Pre-Eclampsia Stories

Nigel and Sharon

My experience with Eclampsia has changed the way I live today. The traumatic and frightening event happened on the 5 th November, 1999, 9 days after the birth of our little girl Brittany. This is my story.

My first pregnancy in 1997 was pretty exciting, with a little blood pressure towards the end, and mild Pre-eclampsia (I did not know what this was). Timothy was born within 3 hours, weighing a healthy 3830gms, on the 29 th of May, 1997.

Early 1999, much to my surprise, I found out I was pregnant again, and was due late October. Everything was normal, blood pressure was 110/70 througho8t my pregnancy, and all ante-natal checks were okay. Brittany was also born within 3 hours on the 27 th October 1999, weighing a healthy 3015gms.

Nine days after I had Brittany , my feet began to swell, and with 2 normal pregnancies, I didn't think anything of it, and I otherwise felt good in myself. But the swelling didn't go away, so we decided to go and get it checked. I was doing shared care at the time, but felt the doctor I was seeing had no knowledge of this dreadful disease. My blood pressure read 160/90 and the swelling of my feet was unexplained. I had all the symptoms of Eclampsia but the doctor said "I don't know what to do with you Sharon," and sent me home with hypertensive tablets. Things didn't get any better, in fact they got worse. I didn't feel well at all, se we went straight to the hospital.

I don't think I was there more than 15 mins and it all happened. I got this thumping headache, as though someone was hitting my head with a hammer. I didn't know what was happening, but I know I was scared. Suddenly doctors cam rushing in from everywhere, and I felt them move me into another room. Ht next thing I remember saying, which is still vivid in my mind today is, "Am I going to see Timmy? And I had my first Eclamptic fit. I felt doctors putting needles in both my arms and in my back, checking for all sorts, I suppose, as they were not sure what was wrong, and I dint get a chance to let them know of my symptoms, as I'd only just arrived.

I was semi-conscious. I know Nigel (my husband) was next to me, as he spoke a lot for me at times. With the worried look on his face, I'm almost certain he felt my pain, as he didn't know what wrong either. The seizures would come from nowhere; I had had my second fit. My head was sore and I was in so much pain, I felt the fear of the unknown. I was sent for a CT scan, but while they were injecting the blue dye, I had my third and final fit, where I began to froth from the mouth and became unconscious. I have little memory of what happened after that, and woke up in intensive care. I believe I recovered very quickly, and was on blood pressure tablets for 6 weeks.

It's been 5 years now, and in that time I have physically and mentally dealt with this disease buy having a mild breakdown. I have suffered with depression, panic attacks, anxiety and the fear that something is always wrong. Coming to terms with it all hasn't been easy, but with the support of my loving husband and 2 cheeky but cute children, I will get through this.

Reading stories from "The Australian Experience" I feel not so alone. I'm so inspired by Dorothy's story on page 54 that she went on to have another baby after her ordeal, which is similar to mine. If it happened to me in my first pregnancy, I would not have gone again, so I thank god it didn't happen the first time and thank God I'm still here today!