My story began I am sure similarly to that of other women. We found out
|My story began I am sure similarly to that of other women. We found out we were pregnant and weren't trying, so it was more of a surprise. I am felt very lucky that we were able to be pregnant without help. I went through morning sickness (pretty badly) and other symptoms of pregnancy. Bloating, nauseous, had no real food cravings except for chocolate milk AND definite food aversions. Things got better around the 5th month. I went to a baby shower in my hometown (flew to get there) and felt a little odd and bloated. Spent the weekend with family and friends, had a great time as we found out we were having a little girl. Upon returning to my current town (where my husband was born and raised), I went back to work and kept doing my normal activities. However, I was noticing signs of major water retention and didn't give much credence to it and my doctor told me that was to be expected. At week 30, I went for my 7 1/2 month check up and the nurses couldn't find my blood pressure. It took 3 tries before they found it. From that moment on, I was to be on bedrest. I went home and that afternoon tried to nap but we had folks doing things to our upstairs so we could move up there when the baby came. So it wasn't as restful as I would've liked but again that is normal. This was a Wednesday. My father-in-law came over around 5:00ish and took my blood pressure again. He is a retired doctor and thank goodness, checked on me. Apparently, my blood pressure at this point was 200/180. I didn't know this at the time but we were told we should go to the hospital to have them check me. We got there and I was examined and given a steroid shot as well as other things to keep my bp stable and hopefully lower it. I was there for two evenings and released on Fri. afternoon with the idea that I was to stay in bed except to go to the bathroom. Friday night, I went to bed and was just glad to have the experience behind us. I wasn't thrilled about being in bed but at least every thing seemed to be o.k. I woke up Saturday and felt pretty good. Spoke to my parents on the phone and then tried to eat an english muffin. That is when I started to feel sick at my stomach and from that point on I couldn't keep water down. We went to the ER and re-admitted around noon. We were told by the doctors and neonatologist that this baby would come either that day or the next. I was given another steroid shot, magnesium sulfate and a number of other things which were too many to name. I felt like I was an outsider of myself watching all these things happening to my body. I was so scared about the baby that I had no idea what kind of trouble I was in. We got through Sat. and woke up Sunday with the idea that they were going to give me Pitocin (sp.?) to start contractions. I remember just laughing to myself thinking there is no way I am having this little one vaginally because I knew she wasn't ready. So after about 6 hours of waiting and 1 contraction they decided to prep me for a cesarean. That was honestly the easiest part of the whole experience. We had our daughter at 3:44 p.m. on Sunday, April 18th, 2004. She weighed 2lbs. and 15 oz. which I remember being shocked because I thought she would be a bit bigger than that. We are/were very lucky to have her survive given the statistics on a baby that size and that early. She did well on the Apgar scores, 6 & 8 respectively but then that was the last I saw of my little girl as they wheeled her out and I was put back together. I was put back in L & D and was on a clear broth diet. Fun after every thing you have been through but I still didn't understand what had happened. It was explained later on that I had HELLP syndrome I was told my heart was going in to failure (which is why they brought an x-ray machine to the roomso they could look at my lungs which were filling up with fluid). My liver was in failure as it hurt and I thought it was gas. My kidneys had shut down as I had not produced any output for 24 hours. Looking back, I knew that there was something severely wrong but it was such an odd experience as I had never been in the hospital for more than a few hours my entire life. I was there for almost 2 weeks! After being released from the hospital with out our daughter, I was to be on bed rest and take these pills to keep blood pressure down. The highest it reached was 210/190. I had always had good blood pressure but somehow I felt guilty that I had done something wrong and was being punished. If I hadn't had high blood pressure none of this would have happened. It was later explained that there is no control over this and it happens to healthy women without any warning. Upon my 6 week check up, I was told that I could have had a seizure or stroke from the day my symptoms acted up to the appointment. I remember thinking why don't more people know about this, am I the only one? I remember talking to friends at a baby shower after the fact. No one could relate to my experience. I felt so alone and I had no one to talk to. People were great and helpful but no one to share my feelings of anger, fear, guilt, and huge case of the "what ifs". It has been over a year and I am in a good place with what has happened to my body and how lucky we were that our story turned out the way it did. I believe that it is VERY important to make women and doctors more aware of these conditions because I had heard of them but never understood what they meant nor what happened. Also, making women aware of the possible life long affects of these complications. In our case, I would gladly take these over not having our beautiful little girl. She has had her fair share of complications as well with being a preemie. However, I am very, very thankful that our story turned out the way it did. I just wish that more people knew what causes this to help women and their babies from going through this. I am truly sorry for those women and babies who fought so bravely to be here and yet didn't win the battle. It makes me cry every time I hear stories about women who have lost children, or children who have lost their mothers. I want to help so that there doesn't need to be that kind of pain and separation. May god bless ALL the moms of this condition and their little ones.|
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...