Awareness - Patient Stories
Some stories from patients who have experienced preeclampsia
Some very generous patients have offered to share their stories so that other patients may benefit from their experiences. We are most grateful to these patients.
Some names have been changed on the stories below to protect privacy, but all factual details are as submitted to us.
If you have a story you'd like to share with other women, please send us an email. Identifying details can be removed or altered before publication if you wish, and confidentiality will be assured. > Contact Us
For more stories from women who have experienced preeclampsia see these other websites:
• Alison •
• Alice •
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Hi, I am currently a mother of two with the third on the way. This in
itself is a miracle, as I believed that my first would also be my last.
I am so happy to see all of the information and stories about preeclampsia.
As there is no known cause and no strict guidelines as to who has and
will suffer from it, the stories allow for one to maybe see similarities.
I was pregnant with my first daughter and was ecstatic. I was a little
overweight before the pregnancy, but never considered it was a major factor
to the horrific pregnancy that I actually had.
By the end of my first trimester I had to take my wedding ring off. I
had so much water retention early on in the pregnancy that my body split.
I have stretch marks all over my body. My inner arms have them, even my
ankles. Even the nurses were surprised to see them there. I was never
really diagnosed with preeclampsia until after the birth of my daughter.
That is the scary thing. I kept gaining heaps of weight, however, the
doctor didn't really take notice of it. He never weighed me at the hospital,
I only weighed myself at home. In total I put on 43kgs by the end of my
At 32weeks, I woke up feeling terrible. I had a headache and I couldn't
talk properly. My husband called from work (as he did every morning due
to my weakened state) and I could barely talk as my lips and whole face
were completely swollen. He told me to go see my local GP and then come
home and rest some more. I went to see her and she told my blood pressure.
I was feeling so sick that I didn't ask her how high it was exactly (as
I usually do). She told me it was elevated, to go home, rest and see her
I went home and don't remember much until my husband came home a few
hours later. He left work early because he was concerned that I wasn't
answering the phone. He found me passed out on the bed. He took me to
the emergency room of our private hospital as I decided to go private
and change doctors.
The midwife was great, she took my blood pressure and found that it was
160/120. She got me a bed immediately and called my doctor. She arrived
within minutes and checked everything. As she was about to leave the room,
my waters broke due to the stress on my body. She told me my baby will
be delivered within the next 24 hours. My husband stayed the night with
me in hospital. The next morning they induced my labour. What they didn't
count on was for my body to react as it did.
My blood pressure skyrocketed and they told me that I would need an
emergency c-section. They took me to theater and gave me a full spinal
block. That is when the unknown to everyone happened.
My husband and doctor could only stand there and watch as I slipped into
a coma as the spinal block make my blood pressure nose dive so low that
my body started to shut down. The c-section was out of the question as
blood loss, baby not making it and me not surviving was a major threat.
Two hours of not knowing anything, I was finally woken up with the correct
medication. My doctor was about to begin the procedure when my midwife
(God bless them all), did an internal just before. We couldn't believe
it when she told me to concentrate as my daughter was crowning and all
I needed to do was push. "Do the motions of doing a poo" she said. I concentrated
on working muscles that I could not feel. With three big 'pushes' my daughter
I am thankful that I found out the sex of my child before the birth.
Because had I not already known, I wouldn't have found out the sex of
my child for hours, as after delivering her, I again lost consciousness.
My beloved husband went through it all with me. He thought he was going
to lose me, then he saw them taking our baby to the NICUnit. She was only
2kgs. Skin and bones. It's terrible to have seen her tubed, poked, prodded
and everything else. Her liver was not functioning and they did everything
in there power to make sure she improved and not deteriorated. When I
woke up I was told of how luckily I was. Yes I was lucky, lucky to have
such a great husband, whose heart told him something was wrong. Even with
being looked after by a great doctor, it was my husband that had me at
the hospital before the worst started. Which also saved my darling baby.
My daughter is now almost four and you would never know that she was
a special care baby. I on the other hand considered a termination (which
goes against everything I believed) because I was afraid my daughter would
be left without a mother if I have complications again. I had Symphysis
Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) during my first pregnancy which was very painful,
but not the most horrific part of my pregnancy. I was also told that there
is nothing I can do to prevent, help (except hydro therapy) except complete
bed rest and that I will most likely get it with subsequent pregnancies.
But my belief was that if God intended me to be a mother of two children,
then I was going to go through with this pregnancy. As 15 weeks (every
early) my SPD started. Not too serve, but enough to cause discomfort.
My husband made an appointment to see an acupuncturist (natropath and
herbalist too). I was a sceptic, but he saved my baby, my piece of mind
and changed my outlook on birth through meditation. Not only did I sail
through my second pregnancy, but the birth (with epidural ... I still
highly recommend western medicine too :)) was fantastic, no complications,
no stitches and no health problems for my baby. She was six days over
my due date weighing a prefect 3.495kg. So even though this third pregnancy
was not planned, it is definitely wanted.
I also know that with proper care, and listening to my body, this pregnancy
and baby will be fine. Thinking back to being adamant that my first born
would be an only child, I can only count my blessings to know that she
has a sister and soon another sibling. Thank you for reading my story
and may I take this opportunity to thank my midwives, nurses, doctors
and most importantly, my family.
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At just 30 weeks I had my son Shelby. My husband and I had just been
married a few months when we found out we were pregnant. We were not planning
on having children for at least another 3 years. However, we couldn't
have been more excited. I was 24 and thrilled at the idea of being a mom.
We both wanted a little boy first so when we found out the sex that was
icing on the cake.
If there is such a thing as the perfect pregnancy I experienced it. My
husband had the morning sickness and the weight gain. We watched my belly
grow with each month. At my last dr apt he decided he would start seeing
me every two weeks because my husband was a large baby when he was born
and we didn't want him to get too big too quick.
This is when the doctor explained preclampsia, just for educatioinal
purposes. No idea it would happen.
The weekend before my next dr visit I noticed Shelby wasn't moving very
much. Hardly at all. When I went to my appointment that Thursday there
were high levels of protein in my urine. When I told my doctor he wasn't
moving like he usually did he decided to send me to the hospital to be
monitored. He felt the baby was just positoned wrong. Or maybe he just
told us that so we wouldn't panic.
I never imagined anything was wrong. My husband on the other hand was
terrified. When we got to the hospital and hooked up to the fetal monitors,
we were told the worst. The baby was in distress and my kidneys were shutting
down. (That quick.) I was given my first steroid shot, just in case he
had to be delivered in the next few days.
My blood pressure started to rise, 170/110. My dr decided to have me
transported to another hospital that had a NICU and an obstretic specialist.
The entire night my blood pressure and the baby was monitored. That night
wasn't that bad his heart rate would drop but it always came back up within
The next morning I was given the second steroid shot. Then the doctors
started coming in telling us what to expect if I did have Shelby that
night. I finally realized they weren't just telling as a precaution they
were telling because I was going to have him that night. I didn't understand
I felt fine even though the test and monitors showed differently. One
of the nurses sent my husband to the cafeteria to eat since he had not
eaten since I had the day before. She told him he needed his strength
because I would need him when I had the C-section.
No sooner than my husband walked out of the room the monitors started
going off. I didn't get alarmed because they went off a lot. This time
it didn't stop and more nurses and 2 doctors came in. I heard them yelling
to prep the O.R. and call NICU. I realized at that point I was having
my baby. Since it was an emergency C-section and they needed to get him
out that moment.
Of course this is when everything hit me that I had been denying. I was
I was put completely asleep. When I woke up I was in the worst pain I
had ever felt. Even though I didn't have even one contraction, the pain
from the c-section was unreal. They couldn't start my pain medication
til I woke up completely, due to my blood pressure. They finally started
the morphine drip and told me I had a little boy, 2lb 8oz. They said he
was a fighter. I already knew that.
They told us he was put on a respirator as a precaution and my husband
could go up when took him off. I was out so he went up. They removed the
respirator after just 2 hours. He was breathing on his own. The next day
I was so drugged up I don't remember anything. When I did wake up my husband
told me we had a beautiful healthy little boy.
Finally, Sunday 2 days after I had him I got to see and hold him. I knew
at that God had given us a miracle. I went home after 5 days. My blood
pressure was regulated finally by medicine. Which I was on for 8 weeks.
Shelby never lost any weight he gained about 1 oz a day. They didn't plan
on him being able to drink from bottle for at least 3-4 wks. He took his
first bottle when he was 2 wks. I did pump while he was NICU, it was the
one and only thing I could do for him while he was in the hospital. I
prayed he would come home by Mother's Day. Even though we were told he
would be in NICU for at least 8 weeks.
Shelby came home after 5 weeks the Friday before Mother's Day. I still
have to monitor my blood pressure and take my medicine after 4 months,
but it was all worth it. Shelby is catching up with his age group mentally
and physically. Still impressing all the doctors. He was never on machines
and never sick.. Before Shelby I never really paid much attention to the
power of prayer, now I know it is was saved us both.
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I have read the stories on the site and I related to Antonia's the most.
I am 28 years old and married. This was my second pregnancy in two years.
My first pregnancy was in 2004. Sadly, I had a miscarriage in my second
month. I did not feel comfortable continuing to receive services at the
hospital I was going to, so I chose to go elsewhere for my second pregnancy.
When I found out I was pregnant again I was elated and scared at the
same time. I went to my new OB/GYN and filled out all of the paperwork
and had a consultation with an OB nurse. The appointment with the doctor
was scheduled for the following week. Over that next weekend I was not
feeling very well and rested practically all weekend. The next Tuesday
I was at work when I started bleeding. I am a teacher so I had to find
someone to watch my class during dismissal. My assistant teacher drove
me to the emergency room.
After several hours of waiting to be seen, I was taken to get an ultrasound
which showed that everything was normal. My husband and I were so relieved
to hear that everything was alright. It was written up as a threatened
miscarriage and I was put on bed rest until my doctor’s appointment.
My doctor’s appointment was two days later and all was well. However,
just as a pre-caution I was told to continue bed rest until my next appointment,
which was a month away. When I returned the next month everything was
looking good and I was able to return to work. Although, my blood pressure
continued to be border line and protein was still being detected in my
urine. I had to have the normal testing and blood work done and return
the next month.
By this time I was entering my fourth month. Upon returning the next
month, I was told that I needed to go to the Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit
to have a full body ultra sound done on the baby. My husband and I wanted
to know the sex of the baby and we were told that it was a girl. The ultra
sound tech left the room and another person returned. I did not know who
the returning person was only that she was not wearing scrubs. She was
fully dressed in business attire. When she entered the room she introduced
herself as the high risk doctor. My heart sunk and I was in shock.
I looked at my husband in disbelief because something was wrong. She
reviewed the scans that the tech did and began to speak. There are problems
with the uterine dopplers and the baby is not getting the proper blood
flow. I was told to schedule another appointment in two weeks for a follow
I was told on numerous occasions that I had protein in my urine. I did
not know what that meant until I went surfing the internet. I had completed
at least eight 24 hour urine screenings by the end of my pregnancy.
When I returned for the follow up visit I was told that not much had
changed since the last visit. My daughter Ayana had stopped growing, due
to a lack of blood flow and nutrients reaching her. We were once again
devastated. My high risk doctor had me complete a blood study and recommended
bed rest and a low dose irin regiment.
My next visit with the HR doctor was the most heart wrenching visit
yet. We were told that Ayana was not growing anymore and that she saw
fluid in her lungs, calcium deposits in her bowl, shadows in her heart,
and that she was the size of a 20 week baby. I was 24 weeks at that time.
I began to cry so uncontrollably that the doctor had to call someone else
in to assist. All I could think about was not again. I wanted my baby
to be alright. I began to wonder what was wrong with me that I could not
have a normal pregnancy. We were told that we should think about terminating
the pregnancy but I was not willing to accept it.
We continued with the pregnancy and were never told good news from then
on out. My blood pressure continued to be extremely high. All I was worried
about was trying to stay pregnant and give my baby a fighting chance.
I had one final appointment before my life turned upside down. The last
appointment before delivery I was crying before I even arrived, but not
because of presumed bad news but because I was in pain. I had pains on
the top right side of my stomach and severe back pains. I was told that
I had to have an emergency c-section immediately.
The tests that were run revealed that my blood platelets ware dangerously
low and my liver enzymes were severely raised. I was a wreck and very
confused. By this time my family had arrived at the hospital and my pastor
prayed with us and counseled my husband and I. My pastor told us that
he was going to baptize Ayana as soon as the doctor gave the ok. Next
thing I knew doctors were everywhere asking all these questions having
my husband and I fill out forms and prepping me for surgery.
As I was being wheeled into the OR all I could think about was God please
let our baby be alright. The NICU doctor told us that Ayana would come
out one of two ways. She would either come out limp and lifeless or kicking
and screaming. She came out kicking and screaming at 4:33 pm, weighing
a mere 14 ounces. She was rushed to the NICU and that was all I remembered.
When I woke up I was being pumped with magnesium, had massaging boots
on my calves, and I looked like a extra puffed marshmallow. The pre-eclampsia
was for real.
I stayed in the hospital for 6 days. I was home for two days when we
got the call from the NICU doctor that we had to come in. Ayana passed
away the next day. We had a funeral and burial for her the next week.
Three weeks after her funeral I was crying because I was in pain once
again. I went to the emergency room only to find out that i had a bi-lateral
pulmonary embolism. I was in the hospital on Heparin for 11 days. Everyone
kept telling me how lucky I was to still be alive and moving around. All
I wanted was the picture album I had put together of Ayana throughout
her 8 days of life. I am home now and I will be on coumadin for 6 months
to a year. I am so scared to even think about another pregnancy because
of the likelihood of repeating the same thing.
I am still struggling with all that has happened and may decide to seek
counseling. I have a strong support system but still feel so lonely at
times. I have been looking for a site like this to talk to and read stories
similar to mine. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.
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After what was an uneventful and wonderful pregnancy experience with
our son Henry, the last thing we expected was for something to go wrong
with the next baby. My friends and I joked about how easy pregnancy and
birth were for me, it was inconceivable that I would have any problems.
My pregnancy went along with no problems and we were so exceited to be
having a daughter and little sister for Henry. At 35 weeks I went for
my regular checkup with the GP as I was doing shared care, my blood pressure
was high, so she told me to go home and rest and come back in the morning.
The next day when I saw my GP again my BP was even higher and I had some
protein in my urine, so she sent me to the hospital so they could check
At the hospital they put me on the CTG monitor, to check my baby's heart
rate and movements. The midwife didn't seem concerned (and neithe was
I), telling m they'd monitor me for a few hours and then I could go home.
As I sat on the monitor longer, the baby was apparently distressed, the
midwife then told me I was going to have a Caesar. Again, she didn't appear
concerned and I was just excited to be getting my baby early.
As they were preparing me for my Caesar, the nightmare began: the baby's
heart stopeed, so in something like "ER" they raced me down
corridors to surgery. I remember lying there knowing my baby was dead
and there was chaos around me, the next I know I woke up and my baby was
It is now known I had HELLP syndrome and I too was really sick and spent
a week in hospital, but the whole experience still seems so surreal. I
am now pregnant again (35 weeks) and thins are apparently going well with
no signs of PE or HELLP but I don't think any of us will relax until the
baby is born.
We will never get over what seems to be such a horrible nightmare but
informing others about PE and HELLP will somehow make me feel as though
I have done something to prevent it happening to others.
POSTSCRIPT: It has been almost a year now since we lost our little
girl and it still seems so surreal. I know I'll never forget the horrible
nightmare or ever fill the gap she has left in our lives but slowly things
are getting back on track. I am howeer both dreading and counting down
the days to Elena's birthday.
Six weeks ago I gave birth to our thrid child, Matt, a little brother
for Henry. The pregnancy was really stressful but I had no signs of PE
at all and we are all now enjoying every minute and feel extremely lucky
to have him.
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Hi, my name is Kim and I have one child, a daughter called Hannah.
At 23 years of age and newly married I became pregnant.The pregnancy
progressed fine until my 31 week check-up.I felt fine but as my obstetrician
took my blood pressure I was told that I had increased protein in my urine.
My BP was 160/100. (Two weeks earlier at my 29 week check-up everything
was normal with a BP of 120/70.) The baby's heartbeat was good but I was
told it was too small for dates. I was sent straight to hospital.
In hospital I was on strict bed rest and was put under joint care with
a Professor,a renal specialist who specializes in hypertension in pregnancy.
I became part of a study he was doing. I was given steriod injections
to mature the baby's lungs as my carers were reasonably sure the baby
would have to be delivered in a matter of days.
My BP did not respond well to oral medication.Despite all this physically
I felt well,like nothing was wrong with me.The baby was monitored and
according to the CTG was doing fine.The ultrasound told a different story.The
blood flow through the placenta was so poor that the baby was just being
kept alive ... barely, it was the size of 27 weeks at 31 weeks. It had
gotten barely enough to keep it alive and none to keep it growing.
48 hours after entering hospital I was told at dinnertime that the baby
had to be delivered that night or the next morning at the latest. I burst
out crying because all my optimism left me with those words. As I was
31 weeks and in a small private hospital the doctor left the room to ring
around the major teaching hospitals to see where she could deliver the
That's when the pain hit me, it was so severe I was jumping around my
bed in agony. It was liver failure.The back pain and severe hunger pains
I had been experiencing that afternoon had been my liver failing. I was
rushed to labour ward. People were running everywhere,my husband and I
were introduced to the paediatrian and the anaesthetist while procedures
were being carried out on me eg catheter, iv, bloods and the Professor
constantly checking my blood pressure.He was the only one that thought
of pain relief for me.100mg of pethidine barely worked, in hindsight I
wonder if it had any bearing on the baby coming out flat with an apgar
My platelet count at that stage was not too bad and so I had an epidural
and a c section.I don't remember much except constantly vomiting from
the anaesthetic room right through the surgery.
Hannah was born at about 9pm, all skin and bones, weighing 1115g. I saw
her briefly while I was in recovery.She was tubed and was taken by NETS
to another hospital. I was still unstable with a BP of 210/120,a severe
headache and poor urine output,not to mention being very yellow and puffy
looking. I was transferred to another hospital into ICU where a long line
went in and I was given SNIP amoung other drugs (such as magnesium). By
this stage the platelet count was poor along with all my blood results!
Amazingly enough by the following afternoon I was on the maternity ward
and taking 16 oxprenolol tablets a day. 4 days later I was medication
free and having headspins as my BP was back to normal. I was discharged
6 days after I had Hannah.
It was amazing how my body recovered because she, along with the placenta,
was taken out. I know it wasn't my fault but I feel bad that my body had
rejected her. To make up for that I did the next best thing that I could
and expressed breast milk for her starting with colostrum which was 'extracted'
by a midwife while I was in ICU. My husband drove the 1 hr drive between
the 2 hospitals with his esky and bottles of milk. Hannah only had my
milk from day one.My husband hired a pump for 2 months and while she was
in hospital I expressed 4 hourly day and night ( the alarm woke me up
to do this twice each night).
Hannah did well in neo-natal ICU. No problems and 4 weeks later went
to special care nursery for a further 4 weeks.She came home at 1.7kgs.She
is now 4 years old, a little small but otherwise bright,a real stubborn
As for me, my LFT's were back to normal within 3 weeks of the birth.
3 months later I still had a little protein in my urine. 8 months later
my urine was free of protein and a 'battery'of blood tests revealed nothing,
everything was normal.( There was a mild positive to lupus but pathology
could not make any more of it ).A renal ultrasound did show that the cortex
of my right kidney may be a little small but the professor thought it
was nothing to be concerned about, especially since I was not planning
any more children.
I didn't know much about pre-eclampsia but set out to find out. Now I
know I had tell-tale warning signs.
From about 22 weeks I couldn't wear rings on my fingers and many mornings
I'd wake up and couldn't move my fingers.Yet my weight gain was normal
until that 31 week visit. Everything I read and was told was that a little
bit of oedema isn't cause for concern.
Also a few days before entering hospital I had a splitting headache at
the back of my head, this must have been my blood pressure.
I'm 28 now and while Hannah would love a sibling I am not prepared to
take the risk, with my own life and to worry that my child may not live.One
to worry about is enough for me.I feel I would be sitting on a bomb waiting
to die because I know that luck played a part in me not dying 4 years
ago. I thank God for my the wonderful life I have and the beautiful, normal
child I have today, how could I ask for more?
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I had severe preeclampsia with my first baby Claire. I was 28 and fit
and healthy at the time, and my pregnancy began with no problems, just
a lot of excitement.
Around 22 weeks I found that my feet and ankles were beginning to swell
at the end of each day. this continued up until I finished working at
about 33 weeks. I was told that once I finished work and put my feet up
then the swelling would ease . This was not the case, I continued to swell
and the weight kept piling on.
I live in a small country town, and we are lucky to have the same doctor
here each time I went for a check up. I was booked in to have my baby
in the city, a 3 hour drive away and this meant a monthly trip to town
for a checkup and each fortnight I saw the local GP. I was about 34 weeks
when my blood pressure began rising, but at this stage there was no sign
of protein in my urine and even though I had piled on the weight with
fluid they sent me home after each visit and told me to rest.
Then from 35 weeks on I felt just awlful . I was so big and tight everywhere
that I could not get comfortable. I couldn't sit, lie down or even get
in and out of the car without help. I remember driving to the doctors
surgery and having to beep the horn to get the attention of a man walking
past to help me out of the car!!
By this time I had what I now know as PE warning signs. There was small
amounts of protein in my urine, I had a constant headache, blurred vision
- with flashes of white lights when Ilosed my eyes and the pain in my
upper right hand side was unbearable. I felt sorry for my poor husband,
I was just so irritable and cranky all the time. The house was a mess
and I had no energy to cook a meal.
I was so sure that something was wrong, but nobody was listening to me.
I went to the hospital 3 times during the week in so much discomfort but
kept getting told the same thing - "this is your first pregnancy and you
just don't know what to expect, everything is normal ... you are just
having a large baby and the pain in your side is just the bruising you
are getting from the baby kicking".
Even the midwife at the city maternity hospital told me this in my last
checkup. She even had the nerve to tell me to watch my diet as I was putting
on too much weight too quickly. I had managed to put on 8 kilos in the
last week and a total of 38 kilos during the pregnancy, but yet again
no one listened when i told them that i wasn't eating because I was just
to bloated to fit anything in..
We were so desparate at this time that my poor hubby was ringing around
different hospitals speaking to midwives about how I was feeling.
Sadly only one of them told him about PE (she works at a hospital in
a town of about 500 people) and we were told this too late as that same
day I went into labour!!
Finally it all came to a happy end when I was 38 weeks ... my waters
broke and I flooded the bedroom and the 4 beachtowels that I held between
my legs. We had to make a mad dash to the city (a 3 hour drive, remember)
as we had not planned to go for 2 more days. (I had been so unhappy the
last few weeks that I had not even had the energy to pack a bag for me
or the baby!!)
When I arrived at the hospital they took my blood pressure,50/117 and
looked at my feet, face and hands and suddenly there were doctors everywhere.
Finally someone was taking notice of me. I was then told that I had severe
PE and needed to get the baby out asap.
I went into a panic but I think deep down I was a little relieved that
I had been diagnosed with something other than "first time mum syndrome"
and that it would all be over soon . 8 hours later Claire arrived. I was
pumped full of magnesium to stop fitting and this made me feel yuk, but
other than that the labour went smoothly.
I was lucky not to have suffered any long term liver damage (I was later
told that was the pain I was feeling in my right side) and my vision restored
itself but I did have to get stronger prescription glasses.
Claire was just perfect at 7 pound, (not the huge baby that everyone
kept telling me I was having) and I spent 3 nights in ICU and came home
a week later, during this week I lost 33 kilos. My blood pressure went
back to normal about 7 weeks later and by then the fluid had all gone
and I looked normal again, my ICU nurse did not recognise me when I returned
for a visit, without the swollen face and eyes!!
Ii wanted to share my story and hope that this may make others aware
of how my symptoms were ignored and put down to me being a first time
mum. I knew something was wrong at the time but we just put the trust
in the doctors that they knew best, and I was very lucky to have such
a happy ending to such an awful pregnancy. I now hear other mums who say
they could never go though the labour again, well Claire is only 6 months
old and sadly at this stage in my life I know that I could not go through
the 9 months of pregnancy again, give me just the labour any day!!
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I was diagnosed with preeclampsia in my fourth pregnancy.
I was in my 5th month when I started having severe headaches and abdominal
cramps. I was in the military at the time and thought it was from my activities
and the summer heat. After a couple of days when the symptoms had not
passed I reported to my doctor. My first BP check when I got there was
154/110, right away they put me in a bed on my left side hooked up to
a fetal monitor and blood pressure cuff. I was given a BP medication to
start taking and put on light duty.
By my 6th month I was put on complete bed rest when it was determined
the medication was not helping as long as I was active. At this time I
noticed I was gaining a lot of weight even though I did not notice any
By my 38th week I was feeling so ill that I felt I couldnt even pick
my head up off the pillow without it pounding. My husband was out of town
so I went to the hospital by myself for a check. I was immediately admitted
and my husband was called to come home. I was put on a magnesium drip
and propped on my left side where I stayed.
On the third day of my hospital stay I was finally told they would start
the pitosin to induce labor. Three hours later our daughter was born.
I became very shaky. I remember the nurse coming in checking by blood
pressure and giving me a shot of medication in my IV. I don't remember
anything after that.
The medication was given to me around 2 p.m. The next thing I remember
was a nurse coming in around 7 p.m. asking me to feed my daughter. I was
breastfeeding her and we had no problem with this.
The next day I was finally, after 4 days, allowed to get out of bed to
take a shower. While in the shower I started having a contraction and
felt like I was giving birth again. I passed a blood clot close to the
size of a grapefruit. The nurse came in to recover it from the shower
and take it to the lab. I was told that there was no problems with it
and not to worry about it.
That night the pediatrician came in to tell me they were going to have
to put an IV in my daughter and put her under the blue lights because
she was turning red and her blood test were showing too many red blood
She is now 3 years old and if you saw her you would not give her a second
glance but she has had a rough road. She has been in the hospital at 14
months with pneumonia, her speech is developing slowly and the potty training
is still not done. The only reason why I know she is behind is from raising
my other daughters. I have asked my doctors and hers if these are the
effects from the preeclampsia or magnesium that we were both on for days.
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My name is Alison. I had preeclampsia with my first baby Rosalinda.
I have never had a blood pressure problem before and my Obstetrician
was surprised when I had a blood pressure of 170/120 in the very
early part of my pregnancy.
Anyway, this settled down and every thing seemed to be going OK. I was
very puffed up and had to stop wearing my wedding ring from about 5 months
I ruptured my waters unexpectedly at 37 weeks and due to an abnormal
position of the baby (footling breech) had to be delivered by a caesarean
section late one night. We were almost but not really prepared for the
baby to come early, but luckily for Rosalinda, she was ready to come.
Most of my problems happened immediately after the delivery. I had very
high blood pressure and was making lots of fluid. The Obstetrician (who
was fantastic) asked a specialist in preeclampsia to see me to give advice
about the blood pressure and the fluid.
The other thing that happened was that I had a blind spot in my vision,
looking high and to the left. The blood pressure settled down to normal
levels after 3 days and I lost 17 kilograms in weight! It took 4 months
for my vision to return to normal, and luckily my blood pressure has not
been a problem since then.
Rosalinda was born at 2450 grams which is less than expected. She had
such a skinny body compared to her big head. She had a bit of trouble
keeping her body temperature at first, but she was fine and is thriving
I was surprised at the problems with my vision. It seemed that the blood
pressure was never really high enough to cause concern. I now realize
that the effects of preeclampsia often involve the blood pressure but
can put stress on other parts of the body, and luckily for my family,
I did not have a stroke.
I think greater awareness of preeclampsia would have made this a generally
less frightening experience for us all.
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I had preeclampsia with my first child. As I was reading Alison's
story on the site, I was dumbfounded by the similarities... My story,
however, seems to be a bit more frightening (to me, anyway).
Well, it all started out sometime after month four of my pregnancy.
I had to take all of my rings off. This was the only thing different
for a while until, I really started to gain some weight. My face began
swelling along with my hands, feet, legs (and not to mention my stomach!)
My mother of five began getting worried and started telling me to
tell my doctor about my symptoms. She thought that I had preeclampsia.
I did talk to my doctor about my symptoms, and they checked my blood
After a while, my feet continued to swell up until I couldn't wear
any shoes except flip-flops (and even those left indentions on my
feet.) I remember one night, when I was about 8 months pregnant getting
a head-ache (which I never get). I called my mother and told her about
it, and of course she insisted that I get my blood pressure taken.
I went to the nearest drug store and noticed that my blood pressure
was abnormally high, for some reason. I went back home, and called
my mother. She told me she was taking me to hospital whether I liked
it or not. So I waited for her.
When we got to the hospital, they monitored me, and noticed that
I had a lot of protein in my urine. After a short while, my blood
pressure decreased, and they sent me home to do a 24-hour urine sample.
I completed the sample and returned it to the hospital the next night.
When they monitored me the next night, my blood pressure was up again.
The nurses told me that I was having some premature, small contractions
and then I remember the nurses coming into the room telling me that
they were going to deliver me.
They sent me to a room where they began to try to induce my labor.
Since my blood pressure was up, they gave me some Magnesium drops
in an IV, so that I wouldn't have any seizures. They also did not
let me eat or drink anything, and believe me, I was so
thirsty and hungry! The only thing I could do was eat on some ice.
I don't believe that my body was ready to go into labor yet, because
I was in labor for four days, before I had to begin pushing.
I can say, however, that I was blessed because it only took me nine
minutes of pushing to get my daughter out. I was so relieved. But
then the scariest part was to come.
When my daughter was born, she did not cry. I was so scared that
something was wrong with her, but the doctors told me that the magnesium
just made her very weak. She was also very small because she was induced
five weeks early. They then took her to the Neonatal ICU or NICU.
I was then instructed to try to push my placenta out. But I had no
more contractions. They then told me that they had to manually extract
my placenta by reaching in, and pulling it out themselves. I was a
About two hours after giving birth I remember lying in bed and feeling
two big gushes of something come out of me. It felt like my water
broke two more times. Then, the doctor walked in, and I informed them
that I thought that I was bleeding. A lot. I was haemorrhaging. The
doctor checked and immediately called staff to bring in the ultrasound
They used the machine to see if there was anything left in my uterus,
and sure enough, they found that there were small pieces of my placenta
still inside of me. The next thing I remember was the anesthesiologist
coming in, and asking if I wanted another epidural or just a spinal,
because they were going to rush me to the Operating Room to do a D&C
on me. I still didn't realize how serious the matter was until the
doctor handed me a form to sign that stated that if need be, I will
allow them to take my uterus out.
The operation was supposed to be a 15-minute operation, which ended
up being about two or more hours. Documents state that my blood was
not clotting, and I kept haemorrhaging. After eight blood trasfusions
and a lot of manual pelvic compressions by the doctor, my blood finally
began to clot. After I was sent to ICU, they had to give me a Central
Line (on my chest) so that I could receive a bag of frozen plasma.
They also had given me platelets.
In the meantime, my daughter was doing well, eating well, etc. I
finally got to see a Polaroid picture of her, since I hadn't seen
her since she was born. After spending a long time in ICU, I was then
transferred to the Mother-Baby Unit (MBU) of the hospital, so I could
be with my daughter.
This is the time when I noticed that my eyes weren't normal. It seemed
as if, in both eyes, there were dark spots, in the upper-left part
of my sight. It looked as if I was looking through very dark sunglasses
in those areas or spots. I was sent to the eye doctor that night,
and some of the student-doctors (interns) thought that I needed to
have eye-surgery for detached retinas. I thought that I was going
blind. Though, when the specialist came to see me, he stated that
it could get better on its own.
While in the hospital, close watch was administered to me by nurses
and doctors to make sure that my blood pressure stayed down and to
make sure that there would be no more bleeding of a large amount.
I actually gained more weight after I had my daughter than
I gained with her. I am normally about 115 pounds. While pregnant,
I got up to 145 pounds (and my daughter weighed 5lbs. 13oz.) ; so
most of that weight was FLUIDS from the EDEMA (or swelling). After
I had my daughter, I then gained even more.
I was in the hospital for a total of ten days, when I was hoping
to only be there for 3 at the most. After being sent home, getting
around was very hard because of the pain and pressure on my uterus.
But within about a week or two, I lost all of my weight and was back
to 115 pounds.
I thank my mother for being a mother. I probably would not have made
it if I hadn't gotten seen when I did. And I do agree that everyone
should become aware of preeclampsia and its possible side effects.
This is definitely NOT something that you would want to joke around
with, especially if it could jeopardize a life (or two)!
Thank you for reading my story, for I feel it is a miracle. My daughter
is one year old now, and is as healthy as can be. I am healthy as
well, and I thank God for his love.
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My name is Melinda and I had preclampsia with my first pregnancy
at 19 years of age. I read these articles and I found my situation
to be quite different.
I started swelling at about four months. My ankles and feet would
swell so much I had to wear bedroom slippers all of the time. At 18
weeks I was diagnosed with toxemia and by 23 weeks was on complete
bed rest. At 26 weeks I was put into the hospital with a blood pressure
of 190/120 and was having urine samples taken around the clock.
The day I turned 27 weeks I woke up with a bad headache and pains
in my abdomen. The doctor came in to check me and told my husband
and I that they would be taking the baby by C-section.
They did not give much hope for my baby being born at 27 weeks, but
Joseph was born weighing a whole 1 pound 14 ounces and was 13 inches
long. He cried out when they first took him, I didn't even get to
see him they just rushed him to the NICU. After the surgery visitors
had to check with the nurses station before entering, I began running
a little fever.
Two months after I had Jonathan the swelling was still present and
I developed Pseudo-tumor cerebri. The toxemia/preclampsia was very
severe in my case and is still affecting my today. I am now pregnant
with my third child and so far everything is going well. Joseph and
his brother Joshua are excited about having a new baby. Pray it's
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Hello my name is Caroline. I had preclampsia with my first child
Sabina which I consider my miracle baby. When I was six months pregnant
I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. My doctor did not explain
to me the seriousness of my condition at this time. I was put on bed
rest at this point.
When I was about 35 weeks I was referred to a nurse to schedule further
tests. I then asked a million questions. The nurse then explained
to me that I was being screened for preclampsia and explained all
the side effects. I was sent home a Friday with a large container
to fill with urine and was asked to return to the doctor on Monday.
I knew at this time I was in trouble because I had lots of swelling,
protein was in my urine and a had a terrible headache that would not
go away. I decided to go to the Emergency Room after speaking with
my cousin. At this time my blood pressure was 155/110. I then began
having trouble breathing and was given oxygen. I was given magnesium,
but my blood pressure continued to rise. I just felt that my senses
were going. I prayed to get through my delivery.
I was induced right away, but nothing happened. They told me I would
start feeling contractions, but I only felt sleepy. Over four hours
nothing seemed to happen. For a least an hour after this, I then started
to feel contractions and my baby weighed 4lb 15 oz.
My baby was fine, but she was sent to ICU for observation for a day.
At that point I never knew I would try to have another baby. In 1999
I became pregnant with my second child. I really did not have any
complications until I was 37 weeks. I just did not feel well and my
vision was blurry one Saturday and decided to go to my doctor. At
this point I had a wonderful doctor who was very attentive to me.
Anyway, that Saturday my doctor diagnosed me with preeclampsia and
sent me to the hospital for induction. I had a healthy baby girl who
weighed 5lbs.6 oz.
I really thought that my experience with preclampsia has helped me
to thank God daily and has brought a close bond with my children and
Just when I thought my days were over of having children, now at
age 27 I am now 37 weeks pregnant with my first son. I went into preterm
labor at 33 weeks for an unknown reason. I was hospitalized and was
given medication to stop labor. At this time I take my blood pressure
daily. I notice that it is now going up and at my last visit I had
1 percent protein in my urine. I am very concerned and I just want
my doctor to induce me before my condition gets any worse. I have
a lot of abdominal pain, my eyes pain me and I just don't feel right.
Keep me in prayer.
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I had preeclampsia with both my pregnancies in 1979 and 1981. If
I can provide you with information that might help you with your research
I would be very happy to. The preeclampsia was very severe with the
first pregnancy - Stuart was induced at 37 weeks and by the time I
delivered him I was passing pure protein and given anti seizure drugs
immediately and monitored very closely for the next 24 hours.
Stuart did not breathe for the first 20 mins but fortunately my Obstetrician
had the foresight to have a Paediatrician on hand and it turns out
the drugs they had given me to keep my blood pressure under control
had passed through the placenta (which was not working efficiently)
and made him very "dopey". He was 2.52 kgs when born. My husband and
I were told that if they hadn't induced the pregnancy Stuart would
only have lasted in utero for another couple of days as the placenta
had almost totally broken down.
I am pleased to be able to tell you that Stuart is now a healthy
23 yr old and apart from having a total transfusion after his birth
has suffered no ill effects from his traumatic start to life. I now
realise how fortunate we both are to be here today to tell the story.
Fortunately the second pregnancy was much less severe and although
Alice was born at 38 weeks she weighed a healthy 3.5kgs and neither
of us had any ill effects.
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I'm glad you are doing this very important work. My son Calvin died
around the 29th week of my pregnancy, this past March. I was 30 years
old, had started my pregnancy perhaps 20 pounds overweight and had
normal blood pressure -- though my diastolic pressure had read borderline
high once or twice in the year or two before my pregnancy and was
recorded slightly above 90 once early in my pregnancy, but no one
felt that it was any cause for immediate concern.
I was plagued by severe morning sickness, but my pregnancy seemed
perfectly healthy. I was gaining weight at exactly the rate my midwives
felt was appropriate for my pre-pregnancy weight, I took prenatal
yoga and continued to get moderate exercise, I went to Bradley classes
and began learning about childbirth. I did have an abnormal Triple
Check blood test -- my AFP levels were high, indicating the possibility
of neural tube defects -- but Level 2 ultrasounds, and subsequently
autopsy, attested to the normal development of my baby.
It was early in the morning on New Year's Day when I first felt the
baby move (I had been careful not to find out the sex during the ultrasounds
... I wanted to have all the excitement at the birth).
Things started to get funny in my 27th week, a week after my last
(completely normal) checkup. I developed a terrible stomach flu and
after 12 hours of agony ended up on the maternity ward to get anti-nausea
medication and be rehydrated. I have asked and asked, but it does
not seem that this had anything to do with the pre-eclampsia. I did
not develop HELLP, and a bad stomach flu was going around then. The
nurses had seen many pregnant women come in dehydrated from vomiting.
That morning on the maternity ward, my blood pressure was fine and
I was hooked up to a fetal monitor for several hours. The baby's heartrate
was a little fast, but that was attributed to the stress of the situation.
The one thing that disturbs me is that no one checked my urine.
I went home from the hospital with a prescription for suppositories
to help quell any further nausea. I was reluctant to use them, but
continued to be very sick for several days and did resort to them
once or twice. I slept for most of 5 days, I think, and did not eat
very well at all during that time.
Once I started feeling a little better, I noticed that I was having
killer headaches, but I thought they were because I hadn't been eating
right for so long. Besides, I have a tendency to get migraines, so
I didn't realize I should be alarmed by the flashes of light that
accompanied them. It wasn't for another week that I understood they
were related to my sky-rocketing blood pressure.
As I began to eat more, the headaches seemed to be subsiding, so
I decided against calling my midwives to report them. Besides, as
I understood it, the main symptom of pre-eclampsia is swelling, which
I did not have. I have kicked myself about this many, many times,
wishing I had done something more, but by all indications my baby
had probably already died by the time I had any suspicions.
At the end of this week, I began to realize I hadn't been feeling
the baby move as much. Up until then, I had been so sick myself that
I wasn't really paying attention. I called the office and they told
me to drink cold juice and lie down and count the movements. I fooled
myself into believing I was feeling movement that I couldn't have
been feeling. My baby was already dead. That was on a Friday, but
we didn't know until the following Monday. I'm glad of that actually.
That weekend my husband and I really started nesting and feeling like
we were ready for parenthood. It was a wonderful weekend and I am
glad we had it. I think it made what came next more bearable somehow.
Monday morning, I was finally feeling pretty normal again. My husband
and I went to see our main midwife for a check-up before heading off
to work (to which I was finally returning). My blood pressure was
high -- about 130/100, I think. I was shedding protein in my urine.
My midwife was concerned, but said she'd check my pressure again at
the end of the visit. We talked about finding a pediatrician. I went
over the details of my flu with her. I told her about the headaches
and the flashes of light. She knitted her brow and asked me about
swelling. I HAD NONE.
She asked me to lie back so she could listen for the baby's heartbeat.
The first dop-tone machine was malfunctioning -- it didn't even pick
up my heartbeat, so she went to get another. There was still no heartbeat.
There was a change in her face I will never, ever forget. In that
instant I knew, but did not want to believe, what was happening. It
took my husband much longer to understand. There is an ultrasound
lab right in the office my midwife is in, but they had a 3-hour wait
even for an emergency. Luckily, the office happens to be on the ground
floor of the hospital, so she called up and arranged for a resident
to do the ultrasound on the labor and delivery ward. We still had
to wait at least 30 minutes. During that time, I was trying as hard
as I could just to clear my mind, to think nothing, not to worry,
not to hope, just to wait. My husband, on the other hand, kept telling
himself that everything was going to be OK.
We finally got into a room on labor and delivery -- a room we did
not leave for 3 days. The resident came in, did the ultrasound, told
us flatly that she could not find a heartbeat, and left. The sky had
fallen. It was an earthquake, a trainwreck, a disaster. Our baby was
dead. My husband hadn't even understood what the resident had said,
but he knew from my reaction what was going on.
For awhile there was talk of letting me go home for awhile and go
into labor on my own, something I wanted very much, so that I could
have a chance to process what was happening. But my blood pressure
was 180/120 and I was in danger of seizures or a stroke, and they
couldn't let me leave. An hour and a half after arriving for my check-up
I was admitted to the hospital. They put me on magnesium sulfate and
tied pillows to my bed rails in case I had a seizure -- which thankfully
I did not. They induced labor slowly. My midwife lobbied to have it
done as gently as possible. Bless her. About 36 hours later they finally
started a pitocin drip to speed the things along. Meanwhile we had
been asked all sorts of questions no one should ever be asked -- did
we want to see the baby? what did we want to do with the body? It
My plans for a natural childbirth now completely moot, I asked for
pain relief and finally an epidural. At 11:14 PM, March 20, 2001,
when I was exactly 30 weeks pregnant, my son was born dead. They took
him away and cleaned him up before we saw him, because we wanted to
wait until our midwife was there -- the final stages had happened
too quickly for her to get to the hospital for the birth. When she
arrived, she brought him in to us and my husband and I both held him
briefly and looked at his perfect little face then said goodbye and
let him go. Later someone came up from the morgue to do all the paperwork
for an autopsy and for the hosptipal-arranged memorial.
It was two more days before I was able to go home. My blood pressure
returned to normal within 36 hours of giving birth and has remained
so since then.
The autopsy showed that there may have been problems with blood profusion
in the placenta from early on, but that Calvin was by all appearances
a healthy, normal boy, perhaps slightly underweight, when he died.
His time of death was estimated to be 1 - 2 weeks before his birth,
sometime while I was sick or recovering from the flu. I never really
knew things like this happened, even though my own mother is a maternal-newborn
nurse. Even she had never seen anything quite like what happened to
me, neither had my midwife, and the doctor she practices with, who
supervised my care in the hospital, says the suddenness and severity
of my case is very unusual. It's a big, nationally famous women's
hospital, and they see it all, but still . . . they have very few
They ran all sorts of blood tests, looking for auto-immune disorders
or genetic problems. Everything came back normal. That is good in
terms of future pregnancies, but still, it leaves us with so little.
We have no idea why or how this happened.
I think I was more educated than a lot of people are when they get
pregnant. I knew what pre-eclampsia was. I even worried that I might
be at risk for it because of my weight. But I thought that there would
be swelling. I thought that there would be more of a window for them
to detect my rising blood pressure and do something. I didn't know
how dangerous it really could be.
Now, I look at pregnancy advice books, and I am infuriated. Each
of them seems to have a different explanation of pre-eclampsia, if
the mention it at all. None of them really explain the fact that no
one, not even the experts, really understands what this disease is
or how it functions. My son is dead and I can never change that, but
I would like to find a way to help other women so that this never
happens to them. My grief is still too fresh for me to know how I
am going to do that yet. I am a writer and a teacher. Someday, somehow,
I would like to write and educate people about this disease. I am
glad you are already trying to do that and to find a way to detect,
prevent and treat it.
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I read with interest and empathy of the stories contained in your
web site. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 34 weeks gestation.
At the time, I was a "healthy, normal weight" 32 year old. I went
to my GP for my normal pre-natal checkup and was admitted into hospital
for overnight observation as my blood pressure was slightly high at
150/90. My overnight stay extended to two weeks.
As we live in Kalgoorlie, the hospital does not have the facilities
to deliver an "unhealthy" baby at 35 weeks, hence my extended two
week stay in hospital until I reached 36 weeks. We came home three
weeks later with our c-section, 5lb 5oz healthy baby girl, Maggie.
Maggie received no oxygen as she could breathe on her own nor did
she receive any special medical attention on her delivery but she
did have to have x-rays at 1 day old as the Paediatrician thought
she might have clicky hips. We don't know if this was attributable
to preeclampsia or not as apparently, my umbilical cord was not very
long and we guess, this meant that Maggie could not move around as
freely. My placenta was not very big as well.
Reading the other ladies stories, I did not have any symptoms of
excess fluid retention nor blurred vision but my blood pressure continued
to increase, peaking at 150/110 and I obviously had traces of protein
in my urine and I looked and felt an absolute wreck. My obstetrician
is still undecided whether my preeclampsia was pregnancy induced or
was hereditary as there is blood pressure in both my husband and my
I have been taking Noten for twelve months to stabilise my blood
pressure but was advised to change my medication to Methyldopa as
we are planning to fall pregnant again. This is where my story differs,
my blood pressure has not decreased even though I have been taking
Methyldopa four times a day for the last 12 months.
I visited my obstetrician yesterday who informs me that I'm one of
the 10% of women who's blood pressure does not return to "normal"
after their first pregnancy. He informs me that our next pregnancy
will be the same if not more traumatic than the first and dare say
that my Methyldopa will increase to the maximum of 3grams/day and
I have visions of being bedridden for the majority of the pregnancy
- as I mentioned, we live in Kalgoorlie which is five hours drive
away from both of our families.
Consequently, I'm apprehensive, confused and not to mention, in two
minds at the moment of the prospect of falling pregnant again. My
health will be at risk not to mention that of our baby. I thought
that my experience is slightly different than the norm and if you're
interested, we would be happy to advise you of our upcoming events
!! We wish you continued success with your research and hopefully,
you can answer many unanswered questions. Cheers.
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