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Post On Friday, August 08, 2014 By Sara
I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 30 weeks pregnant with my first son. I spent 4 weeks in the hospital before the doctors decided that my life and the baby’s life was at more risk each day that passed. I gave birth to my first son on January 25th 2001. I was in and out of consciousness through the entire delivery. I was hooked up to different machines and extremely scared. I remember the conversation I had with my mother before giving birth. There was a ton of paper work to sign that at 17, I was unable to understand. I had to make a decision on whose life to save in case of an emergency. Me or the baby. Ultimately my mother made the decision for me. My son was not breathing when he was born and I was hemorrhaging severely as well as having one seizure on top of another. The doctor that delivered my son saved both of our lives. He was able to get the bleeding under control as well as get my son to start breathing. I remember very little of that time and I am grateful for that. He told me that if I decided to have any more children later in life, that I should be carefully monitored.
At 26 years old my husband and I found ourselves pregnant with our first baby girl. We had an amazing OBGYN that monitored for any signs of preeclampsia weekly. I was at the doctor’s office once a week throughout the entire pregnancy. There were no signs of any preeclampsia and my daughter was born on July 7th 2009 with no complications whatsoever.
Last year (2013) we found ourselves pregnant with our 3rd and last child. Again we went through weekly checkups and my blood pressure was being carefully monitored. Again at 30 weeks my blood pressure started to rise. There were no traces of protein in my urine, no headaches, very little swelling, no real symptoms other than the blood pressure being slightly above average. I went to my 39 week checkup and the doctor became more concerned about the rise in blood pressure. We were scheduled to be induced on January 25th 2014, the same day I gave birth to my son 13 years earlier. During labor my blood pressure continued to rise. I was given an epidural early and slept for the next 12 or so hours. In the evening my condition as well as the baby’s condition quickly deteriorated. I was given such a high volume of Pitocin that it was now considered an “overdose”. I wanted to give birth naturally and when the doctor came in to explain that I was not dilating fast enough that we may have to do a C-section at some point, I was concerned. The doctor did let me decide what to do at that point because she did not feel that it was an emergency situation… yet. I was given an amnioinfusion to relieve some of the pressure the umbilical cord was having on the baby. Less than 15 minutes later the doctor was back, running around with nurses that were yelling and I had no idea what was going on. They could no longer find the baby’s heart rate and my blood pressure was skyrocketing. Within the span of 6 minutes I was having an emergency C-section. My husband was not yet in the room. They finally allowed him to come into the room and see me and the baby. I did not know at the time but I was given what is called a highblock epidural. I couldn’t breathe, talk, swallow or feel my entire body. I lost consciousness minutes after my son was born. There was a code blue called and I was intubated. That last moment before I lost consciousness I knew I would not be making it through that time. I woke up hours later with tubes in my mouth and heavily monitored. I kept hearing a phone ringing in the room. I heard the nurses talking about how my husband wouldn’t stop calling. He had no idea what was going on. I was finally able to see both my husband and son when they were taking me to a room to recover. I spent the next day at the hospital with inconsistent blood pressure. My doctor came in and released me 24 hours after having the emergency C-section. A nurse came in and told me I should be staying there, that it was not right to be leaving. I didn’t understand, the doctor said I was fine. I believed her. That is the last time I will put my well-being in the hands of another human being and not listen to what my body is telling me. I went home with my husband and our beautiful baby boy. I was back home for a total of 48 hours and went back to the doctor to have the staples removed. My blood pressure was still high, I was having vision problems, and I could barely walk because my legs and feet were so swollen. She told me to go home and if my blood pressure spiked over 170/90 to go to the nearest emergency room. I knew something was wrong but followed doctors’ orders. Less than 24 hours later I was taking my blood pressure at home and it was in the high 170/90, I laid on my left side and it went down. My husband was at work and I was at home alone with my 4 day old son. I stood up to go to my room and my vision blurred so bad that I could not see. I was disoriented and started having minor seizures. I was able to make it to my bed to lay down with my son in my arms and call 911 from my cell phone, I told them my address and lost consciousness for a few minutes and woke up to them trying to talk to me and one of them was now holding my baby. My mother had called while they were there and they answered my cell phone and told her she needed to get there to take care of her grandson immediately. She showed up as I was being loaded into the ambulance. They took my blood pressure while in the ambulance and it was 200/110. I was having trouble breathing and could not stop convulsing. I stayed in a hallway at a hospital for over 8 hours before seeing a doctor. I told him everything about my case and because he said there was no protein in my urine that I did not have postpartum preeclampsia. I was diagnosed with a bladder infection and sent home. I knew something was terribly wrong with my body. I left that hospital feeling like I was going home to die. I got home about 8pm and by 10 pm my blood pressure was once again 200/110. I was having trouble breathing, I couldn’t see and I had started some major convulsing. My mother and husband called an ambulance and requested that I be taken to the largest hospital in the county which was over 30 minutes away. The ambulance company made some calls to a supervisor and they made an exception for me. I am so grateful they did. When I arrived at the hospital, they monitored me for a few hours and I was taken to the maternity ward. Doctors were in and out of my room for the next couple of hours. They admitted me into the high risk maternity ward. I was given magnesium and some other blood pressure medications. I felt like I had holes all over my body and at that point I had not seen my newborn son since before I went to the hospital the first time. A doctor came in and told me I had postpartum preeclampsia. He said he is glad I knew my body so well because he didn’t believe I would have made it through the night without having a stroke. He told me he knew what was wrong with me even if the other hospitals did not. He looked me straight in the eyes and told me that I was safe now and that they were going to take care of me. I stayed in that hospital for the next 5 days while my both of my parents took care of all 3 of my kids. My husband went from work, to the hospital, to home with our kids. He was like a zombie. My 13 year old was so scared that he refused to come and see me, I saw my 4 year old only once and my mom visited with my newborn son twice. The doctors at Loma Linda University Medical Center saved my life. I felt like two other doctors were telling me that I had nothing wrong with me. If you think you may have preeclampsia or postpartum preeclampsia please find a doctor that understands what those things are. Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you, I believe it takes some of the power out of it.
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