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A HELLP Story
by M.J.
sub - 11/20/00

Wow!!  My baby is now a week old but I can't even begin to type what a frightening experience occurred last  Saturday morning.  
 

M.J.'s Story

I was at week 36 of my pregnancy and wow I felt great.  I had four more weeks of Lamaze left and the baby was due 11/24/00 (Turkey baby).  I had washed his clothes the weekend before and my husband and I had decided to stay in that Friday and watch movies.  

At around midnight I woke up for the usual hourly bathroom run but when I tried to get up the pain in my lower back was excruciating.  I thought maybe I had slept the wrong way.  

My husband woke up to my moaning and tried rubbing some cream on my back to "ease the muscles".  That didn't help.. I got up and took a 15 minute hot shower to relax the back but still that didn't make me feel better.  

My husband kept insisting that we go to the hospital but I said for what I know I am not in labor b/c I have read what labor is supposed to be like and seen the films on labor and I wasn't experiencing anything like that.   He insisted and finally I gave in.  

We arrived in the ER at 2am.  I was so against going to the hospital that even after getting in our car I was going to tell DH to forget it and take me back home.  

When my husband checked me in the nurse asked me what position the baby was in and I said he was facing my back.  She proceeded to inform us that this was called the "posterior" position and that b/c I had back pains that I was in labor....  I thought to myself "Wow" I am in labor but why hasn't my water broke or why haven’t I felt any contractions.  The nurse said you will have an easy delivery but the labor pains come in your back.. (At first I thought Yikes I have always heard how horrible back labor is but Oh well my baby is coming and I am ready).  

I started practicing the few breathing exercises that I had learned in the two weeks of Lamaze and began to feel stronger b/c the baby was coming and besides my back pain I felt great...

I was taken to the non stress test room and attached to the monitors.  I tried lying down, sitting up and felt uncomfortable everywhere.  The nurse said I had gotten two contractions so they would monitor me but that it didn't seem to be labor.  She mentioned the doctor was on his way.  

Two and half hours later and me in ten times more pain the nurse was still claiming the doctor was on his way...OK at this point I lost it and told my husband to take me home that I couldn't be in the hospital any longer.  When we started to dress the nurse came in and stated the doctor had finally arrived....  

The doctor came in and said everything looked ok but that he wanted me to have an ultrasound and then some bloodwork.  At this point my mother in-law had arrived and I had asked my husband not to call my mom until we knew something b/c I didn't want to worry her unnecessarily.  I had the ultrasound and the bloodwork and now was waiting to hear the results.  

At around 10 am the doctor returned to inform me that the results had some back with a funny number in my liver enzymes and that they would need another test at noon.  Noon came and so did three tubes of blood.  At this point the doctor admitted me b/c they wanted to monitor me for 24 hours so I had my own room.  

The hours passed and at this point I called my mom to come by and see me.  She arrived and since everything seemed fine left to teach her catechism class at the church.  She would return at after her class.  

It is now 3pm and the doctor comes in ad states that he needs one more tube of blood and that we might be having this baby today. He proceeds to tell me that he might induce me to relieve the pressure on my back.  He stated that at 36 weeks there might be a slight chance the baby's lungs weren’t fully developed but that the chance was small.  I was getting excited thinking here I am a month early but I have been ready to meet my baby for 8 months.  

I had a great pregnancy and three weeks before had confirmed that I was having a boy at my last ultrasound.  I had felt right from the start that it was a boy so when his privates appeared on the screen in the ultrasound I was ecstatic.  I loved being pregnant and although I would miss the baby's kicks and nudges I wanted to meet him ASAP!!!! 

As I am enjoying the news, the doctor returned with a serious face and sad look.  He started to explain that my liver was swollen and that my bloodwork pointed to HELLP and Preclampsia.  I thought wait what the heck is HELLP?? I mean I read every book and nowhere did I read anything on HELLP....  What is HELLP?  

The doctor mentioned that he had to deliver the baby now and he did not have time to induce my labor.. the baby would be born cesarean.  At this point it was my husband and I in the room and we both looked at each other scared to death.  The doctor mentioned that my platelet count was low and that I could hemorrhage to death on the OR table so that he had a window of fifteen minutes to operate on me.  My husband and I are also Jehovah's witnesses and we had made the decision that I did not want a blood transfusion which the doctor said I might need several of IF I survived.....

I have never been so scared in my life.. My mom was in class and I needed her.  I prayed and I felt strong.  I mean I was a mess inside but I didn't care what happened to me at this point.  I wanted my son to live.  I thought if it wasn't meant for me then I will fight for him.....He is most important to me right now.....  
In ten minutes I had the catheter, the gowns and I walked into the OR.  Right as I am getting ready to walk in my mom arrived like a blessing from God and I remember turning around looking at her with tears in my eyes and giving her the look like everything would be ok......

I had never had surgery so seeing the Or was a little frightening and luckily the anesthesiologist was great funny guy who made me feel warm and comfortable My husband was getting dressed in the next room and as soon as I got the epidural he could come in.  I remember lying in the "tray bed" shaking like a leaf trembling and getting the shot...Wow it was warm and I felt ok..  I thought this isn't too bad.  

Next thing I know my husband is right there beside me and I could hear tape being pulled.  I asked him if they had cut me yet and he said no but later he confessed that the incision had been made and that the baby was already coming out.  I heard the baby cry and I felt a peace like I have never felt before.  Wow I said to my husband he cries so cute.....  They cleaned him up and brought him behind the sheet so I could see him..  My first thought was that he looked like my Dad.  My husband asked if I wanted him to stay with me and I said no follow the baby..... 

I could hear the nurses counting the instruments and then they were missing a sponge and started counting again 1 2 3 4 5 .  I thought to myself Oh my Goodness they do count the instruments....  I went in to the recovery room and woke up when my Dad came in crying..  I felt ok I thought but I wanted to see my son.....

JM was born at 4:40 p.m. October 28, 2000 weighing 7lbs 1oz and was 19 1/2 inches long.  He was born a smarty.. He knew how to latch on from Day one and instead of losing weight has gained ounces. He had his first doctor’s appt on Friday and was in perfect health....

He is a fighter and although he was a month early he was quite a big boy.  His score was 9 out of 10...

I thank God for all of his blessings and I know without him nothing is possible.  He was present that day in the hospital room and OR.  I have many things to be thankful for and could never thank him enough....  My son is my pride and joy and although friends have explained the joys of motherhood you really don't know how special it is until you have your own.....

I am now trying to learn more about HELLP and what signs I missed.  I want to know if this will affect any other pregnancies...  Do you have any statistics on reoccurrence in post pregnancies?
 
 

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