I was about 30 weeks pregnant when I started having epigastric pain, right below my
I was about 30 weeks pregnant when I started having epigastric pain, right below my rib cage in the center. My husband and I were in NYC for our 5 year anniversary. We had eaten a huge, rich meal for dinner. We stayed over night at a hotel. That night I didn't sleep. I was in so much abdominal pain. I thought I had eaten something bad. I was popping Tums and drinking Mylanta, but nothing helped. The only relief I got was when I took a bath. For some reason this relieved the pain when I was in the water. But as soon as I got out, the pain was back.
I phoned my doctor in the morning. He said it could be preterm labor and sent me to the nearest hospital. (I was away from home). We rushed to the emergency room of Lenox Hill Hospital. They did all kinds of tests. Everything was normal. They said maybe it was just indigestion so we went home. This pain continued on and off for 10 days. During these 10 days I saw my obstetrician who was baffled. He sent me for an ultrasound.....normal. I was sent to a general practitioner, gave him a stool sample, still thinking it was something I ate.......normal. He was baffled.
Finally, on the night of November 20th I had to go to the emergency room, the pain was unbearable. I thought at least they could give me something for the pain. My doctor met us there. They proceeded to run all kinds of tests. My blood pressure was slightly elevated, they explained this was because I was in pain. My doctor called in a surgeon to rule out appendicitis, gall bladder problem.....all negative. They gave me a Demerol shot and I stayed the night. In the morning the doctor had ordered my blood to be tested.
This turned out to be the one move that saved my life. My blood had turned over night. My platelets were deathly low and my liver enzymes had sky rocketed. Now it was in black and white....... I had HELLP, and I was very close to death. All I could think was, I feel fine except for this stomach ache. How can this be???? Before I had more time to think they rushed in and told me they had to take the baby. Luckily my husband was on his way to the hospital. We have a 2 1/2 year old boy at home. They rushed me to the OR, I had general anesthesia. My husband was not allowed in.
We had a 3lb. 14 oz. girl. She was born at 32 weeks gestation. She was in the hospital for 5 weeks. She is now 4 months old and doing great. I fully recovered immediately after she was removed. My platelets came back and my liver enzymes slowly went down. I went home after 5 days in the hospital.
Now that I have had some time to think about what happened to me I am angry. The more I learn about preeclampsia and HELLP, I realize that epigastric pain is a primary sign of these disorders. My doctor most certainly should have diagnosed me early on. I should not have been such an enigma.
The bottom line is that I had a happy ending, for that I am very grateful. But please, for any woman out there presenting with a belly ache of unknown origin, see your doctor and tell them to keep preeclampsia in mind. Remember, it was a second child, I was 33 years old, my blood pressure was normal. It was very atypical. All I had was terrible stomach pain. I hope that this story will help someone out there.
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 ...