I had excessive weight gain, headache, swelling, etc. which being in my third trimester at the height of summer I thought was more related to summer and pregnancy than anything going wrong. My BP was always 110/60 in my 3rd trimester, having been 90/60 during the early part of the pregnancy.
Early Saturday morning (3am) I woke up feeling very ill and vomited a few times, tried to look in the mirror to see if I'd cleaned my face properly and couldn't - my eyes were swollen shut! I went back to bed and tried to get comfy - I'd decided I would be ok til others in the house were up... no point waking them if there wasn't anything really wrong. After 30 minutes or so of trying to get comfy, palpitations and not being able to breathe properly, pain whatever way I lay, I woke my husband and told him I felt pretty bad. I remember thinking early in that 1/2 hour that I was having some pre-e symptoms and maybe I should get my BP taken when my father in law was awake and could get out his machine for me. My husband took me downstairs and got me to sit in the recliner chair to see if I could get comfy there. After watching me for 5 minutes, he was sure I wasn't well and woke his mum. She called L&D and they thought I was in early labour from her description of my URQ pain and difficulty breathing, but said if I was distressed, I could go in for reassurance.
I went into emergency (that was the entrance to the hospital before 6am) and they took my BP. They thought their machines were broken - they kept inflating and deflating and then got 'too high to read' errors. Finally, got 197/112... They didn't tell me what it was, but said it was a bit high, they'd try again soon - in the meantime, if you need to pee, come and get a cup first so we can test your urine. They called the on-call OB and he said to take bloods as well.
Long story short, I had proteinurea, high BP, haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets (within days of excessive weight gain, no clinical signs, BP 120/60). They told me I wouldn't be going home without a baby, call someone to bring my bags and wheeled me to L&D. I was induced almost as soon as I got there and the poor midwife thought I was contracting (my BH contractions were topping the intensity scale on the monitor but I could hardly feel them) and got all excited. Unfortunately, I was still not effaced or dilated 3 hours after induction when my next bloods came back. My platelets were down significantly in that 3 hours period and nobody would do an epidural, my BP was still way too high so they said c-section under general was my only option. I was asked if I was competent to sign the consent for the anaesthesia or would I like my husband to do it. That was when I realised I was pretty sick. I was worried about my husband - where would he be, who was going to be with him when I went into theatre, where would the baby go once born, how would he be fed, etc.
It took a long while to get all the tubes into me: catheter (with no anaesthesia); a cannula additional to the one I already had (one for anaesthetic and later, morphine and the other for the MgSO4); and an arterial line (for any transfusions that may have been required and to measure my blood pressure continuously). Once that was all done I was taken into theatre, dragged across from the bed to the operating table on a board (I was in no condition to be moving myself) and very shortly after that Logan was born, at 12:06pm 16 April 2011.
I spent the next two nights in ICU on MgSO4 drip hooked up to a thousand wires measuring everything under the sun. I remember very little from that time - maybe it was the magnesium drip, maybe the morphine, maybe the pain, maybe the HELLP Syndrome. I was breastfeeding when the midwives had time to bring my son up to me (he was otherwise fed expressed colostrum) and was concerned about how much morphine I was taking on my patient-controlled drip - I got told I wouldn't be getting any more made up as I was wasting it! Sunday I asked my husband for a picture of Logan to have so I could at least see him when I wanted to. That afternoon, I ended up making a deal with one of the more understanding nurses that I could take the O2 line off my nose unless my O2 saturation dropped below 95% since it was drying me out so much and I was on clear fluids due to my platelet count being so low. I know I was close to not being allowed out of ICU when I was because my nurse had noticed that every time Logan was supposed to be coming up to me, my BP would skyrocket. The doctor in ICU on the Monday morning was great though, he said I could go down to the maternity ward and be watched closely, as my numbers were all starting to look better. My platelets were 51,000 when I was released from ICU. I just wanted to be with Logan.
Thanks to the great care I received, we had a good outcome – a healthy baby and a healthy mother.