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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.



Esther Sheppard

May 07, 2020 12:26 PM

I am so, so proud of you. You have always been a leader and an advocate for what you believe. I’m so happy you advocated for YOU and now others who need to know your story.

Rita Tenbroeck

May 07, 2020 08:24 AM

as Victoria's mama I was worried, but she was following her instructions and yet feeling worse. Mamas without strong advocates are at risk, as this can quicky become life threatening. Speak up!!!

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