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Post On Wednesday, October 16, 2013 By Ani
As the title reads, I am lucky to be alive.
Last year, I was very surprised when I got my positive pregnancy test. I was still a student, finishing up college; unmarried, and not sure where I was going in life. My son changed everything!
My boyfriend at the time (now husband) was thrilled, he couldn't wait to tell our families; I, on the other hand was extremely nervous! As time passed, things got better and I became more comfortable with the idea of a baby.
I had read about preeclampsia, my doctor had warned me about a few of the symptoms but I didn't believe it could happen to me. I remember my grandma continuing to tell me that she lost her first baby due to, "albumin, a toxicity of the blood," and she wanted to know whether or not that was genetic. I blew her off, thinking she was just worried --making the biggest mistake of my life.
My pregnancy was easy... I gained very little weight, never had nausea or vomiting, and was enjoying life until 36 weeks when my family noticed a significant amount of swelling in my face and legs. My appointment was the next day, so I reassured them I would confront my doctor and see what she thought. At the appointment I mentioned my concerns and she blew me off. Told me to try compression stockings and that I wasn't in congestive heart failure. A urine protein test was never done throughout my pregnancy.
The next week I went in, most symptoms unchanged. And that's when things fell apart. My blood pressure was, "normal," however my son no longer had a heart beat. I sat for a long time waiting for my family to come, wondering how and why this happened. After 27 hours of labor, my son was born; sleeping like they told me he would be. My blood pressure was out of control and I was given labetalol through an IV for over an hour by my nurse. I was discharged within 14 hours, without any medications and a follow up visit scheduled for the following week.
Two days later, my brother noticed my swelling was getting worse... my legs were weeping and my feet were imprinting when I crossed them. I was rushed back to the ER where two other doctors diagnosed me immediately with preeclampsia and readmitted me to the hospital for observation. I went blind briefly due to my blood pressure... it was so scary. Later I noticed I had the same OB nurse as I did when I was in labor. She told me she had never been so scared the night I was delivering. They were carrying around anticonvulsant medication, waiting for me to have a seizure or a stroke because the blood pressure medication being injected through my IV wasn't working.
My original doctor stopped in the next day.... she told me I was still only experiencing ANXIETY and that she still didn't believe I had preeclampsia. Still no urine test done. During my delivery I even had a catheter and she ordered the nurses to get rid of it without any testing.
My blood pressure was elevated for the next two months, until finally my body finally could rest and allow me to go off of blood pressure medications.
I am now lucky enough to be pregnant again, and know exactly what I am looking for. I have changed doctors and hospitals, and know that I will never leave an appointment without a urine screen.
I hope someday there is enough funding to make people aware (including providers) of how serious preeclampsia is, and how it can affect so many lives if it's not taken seriously.
I am so lucky to be alive.
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