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HELLP Without PE?

Have you suffered from HELLP syndrome or had a pregnancy complicated by an underlying disorder? Discuss your concerns here

HELLP Without PE?

Postby mnickerson » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:20 pm

by mnickerson (15 Posts), Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:20 pm

Hi Ladies,

I'm new to this board and I am so glad to have found a forum where we can all share our experiences. In some ways, reading what others have gone through makes me realize how fortunate I am that my experience wasn't worse than it was. Some of the stories I have read on here are truly heartbreaking :( . Like many of you, though, I still feel jilted out of what should have been a normal, happy experience. And I sort of hate the fact that there's a "survivors" board for something I had!

I went in to L&D on Valentine's Day, which was the day I hit 37 weeks, with high BP and a painful, nauseous feeling in my upper abdomen. I was so fortunate to have a wonderful nurse who immediately ran all the right tests. I knew something must be wrong when they took my water away, and I figured I'd finally developed Pre-Eclampsia since my BP had been slightly elevated for a couple of weeks. Shortly after that, my doctor showed up in triage and said, "What are you trying to do, have a baby or something?" He then explained that it was either my gallbladder or this thing called HELLP Syndrome. If it was the former, we'd talk to the surgeon; the latter, baby had to come out. Of course it turned out to be HELLP, and our little girl would be joining us sooner than expected.

I was immediately hooked up to the Magnesium Sulfate drip (ick) and given an emergency epidural before they even induced me because my platelets were about to drop below 50,000 (when I arrived at the hospital that morning they were 175,000). The stars all lined up in our favor given the circumstances, and ten hours after being induced I delivered a healthy, beautiful girl. Not having ever heard of HELLP before this was probably a good thing, because once we finally started reading up on it we realized how scary it can be! My platelets dropped to 45,000 at their lowest, which I've learned puts me in the most severe class of HELLP and at higher risk of developing it again in subsequent pregnancies. After a very long week in the hospital, they finally let me go.

My doctor called my case Superimposed HELLP Syndrome since I did not have Pre-Eclampsia. I'm curious to know how many of you had HELLP without Pre-Eclampsia? I think it is much more rare to develop it this way, but I was very fortunate to be in the care of people who recognized what it was right away. I can't believe what some of you went through with doctors not taking you seriously!

Thank you for all of your stories - it is so nice that there is a group who really understands the experience of HELLP.
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Re: HELLP Without PE?

Postby caryn » Sat Jun 09, 2012 07:09 pm

by caryn (10131 Posts), Sat Jun 09, 2012 07:09 pm

Welcome to the forums.

I'm surprised you haven't gotten a reply yet from someone with similar circumstances, because we do frequently have posters experience HELLP but not be diagnosed with PE. You're not the only weirdo. :) Sometimes it's just a matter of not getting around to diagnosing the PE, and it sounds like that *might* have been the case for you - you mention elevated pressures, and I'm quite certain they didn't have the time to run a 24-hour catch to confirm proteinuria from your description. How elevated were your pressures from baseline?

The care you got is just exactly what we hope to see, with care providers who recognize and appropriately treat. It's always great to hear that there are positive experiences out there, or at least experiences as positive as we can hope for in these pregnancies!
Science! The articles you don't want to miss:
The Preeclampsia Puzzle (New Yorker) and Silent Struggle: A New Theory of Pregnancy (New York Times)
Looking for recent articles and studies? Lectures from researchers?
A chance to participate in research? For us on Facebook or Twitter?

Caryn, @carynjrogers, who is not a doctor and who talks about science stuff *way* too much
DS Oscar born by emergent C-section at 34 weeks for fetal indicators, due to severe PE
DD Bridget born by C-section after water broke at 39 weeks after a healthy pregnancy
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Re: HELLP Without PE?

Postby tree » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:07 pm

by tree (819 Posts), Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:07 pm

Welcome to the forums. I am sorry that you had to find us here, but I am glad that you did. Nobody wants to be in this particular club. I think we are all pretty happy to have found each other anyway. It does help to have some women who "get it."
Your experience sounds very similar to mine. I had HELLP without PE as well. My blood pressure never went over 135/85, and they didn't have time to do a 24 hour urine before delivery. I also had some indications before I actually developed HELLP that things were going wrong, but nobody could figure it out until it got really bad. There are a few of us on the board who have HELLP without PE.
Daughter born April 2009 at 35 weeks due to Class 1 HELLP
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Re: HELLP Without PE?

Postby Lee2011 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 03:04 am

by Lee2011 (30 Posts), Sun Jun 10, 2012 03:04 am

Hi!

I meant to reply when I first read your post, but a toddler intervened :D

My blood pressure didn't go above 120/90 until after my son was born, luckily even this very slight increas from my normal bp (120/80) was enough for my consultant to request additional blood work. Similarly to you mine was not diagnosed until 38weeks, despite my platelets starting to drop below normal at 34weeks; the last record we have is 37 000 about 12 hours before my son was born (having been almost twice that a few days earlier!).

Like you I'd never heard of HELLP and a search for information brought me to this forum, which has been a lifeline.

**HUGS**
Mother to baby boy Lee born 12/3/2011 after emergency induction at 38weeks following diagnosis of severe atypical HELLP syndrome. Having come within hours of losing both our lives every smile is a celebration.
Baby sister Paige c-sectioned at 38 weeks with no signs of HELLP :)
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Re: HELLP Without PE?

Postby mnickerson » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:04 am

by mnickerson (15 Posts), Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:04 am

The first time my BP started to show signs of elevation was around 34 weeks, but at that point it was still not bad, maybe 125/80? Just higher than my normal numbers, which were usually 115/70. One of my friends had just had PE in her pregnancy and had a BP cuff that she let me borrow. I became a hypochondriac about taking my blood pressure, because I was told to go to L&D as soon as I hit at least one number in the 140/90 range. The HELLP symptoms started on Monday, February 13 when I couldn't eat lunch (totally unlike me!) and just had this feeling like I'd been punched in the stomach. I chalked it up to being pregnant and thought maybe the baby was just putting a lot of pressure on that area. By that night I was feeling really sick and uncomfortable and was starting to hate being pregnant. I managed to go to sleep, but woke up crying in pain at about 3:00 am. I took my BP and it had jumped to 145/97. Stupidly, I still didn't go in. I took a warm bath and put my feet up, hoping it would help my BP go down. I went back to sleep for a couple of hours, but woke up still feeling terrible, so I decided to go to L&D just to be safe.

Once I got there the nurse took my BP and confirmed that it was still high. I got put in a bed and attached to a BP machine, that alarmed every time it took my reading. I was probably in triage for about six hours before they admitted me. I don't know if they ran a 24-hour protein test or not - I guess I'd have to ask my doctor.

After delivery, I got a little worse before I started getting better. The whole delivery day was a blur to me, probably because of the brain swelling and the magnesium sulfate. I was already 2cm and 80% that day, and with baby in the right position I was a good candidate for induction. I was so glad to be able to deliver her without a c-section, because they made it sound like the risk of bleeding was worse with a c-section? I'm unclear on that one. But despite my platelets being so low, I didn't bleed more than normal. Like I said, I got really lucky in that everything went as good as it could considering the circumstances.

What scares me now is the potential for it happening again in a future pregnancy, and knowing that I had HELLP before, would they induce at the first sign of it again? It was so fortunate that I was already 37 weeks by the time it happened before. On the other hand, I'd also be in L&D the second I started to feel that pain again rather than waiting a whole day.
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Re: HELLP Without PE?

Postby caryn » Fri Jun 15, 2012 08:37 am

by caryn (10131 Posts), Fri Jun 15, 2012 08:37 am

Yes, low platelets can mean a Caesarean is very risky because you're not clotting properly. Those of us with a history of these conditions usually crawl along for months in subsequent pregnancies, under close monitoring, and then they generally move to deliver the moment things get wonky. I always suggest an appointment with an MFM to make a plan for how a subsequent pregnancy will be managed.

You had quite a ride!
Science! The articles you don't want to miss:
The Preeclampsia Puzzle (New Yorker) and Silent Struggle: A New Theory of Pregnancy (New York Times)
Looking for recent articles and studies? Lectures from researchers?
A chance to participate in research? For us on Facebook or Twitter?

Caryn, @carynjrogers, who is not a doctor and who talks about science stuff *way* too much
DS Oscar born by emergent C-section at 34 weeks for fetal indicators, due to severe PE
DD Bridget born by C-section after water broke at 39 weeks after a healthy pregnancy
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Re: HELLP Without PE?

Postby lkw787 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:25 pm

by lkw787 (16 Posts), Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:25 pm

I'm sorry to hear about what you went through.

To answer your question: in my case I had no Pre E nor Eclampsia. I went straight to full blown HELLP two days after ceasing the lovenox injections I'd put myself on (at the advice of an RI and an RE.)

My husband jokes that I always was an over achiever. Not only did I go straight to HELLP, I went straight to the worst class of HELLP.

I am curious to hear what other women's experience with HELLP was...

Sincerely,

Lisa
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Re: HELLP Without PE?

Postby jenmatt1 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 08:04 am

by jenmatt1 (566 Posts), Thu Jul 05, 2012 08:04 am

My Bp was normally very low 90/60 so I think I had the Bp issue but they didn't recognize it because my Bp was very high for me. I also never had pain in side. I just felt like I had cold. When they did testing the platelets and protein were the issue for me. I did go on to have a healthy baby luckily too. I also had another baby without pree or hellp but I was watched closely during that pregnancy
Mom to Olivia 4/4/2008 born at 34 1/2 weeks due to class I HELLP
Declan born 1/4/2011- no HELLP or PE- YEAH
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