Postpartum Pre-eclampsia

Hi everyone. I wanted to share my pre-eclampsia experience with everyone as I’ve not really spoken about it to anyone before.

My pregnancy was high-risk because I had some issues with my kidneys, and unfortunately, kidney failure has exactly the same symptoms as pre-eclampsia: protein in the wee, swollen feet and feeling sick with high blood pressure.

Every Monday I went to my midwife appointment, and every time (from about 18 weeks pregnant on) she would send me straight to the day unit at the maternity ward of my local hospital to get checked over. Each time I would spend the day there, on a bed with a cup of tea and a biscuit, with this yellow band wrapped around my stomach hearing my babies heartbeat, and this would last for hours until they were happy that my baby was safe. 

The reason that the doctors and nurses worry so much about pre-eclampsia and its symptoms, is because it leads to something called eclampsia which can put you and your baby’s lives at risk by giving you seizures or putting you into a coma. They don’t really know what causes it, but they think it’s something to do with an issue with the placenta in your womb, so although the weekly trips to the hospital were super boring and hormonal me rolled my eyes every Monday, I get why they were necessary! Weirdly, my visits ended up being one of my favourite parts of pregnancy, I was so lucky to hear my little girl so often and be constantly reassured that she was okay.

Anyway, I was 37 weeks pregnant doing my usual Monday visit, and next thing I knew I was back in the hospital with my cup of tea. But this time was a little different, and although my baby was at that moment okay, they told me they needed to deliver her the next morning because my symptoms were getting worse. We were already planning a c-section due to medical issues, so they pulled the planned section forward by over two weeks to the next morning.

I had my daughter, the operation went off without a hitch and I felt fine after and ready to go home! Although once the anaesthetic had actually worn off, things felt a little different. Two days later I was in the hospital and I woke up with a swollen face, and the morning nurse came in and immediately got a doctor to see me. I had developed post-partum pre-eclampsia.

The next few days were a blur of magnesium drips, sleeping and puking up. I had my own separate room with my baby in her cot, and I had to have my own nurse each shift who would just look after me. I remember on the first day of having her with me, I couldn’t stop being sick and I threw up all over her and on my stockings. I felt absolutely horrendous (as well as recovering from a c-section and not really being able to walk!) but I felt so sorry for this amazing nurse that took care of me. I was really tired, and the nurses took care of my baby and helped me feed her and took her away so I could rest in those early days while I was recovering.

I eventually got better after about 6 days, and I remember crying when leaving the hospital as I felt like I was leaving my family! But I was so happy to start my new life with my daughter and my boyfriend.

Although pre-eclampsia was scary, I was so grateful to the amazing doctors and nurses who saved my life, listened to me and looked after me and my baby in those precious early days.

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