(1) What was your experience with preeclampsia?
I was a young, first time mother with my son who was due June 20, 2008. My pregnancy was rather boring until around 22 weeks. I began having these horrible headaches and saw glitter in the sky. I thought these were regular pregnancy symptoms and thought nothing of it. I figured I could wait for my next doctor’s appointment in 2½ weeks. The headaches got worse and I began swelling in my hands, feet, and face. By 23 weeks, I had already gained 35 lbs. At 24 weeks and 3 days, my mother decided to take my blood pressure. It was through the roof and we immediately called my doctor. She sent me to L&D where I was monitored overnight. The next morning, my doctor said I had hypertension and sent me home on strict bed rest. Three days later, I was worse and went back to the hospital. They told me I may have severe preeclampsia and needed to be transferred to a hospital with a NICU. I was immediately put on magnesium sulfate and had steroid shots. My blood pressures were still in stroke range and my kidneys and pancreas were also failing. At 25 weeks and 1 day, my liver enzymes sky rocketed and I was schedu led to deliver the next day. I didn’t get to see my baby for 24 hours since I was still on magnesium. I was discharged 4 days later. My son passed away 6 days after he was born.
(2) Why do you volunteer for the Preeclampsia Foundation?
After losing my son, I knew I couldn’t just sit around and wallow in my grief. Before I became involved in the Foundation, I was an observer. I would look online for all sorts of information on this disorder. I finally found the Preeclampsia Foundation and knew I came across something great. I was on the forums almost every day looking for information. I finally decided I needed to step out and spread the word. This disorder is out there and people need to know. I don’t want any other family going through what my family has endured.
(3) How aware were you about preeclampsia before/during your pregnancy?
I had no idea what preeclampsia was. I didn’t even know blood pressure was something you would need to watch out for during pregnancy. Even when I was sent home on bed rest, I was not told how serious it can be. If it wasn’t for my mother being a nurse and noticing my symptoms, who knows how much worse it could have been.
(4) What goals and dreams do you have for your involvement with the Foundation?
I hope that I can help other mothers know the symptoms. Hopefully in the near future we can find something that can “catch” preeclampsia early. I want to help others who have suffered that they are not alone. That they didn’t do anything wrong (which I have thought many times). Right now, just getting the word "preeclampsia" into more doctors offices can save lives.
(5) What has been your most gratifying moment as a Foundation volunteer?
There are so many moments. I think my most gratifying is just knowing that by sharing my story, other mothers can be informed about preeclampsia. I also love the friends I have made through the preeclampsia community.
(6) Please tell us more about your upcoming Annual Softball Tournament. Why did you start it and how can others get involved?
I started the tournament in honor of my son. In 2010, I wanted to do something special for what would have been his 2nd birthday. My family members are huge softball/baseball fans. I myself have been playing since I was seven years old. I decided having a softball tournament as a fundraiser would be the perfect "party." It was wonderful seeing all of those people joining not only in memory of my son, but also to help the Preeclampsia Foundation. I almost hit my goal last year, and have made my goal for 2011 $5,000 with at least 8-10 teams this year. The tournament is taking place in Winchester, CA on March 13, 2011. If anyone is interested in playing, starting a team, volunteering, or even just watching the games, they can email me directly or visit the Facebook page.