During my pregnancy, I had several signs of pre-eclampsia, but my doctor ignored ALL of
During my pregnancy, I had several "signs" of pre-eclampsia, but my doctor ignored ALL of them. I had upper right abodomen pain the last 3 months of my pregnancy. I had an extreme weight loss in one week of 10 pounds, and then the following week I gained 8 pounds. My husband noticed pitting edema during my delivery, and I also had numerous headaches throughout my pregnancy.
My healthy baby was born in September 2001. I was 38 years old & I carried her full term. She was my third girl, and she was the largest and easiest of all my deliveries. Right after delivery, I developed a low grade fever & chills. The fever subsided, & I was sent home.
Luckily my husband had decided to stay home for a couple of weeks, because what happened next we were not prepared for. We were enjoying a movie at home, when the "exploding headache" started. This is not the first time I got to experience pre-eclampsia or eclampsia. After the birth of our second daughter, I developed the same headache. However, as we learned later, I was actually experiencing post partum-eclampsia. The only thing that saved me the first time was that they gave me a diuretic that somehow must have lowered my bloodpressure. My headache slowly went away, and they never even questioned why I had it.
This time, the headache started up. It was the same exact headache I had experienced before. It was so bad that I could not even lay down. When I laid down, I could actually feel the veins in my head throbbing every time my heart beat. I have a VERY high tolerence for pain, so when my husband found me leaning against our stairs crying because the pain was so bad he began to worry. First he called the doctors office. After waiting all day for a return phone call, he decided to go to the emergency room & see if he could get some answers. He explained my symptoms to the er nurse, but they blew him off. Then he stopped by the doctors office. They told him to basically take two tylenol & call them in the morning. My headached continued all the next day. In the middle of the night, I couldn't take it any longer & my husband called the doctor. Of course he got the answering service. The doctor on call (who is a cranky old man) was "put out" because my husband was bothering him in the middle of the night about a headache. He told my husband to fill the damn prescription for Darvocet they prescribed for pain when I was in the hospital. I hadn't even filled the prescription because I was not in any pain after delivery. He had to find a 24 hour pharmacy & get it filled. I took the Darvocet, but he headache continued.
I called the doctor who delivered the baby first thing in the a.m.. Finally 8 hours later she returns my call. After my husband explains to her that my headache is so severe that I wanted to "blow my head off to stop the pain", sheasks to speak to me. She tells me to drink a can of coke!! She explains that caffeine will help the headache. I said you don't understand how much my head hurts. She said if it gets worse, go to the emergency room.
Luckily I have a friend who is a nurse. She happened to call, & I explained what was going on. She told me to take 3 aspirin, 2 benadryl, and to drink it with a coke. The aspirin probably saved my life. My husband told me to go upstairs to try & get some sleep, so I laid down with one of my older children. I woke about 2:00 in the morning, and my headache was back in full swing. I went to the restroom to get more medicine when the baby woke up. She was wet so I decided to change her. Luckily I laid her down on the bedroom floor, and the last thing I remember was my fingers & hands curling up. I yelled out to my husband in the next room. I said "help, something is wrong". He found me in a full blown seizure laying on top of the baby. Luckily he used to be a paramedic. He turned me over & stabalized me, grabbed the baby, called 911 & ran next door. My neighbor is an ICU nurse. Of course I quite breathing. My neighbor called my doctors office & told them she thought I had a stroke. Her response was "well it sounds like you have everything under control". She couldn't believe what she heard. I remember waking up in my bedroom surrounded by paramedics. I was not happy because they were trying to put a neck collar on me. I remember part of the ambulance ride, but the next 3 days were a blur. I remember bits & pieces, but that's about it. Unfortunately, my 4 year old happened to be sleeping in my bedroom & got to witness most of the seizure & paramedic episode. She was very traumatized by it & still talks about it.
My blood pressure was stroke level & I remained in labor & delivery ICU for 3 days. They thought it was under control & sent me home with blood pressure medicine. I was home for about 4 hours when the headache began again. My husband took my blood pressure & it was sky high. I was admitted to ICU again for 2 more days. After 5 days in the hospital, I was finally released. When I got home, they still had trouble regulating my blood pressure. I also had tremors & weakness for about 2 weeks. I thought I had developed parkinsons disease. Needless to say, my husband fired my ob. They did not even call or come by the hospital to see how I was doing.
I remained on blood pressure medicine for about a month, but luckily it has returned to normal & I am off all medicines. I was told that it is very rare to have this happen not once, but twice. I hope that by writing this, I can help some other person avoid what I had to go through. We have decided to definately not have any more children since the possiblity of this happening again are high and probably life threatening.
More research needs to be done, and more awareness of the symptoms of this devasting condition.
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...