I had HELLP syndrome during my pregnancy, I was diagnosed at 31 weeks, though I was showing signs much earlier my doctor thought it was pre-eclampsia. Thanks to a hurricane hitting I never finished my protein test to bring to the doctor because I evacuated with my mom, who had cancer at the time, and my dad. My husband had stayed behind because he couldn't leave the store he manages unattended for however long we'd be gone.
My symptoms? Swelling, oh God, the swelling. I couldn't wear shoes at all. Fatigue, high blood pressure, and eventually I had mostly stopped peeing.
I'm a roll with the punches kind of girl, and never having been pregnant before, I just figured I was having a rough pregnancy and this was part of life. Eventually it would be over, so I never worried. Even when I was hospitalized I didn't have many moments of stress or freakouts. I suppose I would call myself blindly optimistic the whole time.
My symptoms started with swelling and a slightly elevated blood pressure, nothing bad, but enough that my doctor wanted to catch it early. I was sent home with the protein test I believe on a Friday, but thanks to hurricane Isaac I would never turn it in. I evacuated with my parents that Monday, leaving my husband and his family behind. It wasn't looking to be a bad storm, maybe a category 2, but with my mom having cancer and me being pregnant no one wanted us to stay. So off to Jackson, Mississippi we went.
While there I noticed I wasn't peeing nearly enough. So I bought a bag of lemons and drank more water than usual in hopes of remedying it. It didn't work, and the next day when I woke up I realized my face felt odd. All that water I had been drinking that wasn't going anywhere had to go somewhere, and it made me swell, everywhere. I didn't recognize myself and I sent a photo to my husband. He immediately told me to call the doctor. However, phone lines were down so I couldn't get a hold of anyone at the office. The next day I thought to call the hospital, which was also the day we were on the way home.
Luckily my doctor was the on call doctor so I was able to talk to her! She told me to stop at the nearest pharmacy and have my blood pressure taken and call her back. It was 198/96, and she told me that since I was on the way home to go straight to the hospital.
I was admitted there in Thibodaux, Louisiana. But being a small town hospital they didn't have a NICU and I was 32 weeks at the time. If my blood pressure was too high they were transporting me to the sister hospital in Baton Rouge. I lasted about a week there on bed rest before it went too high and they moved me at 10pm one night. It was there at Women's Hospital that their specialists diagnosed me with HELLP Syndrome. They kept a close eye on my platelets more than my blood pressure, and one day when they dropped below the 120s the doctor said we needed to induce. Being stubborn and wanting a natural as possible birth, I labored for 37 hours before realizing that thanks to a weird tailbone, giving birth to my 4lb baby wasn't going to happen. On September 9th my daughter was born by a section weighing 4lbs 3oz, and other than being jaundiced she was perfectly healthy.
And in the end it was all a blessing, Chloe came early enough and healthy enough that she was able to meet my mom. Who, while I was in the hospital in Baton Rouge, took a turn for the worse and was hospitalized herself in New Orleans. Chloe met her when she was just 10 days old, and my mom passed away when Chloe was 17 days old.