This was my second pregnancy. It turned out worse than the first. During my first
Post On Tuesday, July 12, 2005 By
This was my second pregnancy. It turned out worse than the first. During my first pregnancy, I was diagnosed with preterm labor and preeclampsia. Like most others, I had no idea what preeclampsia was. I was put on bed rest and delivered our son at 34 weeks. He spent 2 weeks in the NICU for low birth weight but was otherwise fine. He is 6 1/2 now and just fine. This time around, I was considered high risk because of the bad prior pregnancy. In addition to my OB, I started seeing a group of perinatologists around 20 weeks. I had ultrasounds and non-stress tests every week, I monitored my blood pressure two times every day, and I had blood work done constantly. My BP was steadily high, but not dangerous. The doppler readings of the umbilical cord showed some restriction of blood flow to the baby, but she was growing fine, so the doctors weren't too worried yet. Everything was going along fairly well until I was about 31 1/2 weeks. I had developed what I thought was a bad cold or a sinus infection. I was extremely congested and my head hurt. I couldn't take any antihistamine/decongestants because of their effect upon BP. I went in for my weekly perinatologist appt on Monday, and my BP was 160/110. The dr. sent me for blood work. The next morning, my OB called and told me that the lab work was bad and to get to the hospital. I was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. I was admitted that day and I was immediately given steroids to increase the baby's muscle tone so that her lungs would be stronger. My dr. wanted me to get a full dose (two shots, 48 hours apart) before delivery if possible. For a while, they took blood every few hours and they checked my BP every hour. Although not in good shape, I was stable, so we made the 48 hours. I got the full dosage of steroids. I then had a C-Section (which was so easy by the way) at 32 weeks. My baby girl weighed 3 pounds, 12 ounces. Other than supplemental oxygen and an NG tube for food, she was OK. She stayed in the NICU for 19 days and went home weighing about 4 1/2 pounds. I was in the hospital for a total of one week and am fine now. Once I delivered, my liver and platelet counts started to return to normal, as did my BP. Our baby stayed on supplemental oxygen for another month (we live at high altitude), but other than that she has been just fine. She is now almost 4 months and she weighs about 11 pounds. She has no problems. I had my tubes tied during my C-Section, so my 2 beautiful children are all I will have. I am lucky to have them. My dr had no hesitation about performing the tubal. He agreed that another pregnancy would not be a good idea for me. For unknown reasons, my body just doesn't tolerate pregnancy. This time around, I knew everything there was to know about preeclampsia, and I was monitored constantly for it. If I had not been watched so closely, things may have turned out very badly. Preeclampsia, and especially HELLP syndrome, is very dangerous, and it comes on very fast. The week before all of this happened, I had been OK. My doctors did a wonderful job, and I am thankful for them. Luckily, things turned out OK.