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A HELLP Story
by Leah
sub - 7/3/01


There are so many issues I had to come to grips with, it took a while to feel a connection to my baby, to realize how grateful I was to have survived a gravely dangerous situation, not being able to nurse my baby as I had planned (my preemie simply wouldn't), and being afraid for the future well-being of my baby.

 

Leah's Story

My name is Leah and I am a survivor of HELLP syndrome who is now contemplating having another child. It's been almost 3 years since my ordeal. I came across your site because I am trying to educate myself as much as possible before I go down that road again!

Unlike many of the HELLP syndrome stories I've read, my pregnancy was blissfully easy up until my son's fateful birthday. 

I experienced no morning sickness, very little weight gain, no headaches or blurred vision. Well, I wear contacts and my vision is always a little blurry! I really had no complaints. 

Most of my neighbors did not even know I was pregnant at 32
weeks along. 

However, my blood pressure had been borderline 140/90 for the past month and my OB had recommended that I start medication, which I reluctantly had just started.

I began to feel some nausea and stomach pain on a Friday and went home from work early. I went to bed with what I thought was the flu. After sleeping all afternoon I felt much better. I didn't take my blood pressure medication for fear that it would cause more nausea. 

I felt pretty good until Sunday night when the stomach pain started up again. I told my husband that on Monday I'd go see my OB "just in case." 

Monday at work several of my coworkers reported having the flu over the weekend, and I felt much better and decided that I had recovered from my "flu" and didn't go to the doctor.
Big mistake!

By 11pm Monday night the pain finally got so bad that I reluctantly told my husband to take me to the emergency room. The internist on duty that night in ER was convinced that it was my gall bladder. My blood pressure was 210/114. 

When my OB's answering service finally contacted her (2 hours after I called them) she rushed to the ER and knew immediately what the problem was. Amazing that nobody in ER knew anything about the symptoms of preeclampsia. 

She informed me that she would be delivering my baby emergency C-section immediately and I was transported to her hospital (after some ranting and raving at the medical staff in the ER I had chosen to go to).

With my husband by my side, my son Gavin was delivered at 4am on October 27, 1998, weighing in at just under 4 lbs. He didn't make a sound as they carried him to NICU. He was placed on a ventilator but managed to pull through his ordeal with flying colors and came home 3 weeks later with no
health problems.

I spent 9 days in a different hospital a short distance away, in various stages of intensive care. My liver had actually cracked, but fortunately the bleeding was contained in a hematoma that never ruptured and I was spared the risk of OR. The excruciating pain and confusion I experienced far overshadowed any birth experience. I wasn't able to hold my son until he was 7 days old. 

When I finally took him home, it was as if I had been in the
hospital for all these other horrible issues and as I left, "oh by the way, here's this baby you can take with you!"
 

Also feelings of jealously that my husband was there with my baby everyday and bonded with him before I did, while I just held Polaroids.

The happy outcome is that I developed an extremely close bond with my child, who has proved to be a charming, bright and easy toddler. In stead of being developmentally behind other kids his age, he is far ahead in his verbal skills and is able to sing songs, recite the alphabet and count to 20 in two
languages. 

So here I am again, wondering if I should take my chances on another pregnancy. I take permanent medication for high-blood pressure now, and my OB is not exactly enthusiastically encouraging me to conceive again. I am looking for more information to validate my decisions to have another child!
 
 

Looking for more information?

flower

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 
6/2/01