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A HELLP Story
by AmiL
sub - 12/00

So many people have asked me so many questions over the years, why they have gotten HELP/pre-e? Why were they mis-diagnosed? Why did their bodies fail? Why do we not know what the real cause and cure are? This is my story.  And the story of how this site came to be.

 

Ami's Story

On Monday my husband took me to the Dr.s for my 30
week appointment. We had plans to go shopping and to dinner afterwards. I had felt OK the past few days, I was pretty tired but chalked it up to normal Pregnancy problems. 

I had no "spots" before my eyes like the Dr. told me to look for but I did expierence "shooting Stars", I had headaches but they seemed to go away shortly after they came, I was pretty tired for the past few weeks, had some mild cramping and nausea nothing alarming nothing that I did just chalk up to "pregnancy aches and pains". 

Weeks earlier when I was worried about my underwear being very wet everyday the Dr.s office said it was just sweat. I had a uneventful PG, I fell early on and had some spotting but it didn't last very long. 

I had a pain in my abdomen that I thought was from the fall it went away but a few weeks later it came back (week 18 or so this is when I noticed the wetness in my underwear. The Dr. said it was a pulled muscle, the nurse practiotioner who saw me one day said it was probably a tear in the uterus, but it should heal. Now looking back that pain was either the first sign of HELLP Syndrome or it was a tear and the wetness was amniotic fluid. 

I went in to the exam room and the nurse took my blood
pressure (BP), she sounded alarmed as she told me to lie down while she got another nurse to check it again. It was 200/115.

Even after 20 minutes on my left side it only went to 190/100.  So it was off to the hospital emergency room I went. 

At the hospital they re-checked my BP, it was still high. They also let me know that I was dialated to 3 and I had lost my mucus plug. They did an ultrasound (US) and thats were they found out that Andrew had quit growing at approx. 28 weeks. And that I had ver little fluid remaining.

They let me know that due to my urine having +4 protein, the high BP & suspected IUGR with the baby it was off to another hospital that had a NICU (Neonatal Intesive Unit). It was here that I received the first four steriod shots (betamethasone) to mature the babies lungs. 

Upon arriving at the new hospital I was placed on a 24 hour urine analysis. It came back still +4. That was Tuesday.
              
Wednesday another US was done. The IUGR was confirmed and also that I had very little fluid around the baby. My BP was still very high. They placed me on Magnesium to prevent seizures, an internal monitor on the baby, antibiotics, IV of *fluids* and oxygen to help the baby. 

This was the start of the Andrew's birth. The Pitocin only got me to dialate to 6. They started the drip at 3:30pm on Wednesday. At 6:00pm they started the epidural. It took them 3 tried to get the needle in. I still have back spasms in that spot today. The short term pain meant long term relief. I slept alot after they got the epidural working. I watched the contractions on the monitor and even though I didn't feel much it was still exhausting. I chewed ice chips, laid on my left side &
was mostly in a daze.  

They did 3 scalpal PH's to check to acidity of his blood
(Andrew has 6 scars on his face on only one on his *head* the side of his face was there not his head). On Thursday very early that morning Andrew's heartrate  fell and an Emergency C-Section was announced. 

Andrew was born at 4:47am. He was quickly taken, away. He had the usual variety of Preemie problems which you can read about at Andrew's Page 

Interestingly during the C-Section I told the Doctor that I could feel her cutting. She told me 'No you can't' and well yes I could. I actually had started throwing up right before the operation. I don't know if it was the HELLP or if it was from reaching the transition stage. They upped my meds and I was out for a while. 

After the birth I spent several days in Maternal Special Care (ICU). My BP didn't want to go down and I had developed HELLP (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver, Low Platelet). While in the midst of shock over having Andrew so suddenly it came as another crisis to realize that my health was not rebounding like it should have. 
There was talk of dialysis. Liver function tests and the constant monitoring of my platelet levels. 

There was talk of giving me a transfusion had my
platelet level fallen any further. Being Jehovah's Witnesses we  realized that the Blood issue would be issue (as we do not accept blood transfusions). We were very careful the whole pregnancy to make sure the Doctors and hospitals knew our stand on the Blood issue. We had received some great advice and suggestions from the Blood Liason Committee which really helped. I was almost unprepared mentally that the situation would call for me to be in that position. 

After much prayer my platelet levels began to slowly rise. I noticed that when I quit using the pain meds in the intrvenous pump I began to think coherently again. 

My vision has never been as sharp as it had been before my bout with pre-e/HELLP. I suffer painful migraines and short term memory loss that the Dr.s have attributed to my having HELLP.

A few months after having HELLP. I searched the web for more information.  When I could not find what i was looking for I posted what bits I did find on a website. Slowly over time I got mroe and more emails from people who had went through what I had.  They wanted to know what was going on and why.  That lead to www.hellpsyndrome.com which became a year old in December of 2001.                    

                    
On June 26th 1999 I gave birth to a healthy full term,
pre-eclampsia & HELLP free baby. Amanda Michelle came into  this world at 6 pounds 6 ounces after a successful VBAC! My OB, Dr. Al-Jerdi, was a huge factor in how well this pregnancy went.  He was concerned about my previous history with pre-e
and HELLP and made sure we did everything to watch for the earliest signs again.  I had check ups from every 2 weeks starting just before 30 weeks and I had liver function tests and  platelet counts ran throughout to watch for anything that might develope.  In addition to that there were many other things that made all the difference in my humble opinion. 

If you live in SouthEastern Michigan and would like to contact Dr. Al-Jerdi you can reach him at 734-789-WELL or write to him at 
                    Flat Rock Physicians 
                    25620 Gibralter 
                    Flat Rock, Mi  48132 
 


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This site is not intended to replace your OB, Dr. or medical care. 
If you are looking for medical care please consult your physician. 
The information provided on these pages are not intended to make a 
diagnosis of a particular problem nor provide a cure. 
Your health and the the health of your baby should be overseen 
by a qualified professional 

Updated 
1/02