Pre-Eclampsia Stories - Ashleigh Alvarez's Story

My husband and I had been trying to fall pregnant for at least a year so when it finally happened we were over the moon so much so that I took 3 home pregnancy tests and went to see my doctor just to confirm it was really true.

The pregnancy was going well with no morning sickness I felt really well. All my check ups went according to plan. Around 32 weeks I did start to notice some swelling in my feet and my right hand. I was actually told I had carpal tunnel syndrome in my hand and was told to strap it up and a massage every now and again would help circulate the blood flow. I had taken the day off work for my 36 week check up and planned to get that out of the way and then go for a bit of last minute shop with my mother. I had had a headache for the last day or two that I just couldn't shake but didn't think anything of it as I suffered migraines and sinus all my life. I didn't know having a headache was such a bad thing.

They did the usual blood pressure check etc and he then asked me to go and sit back in the waiting room as he thought it was a little high and wanted to check it again. So he came and grabbed me after about an hour and took it again, it was still high and he then asked for another urine sample. This also showed some evidence of protein. There was to be no shopping that day, as we were asked to go straight up stairs.

They hooked me up to the machines, took a blood and urine sample. And once again after about 3 hours they told me they were a little worried about my blood pressure and would like to keep me in overnight. They took my mother outside where they explained to her the danger I was in and that they suspected I had pre-eclampsia. Nothing was mentioned to me as they didnít want to worry me and cause my blood pressure to escalate.

They got me comfortable and I rang my husband who rushed to the hospital from work. I was given a 4 litre bottle which I was asked to collect urine in over the next 24hrs. The next morning I was given an ultrasound they asked me how far along I thought I was and I explained I was at 36 weeks, my due date was correct as my periods were like clockwork. They weren't happy with this result so booked me into another hospital for a second ultrasound opinion.

At this booking they showed us the screen and the fact that the umbilical cord was dying and we could see this as it should be red with allot of blood flow and mine was black with the occasional red bit flowing through. We were sent back to our hospital and late that afternoon a team of doctors came in to see us. We were told that they werenít happy with the results that they were still waiting for some other results and I was to take it easy for now, they would operate on Monday.

My husband had a big day the next day so I sent him home to enjoy his day and told him to pop in and see me sat evening. This wasn't to happen. I awoke Sat morning to another team of doctors in my room, they had decided that they were going to operate now; I was given an hour max to phone and get my husband in. As soon as he arrived we were off, from this point on I donít remember much at all, from here on in everything happened so quickly. I drifted in and out of consciousness but remember seeing my sonís leg as they rushed him off to be resuscitated. Jordan was born at 2.40pm on the 20th Dec, 2003 weighing 1640grams.

That was it for me. I woke up in the delivery room later that night with my husband sitting in a chair in the corner and a nurse by my side. I once again spent the next 12 hours drifting in and out. I was later told my blood pressure was checked every 15mins during the night and that I did at one stage wake up and yell at them to just leave the blood pressure cuff on me what was the point taking it off and putting it back on every 15 mins just leave the damn thing on.....

It was 2 days before I was to see my son Jordan, He was not feeding well and started his life with his feeds at 2mls these did progress over time and we were very excited when he finally got to 15mls.

Christmas Eve was fast approaching and they came to inform me that they suspected Jordan was suffering from NEC (Necrotizing nterocolitis) and needed to be transferred to the Royal Womenís Hospital straight away, they had arranged for a bed for me as I still was suffering the affects of high blood pressure and they wanted to keep an eye on me. Once we got there Jordan was taken to level 2 care and I was given one of the only beds available. This is the moment it all came crashing down for me. A social worker was sent in to comfort me but all I wanted to do was cry, this was all too much I had a very sick baby who I was yet to hold and I was in a hospital bed 2 floors away from him. I just wanted to go home and die in the comfort of my own bed.

After some talk they decided to let me go home. About 3 days later they happily told us that Jordan did NOT have NEC and was feeding well enough to go back to our local hospital. I was finally able to hold him though the thought terrified me, he was just so tiny I didn't want to break him and all the tubes and cords scared the crap out of me. But once they placed him in my arms I didn't want to let him go. He stayed in for a total of 4 weeks and I have never been happier than I was the day we brought him home. He was still tiny but we loved him so much more. He is now a strapping 3.5year old.

We decided to wait until Jordan was at least 2 years old before we tried again as our first experience was so traumatic, but that wasn't to be as we celebrated Jordanís first birthday I was feeling very queasy, a test later that day told us that we were pregnant, I will be honest with you I was horrified and extremely upset I cried for hours, I was just not ready to go through all that again, plus I had only been back at work for 4 weeks and the thought of telling everyone at work scared me. But I soon got over the drama and decided to enjoy it, I suffered severe morning or should I say all day and night sickness, I craved KFC and would have eaten it 24 hours a day if my husband had let me.

Everything was well this time around until one Sunday somewhere in my 31st week. I started to get incredible pains in my chest. I started to find it difficult to stand or to take a breath. My husband was out for the afternoon and had rung earlier to tell me his phone was running out of battery if I needed him to call his mate. I took a shower which I thought would make me feel better but it just made it worse so much so that I was almost in the foetal position on the floor. Jordan was tucked safely in bed. I phoned my mother who told me they were on their way over and to phone an ambulance straight away. I tried to call my husband but was having trouble dialling the numbers at this point the phone rang, it was a friend I asked her to phone my husband and she could tell straight away all was not well. Christian met me at the hospital and I was given all sorts of tests and some steroids just in case the baby was to be delivered that night.

I had a very stressful sleep and was told I wouldn't be going home for awhile. After 3 boring days in hospital I asked if I could go home I had a 1.5year old who was missing mummy. They agreed but I was to return to the hospital every second day for foetal monitoring, blood pressure checks and blood and urine samples. After 4 weeks of this my arms started to look somewhat like a junkies would look, I had reached 36weeks and was extremely tired of the journey back and fourth, We had come to an agreement that if they could get me to 36 weeks they would be happy. So here we were, and I was booked in for the 21st July 2005.

Jett was born flapping his arms about and screaming much to our delight as Jordan didn't make a sound. Jett weighed 1700grams but seemed to be in a lot better condition that Jordan had been.

My recovery was also a lot better though I did suffer a revolting migraine later that night. Jett stayed in hospital for the same 4 weeks and was also sent home with a clean bill of health. He has just turned 2 and is the funniest little boy I have ever known. To this day the doctors have not given me any explanation as to why we went through this. My husband and I would love to add a girl to our family but we are scared of the thought of doing this all over again. We are going to seek some medical advice this time round. I wouldn't wish our experience on anyone.