My (& Winter's) Fundraising Page
At 35 weeks pregnant, I went to the hospital for reduced fetal movement. Thankfully everything was just fine with my baby, but I unfortunately was showing signs of preeclampsia. The doctors had me stay overnight for blood pressure monitoring and a 24 hour urine collection, which ultimately led to my diagnosis of mild preeclampsia. At that point, with BP readings consistently around 145/90, I was scheduled for induction at 37 weeks and closely monitored for the time in between.
Unfortunately the induction ended in a cesarean section, but my husband and I were excited and happy to meet our son and put the whole ordeal behind us. Little did we know the worst was yet to come.
We were discharged from the hospital as a brand new family of three, but my signs and symptoms never went away. 130/85 is the lowest my BP would go; my feet and legs were so swollen I couldn't fit into my adjustable sandals; I was dizzy.
After our first night at home I started seeing flashes in my vision along with a headache and nausea. I remember feeling really off and asking my husband to bring me the home BP cuff. That reading changed everything - 169/95.
Because this was June of 2020, COVID-19 was rampant so visitor restrictions were in place at the hospital. My husband called my mother to come take me to the emergency room. She calmly distracted me while we waited, though she must've been terrified. Several nurses and nurse managers tried unsuccessfully for an hour and a half to place an IV before calling the anesthesiologist. He was able to place one so that I could finally receive a rescue drug to get me out of hypertensive crisis. My BP got up to 189/102. I had severe postpartum preeclampsia.
I was admitted and placed on a 24 hour magnesium drip to stop me from going eclamptic, meaning it stopped me from seizing. The magnesium made my vision blurry, I was only 5 days out from major abdominal surgery, and extremely sleep deprived. When I was offered a catheter I said yes. This was the right call, because overnight I quite literally peed off 20 pounds of water weight.
My mom stayed at the hospital to take care of me and got me through that night, getting up every 2 hours to help me pump and wash all the parts. My husband and newborn son were home alone, spending their first Father's Day together terrified and kept away from me.
I was put on BP medicine that ended up increasing my resting heart rate into the 130s after being discharged. At one point I was scared I was having a heart attack and my husband called an ambulance. That's when we found out my heart rate had gone above my BP and sent my body into shock. Another trip to the ER, a CT scan to check for blood clots resulting from my c-section, a referral to a heart specialist, and a BP medicine change later - things were finally under control and I recovered from there.
My doctor's never explained preeclampsia to me. They never warned me of postpartum preeclampsia. In fact, the doctor who performed my surgery believed that removal of the placenta is the cure for preeclampsia (this may help some people, but it is not a cure) so he wouldn't have thought there was anything to worry about. They discharged me without fully treating my condition and while I was still at risk. I'm extremely lucky to have survived my experience relatively unscathed.
But it's because of my experience that I'm raising money for preeclampsia research. While there isn't a cure, it is a treatable condition that steals far too many lives. My son and I are both still here today, and it breaks my heart to think of all those who aren't because of a lack of proper care or adequate treatment. For those of us who survived, we now live with an increased risk of recurrence of the same disorder in subsequent pregnancies. There are other scary links, such as an increased risk of stroke and heart disease later in life.
Please join me in contributing to this underfunded but vitally important cause.
Thank you for your time and for reading my story. 💜