I developed HELLP during my 31st week of pregnancy. It was never really discussed as to when HELLP developed since I also had severe pre-eclampsia, and IUGR. The whole situation is still really a blur to me. Before that I was blissfully ignorant to anything other than pre-eclampsia may be an issue during pregnancy. I had never heard of anything like HELLP or any other issues that could arise during a pregnancy."
I went in on a Friday afternoon, and when they weighted me I was surprised to find that I had gained 8 pounds since my last appointment only 3 weeks earlier. My whole pregnancy up to that point I had only gained 8 pounds, so doubling in just a few weeks kind of startled me. My blood pressure was also high, so they took did a bunch of blood work and I was put on modified work duty but told I could go to work but stay off my feet as much as possible. I was also to monitor my bp every day and to call if it was high for more than 2 days, and follow up a week later.
The week at school was so hectic; the other aide was out all week so I had to do recess duty. I did my best to stay off my feet and keep stress at bay, but working in a school with 3 classes of Kindergartners, stress and running around are kind of a given. By the end of the week I went back to the doctor's and found my bp was still really high, I tested positive for protein, and I was still gaining weight. I also had been having dizzy spells and some RUQ pain from what I thought was just heartburn. My OB had me do a 24 hour sample collection and take it to the hospital the next day. This was the weekend before Thanksgiving. After taking it in to the hospital and monitoring me, they said we (my husband Daniel and I) could go home but I was on bed rest only. No more work for me until the baby would be born(about 9 weeks). So we went home and I had no issues that night and spent that Sunday relaxing at home. We did go to lunch with friends but were only out for an hour at most. We spent the rest of the day watching movies and relaxing.
Sunday night (11/24/13) as I tried to sleep I started getting really sharp pains on the right side of my back that radiated around my ribs to the front under my breast. I finally got about 2 hours of sleep and at 5 am Monday morning, I called the on-call doctor and he advised me to go to the hospital. By then the pain had subsided and I told my husband to go to work and I would have my mom take me in to get checked.
We checked in at 8am, I was admitted by 9am, and in my own room by lunch time. They started me on magnesium almost instantly, and my husband left work to come be with me. I was surprisingly calm, a tad nervous, and was more worried about my husband--he hated hospitals after his own bad experience. I felt very supported by friends and family. I had a bunch of family from out of town calling, and tons of friends commenting on my Facebook saying they were praying for us, wishing us luck,etc..Sometime that afternoon I received the first round of steroid shots for the baby's lungs. "Just in case you have to deliver early", they said.
Around 11pm on Monday we finally talked to the perinatologist and he said "We're in a holding pattern right now. You could stabilize and be fine for a few weeks which would be optimal, or it could get really bad". Then he said magic words to me: "You can eat but only for an hour". I made my husband run out and grab me something before finally settling in for the night. The next day came and went, I don't remember too much of that day. I got my second steroid shots and spent most of the day sleeping due to the magnesium. After speaking with the perinatologist at around 12:30am, he said that the best scenario for us was to deliver the baby on Wednesday the 27th(the day before Thanksgiving). After my husband brought me food, I sent him home to get rested up before our big day.
The next morning I was allowed to have breakfast so I had some pancakes and milk. Eating twice in less than 8 hours was like heaven after not being able to really eat for 3 days. My husband arrived shortly after I finished breakfast and we hung out for day. I was scheduled for a C-Section at 4pm on November 27, 2013. Both our parents arrived around 3pm and we prepared ourselves. My husband and I talked about him being in the delivery room. Due to his history with hospitals, he decided not to be in the delivery room. I know that seems selfish, however, he explained that he just could not see me that way, and I accepted his explanation. My mom was in the delivery room with me and was so excited to share that moment. Bradyn Grayson was born at 5:07pm weighing in at 2lbs, 14oz, 17" long. He even let out a big ole cry for me, which they didn't think would happen being so tiny(I later found out I also had IUGR and an umbilical cord flow issue causing Bradyn to get minimal blood flow to him)."
That night at around the 3am checkup the nurse let me know that once I was able to get up, walk a bit, and use the restroom they would stop the magnesium so long as there weren’t any other issues. I persevered like a champ telling myself that we had to do this so I could go see Bradyn myself.
At 6 am, I got up for the first time, made it to the bathroom and then back to bed without complications. The nurse talked to my doctor and was allowed to stop the magnesium! I was thrilled. Within the hour, I was feeling more clear headed and determined to go for a walk and did just that with the nurse and my hubby. After a couple more walks with my parents and in-laws, that evening I was able to go down and visit Bradyn. I was still a tad fuzzy brained but it was the most magical moment. Even better, I was able to hold my baby! We did kangaroo care for the first time and snapped a few pictures before returning him to the isolette. I didn't want to keep him out too long so he didn't waste too much of his precious energy. The next day I had a few visitors; a few close friends along with the teacher I work with Christina, and my principal, Heidi. It was all a whirlwind but it was a great day. Still fuzzy but feeling better with each passing hour.
The pain was pretty minimal after the first night. On Friday night I sent my husband home for the night to get some much needed rest. I saw my OB that evening after my husband left, and he said that I could go home the next day! I was so excited to get home to my own bed, yet sad to leave Bradyn. I knew he was in the best place possible with people who cared for him. We left for home Saturday morning after seeing Bradyn one last time. All the NICU nurses were surprised and impressed with the fact that I was already going home and all I could say was that once my body determines what it is going to do, it does it. I was determined to get well so that I could be there for my son. I was driving after 2 weeks, and even went back to work for 4 half-days (I mainly sat around working with kids) to help take my mind off the fact that my son was still in the hospital and it was a week before Christmas. The Friday before Christmas I went to visit Bradyn that afternoon with my mom and we were surprised to find him out of his isolette, no feeding tube, and had joined the 4 pound club! Bradyn spent a total of 18 days in the NICU and 8 days in the Special Care Nursey. He was discharged on Monday, December 23rd, 2013, 2 days before Christmas. It was the best gift we could have asked for.
He is now 8 months old and is doing absolutely fantastic. He has no health issues at all. I have a few side effects left over such as short-term memory issues but other than that I am also doing fantastic. I was able to put my wedding ring back on within a few days of being home and lost all the weight I gained plus more within 4 weeks. I was very fortunate that my doctors took all my symptoms seriously and kept me informed throughout my endeavor. Knowledge truly is power, and for me, it made all the difference in saving my son's and my life."