Delivery Is Not the Cure

May 07, 2020 By Victoria Buker

Delivery Is Not the Cure

When I was pregnant with our first daughter, Madison, I had a beautiful delivery {ok, long and painful} but uneventful for the most part. I was sent home and everything was fine. Except it wasn't.

I got really sick. I was ignored by doctors. I was told it was only an infection and given antibiotics. I was brushed off as a new mom. At an appointment at 9 days postpartum after being given antibiotics at day 6 (with my blood pressure MUCH higher than my usual 110/70) at the first appointment, I was told to check my blood pressure at home and call if it "got high". No instructions on how to check-- what type of blood pressure to call in with that is considered high-- or what type of cuff to get- wrist, arm, brand?-- I almost didn't get one. I wanted to go home and rest. But my husband and mom drove me to get that life-saving cuff.

So I called less than 4 hours later after that appointment- it was 218/108 at 9 days postpartum. I was told that maybe I wasn't taking it right or that it was a new cuff and to call back in the morning.

Thankfully, I had reached out to a friend whose husband is a doctor-- I went right to the ER. The ER doc almost sent me home with Tylenol for the massive headache I had (plus visual disturbances, upper right quadrant pain, nauseous, I felt like something was wrong- the impending doom, and I had gained over 30 lbs in a few days from swelling weighing more than I did the morning I gave birth). I had to demand to see an OB. I am so proud of myself for advocating, I knew I had to speak up to save my life. I had something bigger to be here for, my 9 day old daughter who was thankfully at our house with my parents who were still visiting in town from the east coast (we had just moved to CA 3 months prior to the birth- so my support system there was minimal).

I was admitted with severe postpartum preeclampsia, partial HELLP syndrome and an infection that was headed towards septic. I was immediately put on a magnesium drip and other IV meds, as they saw signs that my brain was starting to swell.

I stayed 4 days in the hospital and was sent home with blood pressure medications- which I just started to wean off at 11 months postpartum. I have a host of other health issues that I never had before- liver disease, pre-diabetic, heart issues, and high cholesterol. I even suffered a broken foot and nerve damage from the rapid swelling and had to be in a boot for 3 months- that did not make this running mama happy once I found out why my foot was hurting!

I am now 3-4 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke in the next 5-10 years due to having preeclampsia. My doctors didn't tell me, I found out through the Preeclampsia Foundation. Unfortunately, my doctors didn't tell me any of the long term affects. Just to take my blood pressure medication and I will probably be on more as I go about life.

The most frustrating part about the whole process for me was that I went into pregnancy healthy and came out unhealthy. But this is where I can come in and write my next chapter, I am turning this pain into passion and forging ahead for a healthier me. I have founded the 140 over 90 run to benefit the Preeclampsia Foundation and am using my voice so that another mama doesn't have to be ignored.