Pre-eclampsia


I had pre-eclampsia with my second child.  That is not as common in a second if you didn’t have it in the first.  With the first I gained way too much weight and got gestational diabetes.  With the second I barely gained weight, ate well, exercised and was doing really well.  About a month before my diagnosis I was getting a sharp aching pain in my upper abdomen and everytime I looked it up online it said pre-eclampsia, are you gaining weight in your hands and feet and face, is your pressure high and all the time for me it was no.  So I chalked it up that I pulled a muscle or bumped myself or that the baby was kicking me too hard.  Looking back I should have told my doctor, but the second time around, you think I’ve done this before it’s not a big deal.  Stop whining about every little thing, your pregnant, it’s the summer oh course you are going to feel achy.  A few weeks after that, I kept coughing.  I was so out of breath and if I went to sleep I’d wake up coughing, feeling like I was swolling water and drowning.  It was weird, so I called the on call doctor one weekend (who was not my doctor) and was told it was probably a cold and to take some medicine for the cough and call Monday.  So I had a doctors app on Tuesday for a check up.  I was still coughing and feeling like I was drowning when I laid down so the nurse practioner gave me a z pack for this cold.  She also noted that I had gained about 20 pounds in 2 weeks.  My pressure was ok, my urine was ok so she thought it was weather related since it was hot and people swell when it’s hot, so I went home again.  I was about 33 weeks at this time.  That week was the 4th of July and I went to my best friends for a picnic.  I was so hot and everyone kept saying how swollen I was and how I would probably go early.  But no one ever said pre-eclampsia.  I had to buy sneakers 2 sizes bigger the next day because my feet wouldn’t go in the ones I was wearing the rest of the pregnancy.  Still I was thinking don’t complain.  All is well the baby is moving and this will soon be over.  The following Tuesday we were taking my son somewhere and I was so miserable so I called the doctor thinking I could get a water pill.  They told me they don’t give water pills and I should come in, so I did and they ran the normal tests.  Now my pressure was high and protein had indeed been in my urine.  So I went and checked myself in the hospital for a 24 hour test of urine.  Needless to say I failed.  I had pre-eclampsia.  I was rushed to a hospital with a NICU and was induced the next day.  My pressure sky rocketed and I developed HEELP syndrome. I was having such trouble breathing because of all the fluid in my body.  My liver was starting to be damaged.  I was doing very poorly and my child was in the NICU because I delivered at 34 weeks.  It took almost a month to lower my pressure and I am still on meds today a year later.  You know when you see things and you don’t think much about them.  A month before I had my child someone my husband worked with had twins really early who ended up in the NICU and I didn’t even think of a NICU before then.  I also kept seeing small paragraphs on pre-eclampsia.  But I didn’t think I was a candidate, little did I know anyone can be a candidate.  I wish my doctors office and the magazines and the websites would have more about symptoms and awareness because it would have made me go in sooner.  After my experience I met many people and read many stories and learned it is more common than I thought.  I thought it was people with poor diets or poor pre-natal care and I was so wrong about that.  About 7 months after the birth of my child, I was diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, and I take medication for that.  I wonder if I had that all along?  I periodically got checked since it runs in my family, but nothing ever turned up.  There is such awareness for all other condition effecting babies but many times we don’t think as much about the mother and how pregnancy can be complicated and cause health concerns.  So if you are pregnant or know anyone who is pregnant, please be aware of pre-eclampsia and learn the symptoms so you can maybe you can get help in time and be ready for the journey it takes to recover and the challenge of bringing a preemie home.

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