First of all, I would like to apologize for the length of my story. Because
First of all, I would like to apologize for the length of my story. Because I went through so many challenges with virtually every organ in my body shutting down, I felt it necessary to describe how the Preeclampsia progressed and almost caused my death.
My name is Eva Lacey I live in a suburb of Chicago, being located approximately 15 miles west of downtown.
I was prompted to share my story because sadly, over the years, I have read small articles on a periodic basis, in Chicago area newspapers about primarily young women, dying due to Preeclampsia. Although my experience was in 1985, I thought that perhaps, the information that I share may be of assistance to others.
My experience with Preeclampsia actually began in March, 1985, with an itch. I was four months pregnant with my third child at the time, having had basically uneventful, normal deliveries, with my first two sons that occurred in the latter part of the 1960's.
The intermittent itch that began in March, 1985, worsened as time passed. This was my only symptom until the following month of April, 1985, when jaundice or a yellowish tinge to my skin appeared (according to a doctor's notation). The only other symptom that I had was the rapid weight gain which occurred virtually overnight, the following month, in May, 1985. The only symptom that I actually had which you include on your website is the weight gain which stemmed from water retention. Another symptom on your list (high blood pressure) didn't manifest itself until after my Caesarian.
I was very diligent about keeping appointments with my very well known, respected and successful obstetrician/gynecologist. My blood pressure was checked for each visit and a urine sample provided. Unfortunately, my physician never detected or treated my condition and had I not been assertive during my last office visit I would not be writing this e-mail message to you today. Each month, beginning in March, 1985, I complained about the itching which became increasingly worse as time passed. Toward the end of May, 1985, I awakened during the early morning hours to the rings on my fingers tightening as though each finger was in a vise. I experienced what is best described as an infilling of liquid. It felt as though a water faucet was attached to my body and I was being flooded with water. As a result, my entire body expanded virtually overnight. At the time my regular physician was on vacation, however, I was able to obtain an appointment with my physician's partner who had access to my file. At the end of the examination, he mentioned that my physician had noted my file the month before that I was "jaundiced," something that was never mentioned to me. During the course of this visit, I again mentioned the horrendous itching and received a prescription of some type of medication for allergies which unfortunately provided no relief.
Upon my physician's return, on June 25, 1985, I visited his office. I asked him about the "jaundiced" notation that he had written on my file a few months earlier and his response was that I looked fine. He was preparing to refer me to the receptionist for my next scheduled appointment when I simply flatly refused to leave his office. The itching that I experienced was now comprehensive and constant. I itched from head to toe and could not go anywhere or do anything without endless scratching and it was almost unbearable to wear clothing. Because I raised my voice and staged a mini sit-in, he agreed to hospitalize me that evening for tests. The next morning the battery of tests began after a prescription lotion was applied to my skin to ease the itching. Late afternoon, the same day, I was informed that medical staff were being contacted to return to the hospital as I required an emergency Caesarian section. The only information I was given was that the baby was under extreme stress, was not growing and there was a small concern about the fluid in my body. Just prior to 10:00 p.m., the same evening, June 26, 1985, my son, Adam, birth weight 3 lbs. 5 oz., was delivered by Caesarian section. I was 33 weeks pregnant. As I was coming out of the anesthesia, I became aware that I was having difficulty breathing and a physician was attempting to insert a tube near my clavicle. At that point, I thought I died. Approximately 6 hours after the Caesarian section, I returned to the operating room because my organs were floating and I was not eliminating the fluid in my body. Prior to the second surgery, I had developed high blood pressure, had rapid heart beat, one of my lungs had collapsed, my liver bile level was 10 times the level of a normal person and my kidneys were malfunctioning. (According to the liver specialist, the itch that I had for so long was because the toxins in my body were being eliminated through the pores in my skin.) Within 3 or 4 hours of the completion of my second surgery, I lost 80 pounds. (The physician who performed the second operation went on vacation within an hour of completion. He would later come to see me in the intensive care unit when he returned 2 weeks later and walk past my room 3 or 4 times before entering because he did not recognize me.) During the early morning hours of the following day, medical staff were again called in and asked to return to the hospital as I required a third surgery. At that point my blood was not clotting and most of it had been replaced at least one time. I went through the third surgery at which time my family was told this was the last option and it was not successful, I wouldn't live another day. My blood was again replaced.
I left the hospital about 3 1/2 weeks later after having spent 3 weeks in the intensive care unit. My son was to remain there another 1 1/2 weeks. (Due to my condition, I did not see my son for 1 1/2 weeks after he was born. I first saw him when he was wheeled into the intensive care unit in an incubator.) During my hospital stay I had a specialist for virtually every major area of my body including heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, blood, bones and skin. My son, was first thought to have hepatitis and my family was informed that he most likely would not survive. When I was released from the hospital I was informed that I would most likely have a problem with my liver for the rest of my life and require medication. I was also informed that the Preeclampsia probably originated from shellfish and I should be careful about the amount of this type of fish that I ate.
My son has a blood enzyme deficiency and is allergic to a number of primarily sulfur based drugs, in addition to aspirin and mothballs. He and I have been well over the past 17 years. I spent about a year going through restoration of my strength and other than experiencing a series of respiratory infections and pneumonia's when he was an infant and toddler, my son has been well. I have no ill affects from the Preeclampsia. I take no medications and experience good health. I have my liver checked annually and it has been fine. I attribute Adam's healing and my healing to the grace, mercy and healing power of God. Although I had two additional surgeries and quite an ordeal to go through, I knew that my son and I would be fine after I awakened after having believed I died.
In closing, I would like to be advised of different fund raising events you are planning and implementing for research into Preeclampsia as I am interested in participating.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit my story.
Eva R. Lacey
Ethan will be turning 3 at the end of this month (October). The month of October always brings up some scary memories and emotions for me... I never thought I would have a difficult pregnancy or labor. After all...