I had never heard of HELLP syndrome before. Overall, pregnancy seemed so simple and I was completely unaware of the risks. I was 31 weeks pregnant when I delivered my son via emergency c-section due to HELLP syndrome.
At first, I only experienced neck and shoulder pain, which later I found out was due to hydronephrosis. My kidneys were shutting down due to my high blood pressure. After my son was delivered, my blood pressure did not return to normal. Emotionally, it was all so overwhelming. Within 24 hours I had a baby that we were not ready for (we had 9 weeks until his due date) and I was given medication after medication to get my blood pressure down. My vitals were taken every four hours, checking the proteins in my urine, my platelet count, my blood pressure, and my Ten days passed before I was able to be discharged on blood pressure medication with my numbers in check. In hindsight, I had bloated up with water weight within days of going to the ER. Overall, it was a very sudden onset.
I was 31 weeks pregnant for my first child when I experienced excruciating shoulder and neck pain. I had just been to the OB/GYN a few days previous and all was fine. I thought I needed to go to a chiropractor and whatever was bothering me was completely unrelated to my pregnancy. I ignored the pain for almost a day then it became unbearable! My family convinced me to go to the hospital so we headed out. At the Emergency Room, my blood pressure was 256/178. Seeing that sent the nursing staff into a frenzy! I had never had a history of high blood pressure so I was clueless as to how alarming those numbers were. The ER doctor whisked me away into get a chest x-ray. He said my aorta was on the verge of tearing and my baby had to be delivered. I was completely astonished! I went in for shoulder pain and all of a sudden my baby was being delivered via emergency c-section.
I went to the ER at 9:30pm. At 1:30am, my son was born. I remember having a conversation in the delivery room with my husband about what we wanted to name our baby, then I lost a few days. The doctors tried different medications, but nothing seemed to get my blood pressure down. They explained that with pre-eclampsia, after delivery the mother's blood pressure returns to normal. With me, this was not the case. My family and I met with my OB/GYN and he explained "there was nothing more they could do". Seeing my family's faces after hearing those words was devastating. What was going on? Within days, I went from a healthy woman to being told I was dying. I had a son who I didn't know if I would be there to raise!
This is where the power of motherhood steps in: My Mom, called every doctor, PA, and nurse she knew and decided that because there was no longer a baby inside me, I did not have to be treated by OB/GYNs. A cardiologist came in to see me and gave me the full gamut of blood pressure medications along with a nitro patch to keep me from having a heart attack. This did the trick! Once my blood pressure was on the right track, the rest of my symptoms and levels sorted themselves out as well. After ten days of being in the hospital, I was discharged and able to concentrate on my baby in the NICU.
My son was in the NICU for 42 days and I was on blood pressure medication for 6 months. It has been three years and we are both happy and healthy. The doctors have told me that I cannot have any more children. Every day people ask "When are you having another" or "I am sure your son would love a sister". These innocent comments wrench my insides. I relive that nightmare that was supposed to be "the happiest day of my life". I am happy to have my son and be here. I am thankful that my mother was my advocate and I will always be a voice for my son. I find peace in my pain by hoping that someone will hear my story, listen to their body, and not become a negative statistic for HELLP syndrome.