I survived Pre- and Post-Partum Preeclampsia

Post On Friday, May 02, 2014 By Marnie

I survived Pre- and Post-Partum Preeclampsia

I am doing my first "Promise Walk for Preeclampsia" on May 3, 2014!  I'm excited to support the Preeclampsia Foundation's mission to reduce infant and maternal illness and death due to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.Here's my story. I nearly died twice due to preeclampsia with my last pregnancy. I developed preeclampsia with my first pregnancy, in 2010/11. However, it was controlled and I delivered a healthy 6 lb. 9 oz. little boy at 38-weeks.  With my second pregnancy (2013), my blood pressure was great (118/69) pretty much the entire pregnancy - until 32 weeks. Suddenly, my blood pressure spiked (to 145/90+). I was already high risk (advanced maternal age, I was 41 at the time and already had a history of preeclampsia), so my doctors were on it right away. I was hospitalized for observation a few times in over the next two weeks.

On November 9, 2013, my brother-in-law got married - and I was in the wedding.  It was a busy weekend and I already wasn't feeling well.  I made it though the weekend and went to MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) for my NST on November 11th.  My BP was elevated - 165/95.  My doctor wanted to admit me for observation until 37 or 38 weeks (I was 34-weeks, 2 days). Having just arrived home from the wedding the day before, I begged him to let me go home.  He agreed, as long as I agreed to monitor my BP. I promised to do so (I already had been doing it throughout the pregnancy.  That night, my BP was elevated, but I was exhausted and thought I just needed to get some sleep. As soon as I woke the next morning, I took my BP. It was 175/97. I immediately called my OB who sent me to Triage (my hospital has an OB triage). The midwife on call at triage had me lay on my side and took my BP.  It was better.  She said ok, go home and come back in a few days if its high again. I explained to her that I couldn't lie on my side all day.  Moreover, my perinatologist told me that I would need to be admitted if it spiked again.  She nevertheless handed me my discharge papers and was, essentially, shooing me out of the hospital an hour and a half after I arrived. As I was getting dressed - crying because I knew I should not leave - I sent my husband over to my perinatologist (in the office right next to triage) to get my doctor (the midwife refused to do so).  My husband, mom and 3-year old son were all with me at the time.  I noticed the the baby was very still during while the monitor was on me.  I ask the midwife about this too.  She wasn't concerned - initially.  My husband came back and told me that the perinatologist was going to see me.  The midwife then came back and acted like she missed the non-movement on the monitor and SHE wanted the perinatologist to examine me. When they rolled me (in a wheelchair) next door and took my BP, it was 175/97 (again).  I started crying (almost in happiness that I wasn't crazy). 

My doctor hugged me, apologized for the midwife's treatment of me and stepped out for a minute. When he returned he calmly said that he had just "spoken with my OB and they agreed that they were going to 'admit me'... and I was going to have my baby today."  I was shocked, scared (for my baby, since I was 34-weeks) and relieved that I was going to be taken care of. I delivered our son less than two hours later.Fast forward to the next day - I was finally able to meet our son who was in the NICU. I was on Magnesium (to prevent seizures), so I wasn't able to get out of bed for the first 24-hours.  The next day I walked down to my perinatologist's office to talk to him (yes, less than 36-hours after having a c-sec).  He said, "wait, what are you doing here" (I saw a different perinatologist on the 12th - when I had the emergency c-sec)?  I told him what happened and he asked me why I came to the hospital. I said, "because you told I needed to if my BP went up." He thanked me for listening to him and told me that I most likely would have been FOUND UNCONSCIOUS or worse, had I not gone to the hospital. I stood there and cried.  How frightening - on so many levels. Fast forward a few more days.  My BP started rising. The doctors chalked it up to stress of having a baby in the NICU. I ended up staying in the hospital for two more days to get my BP under control. I was sent home with BP meds. I struggled to find a doctor to follow my BP and meds because I was I between family doctors. Four weeks later my BP rose to 225/120.  I was at a cardiologist's office at the time.

He wanted me to immediately go to the ER. I didn't want to go. I wanted to go home and to be with my boys. I was suffering from postpartum preeclampsia, but didn't realize that I could have had a stroke or that I could die. Now, nearly six months later, my BP is finally undercontrol (after the right combination of medications). If you are breastfeeding, and your medication is not working, you come first!! Get on a BP medication that will help you. I waited too long - it could have cost me my life. Please, please make sure your friends and family know about the risks of preeclampsia. Also, YOU NEED TO BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE. If something doesn't seem right, go with your gut and don't stop until you get answers that make sense. Our little peanut will be six months old in a week and is doing great!

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