|Teresa and Julianne
Cesarean Section, Pre-eclampsia, HELLP Syndrome
It was a hot July evening in New York City, and my husband and I were awaiting the birth of our first child. We both worked for the same company and I just finished my last day before my maternity leave. The next morning was Saturday, and my husband was taking his daughter from his first marriage back to the airport. I was going to a barbecue with several friends. We still had almost a month before the baby was due. I woke up in the morning with a severe headache and vomiting so bad that I could not even stand up. I called my doctor and he told me to take what I usually do for migraines and if this did not relieve the symptoms call back. All that week I had spots before my eyes and was very swollen in the face, hands and feet. My co-workers kept telling me that this is normal at the end of pregnancy in the summer. The week before at my visit my blood pressure was 120/70.
As the evening wore on the symptoms grew worse. We called our OBGYN and he told us to go over to the hospital and get checked. When we got there they hooked me up to a fetal monitor and started an IV. I thought they would send me home and tell me I had the flu! Boy, was I wrong! I had pre-eclampsia and my blood pressure was through the roof. It was so high they would not even tell me the numbers. They tried all night to get it down with mag-sulfate but it didn't work so at 3:24 pm on a hot Sunday afternoon, by C-section, our baby girl was born. She was 5 lbs, 2 oz. and very healthy. I on the other hand was not. My body did something called the HELLP Syndrome and actually helped the pre-eclampsia get worse and so for 72 hours I really don't remember anything. I almost died and if it was not for the care of my OB and the wonderful nurses, I think I would have. They monitored me very closely and took blood every two hours for at least two full days. My veins collapsed and they even had to take blood from my feet. I still hate blood work to this day! I had wanted to breastfeed my daughter so to calm my stress from not be able to do this the nurses bought her down to my room in recovery so I could feed her.
Looking back I blame myself for not slowing down in pregnancy. I thought I could do everything I did before. I stood on my feet most of the day selling mutual funds for a company that did not look kindly on pregnancies. I worked out and never really slowed down and the biggest thing was that I ignored my feelings that something was wrong when I started to see spots.
It is seven years later, and my daughter is a beautiful seven year old and is doing great in school. We went on to have two children, a 3 1/2 year old and one that is eight weeks old today. I did have problems with my pressure after delivery and this time I ended back in the hospital overnight, but I did not have pre-eclampsia again and my pressure was normal during both pregnancies. My blood pressure went down after my first two pregnancies and they still have me on medication to get it under control again. I do suffer from white coat hypertension and the thought of having it taken at the doctor's office usually is enough to raise it. But when I look at my three beautiful children, I know that I would do it all over again. I thank God every day that I am able to be here with my children and that I had such wonderful doctors and nurses who helped me through some very difficult times. I will never take my health or the health of my family for granted ever again.