January 19, 2015 By Trashaun Powell
On January 2, 2013 I was 23 weeks pregnant with our first child and we just found out that we were having a girl. So excited we had a gender reveal party and everyone was so happy to find the gender of our baby. I woke up the next morning with flu like symptoms and a painful right arm but I ignored it and just attributed it to pregnancy symptoms. I decided to stay home from work and just rest. However rest was not on the agenda. I began to vomit every 5 minutes and knew this couldn't be "symptoms from pregnancy" I called my doctor who said "This sounds like a stomach bug. Try to get some rest and call us if it doesn't subside." Well, I never got the chance to make that call because my symptoms only increased to include a migraine, vomiting every few minutes to not being able to stand. I called JP and he left work to come take me to the ER at the nearest hospital and this is where my pregnancy took a major turn.
Once we arrived at the hospital a series of tests were done. Initially they thought it could have been my gallbladder. Well it wasn't. After several tests, the doctors came to my room appearing very nervous and upset and said to me words I will never forget. "Mrs. Powell, you are bleeding internally to death and we will try our best to save you and your unborn child." They informed me that I had HELLP Syndrome, which is a life-threatening hypertensive disorder of pregnancy. There was protein in my urine, my platelet count was extremely low, and my liver began to hemorrhage causing major problems to my vital organs.
There was no time to digest this information because time was of the essence. I had so many questions to ask. " How did this happen? I was ok yesterday. I'm healthy. Why didn't my doctor see this? I was at the doctors office on Monday for a routine appointment. Why do you have to deliver my baby? I'm only 23 weeks. Will she survive?Why is this happening to me?
I began to cry uncontrollably because my life was in jeopardy and I could not process the wealth of information that was thrown before I was set to go into major surgery.
I delivered Mia Jane Powell on January 3, 2013 at 23 weeks via emergency csection. She was 1 lb. 1 oz at birth. Such a small baby but she was beautiful! I was wheeled down to the NICU to see her for 5 minutes before getting taken to ICU. While there I began to get fluid in my lungs and could not talk. The next day the NICU SW came to visit me in ICU and encouraged me to go down to see Mia once again because she wasn't doing so well. I managed to get the strength to visit her and got so emotional seeing her in the isolate with tubes everywhere. I got a chance to stick my hands inside and she grabbed my fingers. The doctors were amazed with that. So was I.
I went back to ICU feeling great that she would be ok and so would I. Later that night, the NICU nurse came to the ICU to let me know that Mia took a turn and would not make it through the night. They rushed me back down to the NICU where we saw the doctors performing chest compressions. They looked me in my eyes and said words I don't like to repeat. " Mrs. Powell, we are sorry but there's nothing more that we can do." Everything went black. Time stopped for me.
I remained in the ICU for the next 2 weeks trying to process everything that happened.
I was later discharged home with several follow up appointments to the liver surgeon and the pulmonologist.
10 months later, JP and I decided to expand our family, despite the scary and life changing experience we had the first time. On July 17, 2014 we safely delivered our healthy baby girl, Jasmine Elizabeth Powell. We knew the risk I was running by becoming pregnant again, but this time around I was much more aware of the symptoms to look for. I was heavily monitored by Maternal Fetal Medicine and began taking a baby aspirin beginning at my second trimester and ending at 36 weeks. I had a very healthy pregnancy with Jasmine and she was born at 37 weeks complication free.
As a survivor of HELLP Syndrome. I was very blessed to have delivered a healthy baby this time and that I was also okay. Unfortunately, in 2013 we had a different outcome. There is no known cause and the only cure is to deliver the baby, which in most cases, leads to prematurity and in our case... neonatal death. The scariest part about HELLP Syndrome is that many women don't even know that they have it. Like me, the symptoms may seem like normal pregnancy symptoms. Awareness needs to be raised about this dangerous condition, and I am hoping you'll join me in supporting the Preeclampsia Foundation at the Cranford Promise Walk!
Trashaun & Johari Powell
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