Pregnancy | Pre-Eclampsia, My Story


When I first fell pregnant back in 2005 I was the happiest mummy to be alive. See I had this impression of pregnancy that kind of belonged in a glossy magazine. I thought I would be the same, but with a super cute little bump. You know, how you see all of the pregnant ladies in the magazines...?

Well let me just pop that beautiful image for you just now and tell you for me, it was nothing short of scary. Nothing was elegant or beautiful (other than the life I was growing in my womb). Without going into all of the problems there was one issue that took my already scary pregnancy to the next level and that was pre-eclampsia.

So what are pre-eclampsia and eclampsia?

For me it was a condition that started to affect me in the late second to the third trimester, growing slowly but getting missed mostly down to poor midwife care (at the doctor's surgery and not the hospital). Each pregnancy check appointment they tend to check your urine, check your blood pressure and generally see how the baby is measuring and growing.

For me, I was a size UK 6 at the start of my pregnancy (I am petite at 5ft 1). I was hideously sick throughout the whole pregnancy so eating food with little to no substance was out of the question. Sweets, cakes, candies, even fruits all burned through my digestive tract quicker than I would have liked leaving me even more nauseated.

I noticed I was putting on weight, not just a little but a lot. I would mention this but the care provider brushed it off so I presumed all was OK and maybe this was normal for someone who was petite. It had gotten to the point where I was so big, I was really struggling to breathe, to walk, to move, to well, do anything really. Again I mentioned this and was brushed off.

As the weeks went on it worsened and I was getting dizzy. Again I was brushed off. I remember January 2006 being the worst, I was then thirty to thirty-two weeks along in the pregnancy and I was at an all-time low. I was putting on the weight of around one stone per week (yes really), I was dizzy and seeing flashing stars when I moved and I was ill, I was headachy and ultimately struggling. I told my midwife again, just how much I was struggling and what did she do?

She grabbed (yes, she actually grabbed) my stomach and held the ''fat'' in her hands saying ''this is biscuits and cake'' she just wouldn't listen to me and presumed I had happily indulged in some extra calories. However, like all appointments, she would go away and test my urine, check my blood pressure and palpate my stomach. I noticed my blood pressure rising over the weeks preceding this event but surprise-surprise she never bothered to listen to me when I said my normal BP was 60/120.

A few days later I got worse. I decided to get a second opinion at another pregnancy clinic down the road from the last. This was two days after the last disastrous one. Two days...

I went in, they did the normal checks, asked me how I was feeling so I briefly commented that I was struggling for breath. The midwife looked startled and asked if I had any headaches if I felt dizzy and I surprised said ''yes I have actually, I get silver stars when I stand or move up or down.''

The midwife shocked asked me to go and pee into a cup straight away. She rushed out of the room and checked my urine. She returned and instantly checked my blood pressure. I thought all was OK as my last midwife did these checks two days prior.

The new midwife said ''you have protein in your urine and your blood pressure is high'' thinking they would tell me to relax or take a tablet, she said ''you need to go to the hospital right now''

I burst into tears.

Onwards to the hospital I still thought things would be OK. At the hospital they did the checks again, they monitored baby and took blood. We waited for a few hours for results to come back and that's when they said I had uric acid in my blood and unfortunately I had +++ pre-eclampsia and would need to stay in the hospital. My world just blurred around me.

I was mad at the original midwife for not listening, I was mad this her personal opinions of me could have killed both me and my baby. By the time I was checked into the hospital and settled my ''3 plus'' pre-eclampsia had become ''4 plus'' pre-eclampsia. I was advised that large amounts of weight gain in short periods of time, headaches, dizziness and seeing 'stars', high blood pressure and protein were all symptoms of pre-eclampsia. My normal blood pressure of 60/120 was at an incredible 113/132 and rising.

In the hospital baby was monitored around the clock, I had to measure input and output of drinks and urine which wasn't fun that is until they decided it was only worsening and I had to be induced.

The labour itself was bad because the baby didn't progress down the birth canal due to mostly the swelling caused by the pre-eclampsia and him being in the wrong position. I was so badly swollen that the midwives couldn't feel for his position. Eventually, after a traumatic high forceps and episiotomy lock cut, I was finally a mummy. My son was ill after the birth and had to be put into the special care unit and I was monitored as they couldn't get my temperature down. It really was a waiting game because even after the birth the pre-eclampsia can still turn into eclampsia for the mum.

I was lucky. However, it took ages for my whole body swelling to subside - keeping in mind I was a size 6 before pregnancy (and 7.5 stone) the total pre-eclampsia swelling had taken my petite body to a size 22 (and 15 stone). Of course, this alone caused issues afterwards but I'll cover that in another post.

Pre-eclampsia Symptoms
  • Rising blood pressure.
  • Large amounts of weight gain which doesn't seem right for what you're eating.
  • Headaches.
  • Dizziness.
  • Low urine output.
  • Swelling across the body (even my nose swelled up).
  • Feeling out of breath, struggling to get a good breath.
  • Protein in your urine (dipsticks will show this).
  • Low amount of daily movements from baby.
If you have any of these symptoms please get yourself checked out. If you do not feel like your care provider is taking you seriously, please consider seeking a second opinion. Your life and your babies life are not worth losing because you're scared to ask for a second opinion.

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Comments are always appreciated. If you have a comment or want to discuss something 'off record' you can always drop me an email at sweetelysepr@gmail.com