In the sixth week of my pregnancy, my legs and feet became so swollen that
In the sixth week of my pregnancy, my legs and feet became so swollen that it became too painful walk. After a visit to the urgent care and relatively high BP (which they claimed was "nerves"), I consulted my OB about the problem. That is when he took me in for my very first sonogram to show me that the baby was fine and simply said, "Every pregnancy is different...you need to wear more comfortable shoes." Rest assured, the swelling went down as my pregnancy progressed.
As time went on and into my second trimester, my husband and I began planning our future around our daughter, Aya June. Since the city school I was working at had decided to close its doors at the end of the school year, we decided it would be best for the baby to move up north, to be around family, and began making such plans. We had ended our lease on our apartment, signed up for severance and job transfers, and had the boxes packed and ready to go. We were doing great! Then, our world came crashing down...
Approaching my third trimester (22 weeks), in my last week of work, and approaching "the big move" I began feeling extremely fatigued. I noticed the baby wasn't moving as much, and I had lost my appetite. One day I had left work early to nap and my upper back (which I know where my kidneys are) began aching. I thought nothing of it seeing that I had muscle tension from an old racquetball injury near the same spot. So I took a warm shower and went to sleep. At 4am I woke with extreme back pain and a headache so bad it felt like my head was caught in a vice. I got up to use the bathroom and began uncontrollably vomiting. This went on for hours even after trying to lay down, drink water, and take another warm shower. Unaware of the symptoms of preeclampsia or other complications, we waited for our OB's office to open (they never gave us an emergency number). At 8am we called and talked to the nurse about the symptoms. She said not to go to the urgent care unless I couldn't keep water down. So it goes.
Thirty minutes later I was at the UC where I was given medication for nausea and also an IV. The doctor kept us there for two hours before he sent us to the hospital. When we arrived they checked my protein levels and BP. They put me on magnesium, gave me a catheter, took blood, then and gave a series of other tests including a regular and kidney ultrasound. They had yet to explain to me what was going on. They were aghast when I mentioned the swelling in my first trimester and questioned why my OB didn't address it. Hours later, my BP raised to 210/103 and I was in and out of consciousness. Since it was a Catholic hospital, they could not induce labor, so my husband and I were sent to another hospital fifteen minutes across town via ambulance (mind you, my I was on the verge of a stroke). When we got there, they did a second ultrasound and could not find the baby's heartbeat. That is when everything went black and they induced labor that night with suppositories. I woke writhing in labor pain. They had tried to hold a "cold blanket" over me which was meant to reduce my 103 fever, but I wasn't having it. I had asked the nurse for pain medication, but no avail. I could feel the baby halfway out of me with no doctor in sight. I screamed for help and finally the resident doctor came in (they sent me to a hospital which my doctor did not deliver at). The delivery was over in less than five minutes. My daughter, Aya June, was 1 pound and 11 inches long. I was held up recovering in the hospital for a week. One resident doctor said that I will never be able to have children, while another said that if taking the proper precautions I could. We were heartbroken and torn.
Four weeks out of the hospital, I went to visit my OB for a followup. Not only did they have no records of my hospital stay, but they also had mistaken my visit for a prenatal! With all that I had been through, this was the final straw. They tried to get me to fill out a postpartum survey, but I refused because of liability. I am angry at the lack of medical attention that I received and am currently filing a lawsuit for malpractice. Though my case is considered so rare, the more I learn about this disease and the symptoms I had, my daughter would still be alive if someone would have paid closer attention. No one can pick up these pieces of me, but I very much want to work to spread awareness and educate people about preeclampsia. Never in my life do I ever want the symptoms to go unnoticed or ignored again while even young in the trimesters.
After surviving a very traumatic first pregnancy with a nightmare delivery (30 hours of magnesium-induced hell, ending in an emergency c-section) and even more debilitating recovery, one would think I was DONE having children. Let's be ...