Pre-Eclampsia Stories

Llew and Rod's story.

I was devastated at finding out that I was pregnant and the subsequent breakdown of my relationship.

As a result of the blood test that was taken to confirm my pregnancy, the GP said that my platelet count was very low - 35,000 and I was immediately referred off to a specialist for high risk pregnancies as well as my obstetrician, both of whom were to monitor me for the months to come.

After the initial shock, I was very excited at the prospect of becoming a Mum, but, as seems to be a similar theme, I had no idea of the warning signs for pre eclampsia.

For a start I am very slightly built and by 29 weeks I had put on probably 35kg.  I felt miserable and woke up in the morning with hands so swollen I couldn't move them.  By the time I went to work the swelling had moved to my ankles and the fluid pooled around them - it was quite repulsive.  I was also seeing spots - but thought that this was part of a normal pregnancy.

Being in a professional working environment I was told that there should be no problem combining work and pregnancy and I pushed myself in this regard - in hindsight I would advise any prospective Mum to take it easy and listen to her body.

At 29 weeks I was spending the weekend with my parents, who were alarmed that I was living alone, and they were distressed to see the puffiness in my face that clung to whichever side I had rested my head on to sleep.

My mother decided to come to see my platelet specialist with me.  He was very pleasant when hearing my concerns, but I distinctly remember him calling my obstetrician and basically stating that there were two overwrought women in his office (the words "typical first time mother" were used) and although I was told to go to my obstetrician the next day for a check up, I left the specialists office feeling very much like we had unreasonably inconvenienced him and that I was being hysterical.

I duly arrived at my obstetricians office the next day, after convincing my poor mother that I was perfectly fine and could cope on my own, to be told during my examination that I had a very elevated blood pressure and was to head directly to hospital and I would likely have to have my child that afternoon.

I remember first ringing work to apologise for all the files that I was leaving semi completed, then ringing my parents to tell them that I was on my way to hospital (they got in the car, despite living 2 hours away and barely left my side for the next 8 weeks) and then calling my best friend who was to be my birth partner. Being very particular I had fortunately followed the birthing book and packed my hospital bag on the day before - my 30 week mark.  Not that any of my carefully purchased baby outfits would fit my son for quite some time.

Despite being told things were serious, I did not feel sick and felt like a fraud being kept in hospital.  It was decided to give me drugs for my baby's lungs and to attempt to control my blood pressure through medication.

My blood pressure was controlled over the next two weeks while I stayed in hospital.  I kept on putting on weight (I nearly doubled my original size) and for some reason every morning at about 5.30am my blood pressure would go through the roof and my specialist and obstetrician would be called in.  Rod was finally born by c-section at 32 weeks weighing a very good 1912g.  He did have some difficulty breathing and was in NICU for 5 days and then SCN for 6 weeks.  I never really felt like I was his mother while he was in hospital, which I found to be very traumatic and very removed from my expectations of being a mother, and to be honest it took a long time for us to bond.  I did express every 3 hours, day and night, as I felt it was the only worthwhile contribution I could make.

Rod is now a beautiful 3 year old - he is such a delight.  I am getting married in February and my fiancée knows about my experience with Rod. We have decided to try for a baby straight away - the thought of being pregnant again does cause me some anxiety.

Given my low platelet count I had been very closely monitored during my pregnancy and had had more blood tests than I could count.  The blood tests have continued and I have since found out that their may be some correlation between low platelet count and pre eclampsia - I'd be pleased to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience.