My name is Antonella Bartow, I am a pre-eclampsia/HELLP syndrome survivor, and this is my story. I was thirty-two weeks pregnant, and happy as could be. The nursery waspainted, the crib was in place, and the clothes were hung in the closet for the arrival of my son, Jason Anthony Bartow. February fourteenth, Valentineâ€™s Day, was my high-risk doctor visit.
I had had some tell-tale signs that made me worry -- spotting, high blood pressure, some early contractions. I tried to tell the nurse about it on that visit. Her answer was, how could I know what pregnancy should feel like; it was my very first time. So I got the doctorâ€™s go-ahead for my husband, Jason, and me to take one last trip to Atlantic City for my thirtieth birthday. This would be our last getaway before parenthood would begin.Â
But February fifteenth, changed my life forever. That night I had a placental abruption, had a seizure, and stopped breathing. My husband was home, and called 911. In minutes, firemen were at the door, and they rushed me to the Staten Island South Shore Hospital, where I was stabilized and transferred to another hospital across the Island, because my health condition was so severe.Â
On February sixteenth, my blood pressure was rising at a dangerous rate, and my ob/gyn made the decision to deliver my son â€œnow.â€ Jason Anthony Bartow was born without my knowing it, because I was so heavily sedated. My family was informed that my health condition was so serious that there was a good chance I would not survive. They were also informed that my sonâ€™s health, even his life, could not be guaranteed.
A day or two later, Jason Anthony was placed what felt like a million miles away, in the NICU wing. His condition was not improving, and I was still not able to see him. The doctors realized now that I had suffered a stroke, because my right hand and arm were not moving, and I was still not communicating. I was restrained in bed, not knowing where my son was, not being able to ask anyone because I could not speak, and not knowing what had happened to me .Â
The first time I was able to see my son, the trip was an almost impossible task. Because of my condition, the doctors did not want me to leave my room, so a journey to another floor was out of the question. But there was nothing that was going to stop me. With the help and sympathy of all the nurses, I was put in a wheelchair, oxygen tank, IV, and all. I had no idea what I was in for. I would never have imagined that I would see my son with so many wires and breathing tubes attached. But I was finally able to hold him.
It would not be long before he would pass away, but I believe in my heart that he waited for me to hold him, to see him with my eyes open. Jason Anthony passed away on March fifteenth. He had lived just one month, minus a day.Â
I was in the hospital for a few days after he passed away because my tracheotomy still had to heal. I was released out of the hospital on March twenty-second. The next day we held the funeral for our son.Â
That was six years ago. Jason and I are now loving parents of two beautiful, healthy little girls. Still, I ask myself, what if the nurse the doctors had really listened? Is it possible that, if they had been more aware of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia, all this might never have happened?