribute to her son who did not survive a severe case of preeclampsia. These efforts have grown into a Meet-and-Greet event on February 26 in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, which will offer a point-of-entry for organizing Foundation supporters to brainstorm on future local events. For more information on this gathering, please contact Nicole directly.
For the Warner family, it was the loss of their 25 year old daughter Shelly to postpartum HELLP syndrome that inspires their annual work. They are passionate supporters who, along with their extended family and friends, host an annual Taco-and-Trivia Night in Iowa to be held on February 26, with all proceeds ...
Lauren Larsen thought she had a wonderful life: loving marriage, good friends, successful career and her first child on the way. Shortly after entering the ninth month of her pregnancy, Lauren's life took a perilous turn due to the rapid onset of preeclampsia. After more than a month in intensive care and years of recovery work ahead of her, Lauren emerged from her trials with the desire to build a life full of purpose and meaning. Zuzu's Petals: A True Story of Second Chances is Lauren's real-life memoir of her personal battle with preeclampsia and her drive to make her "second chance at life" count for more than the average person.
2010 Saving Grace co-chair Autumn Spear described Zuzu's Petals as one of the best books she has ever read. "Obviously I have a personal connection to the book having shared severe preeclampsia, ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on January 11, 2011 by Website
Being up at 4 in the morning is no easy feat. But running 13.1 miles at 4 am? Anyone who has ever run a half or full marathon will tell you straight away that they are completely insane.
Like many preeclampsia survivors, member Laura Dale's harrowing experience with preeclampsia left her with the desire to make a change, to reaffirm her presence in the universe. Laura and her husband, Will, made the decision to run the annual Walt Disney World half-marathon. During the long process of training, she heard the story of Joan Donnelly, a loving wife and mother of three from Orlando, Fla., who lost her life to post-partum eclampsia late last year. Touched by the overwhelming, devastating sense of loss felt by her family and friends, Laura decided to run in Joan's honor.
Laura finished the half-marathon in 3 hours, 20 minutes and 43 ...
Posted in Health Information on January 02, 2011 by Website
Though the 2009-2010 flu season has come and gone, worries about the upcoming flu season and its potential effect on pregnant women have not abated. With the support of educational campaigns through the Center for Disease Control, the general population was made aware of the potentially fatal H1N1 virus and identifying increased risk of serious complications. The disease had a particularly devastating effect on pregnant women. As of April 2010, 28 out of 700 reported cases in pregnant women resulted in a fatality, meaning one death out of every 25 women with H1N1. Because of this alarming mortality rate and to prevent further adverse outcomes, the medical world strove to increase the reach of patient education and awareness campaigns.
In October 2009, the Preeclampsia Foundation prepared a study to measure the effectiveness of these educational campaigns, as well ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on January 02, 2011 by Website
Volunteer Profile- January 2011
Nicole Purnell, Southwest Regional Coordinator
What was your experience with preeclampsia?
My pregnancy seemed rather normal and uneventful to me until I reached 33 weeks. My blood pressure had been creeping upward, but I wasn't concerned about it. I had a terrible cold and was taking meds that raised my blood pressure even further and that was when I was put on bedrest. At 34+5 weeks, I woke up in the middle of the night not feeling right. My husband took me to L&D just to be safe. Or so we thought. Once we got there and were checked in, the nurses started hooking me up to all the monitors. The monitors were silent and they were not able to find a heartbeat. When the epidural was place, I crashed. I remember my OB slapping me on the ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on December 12, 2010 by Website
Volunteer Profile - December 2010
Becky Sloan, National Promise Walk for Preeclampsia Director
What was your experience with preeclampsia?
I began experiencing face and body swelling and headaches at 22 weeks. These symptoms, along with extreme weight gain, bouts of high blood pressure, and lower fetal movement, continued until 31 weeks. My doctor was never concerned with my symptoms and told me that ‘if I didn’t stop gaining weight, I would gain 70 lbs. before the pregnancy was over.’ I didn’t make it out of the office before I burst into tears. I felt awful, like no one cared, and I still had no idea what preeclampsia was because the signs and symptoms were never mentioned to me. I was never diagnosed with anything more than ‘being a first time worried mom,’ and at 31 weeks, 6 days I went into code blue eclamptic seizures. I actually had a doctor’s appointment earlier in the ...
The end of the year always brings with it the joys and blessings (and sometimes challenges) of the holiday season, the nostalgia of closing out another year, and the enthusiasm of looking forward to a new year of anticipated goals. For the Preeclampsia Foundation, as we close out 2010, we close the door on our first decade as THE patient advocacy organization fighting to end the devastating impact of preeclampsia. It has been a very full ten years, beginning with the tumultuous first steps of any start-up organization and moving into the more recent years of growth and success. Last month, we published “Preeclampsia: A Decade of Perspective | Building a Global Call to Action”. This 40-page publication captured our milestones as we celebrated our 10th anniversary, reported on the state of preeclampsia, and suggested a call-to-action for ...
At the recent Saving Grace – A Night of Hope event in Seattle, Washington, many individuals graciously purchased auction items or made personal donations. Many guests also provided us with their employer’s Matching Donor Forms. It is impressive that some of our donors had already researched their employers’ policies and had discovered this golden opportunity – the Employer Matching Gift Program.
An Employer Matching Gift Program is one where an employer matches an employee’s charitable donation, usually dollar for dollar. Some companies call this a Cash Grants Program or a Matching Grants Program. These Gift Programs can quickly multiply the impact of one employee’s donation, often quite substantially. In some cases an employer may even match up to 2 or 3 times that of the employee’s donation. But even a 1:1 match is incredibly impacting. Along with matching monetary donations, some employers even have programs wherein the company will ...
Posted in Heard on the Hill on December 07, 2010 by Website
• Children’s Act of 2010 (S. 3968) – Status: Introduced. Sponsor(s): Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT). Establishes a National Council on Children, with the purpose of improving preventive services and enhancing the well-being of young people. Reducing infant mortality and the number of babies born at a low birth weight as an objective.
Sens. Alexander, Dodd Mark National Prematurity Awareness Day
• On November 17, National Prematurity Awareness Day, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) spoke on the Senate floor to mark the occasion. Sen. Dodd also urged colleagues to cosponsor the “Prematurity Research ...
As 2010 wraps up, many people will decide how they will make a final contribution to their favorite nonprofit organizations before the calendar year ends. Giving can provide hope and bring peace during an often otherwise hectic season. There are a number of ways to give – and not all of them financial. The gift of your time is valuable and appreciated.
You can take the time to give to the Preeclampsia Foundation the gift of a review. GreatNonprofits has partnered with GuideStar, the leading source of nonprofit information, to launch the “Donate A Review Campaign.” Guidestar serves a wide audience including grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.
Whether you're a volunteer, donor, Board member, survivor or family member you can share how your life has been impacted by the Foundation. By taking a few minutes to tell your story, you can help raise awareness and reach new donors and supporters. A review does not need to be ...
When Jaime Nolan lost her premature baby, Grace Ann, she was determined not to let the meaning of her life end there.
Born at 27 weeks after Jaime’s sudden onset of severe preeclampsia, Grace only survived eight days while her mother fought for her life in the intensive care unit. When Grace went into cardiac arrest, Joe Nolan watched the doctor standing over his daughter’s incubator, performing chest compressions with his thumb.
Jaime discovered the Preeclampsia Foundation online and found a network of support that helped her work through her grief. Determined to take action and help prevent others from enduring such a painful loss, she found out the Foundation needed to develop an annual fundraiser.
Jaime gathered a local group of volunteers and chaired what she thought would be a one-time gala in Minneapolis. At the same time ...
Posted in Heard on the Hill on November 22, 2010 by Website
Heard on the Hill – 111th Congress, Second Session
Congressional Briefing to Mark Prematurity Awareness Month
On November 30, the Women’s Health Task Force of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, in conjunction with other women’s health organizations, will co-host a Capitol Hill briefing. The panel of speakers will discuss risk factors for preterm birth, as well as the findings of the annual March of Dimes 50-state survey on prematurity.
In the News
Op-Ed Calls for Increased Focus on Maternal Health
Annie Murphy Paul, the author of Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, states in a Washington Post op-ed piece that there has been inadequate attention paid to maternal health ...
Posted in Research on November 18, 2010 by Website
Several major disorders that occur during pregnancy result from failure of the placenta to implant correctly into the uterus or womb. During early pregnancy cells from the placenta, known as trophoblast cells, invade into the uterus and tap into the mother’s blood supply to sustain the growing baby. Failure of this process can lead to insufficient supply of blood to the placenta resulting in preeclampsia, as well as low birth weight babies, stillbirth or recurrent miscarriage.
The invading placental trophoblast cells intermingle with maternal immune cells in the uterine lining. Trophoblast express not only maternal but also paternal genes and these will be different or “foreign” to the mother. Maternal immune cells can recognize these “foreign” fetal molecules and are thought to regulate the implantation process, allowing sufficient but not excessive invasion of the placenta. In the preeclamptic pregnancy this interactive process goes wrong and there is ...
Posted in Heard on the Hill on November 09, 2010 by Website
Members of Congress will return the third week of November for an abbreviated lame duck session - a post-election legislative session during which members convene to wrap up unfinished business before the end of the calendar year. The agenda will be focused on items necessary for consideration before Congress officially adjourns, including federal government spending allocations (federal appropriations) for all government agencies, departments and programs – including the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – two agencies of importance to preeclampsia research and prevention efforts. The start of the new Congressional session will also bring a number of changes that may potentially impact preeclampsia-related government policy:
Women in the 112th (2011-2012) Congress
There are 76 female legislators serving in the House of Representatives in the current Congress. ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on November 04, 2010 by Website
Volunteer Profile: Amanda Meier, Baby Fair Coordinator
What was your experience with preeclampsia?
I was having a normal first pregnancy when I started feeling pressure on my upper right side at around 28 weeks. It wasn't very painful at the time and would come and go. I thought it was related to all the over-eating I was doing! At some point in my 30th week, the pressure became a daily occurrence. I asked my midwife about it and she felt it was likely heartburn. I had never had heartburn in my life, so I had no point of reference. My blood pressure at the time was 138/80 and there were trace amounts of protein in my urine dip. Two days later, the pressure turned to pain and I was unable to eat or drink anything. I was admitted to Labor and Delivery with questionable labs results. The next day, a diagnosis of HELLP Syndrome was confirmed and I was transferred by helicopter to a hospital with a neonatal intensive ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on November 02, 2010 by Website
This time of year brings so many warm memories of Autumn's past, but one Fall season in particular brings bitter-sweet memories.
This time three years ago, I was nearing the middle of my third trimester and settling into our new home. I noticed some severe swelling and was experiencing daily headaches. I brought it to the attention of my doctors however they dismissed it as regular pregnancy symptoms.
The day after Halloween I went to my 35 week OB appointment. Everything seemed to be a whirl-wind from the moment I stepped into his office until I was rushed to the OB Triage area of the hospital with complications due to preeclampsia. I was surrounded by a team of eight doctors as they informed me that they needed to get my baby out or both our lives would be in jeopardy.
Little did I know that this was just the beginning of the scariest time in my family's life.
After 13 hours of hard labor our son Brennan was born five weeks ...
It is fitting that November is the month of thanks-giving. At the Preeclampsia Foundation, we have many people and much to be thankful for, starting with the launch of our new website. If you haven't yet, please visit our new home. Same address - www.preeclampsia.org - but with a complete renovation that allows us to include more content and address our ever-expanding mission into areas such as advocacy, international support, and research communications.
The team including Dan Verakis, Amit Jesani and a host of developers literally spanning the globe, are to be commended for leading us through this complex process. Please bare with us as we will inevitably hit some unforeseen snags in our database or in the website itself. Rest assured, security and your privacy have not nor will ever be compromised. Your trust in us is paramount.
Our trusted science writers, including Caryn Rogers, Heather Curtis and several members of our