i has such a good pregnancy with Kaylan up until 29 weeks, I knew it was almost to good to be true. At about 28-29 weeks I started to swell everywhere, my ankles pretty much non existent. I was back and forth the hospital for close monitoring as my blood pressure was starting to rise also. It wasn’t until 6 weeks later I was finally diagnosed with the dreaded preeclampsia and admitted into hospital at 35 weeks and 1 day. Over the next few days I was in my own room in the maternity ward under constant monitoring. I had doctors coming to me every morning saying there was a chance I would be induced but they wanted to try and get me to at least 37 weeks. I was alone most days with Kieran still working and I was so emotional and absolutely terrified.
On the morning of the 20th of September 2017 at 35 weeks and 5 days I deteriorated. My face was a lot more swollen, I had this constant stabbing pain in my upper back and ribs and I started to get spots in my vision. As soon as the doctors came in that morning as they did there rounds they knew they had to get this baby out and today was the day I was going to be induced. I was already 2cm dialated so they took me to the birthing suites and I had Kieran and my mum by my side. Now from here onwards it was all a bit of a blur so I’ll try and remember details as best I can. They broke my waters and then I lay there waiting for the anaesthetis to give me the epidural (I had no choice in this as there was a pretty good chance I would be going for a c-section). The anaesthetis arrives and it takes 2 attempts to get the epidural in the right spot which was absolute torture. Now even after the epidural I was still getting this constant stabbing pain in my upper back and ribs. I remember looking at the button for the epidural waiting for it to go green again so I can get another dose but it just wasn’t helping with this pain. As a first time Mum I didn’t know what contractions would feel like but I had a gut feeling that this wasn’t it. In the process of all this one of the midwives started to give me fluids through a drip in my arm, little did she know the needle must of slipped out of my vein and the fluids started to go straight into my arm muscle. My arm was getting so tight it felt like it was going to explode, and despite me mentioning this a few times it took about ten minutes for them to realise and turn the fluids off. Hours have passed but they only seemed like minutes and I wasn’t progressing past 4cm and i was now having to go for an emergency c-section.
As I got into theatre and lay on the table I was feeling so cold and completely out of it, it almost felt like I was having an outer body experience. Within what felt like minutes I hear a cry and only a few minutes after my baby boy was brought over to me. I look at him thinking how perfect he was but I also kept thinking this doesn’t feel real. With Kaylan being about a month early he had to go up to the special care nursery so Kieran and my midwife left and I was in the theatre on my own while I got stitched up. Little did I know At this point but I also had 2 tears on my uterus and I was loosing quite a bit of blood.
Once out of theatre and recovery I got wheeled up in the bed to the special care nursery where I was finally able to hold Kaylan. Skin on skin lasted a short 15 minutes before I had to be taken back to my room. It was about an hour after being back in my room and Kieran had already left that the doctors had come in to see me and said they had a room for me in ICU. I was completely oblivious as to what was going on at the time and I was so drugged up I couldn’t even remember what ICU was.
When i was down in ICU i was told I developed HELLP Syndrome. Your probably thinking the exact same thing I thought at the time and what the hell is that….
HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening pregnancy complication usually considered to be a variant of preeclampsia. Both conditions usually occur during the later stages of pregnancy, or sometimes after childbirth. HELLP Syndrome is the highest cause of Maternal Death in third world countries that don’t have access to the hospitals that we do.
H (hemolysis, which is the breaking down of red blood cells)
EL (elevated liver enzymes)
LP (low platelet count)
To explain it a little bit clearer, my organs were swelling, my liver and kidney were failing and with the low platelet count i was at high risk of clotting. As dramatic as it may sound to some of you but it’s the truth i was near death.
For 3 days i wasn’t able to see Kaylan. I was on so many medications and white as a ghost as my iron was so low, that as Kieran explains it i looked like a corpse. I was unable to move, i would try and talk but sometimes nothing would come out and i had to keep constantly closing my eyes. One night down in ICU i tried so hard to go up and see Kaylan in the nursery, with the help of some nurses and Kieran we managed to get me in a wheelchair to go into the shower first. Slumped in the wheelchair not being able to keep my eyes open or move my arms i had to get Kieran to wash me down but afterwards i couldn’t even open my eyes and couldn’t go see my baby boy. After the 3rd day in ICU i was able to go back onto the maternity ward, and feeling a bit more lively (how i felt at the time but looking back i was still very much out of it) but still wheelchair bound i went straight to see Kaylan and was able to hold him for the first time since i gave birth to him. I spent 1 night without Kaylan on the maternity ward and then he was finally discharged from the nursery and i had finally been able to get out of bed and take a few steps.
Over the next couple of days still in the hospital in the maternity ward i didn’t have the best experience, despite having to be checked on every 4 hours i didn’t have much support in the hospital for me mentally especially after my experience. I was struggling to bond with Kaylan as i was still feeling like this isn’t real and i was not in a good state with my mental health. After getting discharged to go home i had a home visit from the midwife the next day and had to get re-admitted into hospital because my blood pressure was back up. After an emotional few days after getting re-admitted i was finally able to go home for good. Being home with Kaylan improved my bond with him so much, being in my own environment and my own routine. I’m lucky that this experience and despite my battle with postpartum depression hasn’t affected my relationship with him whatsoever and if anything it’s made me a lot more attached to him.
It took a while to fully recover, and i still have some ongoing issues from developing the HELLP Syndrome but i’m on the right track. Unfortunately with the tears on my uterus and my history i’m now classed as high risk for any future pregnancies and unable to have what you would call a “natural” birth. That’s an issue i’m still trying to deal with never being able to have that “normal” experience, but i’m getting the help i need and being the best mother i can be.