I didn't LOOK like I had pre-eclampsia...
Posted On Friday, June 10, 2011 by adelphean
My second pregnancy was uncomfortable from the start, but by 16 weeks my OB had me monitoring my blood pressure and going to an internist for medication.Â Both she and the internist I saw for blood pressure medication told me that I had chronic high blood pressure that had only been detected because of the pregnancy and additional monitoring.Â However, I had never had high blood pressure at all prior to the pregnancy.
I also had not had the intense and days-long headaches I was experiencing.Â They were written off as hormones or maybe the blood pressure and I was told that they would lessen once my body got used to the Aldomet I had been prescribed.
The summer wore on and the Aldoment, then Labetolol, then Hydralazine were having NO effect whatsoever on my hypertension.Â We were moving that summer so I didn't have the same OB during any of the pregnancy.Â I was lucky to have good OBs and perinatologists, but my symptoms didn't present as typical pre-eclampsia.Â I was told again and again that I had chronic hypertension that had only been caught because of the pregnancy.Â I had no swelling and my urine tests didn't show high levels of protein.
I was hospitalized at 29 weeks because of such an intense headache that I started throwing up.Â I spent a weekend in the hospital and then was placed on bed rest.Â I was back the next weekend and then admitted at 31 weeks for the duration of the pregnancy.Â My husband was working overseas and I was staying with my parents, who were caring for my very confused and scared 4 year old.
I was very fortunate that the perinatologist on rotation from the high risk practice I was in took the time to talk to me and read all my medical history from the pregnancy and she concluded I had "raging pre-eclampsia."Â My blood pressure was still in the 160/100 range despite bed rest and a massive amount of medication, but still no swelling or large amounts of protein in my urine.
At 32 weeks, when my blood pressure was consistently reading 165/105, the perinatologist made the call and my 4lb 1oz daughter was born by Caesarean.Â Just prior to the operation I became hyper-reflexive.Â I was on magnesium sulfate for 36 hours because my blood pressure would not come down.Â I did not see my daughter for 24 hours and when I did it took everything I had to muster the strength to make it to the NICU with my husband pushing my wheelchair and holding me up over the isolette.
I feel truly lucky every day to have a healthy baby even after her month-long stay in the NICU.Â I don't have hypertension.Â Every doctor I saw that insisted I had undiagnosed chronic hypertension was wrong.Â My blood pressure is back to normal.
I try to focus on the positive, but sometimes it's still difficult to leave it all behind.Â The most enduring memory of my illness is my perinatologist coming into my room looking visibly shaken.Â Apparently my 4 year old walked right up to her and looked her in the eye and told her, "You take care of my Mama."Â We're all still carrying a bit of the weight of it.
After surviving a very traumatic first pregnancy with a nightmare delivery (30 hours of magnesium-induced hell, ending in an emergency c-section) and even more debilitating recovery, one would think I was DONE having children. Let's be ...