May is pre-eclampsia awareness month for more info go to http://www.preeclampsia.org I am a survivor of pre-eclampsia. It’s been almost 3 years since my life was forever changed by this condition. I wish I could tell you that 3 years later, I’ve been more diligent in taking care of my health, but I am overweight and I don’t exercise all that much. It’s not a definite but having pre-eclampsia can lead to a higher risk of stroke later in life. I also had gestational diabetes in my 1st pregnancy which can up your chances of having type 2 diabetes five years or more after the birth of your child. But back to pre-eclampsia. It is very important that you learn about this condition so you know when to call your doctor and what symptoms to look for. I had symptoms which I didn’t think anything of and which a nurse practioner at my office did not find alarming. I didn’t have headaches- a big sign. But I did gain 22 pounds in one week. Ok- just for the record nobody gains that much weight in a week pregnant or not. They chalked it up to someone writing the weight down incorrectly at my last visit. I was swollen as swollen could be. Overnight my feet swelled to 4 sizes larger, I actually went out and bought sneakers because I didn’t have anything I could fit them into. I kept going on though, thinking it’s hot, it’s summer, I’m pregnant. The only reason I even called the doctor is because I was annoyed. I was tired of being bloated and swollen in July. I spent the day previous at a fair walking around in the sun for 6 hours, eating and drinking, but not feeling like I was in trouble. My best friend said she felt bad and she said just call your doctor and ask for a water pill. I didn’t like to “bother” the doctor. I figured baby #2 I should be able to know what to do. Well the nurse said, we don’t “give” water pills to pregnant ladies, you need to come in. So I did. I did the urine sample and they ushered me into a room. They hooked me up to a fetal monitor and kept running my blood pressures. It was then, that they told me I was showing protein in my urine and had high blood pressure and needed to go to the hospital. I went there and they said they’d monitor my urine for a few hours and my pressure and see if I could go home. I kept thinking this is not happening, I’ll go home promise to be on bed rest and just wait this out. Well a few hours testing turned to overnight urine and blood pressure testing. I got more and more swollen, my pressure kept going up, despite meds and it was decided that things were getting bad for me and my baby. So we were moved to a hospital with a level III NICU. It was there that a day later I was induced and my precious ginger baby came into this world 6 weeks early. It was all a blur. My pressure shot up in delivery and a nurse put oxygen on me and they started pushing meds and telling me to breath, to calm down- I just kind of felt cloudy (if that’s a feeling), my husband was looking at the pressure machine and telling me to relax, and I was trying to hear my baby cry and get a glimpse of her. Long story short, I survived and she survived. But it was not easy for either of us for weeks. I went home without her and it was the hardest/longest period in my life. But today she is a vivacious toddler. Sometimes, many times you don’t know you have pre-eclampsia. The night before I called the doctor, I was in a meeting with 2 nurses, 7 moms and one person who had the opposite of high blood pressure in delivery, she had low blood pressure and not one person mentioned pre-eclampsia. Everyone said, it’s hot out and pregnant ladies swell. There is not enough info about this condition and it affects so many families. That’s my story and I have not stopped talking about it since it happened, because the more minds that have an idea about it, the more moms who might feel more comfortable or more forceful in talking to the doctors and standing up for themselves when they think things might not be going right in their pregnancy.