April 25, 2023 By Shakima Tozay
In the spring of 2017, I fell pregnant naturally with my son Jaxson after a nearly 5-year battle with infertility, including a miscarriage of twins and several failed rounds of IVF. My husband and I were shocked, overjoyed, and fearful all at the same time. Just a year earlier, we had given up the hope of having a family of our own and put our energy into raising animals on our small farm.
My pregnancy with Jaxson was uneventful for the most part; I was in the best health of my life. I was eating right, attended acupuncture appointments faithfully, and stayed away from anything that could risk me losing my baby. I had high hopes that if I just did everything my doctors told me, Jaxson would be here.
During my third trimester, my pregnancy seemed to take a turn. I noticed I was having more migraine headaches and was overwhelmed with fatigue during the day. Something felt off, and I couldn’t describe how different I felt. I went to the emergency room complaining of abnormal cramping a few times, only to be sent home and told it was normal and to relax.
I remember bursting into tears and a nurse reassuring me that everything would be okay because African American babies, especially black females, are the strongest and do well in the NICU. My symptoms worsened, and I was eventually admitted for observation and told that my son would likely be premature and spend several weeks in the NICU.
Although I hadn’t delivered Jaxson then, it wouldn’t take much longer before I found myself again in the emergency room with stroke-like blood pressure that put me at high risk for a stroke or heart attack. Earlier that night, I had been to the emergency room because my blood pressure was very high again, and I was concerned that Jaxson wasn’t moving as much anymore.
After having a stress test and ultrasound, everything seemed to end in haste.
A Nurse who met with my husband and I reassured us not to worry; she had seen this sort of thing before, and nothing terrible would happen. The nurse said I could go home and call back with another stress test in the morning.
But I was high risk and had pre-eclampsia; why didn’t I meet with a doctor that night? Was I stable enough to go home nearly an hour after having such high blood pressure numbers? Less than 24 hours later, I returned. My husband noticed how weak I felt and helped me into the car for a trip to the hospital that would change everything.
On November 8th, 2017, my son Jaxson died while I was 7 ½ months pregnant from a total placenta abruption. To be told my baby had already passed away when I arrived for a 2nd time in the ER was earth-shattering and heartbreaking. I had an emergency c-section and delivered Jaxson. My preeclampsia symptoms remained high, and I had to get an infusion because of the abruption. I stayed in the hospital for almost a week, holding Jaxson and making memories of every chance I had. Using ice packs on his little body to preserve him because there wasn’t an option for a cuddle cot.
Because of my prenatal care, I also suffered a near miss that almost claimed my life. Although I survived, a part of me died with Jaxson that night. Preeclampsia and healthcare inequities are the reason Jaxson’s life ended too soon.
I have had two very different experiences with Preeclampsia.
My first in 2019, with our first daughter Sophia. My pregn...ReadMore