Thank you for visiting our team's fundraising webpage; this is our 9th year to walk! By participating in the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, we are supporting the Preeclampsia Foundation's mission to reduce infant and maternal illness and death due to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Together we are Making Strides, Delivering Hope! Please register to walk on our team (using the "Join Our Team" button) or make a pledge to help us meet our goal!
During my pregnancy with Kevin, I developed rapid onset Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome (H - hemolysis or the breakdown of red blood cells, EL - elevated liver enzymes, LP - low platelet count). At 37 weeks, I quickly went from having what seemed like a healthy pregnancy to being extremely sick in less than a day.
My main symptoms during that last week were rapid weight gain and swelling in my feet and ankles, but without high blood pressure or abnormal lab tests at my appointment (classic symptoms of preeclampsia), it would have been difficult to diagnose that there was a problem other than typical pregnancy discomforts.
The next day (at exactly 37wks), I started having severe pain in my upper chest. At first, I assumed that it was the baby pushing on my ribs, which had happened frequently in recent weeks. But then I began to think that this was not normal, and my instinct told me that something was really wrong, so I called Connor next door, and he drove me to the hospital.
At first, the doctors thought it might be heart trouble, since by then I did have high blood pressure, but the EKG showed that was not the case. When they ran the lab tests again, they revealed that I had developed preeclampsia. After more detailed lab tests, I was informed that I had an even more severe condition called HELLP Syndrome, which basically meant that I was at risk for liver failure and my platelets were dangerously low.
Although they had attempted to induce labor, by the next morning, my lab tests were significantly worse, which meant that we had no choice but to proceed with an immediate C-section. Despite how scary this experience was for all of us, I am truly one of the lucky ones. My doctors diagnosed the disease in time to treat it; I delivered a healthy baby boy, and I recovered fairly quickly.
During my pregnancy with Owen, I was extremely careful about nutrition and keeping my stress low, as I believe these were the two primary contributors to getting sick during my first pregnancy. My doctor was also monitoring me very carefully to detect any potential problems. At just past 38wks, I got a higher than normal blood pressure reading at home, and even on bedrest that week, my blood pressure and lab results continued to creep upwards, which indicated that I was on the verge of developing preeclampsia again. Together with my doctor, we decided that we wanted to induce labor while I was still healthy instead of allowing things to get worse. It was not an easy induction by any means, but it was all worth it. I delivered Owen by VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) the following night, and we were both very healthy!
With Lauren, *Praise the Lord* I didn't have any concerns about preeclampsia at all! She arrived in her own time at exactly 38wks via VBAC, and much more quickly than her brothers! ;) My pregnancies were very different, and they all brought enormous blessings to our family.
Many women are not as lucky. Preeclampsia and HELLP are often misdiagnosed due to the fact that somany of the symptoms are already present in a "normal" pregnancy, and there are several instances where the lab results do not reflect that there is a problem. When that happens, it is sometimes unfortunately too late to save either the baby or mother by the time that a diagnosis IS made. As I read in a book prior to the Promise Walk a couple years ago, "Many of us naively believe that women in the West - with all our advancements in medical care - no longer die in childbirth...But we do." (Lauren Ward Larsen - Zuzu's Petals)
Please consider donating to this organization. Their goal is to fund research to find the cause and cure for these diseases, as well as to educate women about knowing the symptoms, so that they can be aware if there is a potential problem. It is very important and worthwhile work, and I hope you will choose to support me in this effort by contributing financially or walking with me. Thank you very much for reading my story!
~Katherine Roberts - A Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome Survivor
Want to join our team to make strides? Just click the "Join Our Team" button and register! Registration to attend the Promise Walk is free to all participants.