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by Heather
sub - 11/14/01

I wish I was more prepared for what I went through.  I've never heard of HELLP syndrome until I was diagnosed with it.  I had no idea what was going on with me, but it truly was a learning experience, and it certainly made me appreciate my life a lot more since my doctor nearly lost both my daughter and me.  


Heather's Story

My name is Heather Robar, and I experienced HELLP Syndrome with my fourth pregnancy.  

My daughter, Ashlenne Cyerra, came into this world via emergency ceserean section at 33 weeks.  She was 3
pounds, 2 ounces when born and spent 1 month and 3 days inside the neonatal unit.  She had a lot of trouble maintaining her own body temperature, which required her to stay inside of an isolette most of the time.   She also required oxygen, phototherapy for her jaundice, and to this day, still suffers from severe respiratory problems.

My story is a little different, though, since I've had three previous pregnancies without much complication.  However, at 28 weeks, I started bloating the point where I honestly couldn't even wear shoes unless they were sandles with the velcro at the top.  

At 30 weeks, I cut the top straps in order to walk without my feet turning purple.  My face was a purple blotchy color, and I had trouble with blurry vision.  I brought these factors to my doctor's attention, and he attributed it to the heat since it was May.  I figured he was probably right, so even though I continued having the symptoms, I felt his reasoning for the swelling was justified.  

At 33 weeks, on a Thursday, I went for my usual checkup....with a black eye.  My husband threw a bottle of shampoo over the shower curtain rod for me one morning , and
it accidently hit my face.  It turned my entire right side of my face from my eye to my nose completely black.  Obviously, my doctor wanted to know what happened, and we couldn't figure out why I bruised this badly.  

3 days later, I was going to get my answer.  I woke up
on Sunday morning feeling miserable....face purple, bloated more than usual, one astronomical headache, and a pain that I never experienced before in the upper part of my abdamen.  The pain got so severe that I just couldn't sit up, lie down, nothing....I knew something was severely wrong.  

As luck would have it, one of my good friends came up to visit
me, and she immediately drove me to the ER.  At first, they thought it was my gall bladder, because I couldn't stop vomiting.  The pain accompanying it was tremendous.  I had a stress test, and it appeared that my baby was suffering from fetal stress as well.  My family doctor was on call, and my husband came to see what was going on.  

My doctor explained that I had a condition called HELLP syndrome...I had virtually no blood platelets left, which was a major concern since I would need a c-section.  It also explained why I bruised so easily.  My liver was distended, and my blood pressure was extremely high.  I was rushed to the hospital an hour and a half away from where I live.  

At first, they tried to have me deliver vaginally, but I was losing a lot of blood.  It got so bad that I was bleeding around my mouth as well.  4 o'clock that morning, they delivered my daughter.  I woke up on SICU with a tube in my mouth and unable to move.  I remained on that unit for almost a week before they moved me to maturnity ward.  I had multiple
blood transfusions, and 16 IV's in my hands and arms.  I was on
morphine for the pain.

I look at my 3 year old daughter and realize everything she's been through.  This all happened on May 25,1998.  My husband, 3 kids, and myself travelled almost 2 hours
every weekend and during the week to visit Ashlenne in neonatal, which was pressing, because I was still recovering, and my husband was missing a lot of work.  

Thank you for having a website like this to tell of the events of HELLP syndrome.

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