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Post On Wednesday, June 29, 2016 By Kristen
I had been diagnosed with hypertension when I was in my 20s. (Thank you, genetics). I was on and off meds for a few years, and for at least a whole year, my blood pressure was measuring fine, and I had not been on any medication.
I got married in 2011, and we were finally ready to start a family in 2014. We found out my due date was smack dab on Valentine's Day, 2015!
I was hesitant to tell family (even my parents) until 12 weeks, but my doctor said we could (I was almost 7 weeks) in case of any complications. At that point - I knew “complications” could probably only mean miscarriage - preeclampsia had not even entered my mind.
So we went on and surprised both of our parents with the news, each in a special way, and caught their reactions on video!
I went to all of my prenatal appointments and did all of the tests the doctor ordered along the way. I asked my doctor how "big" I would get because I was going to be in a wedding at my 20-week mark. She told me I would gain the average 20-30 pounds (I think?). All along though, I knew my belly was still kind of small. I only gained about 15 - maybe 20 pounds. By about the 31st week, they couldn't get a good measurement of baby. I was sent to Maternal Fetal Medicine for an ultrasound where they discovered IUGR. My BP was also starting to climb. I personally had no physical symptoms/pain/signs. If I wasn’t being monitored, this could have gotten out of hand and killed both me and my baby.
At 31 weeks, 6 days, I was admitted to the hospital for overnight observation/24-hour urine analysis, and "luckily" sent home on BP meds. Now seeing a high risk doctor in addition to my regular OB, I thought it would be under control until at least 37 weeks (our goal)...but our goal was shattered.
At the next appointment at 33 weeks, 6 days, the high risk doctor told me to go straight to the hospital. Again, I was admitted - the whole 24-hour urine analysis, BP checks every hour, and no food after midnight (I ate a blueberry pop tart at 11PM! Cravings!) thing. Unfortunately, I was by myself (except for a roommate), and I could hardly sleep. I knew despite trying to “will” my BP down, it was inevitable. I was going to be a mother to a premature baby in a few hours. I was terrified to say the least.
In the back of my mind I always thought I would have a C-Section - but not because of preeclampsia. But that is how I delivered my premature, 3lb., 4oz., beautiful, baby girl - 6 weeks ahead of her due date – right after the New Year. My last pregnant picture was on New Year’s Eve boasting a chalkboard that read – “we’re having a baby this year!” Had no idea it would be 3 days later!
People constantly say how she just wanted to come into the world early. I knew that wasn't the truth.
"It was my fault."
Because of preeclampsia I suffered the loss of 6 whole weeks of pregnancy (& I know some people who have the “usual” discomforts would love that & say I’m lucky – but I wasn’t lucky). Because of preeclampsia the details of the later parts of pregnancy are a blur and were not enjoyable. Because of preeclampsia I blamed myself for putting our first born in danger. Because of preeclampsia we had a 24-day NICU journey resulting in PTSD. Because of preeclampsia we suffered financially. Because of preeclampsia, I cried every.single.day.
But because of preeclampsia and the awareness my doctors had, we survived. Awareness saved our lives. Surviving this is how I am able to write this today. Little Miss Peanut and I are survivors. Because of preeclampsia I am now trying to help raise awareness of this devastating condition so everyone can survive - moms and babies - any woman - any pregnancy.
I am writing this one week + one day after the birth of my son Hudson Henry. I had shown no signs... Read Moreowen