Hello - I am a Canadian living in Calgary. I got pregnant very easily and had all the "normal" issues in my first trimester. At exactly 20 weeks my blood pressure started to sky rocket - but the primary clinic didn't seem too concerned. They started me on blood pressure meds at 23 weeks and the day after - something just didn't feel right. I didn't think the symptoms had anything to do with my pregnancy. I had been having severe migraines for the past 3 weeks but had started vomiting after eating food and I literally thought I was having a heart attack my chest hurt so badly. I ended up going to the hospital after a couple hours of my husband begging. Once I got to labour and delivery, I apologized to the obstetrician because I thought I might be wasting her time. They wouldn't let me eat anything and starting taking X-rays and doing blood tests. But no one told me anything.... At about 11 at night a nice nurse told me they were taking me to the antepartum unit.
Once I was there, they told me to go to sleep and no walking around. I was exhausted and had been given a heartburn medication which slightly eased my pain, but I still didn't feel right. The next morning a nurse came bursting in at 7am telling me I had an emergency ultrasound booked and had to go right away. I started throwing up more and ended up throwing up all over the ultrasound doctor and her equipment. The doctor said to me - your daughter's only 540 grams and she's breached, you're gonna have to think about what you're gonna do. I told her I had no idea what she was taking about.... And she said it was time to call the obstetrician. They didn't bring me back to antepartum, ey took me to labour and delivery and put me in a critical care room which was basically where everyone could see me. The obstetrical came I and told me that I was extremely sick. She told me I already had severe HELLP syndrome and that I would have to deliver or I wouldn't live. I freaked out because the neonatologists came to see me and told me that they often don't like to rececitate 23 week old babies. They started giving me stats. I decided to try and hold on and get to 24 weeks, so they sedated me with magnesium sulfate to keep me from seizing, put on special equipment to help keep me from getting clots - I was carrying about 60 pounds of fluid - I literally looked like the Michelin man and I got steroids to try and get the baby's lungs going. I had my own 24 hour nurse and I had 10s of doctors around me almost all day, poking and prodding me, asking me questions. They ended up putting in a central line through my neck because I was so bloated they couldn't find any veins. They also put in an arterial line because they were doing bloodwork every three hours. It was crazy... I honestly felt my body dying around me and I was in a horrible, painful haze.
I held out for 4 days and made it to 24 1/7 week when my lungs filled with fluid and I could barely breath. The obstetrician said that we couldn't wait anymore, that I could die. The baby was transverse and I was so weak that they decided on an emergency c section and that I had to be put under because my platelets were so low. They literally decided this and had me in the OR within 10 mins. My mother who is an RN told me that the anesthesiologist looked like he was petrified and no one knew if I or the baby would make it.
I ended up with a classic csection, the type that you can never give birth with naturally again - the up/down kind. I was in incredible pain because of the section, but more so because of the painful swelling in my limbs and abdominal. I still had trouble breathing but was put on self controlled morphine. My daughter was born at 550g - 1lb 3oz.
My daughter survived and was in the level 3 (highest level) NICU for over 5 months. She spent 6 weeks on the ventilator, 8 weeks on cpap, 4 weeks on hi flow nasal prongs until we got to low flow. She developed numerous complications including almost dying at 6 weeks. They told me that if she hadn't been such a strong girl, she probably wouldn't have survived. Se came home on oxygen and we spent 7 months with her on oxygen, and now we just have her on at night time.
I was wondering if there is anyone else out there who had a similar experience, as I haven't met one yet whom I could chat with. As well, is there anyone who had sever HELLP in the second trimester? Has anyone subsequently gotten pregnant. I am really not sure if I should ever try again to have another baby. The internal medicine doctors told me that it shortens my life, and that I have much higher chances of developing high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack.
Any help, or comments would be greatly appreciated,
Mother of a little girl born at 24 1/7 weeks (550g - 1lb 3oz) and survivor of severe class 1 HELLP syndrome.