"I recently relocated back to Southern California where I am currently a stay-at-home mom. My husband and I are originally from here, but were stationed in New York and Texas prior to coming back home. I enjoy spending time with my husband and baby girl, Harleigh, going to the beach and collecting beach glass, and online shopping."
"I developed HELLP Syndrome at 35 weeks. I had never heard of HELLP before and Google became my best friend once I was diagnosed (which I don't recommend!).
I had a pretty normal pregnancy up until the end of my second trimester. When I was about 5 months pregnant, I began to swell very badly. My doctor did catch it and put me on bed rest for a week. I didn't know "they" were symptoms until I was diagnosed and learned more about HELLP Syndrome.
When I hit my third trimester I was very swollen - from my face to my feet. It was horrible. I had rolls around my ankles and my cheeks were huge. I also experienced blood in my ears and bleeding from my nose. I'm not sure why I wasn't alarmed from my ears bleeding. For a couple days it felt like the ears were clogged so I tried Swimmer's Ear and Peroxide. I thought the blood was from that because it burned so bad. I thought the blood from my nose was because my nose was so dry from the weather. I also had very bad heart burn and back pain during my third trimester. I was told that was normal at each doctor's visit.
Two nights before I delivered I experienced severe "heart burn" - more severe than anything I had ever experience. My throat was on the fire. One night before I delivered I had back pain that was so excruciating that I thought I was dying ... sad thing is, I was. I also thought I had a bladder infection. I couldn't pee and whenever I tried it burned so bad that I think I fell asleep on the toilet for a couple hours that night. I couldn't move. I felt like my body was just shutting down entirely.
When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, “over the moon” just isn’t enough to describe how we felt. I still remember the day I saw those 2 lines … It was only a few days away from my husband’s birthday and I tried so hard to wait to tell him then. I lasted 2 minutes before spilling the beans. It was one of the happiest moments of my life."
During the end of my second trimester, I started to swell. Like all over. I felt like a whale and assumed everyone thought I was doing “duck face” because my face was swollen – lips, cheeks – everything! It was horrible but I assumed it was just a normal part of pregnancy – which it is, don’t get me wrong. Swelling is normal during pregnancy. My doctor also said it was normal but she did put me on bed rest for a week or so. I put my feet up, drank tons of water and did everything I thought I was supposed to, but my swelling got worse.
On Wednesday, January 30th, I felt a little “off” and complained to my husband about my “heartburn.” Since Google was my best friend during pregnancy (I advise against this!), I assumed it was just another pregnancy symptom and since I had an OB appointment on Jan. 31, I figured I could push through it and tell my doctor. I snored pretty badly during my pregnancy (my husband and I differ on how bad it really was!) so I was on the couch that night. I had a rough night to say the least. The “heart burn” was excruciating pain. I remember vividly like my chest and throat were on fire. I tried everything from drinking milk and eating yogurt to lying naked on a medicine ball to try to soothe myself. I never slept that night and by morning it was more tolerable so I thought nothing of it. “A few more weeks” was what I kept saying in my mind.
I had my doctor’s appointment that morning and told her about the “heart burn.” She told me it was a normal pregnancy symptom. I also found out at that appointment that I was spilling protein into my urine so I was to start my 24 hours urine catch that Sunday. I had also been diagnosed with gestational diabetes a few weeks prior (which was a shock to me!). Things were “off” but I didn’t put them together because I wasn’t educated about HELLP Syndrome (if fact, I had NO IDEA what HELLP Syndrome was) – but from my experience, most women who get this, aren’t.
That next day I started experiencing worse back pain than I had already been having. That night, I thought I was having back labor. I was on the couch again and it was so bad – again, on the medicine ball, doing Yoga poses, stretching, rubbing, etc. Nothing helped. Finally around 2am on 2/2/13 I told my husband that something wasn’t right and we needed to go to the ER. I delivered my daughter 6 hours later … "
A couple hours later, my husband decided to go home and get some rest. I called him 45 minutes later to tell him that I was going in for an emergency C-section in an hour.
We were terrified. We had no family in Texas, just us really. I vaguely recall being taken into the room where the C-section was going to be performed. I was given a spinal block which for some reason I remember. I was even more terrified because my husband wasn’t in there with me and I was so loopy that I didn’t know what was going on. I was scared, alone, worried … and seriously drugged up. The next thing I knew I felt paralyzed … and then my husband was allowed in the room. I remember us cracking jokes saying that I was going to try to lift my legs. I was so scared that laughter was my only outlet … or it was the drugs.
I couldn’t see her for two days after that. I was still on Magnesium and I couldn’t walk. It felt like I slept for two days after the birth. After those two days went by, I was finally told what had happened.
Like many women who develop HELLP, I went from what seemed like a normal, healthy pregnancy to potentially losing my life in a matter of moments.I had perfect blood pressure up until the day of my C-section. It skyrocketed that day and stayed pretty high until about 3 months after I had her. I was also on blood pressure medication. I thank God daily that I was more in tune with my body than ever before the night I went to the ER & for my husband who knew something wasn’t right.
I also thank God daily for Harleigh. She saved my life."