Hello, I loss my sweet beautiful angel, Evan, at 33 weeks on 8-23-10 due to HELLP (Class I). I had a total normal first pregnancy. This 2nd time around, I had an uneventful pregnancy up until that day. I always had normal blood pressures and no protein in my urine at all my OB appointments. I had some leg swelling that came on about 2 weeks prior but my job requires long hours on my feet at times so I didn't think anything of it. The swelling improved with leg elevation. I had intermittent headaches which were not severe and was use to headaches prior to pregnancy. I wasn't feeling bad and didn't even work that weekend so was not stressed.
Out of the blue one night i started feeling upper epigastric abdominal pain, chest pressure, pain and numbness down my right arm, and started with continual vomiting all simultaneously. From the time I noticed the first symptom to the time i told my husband to bring me to the ER was no more than 15 minutes. When i got to the ER my BP was 258/150 and they tried to get my BP down but had a hard time. There was no OB department at this hospital (which i was unaware of but this was the nearest hospital from where i lived). I was started on magnesium to help prevent seizures and once my BP fell below 200 they transferred me to a hospital for emergency c-section (this took a total of 3 hours). By the time I was transported to the other hospital the OB was unable to find my baby's heart beat. My baby was alive on arrival to the first hospital and a hand doppler measured his heart beat at 140 at that time. At this time my BP went back up and was higher now at 262/158 and labs showed that my platelets were rapidly decreasing as low as 32,000 (normal is greater than 150,000), my liver function tests were above 2000 (normal is 20-40), my kidney was failing and i had severe anemia (low blood count). The only treatment for this syndrome is delivery. I was immediately taken for emergent c-section under general anesthesia and had to receive a total of 8 units of blood, in addition to units of platelets and FFP and was in the ICU for a week.
I was hospitalized for 11 days and had to be discharged home on 4 BP meds. The only meds i've ever been on prior to this my entire life was prenatal vitamins when pregnant. Now I am obsessed about my BP and check it at least 3 times a day. I'm praying that the meds can be weaned off soon. It's been 6 weeks and I'm still on the 4 meds but 2 of them have had the doses cut in half; i guess thats a start. I experience daily bad headaches which i think are side effects of the BP meds.
I tell my story in such detail to let people know that this condition has atypical presentations and can present differently with everyone. Also PE/HELLP can be life threatening to mother and baby and nothing should be taken lightly or ignored. Do not let anyone brush off your concerns, its better to be safe than sorry. As devastated as I'm for losing my baby, i do understand how blessed i am to be alive. HELLP is extremely dangerous because it more so than preeclampsia presents abruptly, like in my case, and without preceding signs and symptoms. In retrospect, the leg edema, mild headaches, and big weight gain may have been the subtle signs and sypmtoms that something bad was lurking around the corner. The problem is that all these things can occur during a normal pregnancy. I also wanted to bring attention that though these conditions usually occur during first pregnancies that they can proceed normal pregnancies as well, as in my case, and we should never let our guards down (if you're on this site then you've obviously had PE/HELLP but its good info to know when educating others).
I'm very happy to have found a place where i know others truly understand what i'm going through. I understand all our endings are not the same and some of our angels will have a chance to leave their footprints in this world while some of our angels would have only left their footprints in our hearts but we are connected by how our lives have been touched or changed by PE/HELLP. We owe it to our angels to continue to bring awareness to PE/HELLP and to continue to encourage and help each other. Thanks for allowing me to share my story. God bless.
Question 1: If anyone was discharged on blood pressure meds, how long before your BP stabilized and you were able to get off of them?
Question 2: Are headaches a residual effect of PE/HELLP that may remain after everything is over or could this be a side effect of the BP meds? And if so how long before the headaches subside?
Question 3: Has anyone been told by their doctor that they should not become pregnant again and if so what was the reason?
Thanks in advance