"I am from the UK and live in Leamington Spa. I haven't returned to work yet and am enjoying every minute with my little miracle. I'm married to a wonderful chap."
"I'd had a difficult pregnancy from the start- 24 weeks of horrible morning sickness, sciatica etc. At 28 weeks, I was diagnosed with severe gestational diabetes (requiring insulin injections before every meal). At 31 weeks, I was diagnosed with obstetric coleostasis and was required to spend a lot of time at the hospital being monitored for abnormal fetal movements.
At about 32 weeks, I started to feel terrible. At 33 weeks, after being admitted to hospital and being monitored for a few days, the hospital decided to give me an emergency c-section because I was showing signs of renal failure.
My son was 5lb 4oz born and after requiring some initial help with breathing, he was absolutely fine, although he was transferred to a larger hospital for precaution. In the hours after the c- section, I went downhill and progressed to having multiple organ failure, brain damage and hypercalcaemia ( fatally low calcium levels). My husband was told that the situation was very serious, that I was deteriorating quickly and that he should be prepared. I spent 6 days in Intensive Care and a further week in a private room on the regular maternity ward."
I had never heard of HELLP before. My final diagnosis was fulminating pre-eclampsia, HELLP and hypercalcaemia. I also suffered a diabetic hypo dye to my blood sugars dropping very low.
In the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I just did not feel right. I felt incredibly run down to the point that getting up to go to the toilet was a huge ordeal. I went totally off my food and even thinking about food made me physically sick. I had an insatiable thirst and was drinking pints and pints of water. I was losing weight very quickly ( I lost 2 stone-28 lbs-in total). My face altered and my eye lids swelled up. I was severely constipated and my whole body was just in pain. The main source of the pain was around my ribs and upper body. The day before I was admitted to hospital, I told my mother that I felt like I was dying, turns out I was right.
A year down the line, I am completely back to normal although I still have to have a full range of blood tests every 3 months. My son has done incredibly well and amazes me every day. I still relive what happens almost continuously - it has affected me deeply emotionally. I've been diagnosed with PTSD. The sounds of the machines, the smell of hospital and my own blood, the constant needles being shoved into my arm, hands, feet, neck, feeling and being sick, not being able to walk or write or recall simple things, the ache of not meeting my baby and having a "normal" birth experience, being washed by two people, one to hold me up and the other to hold the sponge, the hallucinations and the simple fear of not knowing what was wrong with me and what it meant for me! We have also be told that I stand a significant chance of it all happening again and that I'd be wise not to try for any more children. At the age of 30 and being someone who wanted a few children, this hurts. Nevertheless, I am eternally grateful for how lucky we were and I cherish every second with my family. I know that others have not been as fortunate.
The hospital were fantastic when they finally realised how sick I was but they were very slow to reach a diagnosis. I was made to feel like a "pest" by midwives, like an annoying and overly anxious first time mum who complained a lot. Even though I was already a "high-risk" pregnancy with the diabetes and coleostasis, they did not seem overly concerned with me telling them my symptoms. It was only upon my husbands insistence that I was admitted to hospital, their advice was to stay at home.
It scares the life out of me how close my son and I came to not being here and if I had followed the hospitals advice that day, we certainly wouldn't be."