Trust Your Body

March 23, 2023 By Sarah Fajbik

Trust Your Body

I was diagnosed with preeclampsia in 2012 while pregnant with my first child. I made it to 37 weeks and then was induced which resulted in a c-section because my little guy just wasn’t ready to come yet. I was so sick from the magnesium and barely remember the c-section and the entire day after. I could barely hold my son - I was so out of it. It makes me so sad that I will never get those memories back, but I’m happy that we were both healthy.

I had my daughter on Halloween in 2016. I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy and was monitored closely due to having preeclampsia with my son and also due to my age - 35. She was a scheduled c-section and all went well. I was happy to be alert and able to enjoy our first moments with her. The next day my blood pressure started to get a little high. I was put on a mag drip as a precaution and even though it was awful, I at least knew what to expect.

I was scheduled to go home on a Thursday. I remember getting a shower and packing my things as my husband ran out to get the car. I started to feel very sick and started to see flashing lights in the side of my eyes. I mentioned this to the nurse and she didn’t see alarmed. My symptoms continued to get worse and once my husband returned, he asked to see a doctor. The doctor who came in was who assisted with my c-section. We felt dismissed by her and when my husband finally said he wanted me to stay another night, she all but rolled her eyes and said “I guess you can stay if you want”. No, I did not WANT to stay. I had a four year old at home who I was very anxious to see and he wanted his mama and sister home. But I stayed because my body told me something was very wrong.

That night I felt like a “bother” to the nurses. My blood pressure at the time wasn’t worrisome. I eventually fell asleep and woke up to a nurse trying to get a good read on my blood pressure because it said it was 223/118. She left and got a doctor - the head of the practice who performed my c-section. He brushed it off and said I was probably just “anxious”. At this point there were a lot of nurses in the room with very worried looks on their faces so I knew something might be wrong. But again, the doctor made me feel stupid.

I was taken back to Labor and Delivery and once again put on a mag drip. Over the next couple of days, I had several tests done, more doctors than I can count coming into my room, etc. I still was never told what was wrong with me and I assumed it was just preeclampsia again but was told the “cure” for it was delivery when I had my son so that couldn’t be right.

I was in the hospital for 8 days. My daughter was discharged before I was and I had to beg a social worker to let her stay with me. I was finally sent home with a ton of meds and told to follow up with my doctor a couple of days later. At this point, I still wasn’t sure what had happened.

At my 6 week postpartum visit, my favorite doctor in the practice came running down the hall and hugged me. I thought that was strange but I like her so much it didn’t matter to me. Several nurses came by and one offered to take my daughter for me so I could be alone during my checkup. On my way to the room, I passed the doctor who assisted with my c-section and who made me and my husband feel ridiculous for asking for help. She was looking at her cell phone and didn’t even acknowledge me (which is fine, I wasn’t thrilled to see her anyway).

It wasn’t until a doctor came in for my exam that was I told I had HELLP syndrome. This was 6 WEEKS after I was in the hospital. I had no idea what HELLP even was despite having preeclampsia. I was told I was incredibly sick and could have died. This was so much to process. My blood pressure was still a mess and I was on a lot of meds that made me feel sick. I am still on the meds and likely will be for the rest of my life.

I say all of this to say: TRUST YOUR BODY. Ask for a second opinion. Do not take no for an answer. I could have had a stroke or died had I went home.