Martina Robinson | HELLP Remember Raelyn

Thank you for visiting my 2018 Promise Walk for Preeclampsia fundraising page.

We are grateful for your donations and for your help in spreading the word about preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. Our goal is to help our community raise funds and awareness and save the lives of moms and babies!

Our Story

HELLP Syndrome………a fitting name for such a rare, life-threatening pregnancy related emergency. HELLP Syndrome affects about 0.2 to 0.6 percent of all pregnancies or about 20,000 cases per year.In March of 2013, we were surprised and ecstatic to find out we were expecting our first child due January 2014.All the excitement, planning and expectations that you have when expecting your first child were in full swing.We were getting ready to register for our baby shower, getting ready to work on the baby’s room, and we had decided to hold out and not find out what we were having and be surprised at the birth of our baby.I was 33 years old, felt great, minimal morning sickness, gaining weight right on target, and no prior medical issues.Due to some of the screenings we had done, I was referred to a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) physician, due to some of my pregnancy serum analyte markers being abnormal.I was 17 weeks pregnant, and we had found out that although the ultrasounds ruled out any neural tube issues and/or chromosome abnormalities, we were going to be followed for other potential complications such as preterm labor, preeclampsia, and poor fetal growth.At week 17, everything appeared normal, we were going to be watched closely with monthly growth scans and follow up with our MFM and OB/GYN.Since both of us are in healthcare, we understood and comprehended the information given to us and I can honestly say we weren’t really too concerned about any adverse events.

Fast forward 5 weeks later, Labor Day weekend 2013 and 22 weeks pregnant.I had been down the shore enjoying the holiday with my family, overindulged in the great food, drove home and started with some indigestion.I had used some Tums and went to bed that Saturday night.I woke up around 5am Sunday with sudden severe upper abdominal discomfort that radiated to my right side, extreme nausea and very uncomfortable.My significant other was getting ready for work and I told him that if this wasn’t better in a few hours that I was going to the hospital to get checked out.Around 8 am, I got sick and actually felt better.I managed to drift off to sleep for a little bit, but this was short lived.By 1030am, I called my neighbor to drive me to the hospital, as I was convinced now that I was having a gallbladder attack.We drove to the ER, they admitted me overnight for observation, as my liver function tests were slightly abnormal and they thought I had biliary colic since my gallbladder ultrasound was normal.My blood pressure was slightly elevated, but I was in pain and was vomiting on a pretty consistent basis, until the medications helped alleviate some of the vomiting.The next morning, Monday September 2, 2013, my OB/GYN came into my room at 11am and stated in abbreviated terms and events, “this is not your gallbladder, I think you have Preeclampsia and I am moving you to the maternity department to keep an eye on you.”We were whisked downstairs to our maternity ward and this is where the next 6 days of my life becomes a blur.I was started on Magnesium Sulfate to prevent seizures; wonderful drug for what it does, but horrible side effects of feeling like I was on fire, foggy headed, and loss of sense of time.I was hooked up to the fetal monitors, nurses in and out, my OB/GYN in and out of the room with 2 phones on her ears waiting to hear from 2 hospitals about transporting me out to a higher level of care.You see, I had just seen her in the office for a routine check-up and bloodwork 5 days before. When she compared my lab results to what they were then and what they were Monday morning, my liver enzymes were elevated, my platelets had dropped dramatically, and at this time she came in to tell us that it wasn’t Preeclampsia, but HELLP Syndrome and that I couldn’t stay there and had to be transferred out to another hospital with a higher level of care.Now, as a nurse, I remembered hearing about HELLP Syndrome longer than 10 years prior in nursing school, but at this instant, I was not able to recall much.She proceeded to explain what HELLP Syndrome is (H-Hemolysis or break down of Red Blood cells, EL-Elevated Liver Enzymes, LP-Low Platelets, which help the blood clot) and all of the potentially life-threatening issues associated with it; heart attack, stroke, liver failure/rupture, DIC and a host of other complications.

I just remember thinking how the heck was I so sick, but yet felt great up until 1 day previously.I didn’t have high blood pressure, swelling, protein in my urine, visual changes, abdominal pain or any other signs of developing Preeclampsia, let alone HELLP Syndrome which is described as being a variant or subtype of Preeclampsia.Basically, as I stated, HELLP Syndrome is your body and baby screaming “HELLP”.The only way to save my life and to stop the progress of this syndrome, was to induce my labor and deliver our baby extremely preterm.We were absolutely devastated, I was hysterical, and stating over and over again that I could hold out for a few more weeks, give the baby more time and give me steroids to help with the baby’s lung development.Within a few hours, I was transported via ambulance to a higher level of care, with my significant other now having to call our family and friends to let them know that this wasn’t “just my gallbladder”, which is what I was convinced it was and HELLP Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as.Thankfully, my OB/GYN, is a highly trained, skilled physician with experience with HELLP Syndrome and recognized it right away.

Upon my arrival to the other hospital, I was met with a team of doctors to discuss the plan of care.They immediately drew my labwork again for a comparison from earlier in the morning, and basically stated that I was stable but serious at this time and if anything changes with me or my labwork for the worse then they would have to induce me.They would do whatever they could do safely to try to bide more time for our baby.By this time, several family and friends were already at the hospital before I arrived.The next several days are a blur and time seems so compressed to me due to the Mag Sulfate I was on and how sick I was.On Tuesday September 3, 2013, I had maintained stable with my lab results and was actually taken off of the Mag Sulfate in the afternoon and was taken down to have an ultrasound of the baby.The baby was doing fine, and we have this last ultrasound picture of the baby giving us the thumbs up.Later that night, I started to feel really off and more uncomfortable than I already was.Due to feeling like I was on fire, my room was freezing for everyone else having fans blowing on me constantly and it looked like a cave, because we only had a lamp on in the corner with the shades drawn to block the outside light due to sensitivity to light.It was around 11pm, when I suddenly had this feeling of uncertainty, anxiety, and worry.At around 2am September 4, 2013, I developed severe right sided abdominal pain and my labwork was immediately repeated.My lab results took a dramatic turn for the worse, and we were out of options at this time; we had to induce my labor to save my life.The worse and most agonizing decision of my life, was having to sign the papers giving them permission to induce my labor, fully knowing that our beautiful baby was too premature to live at 22.5 weeks.The induction process started at 4am in the morning.Through the day we had over 20 family and friends staying in a separate waiting room that was opened up just for them.I was put back on the Mag Sulfate and was given a Morphine pump for pain and honestly I think to try to ease the reality I was going through, as much of this time period for me is a complete blur. I remember everything that was said, but was totally out of it, and remember mumbling to my family to “turn off the pink light”.At 6:55pm September 4, 2013, our beautiful baby girl Raelyn was born still, but still born.

I will forever be grateful to the nursing staff for the care, support and compassion that we received and was shown to us during the worse time of our lives.They bathed, dressed, took cherished pictures of Raelyn and family and friends were invited to come and bid their blessings and goodbyes to our beautiful baby girl.They allowed us to have as many people in and out as we needed or wanted, while ensuring that I was still being watched for any further issues or decompensation.We spent the majority of the early hours of September 5, 2013 with our precious baby girl before handing her off to our nurse, turned friend.I knew this would be the last time I would lay eyes on our baby girl.

My lab values after delivery continued to get worse which was expected, but within 24 hours after delivery they were starting to improve.I was taken off of the Mag Sulfate later that day, and in the wee hours of Friday morning September 6, 2013, is when reality and the drug fog had worn off.I just remember needing to get out of the hospital, but I couldn’t leave until my platelets returned to a safe level.I was discharged home finally on Saturday September 7, 2013, with our arms empty and hearts shattered.

Fast forward 4 years later, depending on what research you read, I had up to a 25% chance of developing HELLP Syndrome or Preeclampsia in subsequent pregnancies.I was followed very closely by our wonderful MFM and OB/GYN team and we are the proud parents of 3 and 1 year old spunky, smart, funny, silly, handsome little boys!We were fortunate and I did not develop any pregnancy complications with either one of them.

Our story, along with thousands of other families who have been through the devastating effects of Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome, is the reason why we need to raise awareness, educate women on the signs and symptoms, and draw the attention we need; for continued research to better understand these syndromes and hopefully one day find a cure.

Please make a donation to support our efforts to fund education and research into this life-threatening disorder of pregnancy. 

Funds raised: $1,264 of $500
100 percent raised


Thank you donors
Cynthia Clark
In Memory of Raleyn, Love Cindy
Jackie Bodmer : $50
Jay Norman : $25
Love of Raelyn
Leigh Johns : $1,164
Designer Bag Bingo- Silent Auction

The Preeclampsia Foundation would like to thank its generous National Sponsors: