Pre Eclampsia support

For Women & their families who have suffered with Pre Eclampsia, Eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) and related conditions.
 
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 I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2

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alka
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PostSubject: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Thu 17 Jul 2008, 9:36 am

Hello all

Well, 8 Months on and I finally feel ready to talk about my experience of Severe PE / Suspected Mild Hellp.

My father passed away suddenly last February due to a massive heart attack, it later transpired that I was pregnant at his funeral with his first grandchild, unbeknown to me.

When we did finally find out that I was expecting, we were just over the moon, it gave us new hope, something to keep going for and for my husband and I were just besotted with the idea that we were going to be parents.

Initially I had a wonderful pregnancy, no morning sickness, a little bleeding of the gums, but nothing major. Then at about 26 weeks I developed Bells Palsy, leaving the left hand side of my face totally paralysed for 4 weeks, I was absolutely devestated, at first I thought I'd had a stroke, I'd never even heard of Bells Palsy. But soon the feeling and movement came back, and I began to feel "normal" again. I have no idea if Bells Palsy is connected in any way to PE, and I can't seem to find any link at all.

During the later stages of my pregnancy, I developed "elephant ankles" and swollen fingers, but this was my first pregnancy, I thought everyone had a bit of swelling! My midwife appointments were fine, my BP and Urine were fine, so it just seemed like normal swelling, which eventually went down a bit.

At week 36 I had a routine Midwife check and showed a slightly raised BP and a trace of Protein in my urine. My midwife decided to send me to the hospital just to be on the safe side. I wasn't concerned, rang my husband, he came home and over we went.

After having my bump strapped up for 20 minutes, the midwives at the hospital agreed that I had a right wriggler inside my tummy, but they would like to keep me in for a night to be cautious. I was gutted, a night in hospital, away from my husband!

That night my Grandad passed away, he had been battling lung cancer and lost his fight. I was devestated and desperate to go home.

The next day, bloods were taken, urine taken and bp monitored, urine still present, bloods fine, but bp creeping up. I was told that I would probably have to remain in hospital for the duration of my pregnancy.

Even at this stage I had no idea of how serious PE was, I was on the ward with 6 other women, all of which were showing signs, and I was extremely naive, I just thought it would go of it's own accord.

I felt fit and healthy and didn't have any dizzyness or stars in my eyes, no headaches, nothing, so I was frustrated and upset that I was in hospital, I wanted to be at home to grieve for my Grandad.

After spending a week under observation I was told that my condition hadn't worsened and that they would induce me at 38 weeks. I begged my consultant to let me have one night at home, to which she agreed on the basis I came straight back the next day for my Urine and BP tests.

That was the Tuesday, I went home that evening, had a lovely evening in my own bed, a lovely bath and the next day I went to the hospital, showed a slight trace of protein in my urine and my bp was still relatively high but stable, so I spent the day buying maternity bras and all the other things I still needed for that coming weekend when I was going to be induced.

That evening, I developed what I thought was heartburn, it started at about 8pm so I told my husband I was going to go and lie down, when he came to bed at midnight I was pacing the bedroom, the pain wasn't going but I still didn't link it to PE even then. My husband called the hospital and they told him to get me in straight away.

I arrived at the delivery ward to find 6 staff waiting for me. I was accompanied to the toilet by a midwife, I found out later this was because they were afraid I'd fit. I gave a urine sample which showed a +3 and my BP had shot through the roof. My "heartburn" was epigastric pain.

My liver and kidneys were showing signs of struggling and I was put on 4 drips to stabilise me.

I was then moved to a delivery suite where I was induced.

Even at this point other than the epigastric pain, I didn't feel ill as such.

After drifting in and out of sleep over a few hours, and being prodded and poked, there were no signs of labour, my body wasn't going to let this baby out.

Later that morning they tried to break my waters, again nothing happened. After an hour or so a doctor came to see me and told me that my blood platelets were low, and that baby would need to be born by C Section and the baby was starting to slow down.

I can't explain how utterly terrified I was at this point, a midwife asked me to sign a form and asked if I was ok for a transfusion if I needed it. At this point I shut down, convinced that they were going to cut me open and I would bleed to death, completely convinced of this, I stopped talking, couldn't cry, nothing, I just shook uncontrolably.

Minutes later I was in theatre with my husband by my side, I remember the surgeon having the radio on, and the team being so calm and relaxed, laughing and joking, the surgeon said to "look, when I look worried, you can look worried my darlin", even then I didn't believe him.

It took 4 attempts to get the spinal tap in, I didn't even flinch, I was numb to everything that was going on around me, so sure that this was it for me.

I remember looking at my husband who was just sobbing his heart out, I remember them cutting me open looking at my husband, only finding the words to tell him I love him over and over again.

Then after just 6 minutes, right in front my eyes a little baby was held over the curtain covering my tummy, legs opened by the surgeon to reveal a little boy! That's when the tears started to flow, I was still here, I was ok! I started sobbing, and laughing at the same time, I couldn't believe it. My baby was cleaned and given a little assisted breathing, but let out a lovely big cry! He was the most beautiful little angel I'd ever seen, fluffly white hair on his head and shoulders, just gorgeous.

Baby and hubby were moved to another room to wait for me and I was stitched up.

My husband said he started to panic as it seemed forever before I was wheeled through to him. Our baby boy Jake weighing 6lbs, 6oz was born at 37+4 weeks and took to the breast like a pro.

I was given 24 one on one nursing and was allowed 40 mls of water every hour until my kidneys showed improvement.

After 2 days I was allowed onto the ward like a "normal" mummy, and Jake and I just spent the next 5 days in hospital together, I didn't leave his side, such a strong bond developed. I remember at night I didn't want to go to sleep because I was so scared I may not wake up. My husband was back and forth every day, until after 5 days I was discharged.

My BP was still high but my liver and kidney function had returned to normal almost straight away, so had my platelets. The doctors were so pleased with my progress.

We were allowed home and we thrived, Jake is now a gorgeous 8 month old weighing a hefty 21lbs and loving life to the full. I was on BP tablets for 4 months, slowly weaned off, and now my BP is normal again.

When I got home all of the emotions kicked in, ANGER, Why Me! I so wanted a natural birth, I wanted more children, I felt like that had all been taken away from me, I felt out of control, scared to sleep, reoccuring nightmares, desperate for my BP to return to normal.

We saw my consultant a couple of months later, she dedicated 2 hours to us and was great, she had my report and Jakes report and we went through everything. She was very matter of fact about it all and straight talking which is what I needed.

She said that yes my platelets had been low, but now dangerously low (if only someone had told me that at the time!), normal levels are I think 150, mine were 134, she said dangerous is 50 so I was fine. She said that my kidneys and liver made a fantastic recovery and she felt that Jake was not in any danger.

She also said that to put things into perspective, if it had been really serious, I would not have been treated by registrars, and I would not have been awake for the birth. She also said the fact that it came on later in my pregnancy was a good sign.

With all this in mind she concluded by saying what happened to me "wasn't enough to impress her"! Harsh but actually quite a relief in a funny way.

She said that for my 2nd pregnancy I have 10% risk of reoccurance, and she would recommend I take asprin from week 12 and would see me regularly through out, she also stressed I should not be put off by subsequent pregnancies.

I walked out of her office on cloud 9, I felt like I had some control back in my life. My husband wasn't as happy as me, he felt it didn't change our experience of Jakes birth and how horrendously scary it was, but he did feel better about the situation. If I were to have another baby, we would have an elective c section, we were told to wait 18 months before trying again though.

When Jake was born we both felt that we would not be able to have more children because of our experience, we had no idea if what happened was serious / not serious, but after speaking in depth with the consultant I do feel better about things, it doesn't change how scared I am about PE, and I don't underestimate it in the slightest. The midwives on the ward on the day of Jakes birth said they only see a case like mine about 3 times a year so I am well aware of what could have been and how incredibly lucky I am.

Now my anger has turned to thanks, after reading up on PE, I realise that I am incredibly lucky to have my darlin baby boy and my health, I know it could have been so different.

We are now thinking of another pregnancy, middle of next year, I have to admit though I am just so scared, so so scared. Should I be grateful for what I already have and not risk Jake not having a mummy or the death of another baby, am I over reacting, am I being selfish? All these questions are going around in my head.

I'd like to say that finding this webiste has been a great help, reading your experiences, and I hope to be of support to anyone who has suffered with PE.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Love Nic (Alka)
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Liz Pidgley
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Thu 17 Jul 2008, 11:58 am

Hi Nic,

Welcome to the site and congratulations on the safe arrival of your son Jake.

I hope that we can offer you some comfort & support here, you have been through such huge bereavements in such a short space of time.

Many women say that simply writing their story, although hard at the time is quite healing in its own way. I hope you found that too.

Your doctor sounds totally 'on the ball' with the aspirin for your next pregnancy, but it would also be worth a look at the PRECOG guidelines too. This is the framework for caring for a high risk pregnancy that every health professional should be using, and high risk is what any next pregnancy for you should be classed as.
This is just because its safer to assume the worst - even if it doesnt happen.

To offer some reassurance (although having read this forum you will know there are no guarantees) IF Pre Eclampsia is going to recur then it tends to be less severe & up to 2 weeks later in the pregnancy. This is mainly because you are so well aware of the warning signs & what to do that this time.

I hope this helps Nic, but please feel free to ask away if there is anything else we can support you with.

Best Wishes
Liz

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alka
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Thu 17 Jul 2008, 7:36 pm

Hi Liz

Thank you for the welcome, I can't stop reading everyone's stories, some of the experiences are so similar to my own, it really helps to know that I didn't go through this terrible time on my own, although I wouldn't wish any of it on any one else. It's just good to know I have some support now and I can talk about this at any time. I talk to friends and family, but I don't think people really understand unless they've been through it.I look forward to getting to know you all better.
Love Nic x
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Thu 17 Jul 2008, 7:52 pm

Welcome Nic & congrats on your beautiful boy - he is a real cutie.
Like Liz I really hope posting your story has helped to lift some of that fear & reading other stories has made you feel more positive about the future.
I can't say I haven't been worried during this pregnancy but the fact that PET tends to occur 2 weeks later than the first time IF AT ALL, & the fact that I'm being monitored so closely makes it much easier to deal with.
It may be of interest to you too about recurrence of HELLP - I asked today at my antenatal & she said the risk of PET 2nd time round is low & that of HELLP (for me that was the scariest bit like you wrt worries about bleeding etc) is even lower.
Glad to see you on the site
Lots of love
Mouse xxx
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Fri 18 Jul 2008, 10:24 am

Hi Nic,
and welcome to the board, Thank you for sharing your story.
I am one of the success stories thanks to the use of aspirin which i took from weeks 6-36 with my last successful pe free pregnancy. So i highky recomend it.
Am so pleased to hear your little boy is doing so well.
Best wishes,
Penny x
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Fri 18 Jul 2008, 2:20 pm

Hi Nic, thankyou for posting your story. I too am very worried about a susequent pregnancy but I desperately want my daughter to have a sibling so I am trying to concieve at the moment. I think that that fear will always be with us and perhaps the thought that we may leave our child mummiless is very off putting. But I have rationalised it and thought that you never know whats around the next corner for you in life anyway and you have to face this fear and insist that you recieve the very best care in a susequent pregnancy to try and safeguard yourself and your family. Good luck.
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purplestunner
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Sun 20 Jul 2008, 9:17 pm

HI Nic

Well done and thanks for putting your story on! Very Happy
I'm very glad you found this site as everyone here is so supportive.

If/when you go for pregnancy no 2, make sure that you stand up for yourself and your baby, don't be fobbed off and don't be afraid to look like you're 'paranoid', i did and it made sure i was looked after and i felt in control.

here for a chat anytime xx
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Mon 21 Jul 2008, 8:12 am

Thanks so much everyone for such a warm welcome! I just know this forum is going to be such a support in the coming months, thank god I found you all!

I do have a question regarding 2nd pregnancies, I know the stats say that if PE returns, it is likely to be less severe and later than in the first pregnancy. But do you know of cases where it has come back more severely than first time round? (You can tell me to stop being so paranoid, I don't mind, lol!)

Thanks ever so much and thank you for posting your positive stories about 2nd pregnancies, I love reading them, they give me such hope!

XXXXX
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Mon 21 Jul 2008, 10:46 am

Hi Nic,
I have just noticed you are in bedfordshire and wondering if you were under Bedford Hospital?? Although i live in Northants i had both children at Bedford, so if you I can help in any way regarding any questions about consultants or anything just shout. I had a brilliant cons who dealt with me throughout both pregnancies and i know there is another member here too that was under Bedford. We initially had different experiences with our subsequent pregnancy care plans..
Love Pen x
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Mon 21 Jul 2008, 12:58 pm

Hi Nic,

I am sure that by reading this forum your may have gathered that PE is not an exact science as no one truly knows all about it! So yes, is the answer to your question. PE can strike again earlier & more severely but thankfully, very rarely.
The best defences against this vile condition are your own knowledge alongside good medical care. Dont be afraid of being paranoid, its what keeps you safe the second time around!

Glad you are finding the site helpful.
Best Wishes
Liz

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alka
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Mon 21 Jul 2008, 8:20 pm

Penny wrote:
Hi Nic,
I have just noticed you are in bedfordshire and wondering if you were under Bedford Hospital?? Although i live in Northants i had both children at Bedford, so if you I can help in any way regarding any questions about consultants or anything just shout. I had a brilliant cons who dealt with me throughout both pregnancies and i know there is another member here too that was under Bedford. We initially had different experiences with our subsequent pregnancy care plans..
Love Pen x

Hi Pen
I'm actually in Leighton Buzzard, so was given the choice of Luton and Dunstable, Milton Keynes and Stoke Mandeville. I went with Stoke in the end, and very pleased I did as I felt I received very good care there. Although it was a little concerning when they were reading a manual on Pre Eclampsia protacall when I went into hospital, one of the midwives told me that they only see a case like mine about 3 times a year! But I can't praise them enough to be honest.
Love Nic x
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Mon 21 Jul 2008, 8:23 pm

Liz Pidgley wrote:
Hi Nic,

I am sure that by reading this forum your may have gathered that PE is not an exact science as no one truly knows all about it! So yes, is the answer to your question. PE can strike again earlier & more severely but thankfully, very rarely.
The best defences against this vile condition are your own knowledge alongside good medical care. Dont be afraid of being paranoid, its what keeps you safe the second time around!

Glad you are finding the site helpful.
Best Wishes
Liz

Thank you Liz, that makes perfect sense and I appreciate your honestly. What I would give as I'm sure would everyone here, to be told that my next pregnancy would be perfect, and my waters would break and I'd go into natural labour and scream and push like "normal" women whilst clawing my hubbys hand to shreds. I can only dream of that can't I. You never know though, must stay positve.
Thanks for the information.
Nic x
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Mon 21 Jul 2008, 8:29 pm

Hi Nic,
Stoke have a good reputation from what i have heard and its great your cons was so supportive with your post natal appointment. I assume you can request to be under her care in the future.
Good luck with your decision making, I know how daunting it is planning another, If I can help in any other way please just ask.
Best wishes, Pen xxx

P.s Dreams can come true.. well almost anyway! lol, Though I didnt know of a single person who had achieved it when i was expecting Mack so I felt pretty resigned to history repeating itself again. But as you can see there are quite a few of us to offer you that hope xxxx
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Wed 23 Jul 2008, 10:05 am

Penny wrote:
Hi Nic,
Stoke have a good reputation from what i have heard and its great your cons was so supportive with your post natal appointment. I assume you can request to be under her care in the future.
Good luck with your decision making, I know how daunting it is planning another, If I can help in any other way please just ask.
Best wishes, Pen xxx

P.s Dreams can come true.. well almost anyway! lol, Though I didnt know of a single person who had achieved it when i was expecting Mack so I felt pretty resigned to history repeating itself again. But as you can see there are quite a few of us to offer you that hope xxxx

Thank you Pen, I will definitely be calling on you in the future! We are hoping to start trying at the beginning of next year. My consultant recommended I waited 18 months before trying again, was anyone else here told to give your body a rest before conceiving again?

You really have given me hope!
Love Nic x
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Wed 23 Jul 2008, 2:41 pm

Hi Nic, I was told to wait at least 6 mths because of the early gestation that my c-section was done at. We only made it to 5 mths and a few days but I recall the consultant telling me that the 6mths wasn't based on any research and he has seen others that were pregnant much sooner. He also said 6 mths because it would be well over a year the next time I went into labour as I understand, it's the issue of contractions during labour that make your scar more liable to rupture rather than during pregnancy. As you had a section at a much later gestation than me, then your risk is probably lower than mine. Wishing you lots of luck, Carriexx
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Wed 23 Jul 2008, 9:08 pm

Hi Nic,
I cant remember how long i was advised to wait after having Maddie and the PE but I was advised to wait 1 yr after the ectopic which had led to a laparotomy right through my old c section scar.
Hope that helps xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Wed 23 Jul 2008, 9:22 pm

Hi Nic
I got pregnant after 7 months (a lovely surprise). I wasn't told not to & all I've been told is that I'll need continuous monitoring if I want a VBAC & that I'll have a section on my due date if I get that far - they won't let me go past 40 weeks.
Hope that helps
xxx

PS love the new pic Penny!
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Thu 24 Jul 2008, 8:09 am

Penny wrote:
Hi Nic,
I cant remember how long i was advised to wait after having Maddie and the PE but I was advised to wait 1 yr after the ectopic which had led to a laparotomy right through my old c section scar.
Hope that helps xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thanks Pen, there's obviously a reason for it then. I suspect it's just to let your body "recover" I guess. Am loving the new pic, what an angel! xxx
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PostSubject: Re: I'm new, my story and thinking of Pregnancy no 2   Thu 24 Jul 2008, 8:13 am

mouse wrote:
Hi Nic
I got pregnant after 7 months (a lovely surprise). I wasn't told not to & all I've been told is that I'll need continuous monitoring if I want a VBAC & that I'll have a section on my due date if I get that far - they won't let me go past 40 weeks.
Hope that helps
xxx

PS love the new pic Penny!

Oh wow! What a lovely surprise for you, bet that was a bag of mixed emotions! When is your due date? How have things been so far? Hope you're doing well and feeling fab. My consultant said she'd rather I have an elective next time round but she wouldn't stand in my way of having a VBAC if I really wanted one, to be honest, having never experienced a natural labour, I'm not sure that I do want one now, at the time it was terrifying having an emergency section, but would I be even more scared venturing into the unknown with a natural birth? lol! Too much thinking Nic for so early in the day - time to get a cuppa!
XXXX
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