I suffered hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness) throughout my entire pregnancy, I also have idiopathic arthritis so when I went to the doctors numerous times each week complaining of a list of symptoms including vomiting, swelling, dizziness and shortness off breath I was told it was just morning sickness and my blood pressure which has always been textbook perfect was now high was passed off as anxiety. I was barely able to keep any food or liquids down so gaining weight in my face, feet and hands was odd but I was assured it was just water weight and inflammation from arthritis.
33 weeks pregnant, the symptoms were persistent and again I was reassured it was all normal. I was sitting in the waiting room for my midwife appointment running 2 hours late and the lights were getting turned off, I wobbled to reception to let them know I was still waiting which ended in a very rushed appointment, no blood or urine tests, not even my blood pressure was checked.
Symptoms persisted and at 36 weeks I woke up vomiting, dizzy and out of breath. I was screaming with out-of-this-world abdominal pain. I called the hospital and was told it was probably just a panic attack and Braxton Hicks. I called my mum and she drove my partner and I to the hospital whilst timing what we thought were contractions. My mum had previously mentioned preeclampsia to me.
I was checked over once we got to the hospital and was again told it was just anxiety and Braxton Hicks. At this point I could barely feel my feet or hands and my face was tingling, I couldn’t fit into any shoes or socks, not even my partner’s size 13. Thankfully, my mum’s persistence to the midwife brought out a doctor who wheeled us into the labour ward where the next 13 hours were spent trying to reduce my blood pressure before being induced. I was petrified of having an epidural and was still vomiting whilst the anesthetist was injecting the needle into my spine but I had no choice as pain raises blood pressure. The epidural quickly became my best friend and I was hitting that button as often as I could. I was induced at 7pm and gave birth at 11.44am the following day to my daughter who wasn’t breathing.
As I was passed my daughter, I quickly realised she wasn’t breathing, she was taken off my chest to be resuscitated. Code blue was called, the birthing suite filled with 12-15 people. It was the most terrifying thing to watch as I started drifting off not aware I was hemorrhaging. I had three people pumping my stomach to try and remove my placenta which had calcification. The feeding and breathing tube to my baby had failed. My baby girl was successfully resuscitated and my placenta had been removed. They stopped me bleeding after 1.7 litres. I got to hold my baby girl and had 2 large blood transfusions the next day. I laid in the hospital bed for 4.5 hours covered in blood and sweat and was begging to have a shower but I was too weak to move.
If I was an hour later to the hospital I wouldn’t have survived severe preeclampsia, my body was shutting down. If my mum wasn’t so persistent for a second opinion I wouldn’t be here, I will never forget the beautiful midwife Lindsay who worked on me to save my life.
Blake has just turned one and we are both incredibly lucky to still be alive.