Pre-Eclampsia Stories - Sue and Paul Curtis's Story

After having a career I had decided at 33 it was time to start a family. I became pregnant easily and anticipated a smooth pregnancy similar to the ones my 5 sisters had had. After 23 weeks I noticed one foot very swollen and because I wasn't busy at work decided to call my doctor. He checked my BP, which was high, and I had a trace of protein in my urine test. I was advised to rest and return after my Easter holiday. On my return my BP had increased and my protein was showing 2 pluses. I was placed in hospital for rest and on admittance my blood pressure was dangerously high. I was monitored every 15 minutes and a specialist was called in.

From this moment on, my body started to fail both my baby and myself. I was pumped full of anti-hypertensives and given medication to stop fits. I had no understanding of what was going on, only that they were trying to buy time for my 24-week-old baby. My system was under immense stress and we were told I had to deliver by caesarean and that the baby only had a 5% chance of survival.

Grace was born weighing 490gms. She was baptised immediately and placed in intensive care in the neo-natal unit. She lived for 5 weeks. She developed a bowel condition and required surgery. She died shortly after this. Our devastation was overwhelming. Our little girl had struggled against the odds and now she was gone. My body slowly came back to normal and I was placed on BP medication, which I will have to take for the rest of my life.

My second pregnancy was monitored closely by my specialist and myself with the result of Madeline being born (by caesarean) at 35 weeks due to the onset of mild Pre-eclampsia.

In my third pregnancy I developed severe Pre-eclampsia at 37 weeks and our boy, Jake, had to be delivered by caesarean. He weighed 71bs. I re-quired a transfusion. I lost 15kg in fluid and my retinas became detached temporarily due to the oedema. I couldn't see properly for 6 weeks.

My mother had severe eclampsia when she had my twin sister and I but we were not aware that this was what it was until after my episode. My identical twin has had 2 babies without any sign of Pre-eclampsia.

I thank god for the lives of my 2 children and always regret that my body failed my first child, Grace. She will always be in our hearts.