The Doctors Didn't Know and Didn't Believe Me

July 31, 2023 By Sierra Davis

The Doctors Didn't Know and Didn't Believe Me

I have been revisiting the preeclampsia websites and trying to gather more information of late because my husband and I would love to have another baby. When I do start digging online, every time I start crying. I cry because my birth story when I had my son was traumatic.

I began feeling terrible, having high BP, and experiencing headaches at around 35 weeks. My pregnancy went on to be full-term. My doctors office, a state-run clinic, took my blood pressure incorrectly when I would go to get my weekly pregnancy check-up. I was obese before I became pregnant, and I swelled even more during, so their blood pressure cuff must not have fit correctly. Whatever the cause, they didn't catch that my blood pressure was very high for weeks, through multiple appointments. There was also only protein found in my urine samples once, during a 24 hour catch. They dismissed my vision changes and headaches. Finally, at my very last check up, they noted my BP was high and scheduled me for induction and my son was born the day after his due date. I now realize that none of this should have happened and that I should have been induced weeks before. I should have gone straight to the maternity ward in the hospital where they know what they're looking for, not my women's health clinic.

My son was born with jaundice and was a little small, 6 lbs 5 oz, but was otherwise healthy. I luckily didnt have to have a c-section. The hospital told me I had severe preeclampsia. The week before the delivery, I swelled terribly all over my body, my face, arms, and legs. There is a photo of me a couple of days before birth that scares me to look at now. My shoes and pants didn't fit. I was unaware at the time that none of the things I was feeling weren't normal and that I should have gone to the hospital immediately because both my son and I were in serious danger during this time.

As if that wasn't enough, after being in the hospital for 4 days, they had stabilized my BP and my son had the UV ray treatment for his jaundice and they let us both go home. The next day was my son's first appointment with the doctor. When we arrived I was feeling terrible again. I could barely walk. Again, I had no way of knowing that none of that was normal after having a child. My son's doctor assessed me, took my blood pressure manually, and sent me to the ER. I had postpartum preeclampsia.

The nearest hospital was not the one we had just left. They would not allow my newborn son into the hospital with me and his dad took him home for the night. I was trying to breastfeed and it caused me great emotional distress that I couldn't have my baby with me in the hospital. It made no sense to me. The next day, a very kind nurse fought for me to have my child with me again and won. The hospital let them both stay with me the next night, and actually changed their policy about newborns and breastfeeding mothers after this.

Overall, during my late pregnancy and birth experience I experienced a lot of trauma and have mostly unpleasant memories.

My son is 5 years old now and just started kindergarten. He's a happy and healthy kid. My partner and I want to have another child but I don't think I can handle it physically or mentally. I'm terrified of it all happening again. The illness, the doctors not listening, being separated from my child if something goes wrong for either of us. I do not look back at any of this with happiness. That didn't come until after I recovered and bonded with my baby.