I am a stay-at-home mom to my wonderful family, ALL boys! My husband and I met in high school when we were 17. On June 20th, 2004 we were married on the Ohio River (on a river boat The Spirit of Jefferson) in Louisville, Kentucky. This year we are celebrating 10 years of marriage! We had our first son in 2006 and our youngest in 2010. My husband,Rob, is a Computer Network Engineer. We have a Golden Retriever named "Indi" after Indiana Jones. In our spare time we enjoy traveling to amusement parks, zoos, nature parks and museums.
In early spring 2010 I found out I was pregnant with baby number 2. I also very quickly found out that I was developing Hyperemis Gravardium ("HG" or "Severe Morning Sickness.") I was only 5 weeks pregnant when we knew based on my constant vomiting. Just like our first pregnancy, the second pregnancy was planned. And just like the first pregnancy, I was sick again. At week 7 I was admitted to the hospital where a PICC Line was placed in my left arm. I was in the hospital for two weeks before I was sent home to be watched by home health. I went home with the PICC Line and TPN pump which was my only source of nutrition. I still threw up 60-70 times a day until I was given Solumedrol (steroids) in my TPN. At that point I was only throwing up a handful of times per day.
In my first pregnancy I had HG but also developed Severe Preeclampsia and had my first son by c-section at 31 weeks as a result. I knew that this second pregnancy might be risky but was reassured by a perinatologist that "no two pregnancies are alike" and that "you are only at a slight risk for preeclampsia and it is not uncommon for the second pregnancy to go smoothly."
After I left the hospital for HG I was still very sick but had to care for our then three year old son who was VERY worried about his mommy. I decided to take my puke bag and TPN pump to the bookstore where my son enjoyed playing at their train table. I am very glad that I did because that is where I heard "HELLP Syndrome" for the first time.
My son was playing with another little boy named Max. Max's dad could see that I was sick and couldn't help but notice my giant tube trailing from my arm to a very large black backpack. He introduced himself and politely said "you're pregnant aren't you?" I said "wow, how did you guess that (I lost weight at that point so I wasn't really showing) most assume I have cancer!" He explained that his wife had HG with Max and said that Max was a preemie. I told him that my oldest was a preemie too due to Preeclampsia. He then said "my wife was on bed rest for that but it quickly turned to HELLP Syndrome which caused her to have a seizure and nearly die." My reaction was "Wow! I never heard of that. Is your wife okay? Max seems to be." He said "She's fine now. She went to the bathroom and will be back soon."
When his wife came to the train table she saw that I had that familiar backpack and pump much less a green kind of glow. Her husband quickly introduced us and filled her in in our conversation. She seemed so sad for me. I tried to stay very optimistic but seeing her became a new reality for me. What if I ended up getting HELLP like that woman?
I made it to 25 weeks before I started feeling dizzy and noticed my hands and face were bloating more so than normal. After surviving Preeclampsia in my first pregnancy I knew to keep a regular check on my blood pressure. It had spiked. My husband took me to the hospital where they ran a urinalysis on me. When my nurse returned I could read her face. I said "So, protein in my urine huh? How bad is it? Plus one? Plus two?" She said "I gather you've had Preeclampsia before? You're at a Plus Three, Hun. You're doctor will be in shortly to talk with you." I couldn't believe it. Not again. Not this soon.
I was at that hospital for a few days before it was decided that I should go to a hospital where they have a Level Three NICU. The goal was 31 weeks. I prayed and prayed. They transported me to the local University hospital downtown.
I remember the night before I had my second son. I had the most pain I have ever felt in my stomach. It was VERY painful. I was given pain medicine but it still did very little. I was also a human pin cushion. My labs had to be checked every other hour. Because of the bloating (common symptom of Preeclampsia) it was nearly impossible to get my blood. My body just felt weird. My husband felt so helpless, as he had felt this entire pregnancy. I hung my head and said "I feel like I'm dying. My body just feels different. This isn't like the first time with Preeclampsia. Something is really wrong and I'm afraid I'm going to die."
The next morning my doctor came in and said "Your labs came back and I'm afraid that you have severe HELLP Syndrome." He then quickly explained what it was and why it was so serious. I asked "will the baby be okay?" He said that 26 weeks is very early and they would do their best. I then asked "Am I going to die?" He said to "pray, make phone calls and give hugs. We will do our best but we MUST move NOW." He also explained that I would have to be put under for my c-section because I ran a risk of "bleeding out." Terror. Shock. Agony and disbelief. What was I hearing? How was this possible? Why after the pure hell I and my unborn baby had endured in this pregnancy was this happening? I hadn't seen my oldest in 2 days and now there was no time. I had to go to surgery. I asked my husband to film a quick video of me basically telling my son bye and that I loved him very much. I hugged my husband and told him that I loved him too. I then said "Hey, that lady I met at the book store survived this. Maybe I will too."
I remember being in the operating room and being TERRIFIED. I had never been put under before. I remember when they put the mask on me the medicine from the mask burned. I remember it took more for me to go under. I remember nothing of my son being born.
I could hear my husband. I couldn't see right away as I was still waking up. I didn't want to wake up because I was scared I would hear that our baby didn't make it. I heard my husband. His voice sounded optimistic. The news was good!
Our son was born at 26 weeks, weighed 1lb and 11oz and was 12 inches long. He was doing really well. I couldn't believe it! I made it. I lived. My son lived. I would get to hug my husband and my oldest son again.
Our son stayed 3 months and 8 days in the NICU. As a result of HELLP and being born so early he suffered a mild but permanent brain injury. I had my tubes tied. I still do not know what life long effects that HELLP took on my body. I only know that I am here. My son is here. We're going to make the most of this life as best as we can.