Hello

Are you considering having another child after preeclampsia? Trying again after preeclampsia can be an emotional challenge. You can find support with others who share your concerns here.

Hello

Postby rhodges » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:52 am

My name is Becky and I am also a survivor of pre-eclampsia. I delivered my first child at 34 weeks after lots of signs from as early as 18 weeks that PE was heading my way. I know I am lucky that we made it as far as we did, and even more fortunate that despite some bumps on the road for the first few months of life, my daughter is healthy. She is 17 months now and is my entire world. Despite the trauma of her arrival, I would go through it all over again because she has brought more joy to my life than I could possibly imagine.

After 17 months, I am now off blood pressure medication, though my pressures are far from ideal. We had always planned on having our children two years apart. To prepare for this, I exercise, eat right, and am at a healthy weight. I have met with a MFM doctor and a nephrologist for a pre-conception visit. After both visits, the doctors seemed confident to handle another pregnancy. I was very ready until this month...the month we were supposed to start trying. I am chickening out, I think. I keep having flash backs of NICU and watching my ankles swell up knowing it was not normal. This time....I have a little girl who has suffered enough from this disease and I don't want her to affected one bit from this. Nobody can promise me that won't happen.

I have talked to my husband but he really doesn't understand why I want to postpone this. He says I will still feel this way in a year because the reality of pre-eclampsia is that it will take the joy out of pregnancy until the baby is safe in our arms. Has anybody else gone through this? I do want another child...and I want a sibling for Maisyn. I'm just having a hard time understanding these feelings. Thanks for listening.

Becky
mother to Maisyn 2-11-10 born at 34 weeks
6 weeks stay in NICU
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Re: Hello

Postby libby123 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 07:36 pm

I can't begin to understand how you feel, as my daughter was born at 36 weeks and needed no NICU time, plus my pre-e was slow moving and not severe. It sounds like you had a much harder time of it. However given the fact that pre-e has affected me enough that I have panic attacks and check my blood pressure 10 times a day or more, I can only imagine how it has affected you. It scared me enough that we aren't having another child, so I am overwhelmed at the courage of the other women on here who had it much worse than I did and are trying for more.

I just want you to know that I understand your reluctancy and please know that your feelings are acceptable and real. There is a very real risk to another pregnancy for you. However I think you will find that most women, with the help of certain medications like Lovenox, have experience pre-e free pregnancies or at the very least their pre-e is less severe.

Please don't let anyone pressure you into another pregnancy. Wait until you are ready. It would be nice if we could just magically have babies, without the pre-e pregnancies and danger risk to ourselves and our babies, but that is just not reality.

We are all here for you as you make this decision.
Mommy to Sailor Ann, born on February 17th 2011 at 36 weeks by c-section due to PIH that slowly turned into preeclampsia.
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Re: Hello

Postby rhodges » Sat Jul 16, 2011 08:20 pm

I think if I would have had better care the outcome would have been different. I was never put on any meds or given steroids. They just let it out of control after red flags were being raised. I will not be using the same ob office...in fact my MFN said he would just take me on without an ob. I probably wouldnt feel so scarred from this had I received better care with my daughter. I trust in God and I want to keep faith that this can happen. Thank you for your thoughts.
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Re: Hello

Postby tree » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:04 pm

It is very normal among the women who post here to struggle with the decision to have another baby. My daughter is about a year older than yours, and I have waffled on that decision several times in the last year. I think that I felt ready when she was around 18 months old. As soon as I mentioned it to my husband and scheduled the preconception consult, I started having the NICU flashbacks, visions of my daughter growing up without me, being sick again, etc. Talking about it made it much more real than thinking about it, and I just wasn't ready. I needed to deal with all of that before I could be ready, so it was good to start talking about everything and talk to my doctor again. I also met with a counselor a few times to help process all of it. Making the decision to use the same OB or get a new one was a big part of that process and very empowering for me.
We discussed it again this spring, and I didn't have nearly as strong of a reaction. I am getting closer, and I think that my husband is too. He is at least as hesitant as I am because PE/HELLP scared the heck out of him. We both want another child, and we will be ready soon. It sounds like you will be ready too, but it may take a little while to get there.
I didn't physically recover until my daughter was almost 18 months old, and i needed a little more time (maybe a lot since I am still on the pill ;) ) to recover emotionally before I could handle the idea of another pregnancy. I think it helped my husband to see me get healthier and happier as my body recovered. I needed to have some faith that I could come back from a pregnancy before I could think about trying again. We are now buying a house with an extra bedroom, which I think is a good sign.
Daughter born April 2009 at 35 weeks due to Class 1 HELLP
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Re: Hello

Postby sam10 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 00:38 am

I chickened out last month too. I felt rushed and not ready. This month I head the courage to go along with it (still in the waiting period). So as you can see this happens. We have to remind ourselves that we all have our own internal clock, and you will know when you are ready, even if scared - but who isn't after the experience of PE? The most important is, that you feel ready!
~Julija (40)
MC 3/2009 and 3/2011
Henry (1/1/2010-1/7/2010) - forever loved and missed; severe PE with Hellp; partial placental abruption, classical c-section at 25.6 weeks
Matilda (Nov. 2012, born at 35.4 weeks) - severe PE


Our pain has been put into words, placed into empty cradles, to remember that all our babies lived, that they mattered and always will. - Field of Cradles http://www.fieldofcradles.org/
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Re: Hello

Postby rhodges » Sun Jul 17, 2011 07:43 am

Thanks, ladies! This is so complicated it is crazy! The other thing I wondered is I only saw one Mfm for a consult....did anybody else shop around a bit or have more than one consult?
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Re: Hello

Postby libby123 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:21 am

Rhodges - You weren't on any medication? How about bedrest? I would definitely get a new ob/gyn. I think that part of why my outcome was so good was because of my prenatal team. At the end I was on 800mg of labetatol and strict bedrest in and out of the hospital for 6 weeks.

It sounds like your outcome may have been like mine with the good prenatal care. Many women on here it wouldn't make a difference for as they had severe, aggressive pre-e complicated with HELLP syndrome at a very early gestational age. However the later, slow moving, less severe PIH/pre-e can often be controlled well with bedrest and medication.

I am shocked that your ob/gyn didn't do anything about it, especially that they didn't put you on meds. What were your pressures at the end? How much protein?
Mommy to Sailor Ann, born on February 17th 2011 at 36 weeks by c-section due to PIH that slowly turned into preeclampsia.
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Re: Hello

Postby rhodges » Sun Jul 17, 2011 01:31 pm

I was put un bed rest at 32 weeks. I went in twice a week for 2 weeks for nst and to check bp and protein. Still with no meds...though i asked about them. On feb 11th I went in and was spilling protein but to this day I do not know how much. My records are with my Mfm doc so he does have that info. I was put on magnesium and delivered by cesarian bc my bp was dangerous. I know my it was 200's/100's at one point! Very scary! I tried not to look as it got higher and higher as the reality of the situation set in. It was still kind of high for several months but my Mfm doc thought it would be ok to stop meds (procardia 10 mg) 13 months later. Bps now are running 120/70's which is disappointing because I ran really low before I had Maisyn.
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Re: Hello

Postby blythe » Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:02 pm

Becky, I'm so glad you found us but sorry you had to! I know a lot of our members - including me - can relate to your struggle with wanting another child but being terrified of getting sick again. It sounds like you've already done what we suggest - meet with an MFM for a preconception consult and get as healthy as possible before getting pregnant again.

Our Experts have said that *in general*, after developing severe disease at 28-36 weeks, recurrence rate is about 40%. That means 60% chance of NOT getting sick again.
http://www.preeclampsia.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=331
Did your MFM have more specific ideas about your chances? Did she/he have a plan for how your next pregnancy would be monitored? Subsequent pregnancies can be nerve-wracking even when everything goes perfectly, so I think having doctors you trust can make all the difference.

I'm sorry your doctors in your first pregnancy didn't give you the care you hoped for, but just to clarify, bedrest and medication are often prescribed by doctors, but the research says neither prevents nor slows down preeclampsia. Here are a few links from our Experts -
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=10150&p=58244
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=5467&p=58231
http://www.preeclampsia.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1081

and a very good member discussion from a few years ago -
viewtopic.php?f=28&t=12455

Bedrest can decrease protein spillage because of the position change - if I'm understanding right gravity puts less stress on your kidneys when you're laying down. Bedrest can also decrease blood pressure because of the decreased physical demands on the body (though not always - I think somewhere in the thread above Caryn mentions her bp was 220/110 on hospital bedrest). However, blood pressure and protein spillage are just symptoms of the underlying damage, and the underlying damage continues regardless of how the symptoms appear - and in your case, it sounds like your bp got very high and your protein was likely bad as well despite two weeks of bedrest!

Many women on these boards report staying pregnant for many weeks while on bedrest, so I do hope that someday the research will figure out if those experiences are just coincidence or if bedrest is actually affecting the underlying disease. It is also possible that bedrest might help certain women and not others, but so far the research has not made a distinction.

As for medication, blood pressure medicine is prescribed if bp gets to a level that is dangerous for the mother - lowering bp to decrease risk of stroke or other organ damage. Doctors have to be careful, though, because decreasing bp can decrease the amount of blood that gets to the baby. I really like this article that discusses the use of antihypertensives in pregnancy -

http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/51/4/960.full
"Of note, with antihypertensive treatment, there seems to be less risk of developing severe hypertension (risk ratio: 0.50, with a number needed to treat of 10) but no difference in outcomes of preeclampsia, neonatal death, preterm birth, and small-for-gestational-age babies with treatment."

Sorry for throwing so much information at you, but I don't want you to think that you could have done something "better" in your last pregnancy to keep from getting so sick.

Best wishes on working through your fears of being pregnant and sick again - we'll be here to (virtually) hold your hand no matter what you decide!
Heather, mom to
#1 7-18-03 - 5#8oz 37 weeks PE/PIH
#2 8-11-06 - 6#14oz 37 weeks PE/PIH
#3 9-10-09 - 5#10oz 37 weeks PE/PIH
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Re: Hello

Postby libby123 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 09:07 am

I was rereading my response and realized that I might have been incredibly insensitive. I didn't mean to sound like you could have done something differently to help your pregnancy go better! I don't think that at all. I was meaning to question your prenatal care and the method that your doctors used to treat your pre-e, not you. I'm sorry. :(
Mommy to Sailor Ann, born on February 17th 2011 at 36 weeks by c-section due to PIH that slowly turned into preeclampsia.
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