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Preeclampsia and Severe Postpartum Preeclampsia During A Pandemic

May 13, 2020 By Jessica Lawler

Preeclampsia and Severe Postpartum Preeclampsia During A Pandemic

I had a very uneventful pregnancy until week 34. Week 34 I started having significant edema in my legs and at my doctor appointment I relized I had gained 12 lbs in a week. My blood pressure was “borderline high” but I had no other symptoms of preeclampsia. My normal blood pressure was 100/60, now 140/80. My doctors didn’t seem concerned with my swelling and recommended wearing support stockings.

I went back to the doctor 3 days later and had gained 5 more pounds, the swelling was extending to my abdomen and becoming very painful to move and more difficult to breathe, I was coughing and wheezing. I was swabbed for Covid and negative. My blood pressure was borderline and diagnosed with gestational hypertension. I was admitted to the hospital, I had a chest xray, it showed a collapsed lung from the fluid build up. I spent two nights in the hospital with no visitors due to Covid. I was sent home with no restrictions and no blood pressure monitoring guidelines.

My edema and shortness of breath continued to worsen. I went to my dr appointment at 35 weeks, 6 days, creatinine elevated, blood pressure higher and I had gained an additional 11 pounds of fluid. I was admitted for observation for evaluation of preeclampsia. They moved my scheduled c-section to 36 weeks, 0 days.

My c-section went ok, my son, Landon, was taken to NICU for respiratory distress and my daughter, Brenna, was taken to a room with me. I was able to go see Landon by myself (one visitor only in the NICU and if you left you couldn’t come back) once a day for my 5 days there. I was allowed only one visitor.

4 days after Brenna came home, she was admitted to the Children’s hospital due to vomiting, lethargy and not eating. She underwent 2 spinal taps and was placed on IV antibiotics and IV fluids for a UTI. I stayed overnight with her for 2 days while going once a day home to see my 5 year old and once a day to NICU at a different hospital to see my son. This was all a week post c-sectio. I was getting little to no sleep, not taking any pain pills so I could drive between hospitals and due to Covid we only had my in laws helping us at home with our 5 year old, Bennett.

On day 11 following my c-section, I called my doctor because I had more shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing again. My blood pressure was 145/85. I had a chest x-ray and swabbed again for Covid...negative. My chest x-ray showed bilateral plural effusion and my other lung had collapsed. My creatinine was elevated since the previous week. My NP and doctor said they wanted to readmit me to the hospital. I had reached my breaking point and started sobbing. I had one baby who just had been released home the day before for being sick, one still in NICU and a 5 year at home. They rechecked my blood pressure it was 195/90, I begged to go home, my doctor told me if my blood pressure continued to rise I could have a seizure and die. I was there alone and mentally defeated. I was admitted with severe preeclampsia and put on IV magnesium, IV lasix and blood pressure meds. I wasn’t allowed any visitors. The exhaustion, stress, and side effects of magnesium were adding up, I spent the night feeling pretty hopeless and alone.

I spent two nights there. On day 13 after delivery, both Landon and I were discharged home together. I had been diuresed 36 pounds of fluid in 2 days, I could walk and breathe again without difficulty.

It’s now day 21 since giving birth to my twins. I’m on daily blood pressure medication, do daily blood pressure checks and send them on an iPad to nurses. I was told usually most patients are able to get off the meds in about 6 to 8 weeks but some people have to stay on the long-term.

It should’ve been a happy and joyful time with the birth of my two babies but all of us being in the hospital in three separate places with very little family or friend support due to Covid restrictions made it more difficult than anything I’ve ever dealt with. We are very lucky and gratefutul to have survived.

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