"My pregnancy seemed typical....nausea until 4th month and exhaustion, nothing out of the ordinary. All was normal except at some point in my 2nd trimester I started experiencing severe pitting edema. The swelling in my ankles and feet had me very concerned. The left foot way more than the right. I was reassured by the midwife it was normal. I kept trying to convince the Dr and midwife the weight gain I was experiencing was water weight because I was eating healthier and less than I had before. My blood pressure was normal so there was no cause for concern in their eyes.
Then in my 3rd trimester my hands also became swollen and my fingertips on my right hand were in a constant state of numbness and always tingling. I would wake up and both my hands would be numb and I’d be unable to grasp anything or make a fist. I was assured by more than one Dr (because I had to get a 2nd opinion to help ease my mind) that this was carpal tunnel due to the swelling in my hands & wrists and it would subside after delivery. I was having stomach pains that I assumed was gas. Between my 6th and 7th month I was having severe hot flashes. I had experienced hot flashes throughout pregnancy but this was more like my skin was on fire and my chest hurt.
I felt my body telling me to stop just stop whatever I was doing...my sister convinced me to go to the ER. My blood pressure was high but after a few hours of monitoring the baby & I, it lowered and I was released. I was told I had been suffering heat exhaustion, dehydration (which is why they said I showed protein in my urine upon arrival) and that most likely I had a panic attack. They called my Dr. & he wanted to see me the next day. He took one look at my swelling and said I was on the road to getting sick. Not that I was sick yet but it would be a race to whether I had my baby or got Toxemia first. This was mid-May. I was due July 29th. I was told take it easy. No work. Get rest and keep my legs elevated when possible. But in the same breath I wasn't considered high risk at this point. My blood pressure was fine.
June and July brought more stomach aches and extreme fatigue. Also I didn’t realize at the time but my face was also swollen...after looking back at pictures throughout my pregnancy and noticing how my face shrank after delivery the swelling was everywhere not just my extremities. I also started having pains at my panty line area, bottom belly. It hurt to walk! It hurt to move literally! The pain moved to my upper stomach and soon everywhere! After days of pain getting worse instead of better I Googled my symptoms. I winded up getting myself all worked up after finding I matched up with Toxemia & pre-eclampsia!! I called the ER (my Dr doesn't have an answering service...basically when I asked what to do if I ever went in labor or had an emergency...I was told you go to ER and they can contact him if need be) The nurse in Labor & delivery who answered remembered me from my expected daughter's name (Zeppelin) and said she would come in if she was me as its better safe than sorry. Especially because my pains were in upper stomach along with upper back, chest, and shoulder pain unlike labor pains which are in the lower belly.
That night about 12:05AM on July 14th I was admitted. My blood pressure was very high and inconsistent. Up and down. I was told I'd be induced in the morning. I was in so much pain I felt like I was dying. The nurses weren't able to offer any medication only advise me to calm down that my being upset was the reason my blood pressure was so high. They were very unhappy that I wouldn't remain on my left side. I kept telling them my left shoulder hurt so bad like I ran into a wall full speed. Also it now hurt to breathe! My chest hurt just inhaling! (So far everything I was experiencing at this point was all signs of HELLP Syndrome, but I hadn’t even heard of this condition -yet). And now I had the missing link High Blood pressure. BUT STILL I REMAINED UNDIAGNOSED. My BP so high I was put on a Magnesium drip at some point after being admitted...it’s a little blurry as to which day...I woke up to blankets taped to the bed rails. They were concerned I was going to have seizures.
Hours later which felt much longer when you lie in pain, un-medicated, tossing and turning wondering if its just gas you need to force out...the Dr came in to say we weren't going to induce...that I was 38 weeks and if at all possible we should try for 40 wks. That I was to remain hospitalized under supervision to allow the baby more time inside the womb as long as it was safer inside than out. I got the green light for food Yay! Then the stomach pains got worse. I was finally allowed pain meds along with the Magnesium drip which made me loopy and out of it. I'm told I talked slow and like a stoned surfer while doped up. I also had to endure a catheter because the Mag. drip had me bed bound. That was such an awkward uncomfortableness. The whole first night I had the sensation I had to pee but obviously it was all in my mind. After that I didn’t even feel it. I also had the cuffs on my legs to help the swelling in my legs and keep circular since I was bed bound.
The next day July 15th the Dr came in during what I can only describe as a severe attack on my stomach/chest. He took one look at me crying and curled over and he said "we cannot wait any longer we have to induce...." But because I had eaten that day we had to wait until first thing the next morning! Also he told us (me and my fiancé) we should use this time to decide whether I want to be induced into vaginal labor or a C section. He strongly advised a C-section because of my high blood pressure (which had reached 222/?) So this was serious. He said he thought a vaginal delivery even with being induced, would be a long delivery causing too much stress on me and the baby and that with my blood pressure already high a C-section would be safest. I was deathly scared of operation but for some reason during my 7 day hospital stay I was able to face so many fears head on and with so much new found courage, knowing it was not just me I had to endure this all for, but my unborn child. I also kept thinking of my father who passed away a few years ago and I know he was with me in my time of need. After discussing my options with my Grandmother and my Mother we decided in C-section."
My fiancé was right behind her after kissing me and making sure I'd be OK. Of course I'd rather him follow her at this point! 4 hours later she was finally brought to me. I was in and out of sleep/consciousness during that time. However every time I woke I asked to see her and they said once she was done with her recovery they'd send her in...I think it was more me that needed to recover because my family was watching her in the nursery the whole time and my fiancé was at her side in the nursery until they came to be reunited with me. By the time she came to me whatever they gave me to numb me was wearing off. I was able to move my feet and eventually my legs. In turn, that meant I was able to feel the pain. It hurt so bad to lay back flat. The pain was above my incision. I was told this must be where they pulled and stretched my muscles on the inside and that it is a common complaint after a C-section.
I tried to breastfeed but I was so weak and her sugar dropped they had to bring her to nursery to get the dreaded bottle. I so looked forward to breast feeding. They said even if I succeeded breast feeding she still had to have a bottle after at least until they advised otherwise. Antione, my fiancé took charge and did everything for the baby while I recovered. He did all the pamper changing and most of the feedings. He went in the nursery for hours on end while I rested, well tried to in between blood pressure checks, temperature checks, and needles. I am a very hard stick! My veins are deep and at this point I had been stuck up and down my right arm. The IV was in my left wrist so they didn’t want to take blood from the left arm so they had spots to reposition the IV every few days. Because I was so sick I felt more like a patient and not a brand new Mommy. I didn’t have much time one on one with my daughter. I felt so disconnected. The next day (17th) we were informed by our Dr that things had gotten worse. I had developed HELLP syndrome. We had no idea what this meant. They said my liver and kidneys were shutting down and that my blood platelets were around 50,000 which is very bad. "
9 months later, April 2014, we found out we were expecting again. Unfortunately, I miscarriaged a few weeks later. My body just wasn’t ready and we are ok with that. I still have a lot of healing to do physically and mentally. I've been advised to wait at least another 8 months to a year before trying again....and after HELLP I'm in no rush.
Thank you for your interest in our story. July 16th Zeppelin turns 1. I finally feel comfortable enough to relive my experience and share."