I had no idea I had preeclampsia. My pregnancy had already been so difficult that I missed some symptoms and totally ignored the others. It was fate and God that saved my son and I from the dangers of this life threatening condition. Just before I hit thirty weeks, I was busy preparing a nursery space in our master bedroom for our son. I had spent weeks painstakingly selecting safari themed decor that would blend easily into the room, but still make a beautiful space for a baby. This was fun and took my mind off of all the issues we were having during the pregnancy. I loved my baby so much already and wanted everything to be perfect when I brought him home.
After snacking on trail mix that Friday afternoon, an extreme nausea overcame me along with a burning sensation in my throat. To be honest I thought that I had developed some type of pregnancy allergy to peanuts. I just made a mental note not to eat anymore peanuts. I didn’t want to call my doctor to bother her with one more thing. I felt tired and a little dizzy, but hey I was pregnant. I thought those symptoms were just normal! The next day I had to wake up extra early to do my maternity photo-shoot. I felt extremely tired and could hardly get out of bed. But I wanted to have some nice pregnancy photos, so I dragged myself out of bed and got ready.
As I was putting on my makeup I noticed that my face was very puffy and thought,“Great!The day I need to take pictures, I blow up like a balloon!” Throughout the day I developed a headache and by night time my feet were swollen. Our day had turned out to be pretty stressful. The car broke down and we had to spend hours taking care of that before rushing home to meet a friend who was helping us to hang a new light fixture. So I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t feel well and just went to bed early.
By Monday I was even more swollen as I headed to my ultrasound appointment, but I never expected what was about to happen. The ultrasound proceeded as normal as could be expected in our circumstances. We already knew that our son had a heart defect and possibly a brain abnormality. We had accepted it as best as we could. I didn’t know things were about to get much more complicated. At the very end of the ultrasound the tech found something strange and called for the doctor. The baby’s stomach was significantly smaller in proportion (based on percentile) than the rest of the body. The doctor came in and checked the flow from the placenta to the baby and the news was bad. The placenta was no longer delivering nutrition to my baby and his stomach was already shrinking to prevent damage to his major organs. They sent me straight to the hospital and I had an emergency C Section three days later!
This appointment saved our lives. If I didn't have an ultrasound that day I may have never noticed the symptoms and called the doctor. Many babies die in utero if preeclampsia is not detected in time. If you are pregnant and feel anything put of the ordinary please call your doctor. Even if you don’t want to be a pain, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Let the doctor do his or her job! I thought my symptoms were regular pregnancy symptoms, but I should have contacted my doctor as soon as I noticed something was off. According to the Preeclampsia Foundation (http://www.preeclampsia.org/), 10,500 babies die annually in the United States from Preeclampsia and an estimated half a million worldwide.
I’m not a doctor, but here are some of the symptoms (found on www.preeclampsia.org) that you should look out for if you are pregnant:
-shortness of breath
-burning behind the sternum
-nausea and vomiting
-heightened state of anxiety and/or visual disturbances such as oversensitivity to light, blurred vision, seeing flashing spots or auras
Please visit http://preeclampsia.org for more in depth information on Preeclampsia. Most importantly listen to your body and instincts. Call your doctor if anything feels off!
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