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A Lot Of People Have It Much Better

August 28, 2020 By Emily Vore

A Lot Of People Have It Much Better

After weeks of nightmares, phantom pain of an IV burning, of my twice-a-day alarm reminding me to take my BP medication, I remember crying to my husband, telling him I wish pre-eclampsia would have never happened to me. “I don’t know why I keep crying, a lot of people have it much worse” and he said “a lot of people have it much better”. No one can prepare you for the pain of being told your BP is climbing. The baby is still active, but not like he used to be. The pain of asking your husband to please go buy a BP cuff because you know something is wrong. The pain of calling triage just knowing what they were going to say. The pain of waiting during the monitoring, getting I&O cath’d, & poked for blood draws.

I was induced at 3:30am. I felt my first contractions at 6:30am and had a baby by 11:15am. I will never forget the look on my midwives’ face as I was trying to push and my baby was struggling. The clock said 11:11, I knew it was a sign nothing was going to happen to us, we were going to be lucky. I pushed and Theo was born at 11:15am.
My BP remained elevated. They told me over and over my body was recovering.

Honestly the morning we were getting discharged I didn’t feel right. I remember telling the nurse and her saying “well you DID just have a baby”. We went home on a Friday. Saturday evening my vision was blurry and my head hurt SO bad. I thought my symptoms were from lack of sleep.

It’s crazy to be admitted to the hospital and have your 3-day old son be your visitor. I was put on the IV magnesium drip for 24 hours. My head hurt SO bad I don’t think I opened my eyes for 2 days. I remember asking my husband to figure out what was making the bed shake and to make it stop. I figured out it was my own PULSE in my head. I was peeing over a liter every hour. My vitals were being taken every 30-60 min, my baby wanted to eat every 120 minutes, my labs were being drawn every 6 hours. My arm was burning where the magnesium was infusing. I spent my time during this re-hospitalization praying I would survive. It may sound dramatic, but moms DIE from pre-e and I knew it. My liver enzymes kept climbing until Tuesday when they finally started to trend down. After almost a total week in the hospital, we went home (again!).

I had nightmares about my experience for months, waking up to check on Theo multiple times a night, reliving my experience over & over in my head. I had a baby I loved more than anything in the world, but in a strange way he was a reminder of the worst experience of my life. Theo was born in November and it wasn’t until May that I finally told my husband I needed help. In my initial chat with my provider I said, this is my first baby so maybe these feelings & behaviors are normal. She confirmed they’re not. I’ve been taking sertraline (still breastfeeding) and it’s helping, but I think what helped me the most is telling my story.

Pre-e & post-partum pre-e are rare, yet I feel like nothing was really done to assess me during pregnancy. I complained of swelling & carpal tunnel starting around 32 weeks, but was brushed off. My provider said “it can’t be that bad, you’re still in skinny jeans!” I had right-sided pain, but shrugged it off to be sleeping or work related as no one TOLD me that was a warning sign. One midwife kept saying “you are the lowest of the low-risk”. But by saying that, they put blinders on. Pre-e doesn’t care if you are “low-risk”! I went for walks every day, didn’t eat the food I wasn’t supposed to eat, tried to get as much sleep as I could and this still happened to me. I am a NURSE for god’s sake and I almost didn’t realize what was happening to me until it was too late. As a nurse, wife, daughter, and MOM I want to advocate for change & educate people about pre-e. My experience physically and psychologically changed me for the rest of my life. I will gladly “take one for the team” if it means helping another mom & baby in the future.

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