The Silent Attacker

Post On Wednesday, December 10, 2014 By Gretchen

The Silent Attacker

My battle with preeclampsia started just a week ago, literally.  Up until last Monday, I had the fairytale pregnancy: no morning sickness, no lack of energy, no problems whatsoever.  I went into my pregnancy very fit and active-I completed a 200 mile bike ride at 4 months pregnant and ran in a half marathon at 6.5 months and always had great blood pressure and health.  So, finding out that I had a serious medical condition/pregnancy complication was something that neither my husband nor myself were prepared for.

About a month ago (beginning of November), I noticed that I had somehow put on quite a bit of weight and struggled with watching the number on the scale grow.  I kept telling myself that putting on weight was good for the baby and me and it was "okay"-everyone told me it was "okay".  At my 28 week appointment, I realized that I had gained nearly 15lbs in just over two weeks.  When I expressed the concern with my doctor (as I had already gained more than the recommended 25-30lbs), his response was that I should a nutritionist.  I was mortified because there was no reason for me to see a nutritionist as I was watching what I was eating very carefully and keeping track of everything....I wasn't eating junk food and still worked out daily so it was frustrating for the doctor to say that to me.  I left that appointment very frustrated and depressed.  My blood pressure was elevated and I was given a checkup in two weeks. 

I didn't have to wait the two weeks.

After the Thanksgiving weekend, I weighed myself-10lbs gained in a week.  Yikes.  I was struggling with a bit of shortness of breath but I figured that was just due to the lack of sleep I was getting.  I wasn't feeling 100% but I related that to my lack of sleep and somewhat stress from work.  Either way, I decided to call my doctor's nurse to schedule an appointment because I knew something wasn't right.  When I told her my symptoms, her response was "you might have preeclampsia, come in right away to get some lab work done". 

Preeclampsia.  I had NO idea what it was and immediately looked it up online; webmd stated that it could cause death so I got a bit stressed out. 

My appointment didn't last long at the doctors.  After my blood pressure reading came back to high 160s/90, I was admitted to the labor and delivery triage where I sat for several hours as doctors waited for my lab results to come back.  I had my blood pressure taken every 15 minutes (it never went down) and simply waited for someone to tell me something.  Finally a doctor came in and said that my urine was so full of protein, they were unable to actually test it and that I now officially had a "mild" case of preeclampsia.  The nurses quickly moved me to another room where I awaited further testing and medical attention.

For the next several days, I had blood work done, an ultrasound and saw several doctors who continuously told me that they were waiting on lab work to come back to make decisions on what would happen to me and the baby.  I was only 33 weeks along and the doctors were trying to get it so I would make it to 37 weeks and then induce me.  However, I never made it that far.  Not even close.

After two nights in the hospital, a doctor finally came in and told me that I officially had severe preeclampsia and would be moving to another hospital that very night because they could no longer care for me there nor would they be able to care for my baby.  30 minutes later, I was on an ambulance to a new hospital.

The hospital was absolutely amazing in the care the doctors and nurses gave me and my baby girl from the minute we arrived.  From the minute I arrived, the doctors talked me through what would happen and what kind of medication I would get (including magnesium, muscle relaxers and a sort of other drugs).  The following morning, my contractions started and three hours later, I delivered a healthy 3.5lbs baby girl.  She was admitted to NICU immediately and spent only 12 hours there for some quick monitoring and then moved to the ICN (intermediate care nursery) where she has been since 4 December.

We're still waiting to bring her home as she slowly puts on weight and are grateful that she's receiving amazing care from a fabulous nursing team.

I never thought I'd give birth 6 weeks before I was due.  I never thought I'd be a mom of a baby in NICU/ICN.  I never thought I'd have to deal with and go through such extreme pregnancy complications over the course of a week.  However, I trust God with our baby girl and am grateful that He took care of us through the entire process!

My advice to any pregnant lady is to pay attention to your body and know when things seem to be out of whack and to seek help immediately.  There are no stupid questions when your life and life of your baby are lying on the table.

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