Belen Walsh's Story

Blair and I were over the moon to find out that I was having our first baby, with the normal morning noon and night sickness, everything was pretty normal.† Until I got to about 29 weeks when I started to high blood pressure and swelling everywhere. I was told to start taking it easy and not do as much, being a hairdresser I was on my feet all day so I was told that that didnít help with the swelling and to go home and rest.

With regular check ups my blood pressure kept climbing higher and at about 32 weeks was over 110/95 and I had protein in my urine.† M doctor started me on hypertension tablets and I started seeing him on a weekly bases. By about 38 weeks I was on 6 tablets a day and complete bed rest with no driving, walking to or around our house and to the doctors surgery every second day.

My BP was even higher and I was having more protein in my urine. By 39 weeks I was on ten tablets a day, BP 150/110, protein with a +. I had to go and get an ECHO (heart scan). One day I would go to the doctors and the other to the hospital to get an ECG. After about a fortnight and my whole family getting worried and my BP at 166/126 and protein ++ and our babies heart beat not fixed and out of rhythm as she was going into distress† I had an emergency caesarean section on the 16th December 2006 at 4.41pm and our baby girl Daphne Elena was born. Holding her for the first time was overwhelming.

The next day my blood pressure started going down but by the third day it had started to rise again and I was given more tablets to take and by the forth day was sent home. The next day I had the early childhood nurse come and check up on me as I was still not well. The following day when I woke up I was feeling as if nothing was wrong and that I could tackle anything. The nurse come over again and took out my stitches out and said I was much better and probably needed a good nights rest.

On the following day been Saturday 23rd December, one week after my little girl was born and only 2 days til Christmas, I woke up feeling really sick, I had double vision a horrible head ache and all my muscles were hard and I couldnít move. I new I was going back to the doctors that morning and he had one look at me and sent me straight back to the hospital (thinking I had an infection from the operation).

Back in the maternity ward with doctors I felt safer but them not knowing what was wrong made me start worrying and crying. With them trying to calm me down they sent me to emergency with my baby and my husband and my parents.† I was placed on a drip to get more fluid in, after what seemed an hour the head ache was staring to ease and from about then all I can remember was saying to my husband how beautiful and precious our little girl was.

As I have been told, from about that moment I had my first fit (my family was told to wait outside), as I had nurses and doctors helping me. A couple of minutes after my family were allowed back in and before they come in I had my 2nd fit and then my 3rd and final fit. When the doctors thought I was in the clear I had a stroke.† I was put in a coma and on life support as I had a brain bleed, my brain was swollen and I was finding it hard to breathe.

I was taken off life support on Christmas day and started coming around that same day. It was about 2 pm before I could see my baby and I started to cry being confused and not know anything about what was going on. I had drips and lines from everywhere in my body and not been able to hold or hug anyone they could only kiss me on the forehead. I was diagnosed with severe eclampsia and slowly there were days when I started getting more energy and was moved from the ICU to the Maternity ward. After about 2 and a half weeks and with regular check ups from a specialist I was allowed home again.

I just feel so lucky to have made it out of this; I have later found out that my case was the first case that our hospital has had in the last 15 years. The doctors say that the same will probably happen again so we will have to think about whether we have more children and find out more about our risks involved.† But now 9 months on, I have a beautiful husband who supported me the whole way, a wonderful daughter who makes me get up everyday and the support of my friends and family.