"My name is Kelly Jacobson and I teach yoga to kids with and without disabilities, as well as adult restorative classes. I live in San Diego with my son, wonderful hubby, and two kitties"
"At 24 weeks pregnant, I started feeling flu like symptoms. Nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain. My pregnancy so far was ideal. No morning sickness, no problems, every checkup was exciting and easy. My OB was confident I would deliver normally at 40 weeks. My thought initially was, "well, I guess it's about time I got morning sickness."
My OB was out of the country the week I was sick, and when I went to the ER, 3 days after my first onset of symptoms, the nurse checked me out, I had protein in my urine, but the doctor was okay with that. In fact, the doctor was so okay with my condition he did not even see me in person! The nurse was relaying my stats to him. My blood pressure was elevated to around 90/160 but wasn't considered terrible. My normal is 70/120!!! That's high for me, but I trusted the nurse. She told me my inconsistent abdominal pain was heartburn, and told me to go home, no need to come back. Three excruciatingly painful days later my doctor was back in the country and called me to go into ER to be hydrated and draw some labs. Mind you, during this week of feeling aweful I couldn't eat and barely was able to drink. I was told this time I had beginning signs of preclampsia, and maybe gallbladder problems. But after over an hour with the ultrasound tech watching the blood flow to my liver, I received some very grave news. My doctor came in and told me "youre not going to like what im about to tell you." She was right. I was very sick and they had to take me to the specialist hospital-right NOW. My liver was clotting in several spots and my platelets were below 20,000. I was put on magnesium and given a steroid shot for my baby's lungs to hopefully grow a little more. The pain was so intense, even morphine was not helpful. But, this doctor saved my life. She knew I had all the symptoms of HELLP. For delivery, I was put unconscious, no epidural for fear of bleeding, and minutes later my micro preemie entered the world at 1lb 4oz, 11 1/2 inches long. It was a rough 36 hours of in and out of consciousness after delivery. I received platelets and all sorts of medication I cannot recall. But I made it out, just barely, and 5 months later I was able to bring home my little baby."
There is a huge psychological side of this experience that is not understood, and women may not be receiving the type of help, encouragement, and love they desperately need to heal.
I was diagnosed with lupus, sjograns syndrome and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome the week after I delivered Elijah. Eventually my body relaxed and the specialists tested me positive for non specific connective tissue disorder and antiphospholipid antibody. No lupus or sjograns. It's a miracle I am alive. It's even more of a miracle my son is alive. On his third day of life he coded and they had to bring him back to life. NICU nurses are Angels. Even the ones I maybe didn't like very much... They all are unrecognized heroes. How on earth do you thank someone for keeping your child alive when they are de sating and bradying every two minutes, intubated, needing 100% oxygen? You can't. At least, not in words.
My son is 18 months old now. He is a healthy happy baby boy, toddling all over the place. Not a day goes by I don't think of something that happened that week I was sick or his time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I am still recovering emotionally. But physically I feel strong. Maybe even strong enough to try for a sister for Elijah.
I'm not sure how science can improve their prenatal care and diagnosis of horrific syndromes like this one, but I hope that my story, OUR stories of loss and survival, can facilitate the beginning of awareness. ESPECIALLY in the medical field.
Thank you for reading my HELLP story (emphasis on the HELL). May it provide you with comfort in knowing you are not alone if you have had HELLP, and insight if you have not.
Love to you all."