Baby Care

I had pre-eclampsia and had to give birth to my premature baby within hours

I had pre-eclampsia and had to give birth to my premature baby within hours
Written by Publishing Team

I had never heard of preeclampsia until I was in the later stages of my pregnancy.

Described on the NHS website as a condition that “affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (starting at 20 weeks) or soon after giving birth”, symptoms of preeclampsia include aches and pains severe headache, vomiting, vision problems, pain under the ribs and sudden swelling of the face, hands or feet.

Looking back, I experienced most of these symptoms, but considered them to be “normal” parts of a serious pregnancy.

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Every time I googled “pregnancy swollen ankles” and pre-eclampsia happened, I stupidly ignored it and thought, “No, I definitely don’t have that.”

Looking back, I was really wrong.

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i was huge

The NHS website states: “Although the exact cause of preeclampsia is not known, it is believed to occur when there is a problem with the placenta, the organ that connects the supply of baby’s blood to that of the mother.

“Although many cases are mild, the disease can lead to serious complications for mother and baby if not monitored and treated.

“The earlier preeclampsia is diagnosed and monitored, the better the outlook for mother and baby.”

At around 34-35 weeks pregnant, I had gone on a routine appointment with my midwife at Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby when things started to get a bit pear-shaped.

Minnie about two days old

She measured my bump with a tape measure – as she did on every date – but this time her eyes widened.

“Are you sure you have the right dates? She asked me.

I asked her what she meant, and she said my bump was way above what it should be for the stage I was at.

To be fair, I was huge, mostly because I was only 5ft 3in tall – but I got so used to it that I thought it must be normal.

An ailing mom and Minnie in the hospital

Another midwife was then brought in and it was determined that I must have something called polyhydramnios, a condition in which an excessive amount of amniotic fluid surrounds the baby in the womb.

I was booked for a scan a few days later and sent on my way.

During the ultrasound, the sonographer told me I had hydramnios and my baby weighed around 9 pounds, which was a huge shock.

She ended up weighing 10 pounds 11 ounces – four weeks earlier! But I will come back to this later.

As a result of the scan, it was suggested that my symptoms could be due to gestational diabetes, so I was booked on Thursday August 20, 2020 to have a blood test to determine if this was the case or not. .

At this point, I was 36 weeks pregnant.

The night before Minnie left the neonatal unit

I had the blood test and was awaiting the results when asked to do a urine test.

The results showed that I had protein in my urine (proteinuria), which is a common sign of preeclampsia.

Due to my hydramnios and size, I signed a consent form to have a Cesarean on the following Monday or Tuesday – but had no idea it wouldn’t.

I was kept for surveillance, and while I was lying on a bed with a machine attached to me to monitor the baby’s heart rate, a group of doctors entered the room to ask me about my symptoms.

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They quickly informed me that I had pre-eclampsia and that they would need to have a cesarean in a few hours – not in a few days as I initially thought.

Soon me and my gigantic bump were dressed and taken to the theater.

Having the numbing injection behind my back was honestly one of the strangest and scariest experiences ever, but the theater staff were so kind and reassuring and really helped calm me down.

Almost 18 months later, and that day is still so fuzzy.

Minnie Beatrice was born on the evening of August 20, 2020, four weeks premature and weighing a whopping 10 pounds 11 ounces.

I remember the staff’s eyes widening as they weighed her on the scale. I know some babies can weigh up to 14 pounds, but I think for most of them this was the biggest newborn they had ever met.

Ready to go home!

Aside from her impressive birth weight, Minnie had mild breathing problems when she was born.

I was unable to hold her as she was taken directly to the neonatal unit and I was brought back to the ward with my mother to recover from my operation. Being apart from her when I had just had her was a horrible feeling.

I was kept in the hospital because my blood pressure did not come down to normal – I was told it was because of preeclampsia and took medicine to lower it.

Whenever I went up to the neonatal unit to see Minnie and try to bond with her as much as possible, I could only stand above her incubator for a few minutes before I got dizzy if I had to. Sit.

Midwives came to my room several times a day to check my blood pressure, but it took five days to get back to normal. At that point, I was released from the hospital.

At this time, Minnie also had blood sugar problems and suffered from jaundice. The doctors also informed me that she had a heart murmur, which eventually corrected.

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Minnie was also feared to have epilepsy from the seizure-like movements she kept making, so she was given a scan of her brain.

It was such a worrying time, and I felt like it was one thing after another.

Fortunately, the brain scan returned to normal, which was a huge relief.

Minnie was in the neonatal unit for a total of ten days, and I would go upstairs every day to hang out with her until I could finally bring her home to meet everyone.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, only one visitor was allowed on the wards while I was in the hospital, and only one other person could accompany me when I visited Minnie after my discharge.

But we finally brought her home, and she has blossomed ever since.

About 6% of UK pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, and if left untreated it can be life threatening.

I think more needs to be done to raise awareness about this disease, as I had never heard of it before.

I have been told that in all future pregnancies there is a good chance that I will develop preeclampsia again – as I do with all women who have had it – and that they will be treated as pregnancies. at high risk.

Now 17 months old, she is a fiery little character

But despite all the stress, worry and certainly a childbirth experience that was not at all what I expected, I am so glad the hospital staff took action when they did. did and performed the emergency cesarean – otherwise things could have been very different.

Also, I have no idea how I would have carried Minnie to term. She probably would have ended up weighing around 14 pounds.

To learn more about preeclampsia, click here.

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