I was about 27 weeks along with my first pregnancy when I started showing signs
Post On Monday, June 27, 2005 By
I was about 27 weeks along with my first pregnancy when I started showing signs of preeclampsia. It started with a rapid weight gain of about 15 pounds in one week, due to the swelling. At the time, my doctors just told me that it was a normal part of pregnancy and not to worry. I knew my blood pressure had been elevated during a couple of appointments but it never occured to me that I could have preeclampsia. I found out later that there had been proteins in my urine as well. Three signs that I had preeclampsia.
At 29 weeks I began to have migraine headaches but it still didn't occur to me that I could have preeclampsia. My childbirth educator recommended I see my OB/GYN for the migraine headaches. The doctor I was suppose to see had to leave to deliver a baby so I saw a nurse practitioner instead. Still no mention of preeclampsia even though my blood pressure was elevated, I had gained another substantial amount of weight, and I found out later that I had protein in my urine. She told me it was probably my sinuses and gave me a prescription for Tylenol with codeine.
Two days later the swelling had gotten so bad that I went back to their office. This time I saw a different nurse practitioner. She told me that this was a normal part of pregnancy, even though I still had all of the other symptoms. When she couldn't find the baby's heartbeat, she tried to tell me that it was because I was overweight. No other doctor had that problem and I hadn't started to gain weight until the month before.
My next appointment, at 30 weeks, was with one of the only physicians at the practice I hadn't already seen. She is the one that actually looked at my chart and put everything together. She had me go to the hospital that night for monitoring.
The next two weeks I spent on bedrest and in and out of the hospital for monitoring. Finally when I started having migraine headaches again my doctor sent me back to the hospital to give me steroid injections to help mature my baby's lungs. My blood pressure was better and the headache was gone so they sent me home two days later.
I went to my doctor's office the next morning for a non-stress test and a bio-physical profile. My doctor said that the baby wasn't responding the way she should be so back to the hospital I went. They repeated the tests later that afternoon with worse results.
The doctor on-call decided that an emergency c-section was the best for my baby. My baby was born at 7:49 pm on October 28, 2003. She weighed only 3 lbs 9 oz and was 15 inches long. I was 32 weeks and 5 days when I had her. Because the epidural did not work for me, I had to be put under general anesthesia, so I did not get to hear my baby take her first breath or even hold her until the next morning. They took her right to the NICU where she stayed for the first 23 days of her life. Luckily, she was perfect, tiny, but perfect. They said that it was intrauterine growth retardation. She never had to be intubated. They had told us that she would probably be there until her due date or even later, but she didn't even need to spend a full month there.
I, on the other hand, had other problems. The morning after the c-section, my blood pressure spike and I had to be put on magnesium sulfate. The nurses didn't warn me about how I'd feel with the magnesium sulfate. I could hardly move which obviously made it difficult for me to go to the NICU to see my daughter.
By the next morning, after spending the entire night drinking pitcher after pitcher of water and then having to be helped to the bathroom every 15 to 30 minutes, my blood pressure had stabilized and I was allowed to come off of the magnesium.
I feel that my doctors should have figured out that I had preeclampsia a lot sooner. I can't help but feel that if I had known sooner and realized how important bedrest really was, my daughter would have been born closer to her due date and been able to come home without spending time in the NICU.