In 2009, our pregnancy was everything we dreamed it would be. As young kids dreaming to marry, we had no doubts about creating life together. And in 2009, we received the best news, reassured by the best sound in the entire world. Our baby's heart beat. We had a board on our fridge that counted down the days, we decorated the nursery every inch together and awaited the very moment to meet our baby. Blissfulness was everything with no question of anything going wrong. Until, the later weeks prior to delivery when I began to have immense swelling in my face, headaches that were unrelieved by the classic remedies, and flashes of light that flickered in my eye. Despite being pressing with our OB office at the time, we kept being told every reason why I was feeling this way. To later find out it was the signs of Pre-eclampsia that even a skilled OB had trouble detecting.
Persisting symptoms, a long delivery, and lack of close monitoring was the perfect recipe for an emergent situation. After delivering a healthy child, my blood pressure began to rise (after being masked by the epidural). And, hours after having the whole world literally in our hands, life turned unexpectedly.
As family joined together to celebrate new life, my mind and body was channeling a feeling of impending doom. Scared, I reached to my husband and asked him to get the nurse quickly, feeling that my blood pressure was too high. When the nurse came into the room and couldn't get a BP reading, I knew something was terribly wrong. Seconds later a team of doctors rushed in explaining the risk of seizures and stroke and introduced me to the forever awful but necessary, Magnesium. With two rounds of Magnesium within a 72 hour period, we were informed that we were going to be moved to a cardiac floor where we stayed for the next 30 days. Blood pressures of 220/110, hyperflexia, vision changes, low blood counts and high liver counts, we were officially diagnosed with Pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
The amazing nurses cared for our baby in the nursery because I was unable to. And, my husband and mother slept every night at the hospital for an entire month until I was discharged. Discharged home we went with our baby that was a month old. Only to be home a day, to return to the hospital for blood pressures that were too high for home monitoring.
Pre-eclampsia didn't instantly resolve after the delivery of our baby as some believe it does. It continued for weeks and months after. My husband and mother became the primary caretakers of our child, with my mom taking two months off from work to help us daily.
Through the process of seeking clarity and understanding, a quick google search opened up a world of answers when I stumbled upon the Pre-eclampsia Foundation. The foundation connected me with incredible doctors, families, and women that had been going through the very same thing. It brought us amazing relief and confirmation that we could better understand what was going on when most every doctor but one could not.
Our dedication to the Pre-eclampsia Foundation arose from a place of self healing and blossomed into wanting and needing to help others. As a nurse and a mother, I love taking care of people.
In 2012, we experienced Pre-eclampsia for a second time.
Our journey with the Foundation began in 2009 and continues strongly to this day. With our very first walk in NH, our goal for that walk was to recognize and be thankful that our outcome deserved celebration with a sensitive connection to those where their outcome was different. From one walk, came another and another. And, every year since we have continued to walk. Our dedication to the foundation has blossomed into becoming a patient care advocate for the foundation and now co-chair of the Boston Walk attempting to spread the word as near and far as I can. I have met many incredible, strong women and families that have been affected by Pre-eclampsia. At this time every year, the walk brings us to a place of self-reflection on our story and the stories around us. It allows us to be humble and express inner gratitude for life and what we have been given.
Our hope is that after reading our story you will help us in spreading awareness about Pre-eclampsia/Eclampsia/HELLP. Our hope is to deliver words, raise funds, and broaden research on a condition that every provider should be able to recognize and no mother or family has to go through. Together we are thankful for any donation that will help improve maternal and fetal health so that every women can be monitored and given the appropriate care she needs where love and life prevail.