Thank you for visiting my 2017 Promise Walk for Preeclampsia fundraising page.
I am grateful for your donations and for your help in spreading the word about preeclampsia. My goal is to help our community raise funds and awareness and save the lives of moms and babies!
Please make a donation to support our efforts to fund education and research into this life-threatening disorder of pregnancy.
Let me start by saying I consider myself 1 of the lucky 1s. We ended up with a beautiful, healthy, happy daughter. However, the road getting there was scary, and full of so many unknowns. At 31.5 weeks (and the day after our 1 year anniversary), we went into L&D at St. Francis because I was seeing spots. And a nurse I know had noticed swelling. I had a lingering headache. The nurse that admitted us to the hospital ended up being a Godsend through this whole ordeal. What we thought was going to be a quick checkup became possibly having to stay for several hours, then overnight, then we were told I was going to be put on a mag drip (to prevent seizure) and transported by ambulance to the Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis. My blood pressure had been over 160 when we were admitted to St. Francis. During the 8 days we were there, we were told various diagnoses, from gestational hypertension to preeclampsia. (It was an amazing day when I was cleared to go on a wheelchair ride outside after being cooped up inside the hospital for days)
I did stabilize enough to be discharged home on bedrest. However, a week later, the day after my prenatal appointment, we were asked to go back into L&D at St. Francis for evaluation. My protein lab came back elevated. Another mag drip, and another ambulance ride to Mother Baby. What felt like right after arriving, we were told I was being induced at 34 weeks (2 days from then) because I had developed preeclampsia with severe features. My blood pressure had gone over 180. Thank goodness we were able to sneak in a 2nd round of betamethisone shots (to help develop the baby's lungs). During labor, I had to get an EKG before getting an epidural, because my heart rate had dipped kind of low. Approximately 30 hours after the induction started, Finley Ann was born. I didn't see her until 10-15 minutes after she was born - she was immediately taken to the resuscitation room (worst name ever), then to the NICU. She wasn't breathing on her own for the first 4.5 minutes of her life. I didn't get to touch or hold her until a few hours later. That same day, she was taken to the Special Care Nursery, where she stayed for 18 days until she was discharged home. She was taken off the breathing tube by the time I first held her, and she was in the Special Care Nursery until she could adequately eat on her own without a feeding tube. 6 weeks early, and born weighing 4#7oz, Finley has been a fighter and a champ since day 1.
They say the only cure for preeclampsia is delivery. Except when it isn't. The day after Finley was born, I was taken to the ICU, and diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome. My BP spiked over 210, my platelets fell really low, and I had elevated liver enzymes. I was having right upper quadrant pain (liver pain - the doctor said it was essentially as if I had crammed years of binge drinking into a matter of minutes). I had either an MRI or CT scan to make sure I was ok internally. After spending 2 nights there, and not being able to see Finley except on a webcam, I was discharged back to Mother Baby for a few days before finally being discharged home.
I thank God that the doctor who was on call at St. Francis made the call to have me come in for evaluation the 2nd time we were admitted. Even though he really upset me that day, if I wouldn't have followed up on my labs, and if it would've been the doctor I saw for my prenatal appointment, I don't even want to think about how terrible this all could've turned out. We got a message from the prenatal appointment doctor the day or 2 after arriving back at Mother Baby, saying my labs looked fine, and that she'd see me next week. My hope is that further education on the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia can be provided to all prenatal providers.
My experience reaffirmed my belief that nurses are angels. From the nurse who initially admitted us and was there for us throughout everything, to the nurse who stayed for an extra shift to be there with us for delivery, to the nurse who came to visit me in the ICU on her break... I can never thank them enough.
They told us very little about preeclampsia during prenatal appointments, but I always thought that just would never happen to me. I believe I only had 1 of the risk factors for developing preeclampsia - it was my 1st pregnancy. Looking back, there were a few things I thought were just "normal" pregnancy symptoms that I have read could be related to preeclampsia - a general feeling of malaise/fatigue since early pregnancy, and a lingering headache.
Throughout this, we received a crash course in preeclampsia. I am so thankful for the doctors, nurses, and midwives who answered our countless questions.
I also am forever grateful my husband - he was my rock, and the whole time in the hospital he was right there with me. And to family and friends who supported us through this all - words could never express how deeply thankful I am - your support means more than you'll ever know.
I am sharing all this with the hope that my story can educate others on the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia. I am asking you to educate yourself. You never know - it might save someone someday. On May 27, I'm also asking you to take a short walk, even if it's a lap around the house, for Finley, in gratitude that the signs and symptoms were caught by the right people at the right time. I am walking, with the hopes that awareness is raised, and research finds a "cure".
Again, even after going through that, I feel blessed that we had a positive outcome. I thank God every day for Finley.