Blue Hands Aren't Normal

Post On Friday, August 24, 2018 By Tracy Rytell

Blue Hands Aren't Normal

Sitting in a conference room surrounded by colleagues, I couldn’t help but stare at my off-colored hands under the table. I had been experiencing a lot of swelling in my hands and feet for a few days prior and thought ‘maybe my hands are just swelling again’. When a coworker asked if I was ok, I held up my hands and said “I think my hands are turning blue.” By the audible gasps in the room I knew my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me, my hands were in fact blue and very swollen. I was 34 weeks pregnant. 

I made my way to the ER, my blood pressure was 180/110, and I was immediately ushered past the people waiting in the waiting room. This was my second indication that something was seriously wrong. There was a steady stream of doctors in and out of my room, ordering various tests and checking my continuously high blood pressure every 15 minutes. After hours of testing we finally had an answer, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. A week stay in the hospital followed, I was given magnesium to prevent seizures and we went through a trial and error of medications until my blood pressure stabilized. I was told the only cure was delivering the baby so I was scheduled for an induction at 37 weeks and discharged, hoping that my blood pressure wouldn’t spike again before then. 

For the next three weeks I was put on bed rest and at the doctor three times a week for monitoring. The day before my scheduled induction my water broke at home. We grabbed our bags and headed for the hospital. Once there, I was again given magnesium and induced since I wasn’t having any contractions. My healthy, beautiful daughter was born almost 48 hours later, and I thought my preeclampsia ordeal was over. But I was wrong. 

Delivery did not cure my preeclampsia. My blood pressure remained at a critical level, I was given more magnesium and started on iv medications. It was another week in the hospital and trial and error medications while fighting to keep my blood pressure down. 

I was released with multiple medications and told my blood pressure should go back to normal in 6-12 weeks. I’m now six weeks postpartum and still on medication. I’m thankful that they were able to diagnose me and take the right measures to protect me and my baby. I’m hopeful that we will be living a happy, healthy, and normal life soon. Preeclampsia can strike at any time, without warning. I want to help educate women on the signs and if you feel that a symptom is not a normal pregnancy symptom, get checked out ASAP, it could save your and your unborn child’s life.

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