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Never Heard of Preeclampsia Until the Loss of My Baby

January 12, 2023 By Rachel Furner

Never Heard of Preeclampsia Until the Loss of My Baby

At my 28 week check up appointment my OB mentioned my blood pressure was high. He told me to go wait outside and think happy thoughts and checked it again. At this point it had gone back down and he sent me on my way. 3 days later I woke up at 5am and realised that I hadn’t felt my baby kick during the night.

My pregnancy at this point, to my knowledge was completely healthy. I didn’t want to be dramatic so I got up and ate some breakfast to see if I could get her to get moving. When it got to 9am I decided to call the delivery suite. They told me to come in. From there I was monitored for 2 hours. The OB came and saw me to go have some lunch and come back. We thought everything was fine because we could see her heart beat and that maybe they were just being cautious. This happens 4 more times that day. "Go home and come back." We didn’t understand at that point that there was any issues. At 10pm we were told we needed to be transferred to another hospital because the baby would need to be born. We were so confused and trying to understand what was happening. That was the beginning of the worst week of our life.

At 4am our baby was born via emergency c-section and quickly taken away by a team to work on her. We were told our baby was very sick and she had been struggling for some time. The OB said my placenta was gritty and calcified. 2 days later we were told our baby has suffered significant brain bleeds due to lack of oxygen and there was nothing that could be done to fix her. We made the heartbreaking decision to redirect her care at 5 days old. Up until this point we still didn’t know what had gone wrong.

The day before Eden passed my blood pressure was high. It got to the point where the nurses where calling emergency doctors and then commenced the same pattern for the next few nights. My blood pressure would spike, the medication wouldn’t work and the the emergency doctor would come. I spent 4 nights having my blood pressure checked every 4 hours and changing around of medications to stabilise it. I was grieving my baby and dealing with this. It felt like a nightmare. It was only at day 2 of this occurring that someone mentioned Preeclampsia.

When I left the hospital, I left with a prescription for high dose of blood pressure medication and was told to buy a blood pressure machine and go see a doctor in a week. It took a good while to fully understand what happened during my pregnancy and how this impacted my baby. I was seeing a private obstetrician and Preeclampsia was never mentioned or discussed. Looking back, I had all the symptoms. My face was so swollen, I was making jokes about it and had bought and ice roller a week earlier to help with puffiness. I had blurry vision and was seeing spots, I had abdominal pain and my weight ballooned the last few weeks. I just thought it was normal pregnancy, being my first. I feel let down by my obstetrician. There needs to be more education and doctors need to be discussing this with their patients regularly. It’s one of the leading causes of maternal death. Why isn’t this spoken about with patients from the beginning? I can’t help to feel that if I’d known about Preeclampsia and the symptoms, I could have picked up on it earlier and my baby wouldn’t have suffered the way she did. It hurts knowing that my baby wasn’t getting the nutrients and oxygen she needed. Now I know about Preeclampsia, my approach to my next pregnancy will be different. I’ll ask more questions and demand more tests.