Delivery is NOT the Cure for Preeclampsia

Post On Monday, June 24, 2019 By Erin Butrymowicz

Delivery is NOT the Cure for Preeclampsia

I suffered from pregnancy-induced hypertension beginning in the second trimester of my first pregnancy.

As a pharmacist, I brushed aside many of aches & pains of pregnancy and attributed the ever-increasing swelling, fatigue and shortness of breath to my 12 hour shifts with little time to sit.

My ever-diligent OB and midwife became increasingly concerned about my hypertension and swelling but the first few 24-hour urine screens looked okay and bedrest was not recommended.

During my 34th week, I suddenly felt much more fatigued and while I hadn’t been able to wear most shoes I owned for months, the swelling was increasing along with my shortness of breath. My OB was calm but clearly felt things were becoming serious.

At midnight on my 35th week, I checked into the hospital where I could safely deliver, if necessary, without a NICU with the plan to go on observational bedrest. Only a few hours later was I placed into a magnesium drip for the next 36 hours.

My water broke naturally several hours into the magnesium drip and oxytocin was given to speed things along. Moments before my OB was about to recommend an emergency c-section due to no progressing in labor, I was fully dilated and deliver naturally at 35 weeks 2 days.

My water retention had been so severe, I lost 45 pounds my first post-partum week. I was so anxious to finally be free from all the complications of my pregnancy, I couldn’t want to get home. My OB was very cautious in monitoring my blood pressure and hesitant to send me home from the hospital early. But after 3 days of decreasing blood pressure and normalizing labs, things seemed to be headed in the right direction and I was elated to go home.

About 1 week after leaving the hospital, all of the symptoms of my preeclampsia came raging back. I checked my blood pressure several times per day, took burning hot showers any chance I could to relieve my back pain and malaise. When my headache stopped responding to Tylenol and hydrocodone, I suddenly felt extremely “bad” and new something was very wrong. My OB sent me immediately back to the hospital and thankfully had me admitted back into the labor & delivery ward where I received magnesium sulfate for 36 hours.

My doctor knew exactly what was happening both before and after my delivery and truly saved my life. That being said, the lack of follow up dictated by our healthcare system easily could have left me dead. If not for my own medical knowledge and a diligent OB, I am certain I would have let things go far too long and no one would have checked on me.

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