I had preeclampsia.
Often, when I say this, people think that I just had high blood pressure during pregnancy. When they first told me I had preeclampsia, that’s what I thought too. I had no idea what lay in store for me. I wish high blood pressure was all I had to deal with. Because while it’s true that high blood pressure can be a sign of preeclampsia, there’s more to this terrible disease.
For me, preeclampsia was not just high blood pressure.
Preeclampsia was having to unlace my boots and unbutton my shirt cuffs because of the swelling. It was a magnesium sulfate drip to prevent seizures. It was finding out my baby was measuring small and worrying if they were getting what they needed from my placenta.
For me, preeclampsia was laying in a hospital bed for a week, unsure of when my baby was going to be born and what it would be like to have a preemie. It was finding out that there was no heartbeat. My baby would not be a preemie, she was already dead.
Preeclampsia was when the room started spinning and my head began to throb. It was feeling my water break, but finding out it was actually a terrifying amount of blood from my placenta that abrupted.
Preeclampsia was having my blood pressure skyrocket while my husband and parents sat by helplessly. It was being told that my clotting agents were exhausted and a C-section could kill me. It was having them break my water and then having me crash.
For me, preeclampsia was being rushed to the ICU where they worked to stabilize me so I could deliver my stillborn baby.
And then, for me, preeclampsia became HELLP syndrome. It was my kidneys no longer functioning. It was multiple blood transfusions and being on oxygen to help me breath. It was delivering my baby in the ICU while my body was on the verge of shutting down.
Preeclampsia was holding my stillborn baby in my arms and fighting so hard not to go with her. It was my retinas detaching and watching the world become a swirling mess. It was spending a week in the hospital recovering. It was begging my doctors to figure out treatment so I could go home and grieve.
For me, preeclampsia was going home without a baby. It was facing my own mortality. It was my husband standing by while his daughter died and his wife almost did the same.
For me, preeclampsia was and is so much more than high blood pressure and that’s why I raise awareness.
What was preeclampsia for you?
For more information about preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome visit Preeclampsia Foundation.