Pre-e & me

May is pre-eclampsia awareness month. If you’ve never had it, it’s unlikely you would even think twice about pre-eclampsia, if you have had it it has changed your life. There are some myths about pre-eclampsia that I believed when I was pregnant, I had seen an article or two about it. I was on baby #2, so I thought that meant I was ok, I didn’t eat poorly, I took vitamins, I went to the doctor for all my appointments, things like that. So I thought I was ok, kind of immune.

Eclampsia means pregnancy related seizure, so pre-eclampsia is the high blood pressure before you have a seizure. Less than 1% of moms with pre-eclampsia have the seizures.

Since I did not think I was going to fall into the group who may have gotten it, I didn’t pay attention to the real risk factors:

Preeclampsia is most often seen in first-time pregnancies and in pregnant teens and women over 40. Other risk factors include (as per webmd):

  • A history of high blood pressure prior to pregnancy.-This was me
  • Previous history of preeclampsia.
  • A history of preeclampsia in mother or sisters.
  • Obesity prior to pregnancy.-This was me
  • Carrying more than one baby.
  • History of diabetes, kidney disease, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis.-I had gestational diabetes in my 1st pregnancy

Knowing all of this, my doctor never told me about what to look for. I don’t fault my doctor, but I think all doctors should tell moms to be of the symptoms just in case. I went every time I had to and got my pressure read and my protein in the urine checked and it was all good. I had a cold or so I thought for about a month, I was around 32 weeks.I called my doctor and an on call from another office said to take benedryll for my cold. I was falling asleep and waking up coughing, I kept feeling like I was drowning. I went for another checkup and the nurse practitioner gave me a Z pack.It was at this appointment that she discovered I had gained 22 pounds in a little over a week. I was eating the same,my pressure was fine. She said it was most likely because it was hot out and I was swollen.
These are the symptoms (according to webmd):

What are the Signs of Preeclampsia?

In addition to swelling, protein in the urine, and high blood pressure, symptoms of preeclampsia can include:

  • Rapid weight gain caused by a significant increase in bodily fluid (22 pounds in one week)
  • Abdominal pain (I had been having pains for a few weeks, but thought it was the baby moving)
  • Severe headaches
  • A change in reflexes(they pointed this out once I was in hospital)
  • Reduced output of urine or no urine
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive vomiting and nausea  (this came on to when I was in hospital)

I was at a 4th of July party, and it was hot. I was soaking my legs in the pool, having just had to buy new sneakers because my feet went from a 9 to a 13. The next day I went to a festival and walked for a few hours in the heat with my family. I just kept drinking water and more water, to stay hydrated. I was tired, but that was it. The next morning I was so swollen it hurt. I called the doctor for water pills, because my friend advised me to do so.  They told me they didn’t give them, I needed to come in. This was a Tuesday, I had an appointment for an ultrasound on Friday to see how big my baby was, because I was huge. I had an appointment to follow up with the doctor the Tuesday after that. I went to the doctor that day, and did my urine test and pressure. They kind of got weird and asked me about headaches and vision, which were fine. Then they hooked me up to a fetal monitor. At some point they advised me to go to hospital and get a few hours urine test. So I did, and that was not improving and my pressure was getting worse, so I was checked in. The next morning I started throwing up, still didn’t have any headaches. So the doctor came in and told me I was being moved to a hospital with a level III NICU.
It was there a day later that my daughter was born at 34 weeks. She was in the NICU for several weeks and she has hearing loss, but otherwise she was ok. I still had high blood pressure for almost a month after. Right after I delivered my blood pressure shot up, I was on the magnesium bag and they had to start shooting other drugs into me to lower my pressure. I was starting to go out of it and they gave me oxygen. My pressure never stabilized while I was still in hospital. I was on pro-cardia and it was making my pressure worse. It would be almost two months later with a follow up with my GP who changed my meds,  that it went down. Almost a year after that, it stabilized so I could go off my meds until maybe later in life, since I have a family history of high blood pressure. I still go every three months for a blood pressure check up with my GP to keep things in check.  So that’s my story.  Please feel free to comment and share your story, because that is the one of the ways we can make other moms to be aware of this scary disorder. This is the website for the foundation and they have tons of info. My wish is that parents to be magazines and pregnancy magazines would start running more stories about it, because it is extremely scary and not all moms and babies make out as well as we did.

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