This week one of my regular readers, Karen, is sharing her pre-eclampsia in late pregnancy and emergency c-section birth story. I actually sobbed when I read this first. I’ve had issues with my blood throughout all my pregnancies and while I don’t think it’s as serious as pre-eclampsia, it terrifying not knowing what to expect or what’s going to happen next! Thank you so much for sharing your story!
Pre-Eclampsia in Late Pregnancy, My Birth Story by Karen Purdy
I was having a great pregnancy, I had no morning sickness, no swollen feet or hands, my baby measured perfect – until a routine check-up at 30 weeks and the nurse found protein in my urine. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. I had never heard of it before so the midwife explained everything about pre-eclampsia to me. She said they would have to continuously check my urine and blood pressure for the remainder of my pregnancy and if needs be to induce me but they would leave it as late as possible.
Over the following 7 weeks, my pre-eclampsia didn’t improve! I tried everything to not stress myself out but nothing worked. My blood pressure was constantly skyrocketing. I had to go up and down to the Coombe 2-3 times a week for up to 4 hours and just sit there drinking Lucozade and eating ice cubes to make the baby move while checking my blood pressure.
At 37 weeks and 3 days, the consultant said they had no choice but to keep me in for the weekend and deliver the baby on the following Tuesday which was 38 weeks to the day. I had tickets to Westlife for the Saturday night and remember I begging the consultant to let me go considering they weren’t going to do anything until Monday anyway. Looking back now, it was a bit selfish! They agreed to let me home once I collected all my urine in a bottle and brought it back to them on Sunday.
To this day, it’s still the least ladylike thing I’ve ever had to do!
After dropping the jug back to them, the nurse called first thing Monday morning and told me to bring my bag in ASAP – that I wouldn’t be leaving the hospital without my baby.
By Monday night, the protein in my urine was sky high so they gave me a sweep and monitored the babies heart rate for the night (not a wink of sleep was gotten that night!). The next morning they broke my waters. I think I had a drip to start contractions but it’s all a bit blurry if I’m honest. All I remember is being in absolute agony, constantly, with no offer of any help, and the nurse leaving the room (curtain!) telling a doctor ‘shes had ten contractions in six minutes‘. I didn’t even think that was possible!
The nurses kept moving me from side to side because they couldn’t monitor his heart rate. They eventually gave me gas and air which was such a welcome relief, even for a few minutes, and turned me on my side. His heart rate was dropping very quickly with ever contraction and when I heard voices behind me and say men in suits, I knew there was a problem.
The consensus was that the placenta was rupturing and they needed to get my baby out asap. So I had to sign away my life essentially and was raced down the corridor (still lying on my side and still in the OPEN BACKED gown I was given – I dread to think what people saw!).
They gave me a spinal block as I sobbed into a pillow. At that stage, I was petrified with absolutely no idea what was happening or going to happen. I hadn’t heard the heartbeat in ages so I didn’t know whether I was going to be delivering a healthy baby or not. Once the block took effect, they lay me down and put up that screen so I couldn’t see what was going on. My mam came in and sat with me. They talked me through what they were doing and gave me some morphine through a drip.
Within a minute after the morphine went in, I vomited. And I kept vomiting for almost 24 hours after (an allergic reaction apparently). Sam came out 9.59am wriggling, not crying but very much healthy and cross – all 5lbs 6ozs of him. They took him off while I went to recovery.
I have no idea how long we were separated for. I know I told my mam to leave me and go find him, check he was okay. She then came back with him. I was still vomiting and sweating to death. The reaction to the morphine was horrific and I felt rotten because I couldn’t even hold my child – I had to lay completely flat on my back.
Back in the ward, my mum had to do all the firsts; first feed, first change etc.
It was 3am the following morning by the time I could hold him and I couldn’t let him go. He was so small that his cry was just a squeak which I could barely hear so I had to keep looking at him to see when he was crying. By the time we were leaving, three days later, he had put on 1 oz which is rare for newborns.
He’s five now. The doctors said the chances of having pre-eclampsia again were very small unless I have another baby with the same partner; so my chances are very very small 😉
There is a whole collection of birth stories on the blog if you would like to see more. Birth stories go live every Sunday at 9pm. If you would like to feature your birth story drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.