HELLP Syndrome?

Post On Friday, February 15, 2019 By Kimberly Barker

HELLP Syndrome?

I really loved pregnancy. The connection a mom feels with her growing baby is something that can’t be described, learned in a book or really understood until you experience it. It was and IS the most precious experience of my life. Its truly a spiritual experience, and you are sure that there is something out there so much greater than yourself guiding the process the whole time. Finally, the day had come to meet our baby!

We worked on keeping my room really comfortable and peaceful with meditations and lots of aromatherapy that kept the entire nurse staff stopping in for a quick whiff lol. My son was born at 1:18Pm August 29, 2017. He was absolutely perfect and I am so grateful for that. He was and IS everything I have ever dreamed.

I began having heart palpitations so hard the bed was shaking. My legs were swelling, but, I was told this is normal. We went home a few days later, by that point, the swelling in my legs had gotten to be so bad I could barely put my weight on my feet. It had gotten worse. Again, I was told its “normal” as my blood pressure was being taken and it was in normal range.

That week, I felt really off. It wasn’t the lack of sleep with a new baby. It was something else I just couldn’t pin point. I think the palpitations were starting to weigh on me. It just didn’t feel right. I developed a blinding headache and went to lay down. My mom happened to call and felt something was off, so she came over with a blood pressure cuff. It was at that point that my vision started to change.

When my mom took my blood pressure it was already up BP 150/90, which made us realize we needed to call the doctor. When I called she was at the hospital and wasn’t concerned. She said, I don’t think you have Preeclampsia. (keep in mind, I had symptoms as well as a sister who had gone through this twice- still no alarms went off to this doctor?) I persisted and she finally told me to come in the L&D Triage where they ran tests and told me my liver enzymes were climbing, platelets were dropping.

HELLP Syndrome? My brain was swelling?

I didn’t know what ANY of that meant other than to know, I was not going home to see my husband and baby.

I kept staring at the blood pressure monitor which continued to climb, the anxiety that comes with Preeclampsia made it climb higher. It was now 200/100 and I was sure I was going to die and never see my family again. When they transferred me to another room I began to feel my kidneys shutting down, I was in pain and could not stop urinating, filling a bed pan over and over. My liver was hurting. I was given the Magnesium drip and blood pressure meds which began to reduce the pressure.

Finally, I was brought upstairs where I stayed for the rest of my hospital stay.

I was in total panic. Why did this happen? Why did my body fail me? Did I do something to cause this? The only word I can find to describe those few days were TERROR. I have a memory of waking up after that first night back in the hospital, and looking at the sun rise. I thought- wow. I almost died last night and I can’t remember the last time I have seen the sun rise. That is what it feels like to almost die. Had I went back to sleep in my bed at home, my husband would have found me dead.

It isn’t easy to type those words, and it's taken me 17 months to write this for the Preeclampsia Foundation. Most people don’t understand that Preeclampsia can turn deadly in a matter of a few minutes. How do so many women slip through the cracks of the medical system? Women dismissed as nothing more than a hysterical new mom. Its wrong and must change. Hopefully, that is what we are helping to do.


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