Our Story..from Pre-Eclampsia to HELLP Syndrome

Post On Thursday, April 07, 2016 By Amy

Our Story..from Pre-Eclampsia to HELLP Syndrome

It has taken a lot for me to get to the point where I can share my story. I have wanted to share the story for a long time but reliving every detail was just more than I could handle. I am now ready. If I can help just one person by sharing and spreading awareness of pregnancy / labor complications, then this journey was more than worth it. Please read our story below.. Our Story: Up until 28 weeks I had a normal pregnancy with no issues. On March 12th my right leg swelled up to about 3 times its normal size. I looked as though I had one elephant leg and one giraffe leg. I called my doctor thinking it was just normal “pregnancy swelling”, and to my surprise I was told to go straight to hospital. (I had waited till 5 pm to call so instead of seeing my doctor I had to go to hospital, which I was kicking myself for.) Once I had arrived at hospital the doctors were baffled how large my leg had become. They said they have never seen anything like it. They monitored the baby and she was perfect. I had an ultrasound on my leg to check for blood clots and nothing appeared. I was discharged from hospital. My diagnosis was “pregnancy related swelling.” On April 17, I went in for a routine check up. To everyone’s surprise my blood pressure had become sky high and I had gained major weight. I had barely gained any through most of the pregnancy. My doctor sent me to the hospital yet again saying I had side effects of pre-eclampsia and needed to be monitored closely. After 12 hours of monitoring I was sent home again. I was on strict bed rest until my check up after the weekend. Bed rest was an eye opening experience. I was told all I could get up for was to go to the bathroom and a 2 minute shower. Who can shower in 2 minutes? Im also a very independent clean freak so not being able to clean or do anything was really stressful. I was only on bed rest for two days. I have no idea how those of you who were on bed rest for an extended period of time handled it. I made it through bed rest to my Monday check up, on April 20. I felt great and was excited that I would no longer have to be on bed rest. Well again to my surprise my blood pressure was higher than it had ever been and I had a significant amount of protein in my urine. At this point my doctor, who was my saving grace through everything, grabbed my hand and said “you have pre-eclampsia.” I was told I would be going to hospital and would be staying until it was time to deliver. Talk about shock! I couldn’t even form words. My doctor told me at this point we needed to find a happy medium of keeping me safe/ healthy and the baby. I was 33.3 weeks. Once checked into hospital I just laid in the bed thinking this can’t be happening. I was not prepared for delivery before being diagnosed with issues. I sure was not prepared now. My blood was taken 3 times a day, my blood pressure was taken every 30 minutes and a urinalysis every hour. I was given a series of steroid shots to help jumpstart the baby’s lungs. On April 24, my condition had taken a turn for the worse..my liver enzymes were up, my platelet count was extremely low, and my blood pressure continued to rise. I was diagnosed with full blown HELLP syndrome. I was exactly 34 weeks and my doctor made the call to induce. I was at high risk for stroke due to blood pressure so I was put on the dreaded magnesium. I do not wish that on my worst enemy. I was told I would be in labor for at least 24 hours because she simply wasn’t ready. After about 6 hours God answered my anxious prayer. My baby girl was ready and we would meet her in the next 5 minutes. In those 5 minutes I had 15 people in my delivery room awaiting the baby (they included my doctor, his assistant, NICU nurses, operating team, and anesthesiologist. Because of my condition my doctor was going to give me the chance to push but told me it would probably end up in an emergency c-section because we only had a matter of minutes to get her out. Again God answered my prayers after 15 mins and 2 hard pushes baby Penelope had arrived. She weighed just a little over 4lbs. The doctor told us most preemies do not cry when they are born … but our little fighter came out screaming! The NICU nurses rushed her out to be monitored and Daniel (my husband) left with them. Penelope was doing well in the NICU and I was trying to recover from the day. My blood pressure had not gone down after delivery so I was to stay on magnesium for another 24 hours. That night Daniel and I finally fell asleep after the excitement of the day. At 2 am I woke up in the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I had never felt a contraction the entire labor even before the epidural. I was in so much pain I was falling in and out of consciousness. The nurse ran in and found out I was hemorrhaging. She called in a code and the only thing I remember after that is every nurse running into my room and alarms going off. It was an act of God that my doctor happened to be there and rushed in to help stop the bleeding (it was his night off). He is one of the leading doctors in the country for post delivery hemorrhaging. I had lost so much blood I was told I would most likely need a blood transfusion. After a couple shots and procedures later I was stable. Hours later my doctor came to check on me and told me what I could have died with the complications i had faced but that Penelope and I were miracles. All I could think was he was the miracle. He was the one that helped save me so I could hold my precious baby. My blood pressure continued to stay elevated and I began to run a fever so I had to stay longer than expected in the hospital. Penelope had been thriving in the NICU and was just waiting for me to be released so we could all go home. The day I was released (4/28) Penelope stopped eating and had to be put on a feeding tube. This meant we would be going home without her. Talk about the most heartbroken I have ever felt. I had already missed so much. I didn’t get to hold her because I was so sick, I wasn’t able to feed her the first time, or even give her, the first bath. I just wanted to be home with my baby. Penelope had a couple more rough days and then began eating on her own again. On May 6th we were finally able to bring our sweet baby home. If not for my family and amazing husband I could have never made it through all of this. If not for the doctors and nurses that worked around the clock taking care of Penelope and I, we may not be here to tell our story today. A big thank you to all of them. They do not get enough recognition for all their hard work. We are truly miracles and I thank God everyday for the life we have been given.

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