What was your tip-off?

This section is for discussions with other women who have probably been through the same signs/symptoms that you may be experiencing. Please note, we cannot offer medical advice and encourage members to discuss their concerns with their doctors. New members, come on in and introduce yourself!
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Re: What was your tip-off?

Postby afraidpre2ndtime » Wed Feb 18, 639576 2:06 am

I had read some vague literature on Pre E when I was in the beginning of my pregnancy. Didn't think too much about it. Then, around 32 weeks, the swelling had reached my face, hands, thighs, EVERYWHERE. The swelling was so bad that I couldn't physically bend my knees. I couldn't bend my fingers. I told my doc (who I actually trust and is very good at her job) and she said I did look swollen, but it was a "normal" side effect of pregnancy. I was gaining about 5 lbs per week at that point when all along I had been "on target" for weight gain. I wasn't worried about the weight gain- I expected to while pregnant. It was the PAINFUL swelling that made me start taking notes with every symptom.

The swelling got beyond "not being able to bend my knees" when my calf skin and tops of my feet blistered and began splitting because the skin was stretched so tightly. That's when I put myself on modified bedrest, only getting out of bed to go to work (at a desk), sleeping with my feet inclined over my head (slept like a contortionist), drinking only water, eating only veggies. I didn't know what else to do. My docs were still telling me it was "normal" pregnancy symptoms because my bp was only slightly elevated to 130/90 when usually I was 120/80. I only showed trace protein in my urine when they did the dip stick at visits.

At 33w, I saw flashing spots that lasted for about one minute. I hadn't done any sudden movements like stand after lying down. I told doc. She said she's "watch it".
At 34w (keep in mind I'm still barely able to move my body because of edema), I had heart palpitations, trouble breathing. Told doc. Nothing happened.
At 35w I stopped peeing. I was drinking almost a gallon of water per day and only peeing twice per day. Where was all the water going? Told doc. Nothing happened.

I was seeing my docs twice per week by this point because I have a high risk pregnancy due to pre-existing type 1 diabetes (diagnosed as a thin kid). We did NST twice per week and baby showed no signs of stress. My bp was still normal, my urine still normal.

After five weeks of not being able to move, nearly in tears just from simple walking (coming from someone who walks miles upon miles every day in stilettos with no issues), I had a migraine that lasted for 12 hours. I didn't think too much of it, didn't know just how serious Pre E could be (death), and wanted to ignore it because I had been listing off all the symptoms to my docs for weeks and they didn't do anything about it. I thought I was just being paranoid. I had gotten migraines at the very beginning of pregnancy to the point of vomiting. I wanted to wait this one out. My husband insisted that I go to ER. i was admitted with bp 215/156. I don't know the protein level of my urine at that point, but they said it was "slightly elevated". I delivered the next day after 21 hours of labor, ending in emergency c section because baby showed distress.

I'm 28w pregnant again now. My baseline 24hr urine was 189. I'm itchy all over for past two weeks. No noticeable swelling as of now. I asked to do another 24 hr urine and the doc said I didn't need to unless there was an issue. My main concern is that I went undiagnosed for several weeks. I do NOT want that to happen again. I'm closing in on 32w soon. Am hoping to avoid the whole Pre E thing, but I just have a bad feeling about how this is going to turn out. But, so long as me and my baby turn out okay, I will be alright. This is our final pregnancy. I can't go through this again. I'm getting fixed ten minutes after delivery.

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Re: What was your tip-off?

Postby JBNYC » Tue Sep 11, 639573 3:40 pm


Our tip off was we had no tip off at all. My wife thought the walk to the OB office (10 blocks) and the fact that she thought the coffee guy gave her regular rather than decaf was why her BP was elevated. Thankfully, our OB was all over us at the first sign of the high BP and sent us to L&D and ordered the 24hr urine.

My point being, this disease can fool you very easily. If there is any possibility that you think you might be developing PE go and see you care provider and ask to be tested. At times, we don't push our Dr. because we think "well they're the Dr. they must be right." With all the information available to us today there is nothing wrong with saying I think this might be going on and I want to be tested.

Stay well.

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Re: What was your tip-off?

Postby princesspurr » Tue Aug 07, 639573 7:09 pm

My tip off was swelling and a high blood pressure reading. I tend to be on the paranoid side, and read a medical pregnancy book and it was the ONLY reason I was aware of preeclampsia. I remember going to work and coming home and telling my husband I felt puffy. My feet looked very swollen. I stopped at the drug store and took my blood pressure which was up to 158/86 I think. I called my doc who told me to head to the hospital. I was expected to just get checked out and sent home. They did blood work, found my uric acid was elevated, kept me to do a 24 hour protein collection, it came back in the 600s and I was admitted and then transferred to a different hospital.
Val (32) & Carlos (30)
Married: April 29th 2011
Veronica Rosina, 11/25/2004-11/27/2004
Born at 26.5 weeks because of severe preeclampsia (doc says I was on my way to HELLP but not there yet)

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Re: What was your tip-off?

Postby ellemoon » Thu Apr 12, 639573 6:43 pm

My tip-off was high BP and generally not feeling well and headaches. I had horrible pitting edema from about 24 weeks on and they just told me it was normal swelling. I couldn't even wear shoes. I was SO swollen every where. My face started to swell the week the pre-e was discovered though. I also started to see "spots" or "stars" like little fireflies flying around for about 30 seconds at a time. I was about 27 weeks when I first started to see those. (I still see them occasionally, my eye doctor says it's permanent damage) Anyway, my BP started to creep up to the 150/100 range but they still didn't take it seriously. That Monday, I went over (I work in the office which is even worse) and they checked my BP (high, of course) and they dipped my urine. It was 1+ and they hooked me up to the NST which was fine. I still didn't feel well. They didn't send me home... Well, that night I had a horrible headache and checked my BP and it was 150/106 even after lying on my left side for over an hour. So, I called the doctor on call and she told me to take another BP pill and go to bed (Seriously?!) and to come see her in the morning. Well, that morning my BP was 150s/100s and she told me that she didn't think it was pre-e but she was going to take me out on bedrest. Well, the nurse came in a few minutes later and told her my urine showed 4+ protein. So, I was immediately sent to L&D. My 24 hour urine was over 1900. 6 days before that my 24 hour urine was 164. So, I progressed quickly. I ended up delivering DD by classical c-section 5 days later. I'm still bitter that they didn't take me seriously and didn't put me on bedrest when my BP first started to rise. Being a chronic hypertensive, they just assumed that's what it was. So honestly, even my doctors weren't "tipped off" by my symptoms. (Which is ridiculous) What I'm trying to get at is, a lot of the symptoms can be misinterpreted as just regular pregnancy symptoms. ALWAYS go with your gut feeling. If things don't feel right... MAKE them take you seriously, even if it turns out to be nothing. If I have another pregnancy, I'm sure I will bug the crap out of them but I don't care. I want a healthy pregnancy. You are your own advocate.
Leslie (26) DH (28)
Chronic hypertensive since age 17
DD- born April 24, 2011 due to severe pre-e at 29w1d weighing 2lbs, 11oz
Diagnosed with homozygous MTHFR C677T
Pregnant with #2! Due 9/2/13 but will deliver at 36-37 weeks due to classical csection.
(Labetolol, HCTZ, Aspirin 81mg, Calcium, Mag, Zinc, D, Fish Oil, Fiber gummies, Folic Acid)

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Re: What was your tip-off?

Postby marilyn621 » Mon Apr 02, 639573 1:14 am

My first tip-off was the weight gain as well. I only gained 30 lbs total, but about half of it was within a week. I went in one day weighing about 140 and the next appointment I was almost 160 and my doctor told me to watch what I eat. Which quite frankly ticked me off because I had been having what they called "heartburn," which was actually not heartburn at all, that prevented me from eating very much at all. The headaches were a major tip-off. They were not subtle. My doctor told me it was normal and to take Tylenol. One symptom that bothered me, and that I don't hear people talk about much, is that I ITCHED all over. There were no bumps, bites, or rashes, but my doctor refused to see me about it and told me to put Benadryl on it (on exactly what I was supposed to put the Benadryl, I'm not sure). I learned later that the itching is a symptom of your kidneys shutting down. In short, I'm sure these symptoms by themselves may have seemed like normal pregnancy stuff, but they were not. And no one took me seriously until I actually checked into L&D after I went into labor and they told me I had pre-eclampsia.
Scarlett Elizabeth born 12-16-05, 40wks +3, severe PE
Miscarried 11/2011
Rachel Irene born 9-19-12, chronic hypertension and mild PE, induced at 37wks+3,delivered via c-section 37wks+5

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Re: What was your tip-off?

Postby Angela0281 » Sat Mar 31, 639573 2:43 pm

I had gained 15lbs in 1 week!! They tested my liver enzymes..fine they tested my urine...fine I kept telling them that my blood pressure at 140-150's over 90's was not normal and was a precursor to preeclampsia and the fact that in the am when your supposed to wake up and look like a million dollars I would wake up and look like I got punched in the face or ran over by a mac truck my ankles and lower legs were so massive they looked like they belonged to a 1 ton person but you know pregnancy causes swelling I was fine! Just listen to yourself and don't be afraid to be persistent being my first pregnancy I had no idea what to expect I knew something wasn't right but all my labs came back "borderline" it then became hellp syndrome which is usually what happens when preeclampsia goes undiagnosed my platelets the night i was induced were 92,000 normal range is 200,000 their is no I told you so when it comes to you and your babies life good luck hang in there!

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Re: What was your tip-off?

Postby cranberries » Sun May 03, 639570 2:57 am

I sought help for back pain. I had a deep, dull ache in my back that would not go away with rest or massage. By the time I went in I was already in kidney and liver failure.

Looking back, I had some other signs....but my bp and urine were normal when all of these other signs were going on. My signs were excessive swelling, bruises that were slow to heal, seeing stars.

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Re: What was your tip-off?

Postby sam10 » Thu Apr 09, 639570 12:25 am

The problem with PE is that some of the symptoms are also normal pregnancy symptoms, which do not need to occur in any specific succession, severity and/or must be all present. Some women even feel fine, not knowing they are sick. This makes it sometimes hard to diagnose PE, which is why for an official diagnosis of PE, you need to have 300plus mg proteinuria and two BP readings of 140/90 six hours apart.

At the time I got sick (around 21 weeks) I had no clue what was going on, but in retrospect it is all clear: I felt ill/flue like from one day to the next, I had severe swelling in feet, hands and face (including my eyes), extreme weight gain in a short period of time (I lost 35 lbs of water weight just a few days after birth). Also my hands/fingers were hurting and tingling a lot, and I could not stretch out my fingers at all, especially in the morning. I do not know about my BP at the time, nor my urine, as I was not checking it at home. At my next prenatal appointment (about 3 weeks later - 24 weeks) I was hospitalized and diagnosed with severe PE.

Here is a link about the protein-levels in PE

MC 3/2009 and 3/2011
H (1/1/2010-1/7/2010) - forever loved and missed; severe PE with Hellp; partial placental abruption, classical c-section at 25.6 weeks
M (Nov. 2012, born at 35.4 weeks) - severe PE

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Re: What was your tip-off?

Postby midwestmom » Wed Apr 08, 639570 9:53 pm

1. My 1st tip-off that something was wrong was that I gained 17lbs in one month. My OB turned to my husband during the exam and says to him "what has she been eating???" I was furious!!! Anyone ob with any sense should be suspicious of over 4lbs per week of weight gain at the beginning of 3 trimester (week 28)....especially when that was my primary concern, I knew I wasn't eating irresponsibly!
Well, fortunately for me she ordered a 24hr. urine catch "just to cover all the bases" which came back slightly elevated. Pre-e hit me quickly after that and I delivered 1week and 3 days later. I was fortunate that I saw her partner in the practice at the one week follow-up appointment who put me in the hospital and hooked me up with an MFM. I got steroid shots that night and delivered 3 days later.

I also had pitting edema in my legs starting mid-second trimester, and EXTREME pain and tingling in my hands and forearms. I assumed those were normal pregnancy symptoms, but not the extreme weight gain.
Son born by emergency C-section due to severe preeclampsia in August 2009. Born 29wks2days weighing 3lbs, he is a healthy toddler now.

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What was your tip-off?

Postby arwen » Wed Apr 08, 639570 2:52 am

So many of the PE symptoms seem like they could also be regular pregnancy symptoms. I'm constantly waffling between "am I being too hyper vigilant?" and "no, there really is something wrong, it's just subtle right now." So I figured I'd ask:

1) What was your tip-off that something was wrong?
2) Was it subtle or overt?
3) If it was subtle, how did it seem to differ from normal pregnancy discomforts?
4) Did people take you seriously, or did you have to fight for correct treatment?

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