I had a great pregnancy. We were so excited as it took us about
I had a great pregnancy. We were so excited as it took us about 2 years to get pregnant in the first place. I was first diagnosed with PCOS, so in order to get pregnant, was put on Metformin and rounds of Clomid. When that didn't work, we did an IUI with an Ovadryl shot which did work. We were even more excited at 20 weeks when we found out it was a boy.
I didn't have any problems until 5 months pregnant with severe headaches. I was prescribed Tylenol. Repeat headaches. They recommended Tylenol 3 which I refused to taken for fear that it would affect the baby even though they told me it would not.
Around 32-34 weeks, my left leg started to swell and I continued to have headaches. The doctor's were not concerned. My blood pressure was regular and test results were all okay. At 36 weeks, I arrived home from work one afternoon and was crippled with a blinding headache and vision changes. We called the doctor and were told to just relax and take a hot shower. At my persistence, they told us to go on down to the hospital for a check.
After about 2 hours of testing, I was admitted with preeclampsia stage 2 or HELLP. They induced and I had our 4 pound 13 oz baby boy 10 hours later. The baby was fine despite his small size. My stats continued to decline, platelets got down to 48K and liver enzymes peaked at 334 and 244. BP was 153/81. I was on Magnesium for the first 24 hours given continued migraines. My regular OB at the time apparently didn't know much about HELLP, and scared to hell out of us in the hospital advises us of the worst case. Despite that, I slowly got better and stayed in the hospital for a week.
It took quite a few weeks of taking my daily blood pressure and testing for my levels to come back to normal (however my platelets are still on the low side of the acceptable range and Lymphs are high). For the next 3-4 months, I couldn't sleep, anxiety, and overall feeling prompted my OB to put me on depression medicine for a short time. About 6-12 months later, I started to have a great deal of muscle and joint pain. After a couple referrals to a Rheumatologist, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I still have the symptoms on and off, almost 3 years later. In the evenings, I sometimes still get thumping headache (but not anywhere near as bad as the one's when I was pregnant).
We are trying to decide on trying for a second child despite the fact I am now 35. While a high risk OB has given us hope that my case was not as bad as many, the fact that the first two doctors painted a very different picture is complicating my decision.
In my additional research, I have found that fertility treatments as well as PCOS (insulin resistance) increase your changes of preeclampsia and HELLP. No one told us! I have not however found anything regarding cause or effect with autoimmune but we are doing a ton of blood work to determine anything more there.
While I apparently had "no symptoms", later visits to my OB seems to indicate that they did know it was coming. Why don't doctors do a simple liver enzyme test at the first onset of any related symptoms? That simple test may have helped thousands of women and babies that didn't make it because it would have detected it when other tests did not. If there is anything we can do to raise awareness, better educate mothers as well as doctors, I believe my experience as well as many others would have been much better.
I thank God everyday for my healthy son and that I am alive. It could have easily gone the other way if we didn't insist on going to the hospital that day. I pray for all of the families, mothers and babies that have been affected by HELLP.
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 ...