Pre-Eclampsia Stories - Julie Files Story

My experience with toxaemia (Pre-eclampsia) was almost 16 years ago, but I can remember everything as if it were yesterday. As my husband was unemployed we could not afford to be in health fund, so I had to go public at the local hospital for my antenatal check ups.

My first pregnancy ended with a miscarriage at 14 weeks. I had lost twins. I fell pregnant again about 4 months later, everything was normal until about 3 months when protein began to show in my urine tests. Over the next couple of months I just started swelling like a balloon. My feet where so swollen it was very painful to even walk on them, but at my check ups they never even suggested anything and I thought I was doing ok. I felt weak, I was just uncomfortable from all the swelling. I had read about toxaemia in one of my pregnancy books, but it was only a para-graph, which stated it was very rare these days, so my swelling and protein I thought must have been ok or they would have said something.

My visit were now fortnightly and in that fortnight visit I had put on over 1 stone in weight. My urine was 100% protein so they boiled it and it was still all protein. It didn't change. After waiting a couple of hours for my turn, they took my blood pressure which was dangerously high, so they left me laying there for 20 mins and took my blood pressure again. It hadn't changed. They wanted to admit me to hospital but they had no spare beds so they sent me home to complete bed rest, which I did. I went back 4 days later and nothing had changed. I can remember lying on one of the beds in the examining room, where all doctors and nurses kept coming in to see me and saying I had the dreaded disease. I was feeling very confused and upset and had nobody to talk to about the disease, as at that time there were not many people who had even heard of toxaemia before and I felt very alone. I was hospitalised on this visit and put in a private room for complete rest and quiet. I was given valium injections to try and relax my body.

The very next day (I'm not sure if I was having fits) they had to take my baby daughter by emergency caesarean, 10 weeks premature and was then rushed 50 miles away to the hospital that was specialised in prem babies. For 6 days I don't recall anything. I was left in the labour ward in complete darkness and was very heavily sedated. My husband was the only visitor allowed, but I don't recall anything of those 6 days at all.

When I came back to the wards I found out I had a baby daughter, but I could not even see her. The ambulance driver who took my daughter, took a photo of her for me. I was very grateful. She weighed 2lb 13oz and was 15" long and was properly formed. I only got to see my daughter a couple of times before she passed away (at 8 days). The hospital rang and told us she wouldn't make it through the night and it wouldn't be worth our while to go there because it would be too late and just to come up the next day to make the arrangements. When we got there, we saw her crib, still in the same place but now it was empty. (I can still see that empty crib) We never got to see her again until her funeral, and then she just looked like a beautiful, peaceful, baby doll. She was lovely.

I never got to hold my precious baby and was frightened to touch her much when she was in the crib. We had an autopsy done which showed she had died of immaturity. I have still got the autopsy reports. I got milk fever and had to express milk which was very painful. I was also put on a special sort of diet to rid toxins from my body. I was allowed one meal a day of fresh grilled fish and two servings of vegies and was only allowed to drink vegetable juice and black tea. I was on this diet for approx 2 weeks. My good news is now I have another very beautiful daughter who is 14 and a son who is 13. But 16 years ago Toxaemia wasn't even known or talked about. It was just known as "the dreaded disease". My heart still aches for the daughter I had 16 years ago