"I'm a married, working, mother of two. I have a five year old girl (my HELLP baby) and a 6 month old boy. I was born, raised, and live in Indiana."
"I developed HELLP syndrome during my pregnancy. I was officially diagnosed at 31 weeks 4 days. I had never heard of HELLP before my pregnancy. I believe I was showing symptoms for at least a week, if not more, before I was diagnosed.
I had what I thought was really bad heartburn for a week. I had had heartburn throughout the pregnancy, but this heartburn actually caused me to throw up. I was having the worst pain in my back that I had ever felt for a week prior to my diagnosis. I thought it was typical back pain in pregnancy, because this was my first baby. Turns out, it was my kidney's shutting down. The day I was diagnosed, I was taking Tylenol as much as allowed throughout the day, with no relief. My urine was turning darker and darker and I was urinating less and less during the week prior to my diagnosis. I was having headaches and realize now that I was seeing spots and "stars." My feet and legs had slight swelling. I was tired both physically and emotionally and felt beat down. The day I went in for my first bi-weekly doctor's appointment, which was the day I was diagnosed, my coworkers said I looked pale and my lips had no color. At my doctor's appointment, my blood pressure was highly elevated and would not come down."
She had me lay on my left side for 10 minutes and came back to check again. My blood pressure was still elevated. My midwife came in and took one look at me and heard about the pain I was in and sent me across the street to the hospital to be monitored. She later told me she would have normally sent someone with my symptoms home with a 24 hour urine test, but decided I should be monitored for some reason. I went to the hospital and was hooked up to the machines. I tried to pee in the cup, but not much came out. They came to take my blood, which took 3 different people multiple times to find a good vein. While waiting on the test results, they set up an ultrasound. The nurse was pretty confident I was having kidney stones.
The ultrasound showed my happy baby and no kidney stones. Back to square one! After an hour or two, there were suddenly tons of people in my room and my midwife and the OB came over from the practice. Everyone was running around me throwing out words I didn't understand and telling my in-laws to call my husband and get him to the hospital immediately (he had been at home supervising a water leak being repaired). My midwife and OB calmly explained to me I needed to have my baby that day and as soon as possible.
My platelet levels were under 20,000, blood pressure was elevated, and my liver enzymes were high. They said I needed to be transferred to a different hospital with a level 1 NICU. I was so scared, but they were very calm and reassuring. My midwife rode in the ambulance with me to the hospital that was an hour away. I was immediately prepped for surgery. I was being put under general anesthesia, due to my platelet levels. I went to sleep genuinely unsure if I would wake up or if my baby would be okay.
I later woke up, extremely drugged. They told me my baby girl was ok and in the NICU. They wheeled my bed past her isollette so I could see her. I remember being given Magnesium Sulfate sometime during the day. Later the same evening my blood pressure kept rising, eventually getting to 212/105. I was given an oral blood pressure medicine and when that didn't work, I was given more medicine in my IV. I received a platelet transfusion while in the hospital and spent 6 days in the hospital. My baby was able to come home after 34 days. She received a blood transfusion, was on oxygen, and was jaundiced. But other than being small (3 lbs, 3 oz) she had no issues. I was on blood pressure medicine for 6 weeks, but have had no lasting effects from my HELLP syndrome. She is now a happy healthy 5 year old girl with no issues.
My husband and I were unsure about having another child because of my experience. I had been told by the doctors that if I had gone one more day I probably would have died. After speaking to doctors and talking to each other we decided to have another baby. I had another baby 5 years after my HELLP experience. I was monitored very closely from the moment I found out. I saw my doctor every 2 weeks from 6 weeks until I hit 34 weeks when I went weekly. I was put on blood pressure medicine at 8 weeks and received regular non-stress tests and growth ultrasounds. I also took a 24 urine test at 8 weeks to get a baseline of my levels. I took another 24 urine test at 28 weeks. I was given regular blood tests to check all of my levels. I had no preeclampsia and no HELLP. I had a C-section at 38 weeks (due to having regular contractions I couldn't feel) and had a healthy baby boy. I went home after the standard 2 days and was able to take my baby home with me. It was such a completely different experience from my daughter and it was very reassuring to have the regular contact and monitoring from my doctor."
This website does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used in place of a qualified health provider. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote awareness of HELLP Syndrome in pregnant and postpartum women. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. If you think you are suffering from HELLP please contact your healthcare provider. If you have an emergency dial 911.