My third pregnancy resulted in a twin pregnancy. I was shocked and scared, but cautiously optimistic. Our youngest at the time was only 11 months, so in doing the math, I realized quickly that life was about to get very crazy, very quickly. At 11 weeks we found out we had lost one of the babies...it was devastating and threw me into a deep depression that is hard to explain. I was unhappy to still be pregnant if it meant I couldn't have both my babies; I wanted the other one to simply disappear too. My body couldn't carry the second baby, so what was wrong with me? What did I do wrong? It would take nine months of a high risk pregnancy and lots of soul searching before I could come to terms with the answer; it was a blessing in disguise.
From the very first appointment my blood pressure was elevated. I hadn't experienced high BP before getting pregnant, that I knew of, but it was of little concern to me. I had been unable to find much happiness in the pregnancy news since it was unplanned and I had zero insurance. I had been stressed about finances and how we would recover from this life changing experience, and how in the world I was going to deal with ANOTHER baby on top of the one I had just had not that long ago. It was bad timing, and I was mad at myself for allowing this to happen. High blood pressure is nothing to scoff at, and deep down I wanted to just not think about it in the hopes that all of this pregnancy stuff would go away. I would begin skipping doctors appointments because I just didn't care enough about my body to go, plus I didn't have the money for a visit each and every month. I had done this before, I knew the drill; pee in a cup, blood pressure, etc. and I didn't think it was that big of a deal to not go to the appointments. When I neared the end of the pregnancy, my feelings began to change. I started having anxiety and panic attacks and believing that I was going to die during child birth. I didn't tell my doctor any of this, because I didn't want to come off as crazy, but my body was trying to tell me something and I wasn't sure what. My blood pressure hit an all time high at 35 weeks and my doc sent me directly to L&D to be monitored. My BP not only went down during this monitoring period, but went down to normal...which it hadn't been in 7.5 months. I thought I was going to be induced...felt it was necessary...but my fears were controlling me and I prayed to just be sent home. That's what they did, told me to go home and follow up with a MFM specialist that week. I did a 24 hour urine test, which came back just fine...no excessive amounts of protein in my urine. I was seeing the specialist and my regular OB during the last 4 weeks of the pregnancy. Each visit, each doctor, was a different story...it would go from talking about induction to letting me continue with close monitoring. I felt pulled in ten different directions and I was emotionally tired. I wanted to yell at them to just take the baby out so we could stop all this worrying; was it pre-eclampsia, was it pregnancy induced hypertension, was it dangerous? Nobody could give me any answers but I was too scared to get any either. The panic attacks continued and I was losing sleep over it. I felt as if death was following me around, silently taunting me, ready to take me...I was petrified of this baby and delivery.
The day came and my water broke on it's own. I was 39 weeks and 2 days. Off to the hospital we went. I was admitted and everything went just as it should...baby was born healthy and happy and I was alive. My fears subsided and I told myself I was silly. I came home from the hospital and my mom was there to help me for the week following. I started feeling like I was declining though, instead of getting better. I knew my body was telling me this wasn't right, but I had no idea to even expect it could be my BP...after all, I had delivered the baby. I was no longer pregnant.
One week after the birth of our son, I was driving all five of us and decided to swing into a Sonic for happy hour drinks. We ordered the kids some fries and cherry limeades and that was the last thing I remember. We were stopped, in park, I was buckled into my seatbelt and I had a seizure right there in the car. My husband panicked and called 911, unable to even tell them what was really happening. I wasn't shaking violently, he just looked up and saw me slumped over...he thought I was dead because it looked as if I wasn't breathing. I was rushed to the ER and my doctor was called...my liver was in failure and my BP was through the roof. I don't remember much about what happened other than there was a CT scan done of my brain and nurses rushing around asking each other questions I couldn't understand. What had happened? Why was I here? Why are you talking about eclampsia and HELLP? It's rare to end up with either, but it's even more rare to have it happen after the birth of the baby. The pain I had been feeling in my sternum, the extreme headache that wouldn't go away, all of it pointed to eclampsia and yet nobody ever told me it was even a minute possibility.
My story had a happy ending; after 24 hours on a magnesium sulfate drip I was sent home with blood pressure meds and told to monitor it closely. I was a basket case and wouldn't drive for a couple weeks for fear that something would happen to me again. I could have killed all five of us, or someone else. I was a ball of anxiety and unease and to this day 19 months later I still am. Had my pregnancy continued with two babies I would have died, I know this without a doubt. All three of us would not be here and I wouldn't be able to share my story. Knowing the signs of eclampsia and HELLP and pre-eclampsia IS important, but they aren't always the same for every woman. If you feel off, if you feel like something just isn't right, take those feelings seriously. Don't ignore your inner self telling you to get to the ER immediately...insurance or no insurance your life is worth being saved. I am so thankful to be here for my children and to have had the outcome I did. I was close to dying and I didn't...I am here, hugging and kissing my babies each and every day. I am lucky, I am blessed, I am alive.
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