my experience with eclamsia

Post On Thursday, August 06, 2015 By Rachel

my experience with eclamsia

Almost a year ago I woke up in hospital to find that my baby had been born. I had, and still have, no memory the day she was born, or indeed the few days following. 

I had three eclamptic seizures at 31 weeks pregnant. Hind sight is wonderful, but sometimes i do feel immense grief at the fact that none of my symptoms were picked up until it was too late. 

I had had a normal and healthy pregnancy, traveled overseas and had low blood pressure throughout. At 29 weeks my blood pressure started to increase, and over the next two weeks more and more symptoms began to appear.

Despite being seen by an experienced midwife, having a strong family history (my mother and sister both had Pre-eclampsia) and symptoms such as shoulder pain, difficulty breathing and headaches, these were explained away. It was hormones, my muscles were relaxing and joints becoming loose, baby was probably starting to crowd my lungs - logical and fair answers to my individual questions, but not when looked at as a whole - as time would tell. 

The night before I had my daughter I not only felt like I couldn't breathe but I also felt a real sense of impending doom (another symptom of high blood pressure apparently).

My daughters birthday is, as I said a day I have no memory of. I apparently woke up and told my husband that I felt odd, before going in to the first of three seizures i would have that morning. Within the next two hours, I had been transported by ambulance to hospital, given medication, taken to theater and had a c-section. Helen was born at 2 pounds 10, or 1.2kg - she was taken immediately to the NICU at another hospital a half-hours drive away from where I was recovering in the ICU. 

I was in an induced coma for a day, and then finally, on day three, was transported to the same hospital as my daughter so i could meet her. Although I was still in ICU, the nurses wheeled her incubator down and was able to hold her tiny hand.

My recovery from then was quick, although my memory and insight into what had happened were terrible (I apparently kept asking to breastfeed her and didn't get that she was too tiny) and I felt constantly like an impostor in the ICU, I had no idea how sick i really was! I still was able to hold her every day and start to take over her cares, changing her nappy and giving her a feed through her tube. 

Helen spent the next 6 weeks in the NICU, and despite her early entrance into the world she is now a healthy, happy and gorgeous wee girl who's about to celebrate her first birthday. I'm so excited that I will remember that day!

As for myself I find that my experience comes back to me at odd times. I feel grief that I don't recall her fist few days, that I didn't meet her until she was three days old. I sometimes feel so frustrated that I had so many symptoms and no one picked up on it. I feel left out when woman talk about their births, both natural and c-section, because I can't relate to their experiences. I was so isolated those first 6 weeks and then so anxious when I brought her home. I hope by telling my story I might connect with mums who have had similar experiences -because above all I feel so grateful to be alive and to have a healthy baby and I don't want to always thinking of what could have been, but to embrace this reality that is my experience of motherhood. 

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