Tag Archives: Pregnancy
Image

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month!

1 May

May if Preeclampsia Awareness Month

Know the Symptoms

If you experience any of the following symptoms during your pregnancy or after delivery, call your doctor or midwife right away. Having symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have preeclampsia, but they are cause for concern and require immediate medical evaluation.

-Swelling of the hands and face, especially around the eyes (swelling of the feet is more common in late pregnancy and probably not a sign of preeclampsia)

-Weight gain of more than five pounds in a week

-Headache that won’t go away, even after taking medication such as acetaminophen

-Changes in vision like seeing spots or flashing lights; partial or total loss of eyesight

-Nausea or throwing up, especially suddenly, after mid pregnancy (not the morning sickness that many women experience in early pregnancy)

-Upper right belly pain, sometimes mistaken for indigestion or the flu

-Difficulty breathing, gasping, or panting

It’s also important to know that some women with preeclampsia have NO symptoms or they “just don’t feel right.” If you have a sense that something’s wrong, even without symptoms, trust yourself and contact your healthcare provider immediately.

http://www.preeclampsia.org/en/PreAM

Advertisements

…and the baby?

23 Dec

Its the end of the year. For whatever reason, I’m running into a lot of people that I have not seen for some months now. I never remember that the last time I saw some of them was when my stomach reached out ahead of me. It was front and center. Anyone who knows me would have known I was with child.

For over nine months now, I have been grieving the loss of my first child. The one who’s cry I didn’t get to hear; who’s little fingers never gripped my own; who’s absence left me broken. But I have been feeling one with myself as of late. When images of his face flash before my eyes, I am no longer overcome with sadness, anger or hopelessness. God has granted me some peace of mind.

However, it is the season of holiday parties, gatherings with friends and family and apparently a time for me to be reminded that Demilade is not with us for his first Christmas. I have been to maybe four or five holiday gatherings and at each one I have been greeted warmly with the usual “hello, how are you?” I am never prepared for what comes next out of these well meaning individuals. “And the baby, how’s he?” 

It makes sense. They saw my size 2 body morph into something much more meaningful. They shared in the excitement of the new life we all expected. It makes sense that after an appropriate amount of time, they’d ask how my baby was. And on some level, I really do appreciate the acknowledgment. It is what comes next that I don’t yet have a handle on. My first instinct is to walk away and find a corner to fight back the tears in. However, it has been just as effective for me to respond with the only truth I know. “He is fine.”

He is fine. With God. That’s as fine as he can be.

 

Today, an old colleague stopped by. I hadn’t seen her since January or February but we work with the same people so, I did not expect her to ask me how my baby was. She had to have known. But there I was, in front of my supervisees who have no knowledge of my loss, having to say out loud once again that my son didn’t make it. I can no longer take the time to delve deep into all that has happened to me and my child with every person who insensitively asks “what happened?” when I actually answer the “and the baby?” question. What happened is that my son died and I will not be giving the play by play of the causes while standing in a room full of cheery party goers or worse yet, in a quiet office with random passersby. It has taken me nine months to stand in such rooms, among oblivious people and be able to smile like my life is just fine.

Uttering those simple words in response to this inevitable question help me to believe that my boy is just fine. He is fine. As bad as these circumstances may seem, this too is therapy because tomorrow I know how I will respond.

Babies everywhere!

29 Sep

I’m not sure if I just notice it more if every woman on my friends’ list is having a baby but, everywhere I look there’s a baby born. In the last couple of days two acquaintances on one social network have had baby boys; in the last two weeks two others have just successfully completed their pregnancies with live healthy babies. One of these new babies is also named Christian. How can I possibly not wail for my boy???

I’ve kept it together over the last six months and have actively tried not to be outwardly affected at seeing others so happy with their new additions. I’ve attended baby showers and baby birthdays, hoping I can heal faster. However, deep inside, I’d rather be anywhere else! Afterward though, I feel like I have conquered something monumental.

A few days ago, I saw yet another parent flood my Facebook news feed with pictures of the newly born child. I’m sure my reaction was the same as the other friends who looked upon this little angel and oohed and ahhed at the cuteness of the little one. What always follows for me though, is what was wrong with me that I didn’t deserve these kinds of moments. What did I do wrong? And why should I be happy for anyone else (although, I am)? On this particular day, I just cried as I was filled with so much emptiness. Why did this have to happen to me? To us?

Life can be so cruel.

First Early Onset Preeclampsia Screening Test

28 Aug

“PerkinElmer, a global leader in human and environmental health and an innovator
in the field of prenatal screening for more than thirty years, announced today
the first available early onset preeclampsia screening test in the United
States. The PreeclampsiaScreen(TM) | T1 serum screening test enables physicians
to more precisely detect asymptomatic patients in the first trimester of
pregnancy who are at high risk for developing the dangerous condition, allowing
for earlier identification, management and intervention. Early onset
preeclampsia is a potentially serious condition that affects 0.5% of all
pregnancies, often contributing more to the pregnant mother’s and baby’s risks
of morbidity and mortality than does the late form of the disorder.”

Find the full article here.

My symptoms

8 Jul

One of the main reasons for starting this blog was to share my experience while I was pregnant with Demilade so that others might have a reference to help them decide when to take action if experiencing similar symptoms. When I lost my baby boy, I was hopeless and I was angry. Angry at my doctors; angry at myself; and eventually, angry at everyone who could have counseled me and didn’t. Women can lose their child and their lives due to pregnancy complications. We don’t like to think about it and definitely don’t want to talk about but, it happens and these realities should be shared when the information is there.

Preeclampsia occurs in 5-8% of all pregnancies  and still births occur in 1 in 160 pregnancies (of which preeclampsia is just one possible cause).  These seem like small numbers but, for those of us who experience it, it is too many and a far too traumatic experience to not be explored further.

I share my symptoms and experience keeping in mind that not everyone will go through the same exact pattern of events as I did and, that some of these events mean nothing for some pregnant women. It is important to be diligent about our own health listen to our own instincts. There is no one who knows how you are feeling but you, no matter how many abbreviations come after the names of so called experts.

I’ll start from the beginning because it might help to piece together the the final diagnosis.

At about 6 weeks into my pregnancy I had severe abdominal cramps which took the wind out of me and knocked me out. The cramps crept up on me and within about 5 minutes because so severe that I could not walk and eventually blacked out. My husband had to throw me over his shoulder to the emergency room. By the time the nurses and doctors in the ER had checked me out, the pain had gone and I felt fine again. Blood tests were done and ultrasounds performed and none of it came back with any conclusive information. I was released to go home about 6 hours later and didn’t experience this again.

At about 4 months, I noticed that I had hardly gained any weight. I mean, I couldn’t keep anything down for the first 3 months but, at 13/14 weeks I was slowly getting my appetite back so I expected some weight gain. When I raised this concern with my OB, I was reassured that it is normal. Especially when a woman is so sick in the first trimester.

At 5 months, I had gained 10 pounds between the previous month and at this point. I remembered reading the weekly pregnancy blogs and being told that more than 2 lbs in weight gain per week was a cause for some concern, so I made sure to mention it to my OB. She again reassured me that this was normal. This is also the time I started experiencing sleepless nights. When I also brought up this concern, I was told that it was to be expected. In all honesty, every other mother I encountered and who gave me that precious unsolicited advice corroborated the doctor’s assessment that the sleepless nights are to be expected. But, what about the fact that I felt like something was sitting on my chest. Or that my poor sister would take midnight walks with me just so that I could feel tired enough to try and close my eyes when I laid down. And when I could close my eyes, I would abruptly wake up multiple times every night, heart racing and sweating profusely. For about two months, I could not calm myself enough to sleep more than 3 or 5 hours every night. I was tired and I was frustrated and it still was not enough of to raise concern from my health care provider.

At 25 weeks I went to the ER yet again. This time preterm contractions were the cause. Unlike the usual interruptions to my sleep, I was awakened this day by what felt like cramping in my abdomen. I knew there would be stretching and shifting so I wasn’t immediately alarmed. When I finally got out of bed to head to work, the pain was still there and constant but nothing alarming. It was not until about 12:00N that day that I realized I was having contractions. They have a rhythm you know. I asked a friend of mine at work who had just had a baby if these could be Braxton-Hicks contractions and she immediately let me know that if they were, they would not hurt.

Contractions are supposed to feel like very bad cramping, this is what I’ve been told for the longest. But how is one supposed to measure the pain when the regular menstrual cramps are a horror to go through. The thing is, I’ve had cramps that leave incapacitated and when I compare the contractions I was having that pain would rank at a 5. My 10 is extreme.  Later that afternoon I went to the ER and was hooked up to a heart monitor for Demilade and then given fluids via IV. For about 5 or 6 hours the contractions were relentless and showed no signs of stopping. Dehydration wasn’t the problem and the baby was not in distress but the contractions kept going strong. Finally after I had been in the ER for about 5 hours a nurse came to tell me that they would give me something to stop them. She gave me one shot of Terbutaline. The most they can give is 3 shots with some time lapsing in between each shot. Nothing happened. The contractions were still steady. 30 minutes later, I was given a second shot. This time the contractions slowed and stayed that way for the next 30-40 minutes. The nurses were confident that they would eventually stop soon and discharged.

The moment my husband and I got back home and prepared to sleep (it was now after 2AM), the contractions came back to the same level they had been all day. They did not end until late afternoon this day. At this point I had had them for over 36 hours.

The next episode was what happened two days before I lost my child. I had all of the symptoms you will find if you google Preeclampsia.

  • Headache for 3 days straight
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in my chest (under rib cage) and back at what seemed like the mirrored spot
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarhea
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Lower back pain
  • Swelling

Other than my trips to the ER, I suffered from sleepless nights and fatigue as a result. I had occasional swelling of my feet but they always returned to normal. Some of my colleagues said my skin looked grey and eyes yellowed. I felt a great amount of stress all of the time. Much more than I ever have.

Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and seek guidance and/or treatment. If a doctor can’t put it together, it is good to know the signs so that you can seek life saving action sooner.

The Preeclampsia Foundation is a great source of information regarding this disease.

I hope this is helpful to someone.

%d bloggers like this: