Hi. My name is Mrs. Jennifer Neal and I live in southeastern North Carolina. I
Hi. My name is Mrs. Jennifer Neal and I live in southeastern North Carolina. I have had not one, but three toxemic pregnancies. My first pregnancy, I went from 89 lbs. to 172 lbs. I am 5' 3" tall. I was 23 when she was born. The toxemia showed up two weeks before my daughter, Britny, was born. She weighed 6 lbs. 12 1/2 oz. I lost her fraternal twin early in the pregnancy. She didn't breathe for around 3 1/2 minutes after her birth due to the position she descended in the birth canal. Luckily, she is a very healthy and intelligent 11 yr. old now.
My second pregnancy, I went from 110 lbs. to 186 lbs. I was 25 years old. It is important to note that I avoided salt and salt foods and ate lots of fruits and vegetables in all of my pregnancies. I developed the toxemia around 6 months gestation and was on bed rest until Tyler was born. He weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. and was healthy; had a great apgar score. He has asthma. He is now 8 years old.
My last pregnancy was a scary one. I was 30 years old. I went from 110 lbs. to 198 lbs. I watched myself blow up and swell, and the Dr I was seeing at Duke University Medical Center in Fayetteville, NC said she thought my blood pressure was always high and I shouldn't be high risk. The nurses felt otherwise and could see it happening. If she would have looked at my chart, she would have seen that normally, my blood pressure was really low. A normal for me before and after past pregnancies was around 90/50 to 100/60. The nurses detected blood in my urine and protein. They sent me to the hospital, while this doctor sent me home to wait for contractions. I was due in two days. I walked around for weeks dilated to 3 cm. I was so swollen and hurt so much, I couldn't sleep at all. I was crying from the pain. Finally, I decided to check in to a local hospital and beg them to help me. While waiting for the Dr. to make rounds, I lost my mucus plug. When he came in around 8 a.m., he checked me and asked if I was ready to have this baby. Then, he broke my bag of waters. He had no idea that my previous pregnancies were toxemic or that I had less than 4 hour labors, with the last being barely an hour. Duke had not sent my info over by fax yet. When I told my nurse that it was time, she couldn't believe it. It was too soon.
The nurse midwife came in. I had had 3 shots of morphine and it didn't even dent the pain. I was ten centimeters and pushing, but it felt as if my insides were being ripped apart. All of a sudden the nurse midwife ordered me to stop pushing. I screamed, "I can't"! My body had taken over. She turned me to my side, crossed my legs, and pushed the table so that my head was below my feet. She ordered the nurse to call Dr. Hepler stat. He was on his way to the Health Dept to give a class before having to come back to the hospital. When he arrived, I could tell something wasn't right. He asked if I was sure I wanted my tubes tied as the papers had been signed. My husband said "Yes, she does." He asked me again and I screamed, "Yes! I can't take this ever again"! Then he said, "Even if the baby doesn't make it?" I said yes. All I knew was I was in such terrible pain. This was my second marriage, my husband's first and only child. I was wheeled in for an emergency c-section. When the Dr. woke me, he said "you were white as a sheet and I thought we had lost you". I explained, briefly, about my past history. He looked at his midwife, as the fax had never come from Duke.
Jerry Lynn was a whopping 9 lbs. 10 1/2 oz.! He is a very healthy 3 yr. old now and is over 3 feet tall and 38 lbs. If it wasn't for Dr.Hepler, my baby and I may have died. He said Jerry Lynn's heart had stopped and my blood pressure went to coma level. My normal blood pressure has always been low. I have never been a big person, but I always, no matter how careful I was, gained an extraordinary amount of weight and water during pregnancies. I am now down to 120, which is a healthy size for me. I sometimes wish I could have had just one or two more children, but I was not going to leave my existing children motherless or risk losing a baby.
I have volunteered for the study being conducted at Wake University for preeclampsia. I hope I can help someone with my story. When they tell you that it only happens with one pregnancy in your lifetime, don't believe it. I had it with all three.
Mrs. Jennifer Lynne Cain-Neal
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