My daughter Claire is nearly six and I had a fairly trouble free pregnancy. I however began to put on far too much weight and my liver enzyme went up, no blood pressure issue, headaches or any other symptoms and my doctor induced me at 38 weeks. I had a very healthy 4.050 kg baby. Afterwards my liver was re-checked and I was diagnosed with fatty liver. After lifestyle changes, this was reversed and I was able to go into my next pregnancy with a ‘clean’ liver.
My next pregnancy whilst always feeling in good health was a completely different story. My weight once again crept up at week 27 and I had my test for diabetes. As I sat at the doctors desk she looked at me and said “I think we will run some liver function test too just to be sure”, If she hadn’t made that decision I would more than likely not be here today. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (which at the time I thought was the worst thing in the world) but had put myself on a very strict liver friendly eating plan which limited bad food so I could maintain my blood sugar levels. The doctor called me back into her rooms and told me that my liver function was abnormal and that she was sending me for more blood test. They then rose again.
She then sent me to a liver specialist firstly, I also had a re-occurring every second day blood test script and I was to go to the hospital every second day for the baby to be put on the monitor. All this time I felt fine, in fact never felt better. I had dropped some fat from the healthy eating, my diabetes was under control, I had plenty of energy and I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
At week 30 my results were getting worse and worse and the doctor told me that I would be being monitored and not to go too far from the house and to stop work completely. By week 31 they decided I needed to be admitted to hospital to keep me under observation. In this whole time I never had one symptom, except for what came out in the blood test.
My doctor came into my room and told my husband and me that there was no choice but we had to deliver the baby the next day as I was heading for liver shut down. My liver tests which should be about 40 were 960.
We had David the next day at 31 weeks and 5 days gestation. We were very lucky as he was a healthy 2.085kgs. He had to stay in the Special care nursery for a month before we could take him home which just breaks your heart. They put in the recovery ward for 24 hours to monitor me and I was unable to see my baby at that time. My wonderful husband kept running back and forward with photos which helped enormously.
When David was 3 days old I had a major nose bleed, a blinding headache and developed swollen ankles. These were the only symptoms that told me I was sick and they went away after a few days. My boy is a year old now and you would never now to look at him his start to life.
HELLP Syndrome is an insidious disease that has no rhyme or reason and if I can assist one person in the future with donations towards research then that is money well spent.