I Had Never Heard Of HELLP

Post On Monday, June 24, 2019 By Emily Phillips

I Had Never Heard Of HELLP

My story has a happy ending, and for that I am eternally grateful.

My daughter was born in April 2019 at 38 weeks gestation via emergency c section after a very sudden onset of HELLP.

This was my second pregnancy, however my first was short lived as I had a miscarriage in week 8 of pregnancy, approximately 3 months before getting pregnant with my daughter.

My pregnancy seemed fairly normal from what I had heard about pregnancy. I was exhausted and felt sick from about week 7 through week 12.

The second trimester was awesome, and the third was tiring and uncomfortable in the end. I worked out for the entire second trimester and some of the third, and I was all belly. I think I gained less than 27 pounds total.

I've always had low blood pressure, so when my bp was elevated during my week 37 checkup, the nurse and doctor seemed curious but not alarmed as there was no protein in my urine. By this time, I was extremely exhausted, felt huge, and my legs and feet frequently ached and felt swollen, but didn't look swollen.

My 38 week checkup was on a Monday, and my bp was elevated again, so my doctor ordered blood work at the lab across the street, and a home urine collection was also ordered. He told me to check my bp at a pharmacy or grocery store if I thought about it the next day.

I worked from home on Tuesday because I was so tired and my legs and feet were tight and achy (it's also easier to pee into a gallon jug at home instead of in the office). I checked my bp at CVS on Tuesday evening, and it was still high. On my way into work on Wednesday, I decided to call my doctor as I was dropping off my urine to the lab to let him know what my bp was the night before.

He told me to stop by the office. I stopped in, they took my bp 3 different times, and while the doctor was bringing me into the exam room, he saw that my blood results from Monday were in his inbox. He told me they seemed odd and inconsistent with my current physical state. He examined my cervix and said that it was very unlikely that I would deliver vaginally since it was my first birth and since I probably needed to deliver soon if the lab tests were correct.

He sent me to the hospital for monitoring and told me he would see me later in the afternoon since he has a scheduled c section at 4. About an hour after I got hooked up for observation, the nurse came to tell me that I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything per the Doctor's orders, and that usually when he says that, it means surgery will happen that day so I would most likely be having a c section later.

She told me I was being admitted and that I had to get an IV of magnesium because I was at risk for seizures and/or stroke due to my blood pressure. My doctor and midwife came in to talk to me around 4pm and explained that I needed to have a c section soon because of my condition, but at that point I had no idea how serious it was.

I had a c section at 6pm and my beautiful healthy daughter was born. I remember meeting her but I don't remember much after that until the next day.

I remember being itchy and hot and the noise that the leg compression sleeves made when they tightened and released. I remember having my blood pressure checked every hour and watching the nurses face frown each time when the results registered. It wasn't until Friday that I realized how grave my situation really was.

I was told I needed blood because my platelets were far too low and they were not recovering the way they were supposed to once the baby is delivered. I received blood on Friday and ultimately went home with my new family on Sunday, but the fear and trauma of it all didn't hit me until I got home. I could have easily died before, during, or after my daughter's birth. I couldn't stop saying that sentence over and over in my head. I am so incredibly lucky that I am alive today and that my doctor and midwife knew enough about HELLP to diagnose me and save my life.

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