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Whatever It Takes

Last Updated on Monday, April 30, 2018

At the Preeclampsia Foundation we have small staff for such a large mission. We have just about one person per department and each of us works tirelessly on our mission area focus. We appreciate the opportunities where mission areas overlap and we get to work together as a team to leverage our knowledge in one area to support another. More and more we are getting volunteers who want to get involved in every aspect of the Preeclampsia Foundation.

Although the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia events utilize the majority of our volunteers, many people are surprised to learn that we have other opportunities for members of our community to get involved. Volunteers interested in Quality Improvement represent us and bring the patient perspective to state maternal health steering committees. Kristy Olds has been with the Preeclampsia Foundation since 2010 and has served as the Atlanta Promise Walk Chair, a Patient Support Network volunteer, and recently joined the Georgia Perinatal Quality Collaborative Advisory Board, representing the Preeclampsia Foundation, as a patient representative. For her tremendous efforts, she is this month's Champion of the Month.

Kristy came to the Preeclampsia Foundation through her own experience with preeclampsia; here's her story:

At 35 weeks and six days pregnant, on August 17, 2008 at approximately 2:30 a.m., I called my husband Richard at work and told him that I felt like I couldn’t breathe and needed to go to the hospital. About 30 minutes later, when we left for the hospital, I noticed that my fingers were blue.

When we arrived at the hospital, my blood oxygen level was at 67.  At that point, I was wheeled directly into a room and a swarm of nurses and doctors appeared around me. I was hooked to what seemed like every machine in the room and had a mask on my face forcing air into my throat and nose.

KristyinHospitalIt wasn't long before they determined that I was suffering with severe preeclampsia, cardiomyopathy, and pulmonary edema. My blood pressure was high, my heart function was very low, and my lungs were filled with fluid. I was told that they had to deliver my baby so that they could save my life. I was terrified!

At 1:05 p.m., Drew was born via c-section and, after seeing him for mere seconds, long enough to give him a kiss on the cheek, I was whisked to the ICU. Around 3:30 p.m., I went into respiratory arrest, as my body stopped breathing on its own. I was placed on a ventilator and my family was called in and told to prepare for the worst. A social worker went to speak with my husband and started asking questions to assess his ability to care for a newborn, if I were to die. After three days on the ventilator, my lungs were working again and the breathing tube was removed. After two more days in ICU, I was released to a Mother/Baby room and finally able to hold my baby for the first time on August 22, 2008. The hospital allowed my mom to bring Drew to back and stay in the room with me that night. We got to go home together on August 23, 2008!

Despite being a premature baby, Drew was born without any complications and has become a very smart, healthy, and active nine year old!

Because of her own experience, Kristy recognizes the importance of each of the Preeclampsia Foundation's areas of focus. She has been determined to help every way she can.

image16croppedI love my volunteer work for the Preeclampsia Foundation! I feel that by sharing my story, educating women and healthcare professionals about the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome, and helping to raise money for research, I am helping future generations avoid the tragic circumstances that are often a result of a preeclampsia and/or HELLP syndrome diagnosis.  

Kristy has proven she is willing to do whatever it takes to improve outcomes for moms and babies -- and she invites others to get involved.

If your life or the life of a loved one has been impacted by preeclampsia and/or HELLP syndrome, please get involved with the Preeclampsia Foundation TODAY! We need your help! There are so many women who could benefit from your support. We need your story and your willingness to reach out to women, families, and healthcare professionals to help find a cause and a cure for preeclampsia and/or HELLP syndrome and to show these women and families that they are not alone.    

 

Simply sharing your story can reduce isolation and spread awareness! Share your story here!

If you are interested in becoming a champion for the cause, please join us at our 2018 Preeclampsia Foundation Summit.

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