Posted On Wednesday, December 05, 2018 By Michelle Valiukenas

On May 8, 2018, I went to an OB appointment and my blood pressure was 188/110. I also had some protein in my urine. My OB sent me over to the hospital for monitoring and possible treatment. When we got to the hospital, the blood pressure continued to rise and the protein was still in my urine. I was admitted and diagnosed with preeclampsia. Prior to the OB visit, I had had a few headaches but nothing of real concern and had begun to swell, particularly in my feet, but did not think it was unusual, just a normal symptom of pregnancy. I was in the hospital for three weeks and was on blood pressure medicines. My blood pressure spiked a few times and they were able to... Read More

Raising awareness takes many forms

Posted On Tuesday, December 04, 2018 By Debbie Helton

“A little awareness goes a long way.” – Ben Heller   When Amanda and Ben Heller lost their son Thomas to HELLP syndrome 13 years ago, they turned to the Preeclampsia Foundation for support. They had never heard of HELLP syndrome at the time and felt blind-sided by this pregnancy complication that took their son’s life. “A little awareness goes a long way,” said Ben. “I think if we were more aware, we may have gone to the doctor sooner and this may have been avoided.  This desire to raise awareness about preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome drives the Hellers to host a “fun” fundraising event every year in their son’s... Read More

Bad things can happen in good hospitals

Posted On Tuesday, December 04, 2018 By Debbie Helton

“I thought I had the best care possible, but it wasn’t enough to save my baby.” – Liliana Luzquinos From the very beginning, Liliana Luzquinos knew her pregnancy was high risk due to her Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract. Liliana was under the care of a highly regarded Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) physician and chose a hospital with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit considered to be one of the best in the U.S. In her own words, “I wasn’t your average patient. I asked a lot of questions and was very involved in my care.” So when Liliana started to experience upper right quadrant pain at 34 weeks, she immediately... Read More

She lost her baby and nearly died herself – a burden no mother should know

Posted On Tuesday, December 04, 2018 By Debbie Helton

“Preeclampsia killed my baby and my work with the Foundation is my way of honoring her.” – Tamara Butler  In March 2017, Tamara Butler was pregnant with her second child, a precious daughter. “It was an exciting time for my family,” said Tamara. “We were buying hair bows and pretty little dresses. We were so excited.” Her son Sam was 10 years old at the time and looking forward to being a big brother.  Tamara found out about her pregnancy early and had been going to prenatal appointments since she was six weeks pregnant. Nothing out of the ordinary until she experienced high blood pressure at 22 weeks. Her doctor had her rest at home; her... Read More

One mother’s tragic death alerts another mom about dangerous postpartum complications

Posted On Friday, November 30, 2018 By Debbie Helton

“I just had this feeling like, ‘If I go to sleep, I’m not going to wake up.” – Marie McCausland One mother’s tragic death alerts another mom about dangerous postpartum complications When Lauren Bloomstein found out she was pregnant, she was absolutely thrilled. A nurse in her hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Lauren had always loved babies. “The prospect of becoming a mother made her giddy,” said her husband Larry. “Lauren was the happiest and most alive I’d ever seen her.”   After a smooth pregnancy, Lauren had a scheduled induction and delivered daughter Hallie. Within hours, Lauren... Read More


Posted On Tuesday, November 20, 2018 By Susan Wright

My beautiful daughter-in-law, Shannon, was 34-weeks pregnant with her first child, a boy. He was to be our first and her parent's first grandchild. Shannon had been put on bed rest at approximately sixteen weeks due to a short/incompetent cervix. At that time, she began seeing a high-risk doctor in addition to her regular obstetrician. She did everything they told her to do and was very adamant about protecting her unborn child from delivering too soon.She was feeling so good! On December 22, 2017, the high-risk doctor told her that she was doing so well and the baby was also doing great - he released her from visits to his office on that day and told her that she could... Read More

Trust Your Intuition

Posted On Monday, November 19, 2018 By Michele King

My story begins with my decision to be a surrogate for someone that desperately wanted to be a parent, but had no other option than surrogacy to make that dream a reality. I found the perfect Surrogacy agency that connected me to a wonderful person that wanted a little girl if his own. Contracts were signed, injections everyday for several weeks, and transfer set for March 5th. I knew within a few days that the procedure had worked. I had terrible morning sickness for roughly 18 weeks that left me on the couch most days, which is hard to do with a very active and energetic toddler. I felt pretty good until about week 24, I started feeling just "unwell". I mentioned to my... Read More


Posted On Wednesday, November 07, 2018 By Laura Kalinosky-Sanchez

A visit to the doctor on my 43rd birthday confirmed what an at-home test had already told us -- I was pregnant. I'll never forget the doctor's response to my slack-jawed reaction: "This IS good news, isn't it?" I quickly recovered from my shock and responded, "Yes!" while explaining my surprise at becoming a mother at this stage in life. The comedy continued as she responded, "Well it's not impossible!" She must have felt like she was talking to a teenager in denial. My husband and I had been trying to have a baby for about six months with the understanding that it might not happen, given my age. He had the perfect way of describing our daughter's arrival: "She was planned but not... Read More

Postpartum Preeclampsia with NO risk factors

Posted On Monday, November 05, 2018 By Kerri Finley

I have never had a day of high blood pressure in my life. It was normal (if not low) during pregnancy, normal during labor, and normal during my 2 day stay in the hospital after the delivery of my fourth baby. Six days after my daughter was born I developed a bad headache. I chalked it up to lack of sleep and caring for four children. Throughout the afternoon and evening the headache did not go away despite taking Tylenol and Motrin. Finally in the middle of the night my newborn was sleeping and I felt like my head was going to explode. Since I am a nurse and childbirth educator I grabbed my blood pressure cuff because I knew there was something wrong. My blood pressure was... Read More

Jaice Diesel

Posted On Thursday, November 01, 2018 By Natasha Place

My husband (boyfriend at the time) planned to get pregnant. We wanted to have a baby, then get married. We got pregnant on our first attempt. We were sooo happy. Everything was going great, but at around 16wks or so I stated having this really bad pain under my ribcage. I assumed it was heartburn and took tums which seemed to help. Then at around 22 weeks, I called my midwife because I had a migraine that wouldn’t go away. I had had it for 4 days. She scheduled me to come in and they gave me pills that helped. At 5 months I started noticing swelling. Unusual swelling. I started to feel like a ballon and grew out of my ring.... Read More

Fight or Flight

Posted On Wednesday, October 31, 2018 By Abrianna Wahlstom

I was induced at 38.5 weeks due to swelling and high blood pressure. It started around 34 weeks and continued to get worse. I felt like my OBGYN was very thorough and I was continuously monitored closely. When we decided to induce I was starting to see spots and kept vommitting , which was not present at all through my entire pregnancy until the end. It took 37 hours, an epidural, a mechanical cervical dilator, multiple rounds of a medication to soften my cervix, and many hours of pitocin later before our baby girl was born perfectly healthy. I remember hearing the cries of other babies being born and felt like I would never get to that point. So, we... Read More

Pre-e Baby: A gift after sister's murder

Posted On Wednesday, October 24, 2018 By Patricia Franklin

My sister was found murdered in an alley on June 24, 2015 at 1:30 a.m. I was five months pregnant with my baby girl. I had just found out I was having a baby girl the day before my sister was murdered. My sisters name was Alicia Faith Todd and she was 21-years-old when she was murdered. We were two years apart and we were each other’s world. I truly believe that God doesn’t make mistakes and that's why he gave me my baby girl, because he knew he had to take my sister. It was a hot summer that year and, like many pregnant women, my feet... Read More

Life's Hard Lessons

Posted On Friday, September 07, 2018 By Nermeen Farag

I am sharing my story in the hopes to raise awareness , I was a healthy woman and having no previous medical history, had a healthy pregnancy, and I could have died few hours after giving birth without any warning. I never even knew that there was such a postpartum preeclampsia.  Not many know about this but it is a deadly pregnancy complication that is also one of the leading causes of maternal and infant mortality and illness. That has no cure! With dangerous symptoms like uncontrollable high blood pressure, high levels of protein in your urine, swelling in legs and feet sometimes sudden, blurred vision, dizziness and gaining more then 4lbs a week. You can also get... Read More


Posted On Friday, September 07, 2018 By Ebony Ford

After 6 years of infertility & loss, my husband & I finally conceived our baby girl Reign Victoria. Our pregnancy was completely uneventful until week 26. While on vacation I began to experience shortness of breath and severe swelling. By the time I got on the plane to come home I couldn’t fit my shoes, could barely breathe and couldnt see very well. I was rushed to the hospital on the ground and after blood, urine & radiology tests I was diagnosed with sudden onset severe preeclampsia, pulmonary edema and HELLP syndrome. I was rushed into a crash... Read More

Listen To Your Body

Posted On Friday, September 07, 2018 By Kelly Chando

In December 2017, I gave birth to my first child. What should have been a routine delivery, quickly escalated into an emergency C-section and visit to NICU for my son. Once I was home, I knew something wasn’t right. I had increasingly blurred vision and pain in my stomach, extreme shortness of breath, debilitating headaches and was still significantly swollen. It wasn’t until I attempted to get up from a chair and nearly passed out, when my husband raced me to the doctor’s office. My blood pressure was 165/100 when I arrived and no sooner was I taken to the emergency room.  I was readmitted with a severe case of postpartum preeclampsia, battling the effects... Read More

Blue Hands Aren't Normal

Posted On Friday, August 24, 2018 By Tracy Rytell

Sitting in a conference room surrounded by colleagues, I couldn’t help but stare at my off-colored hands under the table. I had been experiencing a lot of swelling in my hands and feet for a few days prior and thought ‘maybe my hands are just swelling again’. When a coworker asked if I was ok, I held up my hands and said “I think my hands are turning blue.” By the audible gasps in the room I knew my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me, my hands were in fact blue and very swollen. I was 34 weeks pregnant. I made my way to the ER, my blood pressure was 180/110, and I was immediately ushered past the people waiting in the waiting room. This was my second... Read More

Surviving Postpartum Preeclampsia

Posted On Tuesday, August 21, 2018 By Jennifer Silver

I wrote this a few weeks after returning home from the hospital. I never thought this would be my birth story. As I hold my newborn daughter’s tiny perfect hand and stare at her beautiful face, I realize how close I came to not having this moment. Despite how sick I was, I remember way too clearly that night in the emergency room, where it was made alarmingly clear. Things were missed, things were done wrong, and while maybe it couldn’t have been prevented there is a chance that it could have been. I am sharing my story in the hopes that it can raise awareness and to teach that you have to be your own advocate. Because of the fact that pregnancy and labor and delivery... Read More

It Wasn't My Time

Posted On Thursday, August 02, 2018 By Ana Maria Sarabando-Gaspar

Becoming a mother was always a dream of mine and a wish to accomplish. When trying to get pregnant, I wasn’t working, and we searched every possible option available. I’ve seen numerous doctors and all said I was too fat, or because my period wasn’t normal, I wouldn't be able to conceive. After putting my body through endless counts of clomid treatments, I knew that myself and my husband would need a break, both mentally and physically! We searched for better options, new doctors, and even took a mini vacation getaway to clear our minds! After endless blood work, tests and ultrasounds, we finally were able to conceive not one baby but two! I took everything seriously and... Read More

Vera Joy`s Life Cut Short

Posted On Monday, July 16, 2018 By Irene Chrismer

After many long months trying to get pregnant, I finally saw those 2 pink lines in September 2017. My husband and I were so excited to be pregnant and were looking forward to welcoming this new life. I had a great team of OBs who did early genetic testing to reveal that we were having a healthy baby girl. I had ultrasounds which confirmed she had a strong heart and was growing well. When I made it to my second trimester, all my fears of miscarriage were relieved and my assumption was that I would have a healthy baby girl by her due date of June 1, 2018. We bought a crib and way too many baby clothes (because how can you resit them?!) I felt great throughout my pregnancy... Read More

Australia Medical Team Saves Mom and Baby

Posted On Wednesday, July 11, 2018 By Danielle Naylor

I had my baby shower on Sunday, July, 31st 2016, wearing high heels and a big smile on my face as I was 31 weeks pregnant and feeling great. I laughed through the day, thinking how easy and beautiful my pregnancy had been, how I’d had no morning sickness and a strange amount of energy for someone in the third trimester. I ate cake, got spoiled and played lots of fun games with my friends and family. The next morning, I had a check up at my ob/gyn, and some blood tests came back indicating a high level of protein in both my blood and urine. My OB took my blood pressure which had been totally normal up until that stage and it was through the roof. She told me to go home and... Read More

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    Fight or Flight

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