Vera Joy`s Life Cut Short

Post On Monday, July 16, 2018 By Irene Chrismer

Vera Joy`s Life Cut Short

After many long months trying to get pregnant, I finally saw those 2 pink lines in September 2017. My husband and I were so excited to be pregnant and were looking forward to welcoming this new life. I had a great team of OBs who did early genetic testing to reveal that we were having a healthy baby girl.

I had ultrasounds which confirmed she had a strong heart and was growing well. When I made it to my second trimester, all my fears of miscarriage were relieved and my assumption was that I would have a healthy baby girl by her due date of June 1, 2018.

We bought a crib and way too many baby clothes (because how can you resit them?!) I felt great throughout my pregnancy and had no worrying symptoms. Preeclampsia was almost completely unknown to me, even though I`m a nurse. I never had high blood pressure or even any protein on my urine dips at my regular OB appointments. I had no unusual swelling, no headaches, and normal weight gain.

One evening, when I was 22 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I felt bad. I was anxious for no apparent reason, was seeing stars, and my heart was beating hard so I figured my blood pressure must have been really low (and it can get low sometimes, normally). I decided to go to my local grocery store and check my blood pressure, just out of curiosity (and because us nurses like to assess things).

It was 190/110.

I took it twice and couldn`t believe it. I called my OB and she told me to go to triage at my hospital`s L&D. I was given IV blood pressure medications, which I didn`t respond well to. I was experiencing clonus and visual disturbances.

The next few days are a blur, but I remember having excruciating stomach pain. They treated me for acid reflux, unsuccessfully, until they realized the pain was caused my my inflamed liver and I had HELLP syndrome, as well as severe, early onset preeclampsia.

img 4886Four days after being admitted to the hospital, my daughter Vera Joy was born via C-section at 23 weeks and 2 days gestation on February 4, 2018. She was born alive but was too small to go to the NICU. She lived for a few minutes and I`m thankful that my husband and I could hold her and tell her we loved her during her short life.

I later learned that it was almost miraculous I survived the C-section, considering how low my platelet count was. Thankfully, I never had a seizure, because of magnesium sulfate.

I want to do everything in my power to educate women on the importance of taking blood pressure between OB appointments and when you feel like there`s something wrong. I had no apparent signs or symptoms of impending preeclampsia at my 20 week OB appointment, so the blood pressure machine at my grocery store and my curiosity to check it at 22 weeks saved my life and my daughter`s life too. My daughter`s life was saved because she could have been stillborn or died with me and then would have never been kissed by her parents.

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