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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thoughts on Pregnancy Part 2 - Pre-Eclampsia and Me, A hate story

I promised you guys some thoughts on Pre-eclampsia, so here we go!

What caused me to give birth to KB at 33 weeks was a more severe form of pre-eclampsia called HELLP syndrome. Pre-e can attack different organs, and in my case it attacked the liver. There is really no telling how long I had been suffering from Pre-E on the day that I met my new OB in Mississippi for the first time. What I do know is this:

I saw my PCM at 27 weeks. In Guam you don't get an OB unless you are considered a high risk pregnancy. I was a normal pregnancy at this time, so I continued to see my regular ole physician. 
Never, in the entire 27 weeks I saw him for this pregnancy, did he get a urine sample. I should have known that was a problem, but I had no idea. 
Also, since I was seeing a doctor at the regular clinic, I was having regular clinic technicians do my blood pressure stuff before appointments. It's possible that they were unaware that a woman in her second trimester of pregnancy should have a much lowered BP. My BP was consistently in the 120's during these weeks, but nobody ever said anything was wrong with that. 
Since hitting my second trimester with Baby G, I have learned that the 120's are actually too high for a normal pregnant woman. A pregnant woman has up to a 60% higher blood volume. Her hormones cause her BP to drop drastically to accommodate the extra blood. My BP rests around 105/70 now, but at this point in my pregnancy with KB, it was consistently in the 120/80 range. I guess they just didn't know that was a warning sign for Pre-E.

28 weeks - Took test for GD at the Naval Hospital, didn't see my regular physician.

29 weeks - Diagnosed with GD over the telephone by regular physician. He informed me that I was now considered high risk and would be reassigned to an OB at the hospital.

30 weeks - Met with new OB and dietitian at the Naval Hospital. No urine sample or BP was taken at this meeting. They went over the diet information and told me that they'd see me again in 2 weeks. I informed them that I was actually headed Stateside within the week to have my baby in Mississippi.

31 weeks - Left Guam for Hawaii via Space A since I knew a plane would be leaving Hawaii for Mississippi within the week.

32 weeks - Arrived in Mississippi, had a 5 day wait before I could meet my new OB.

33 weeks - Met my new OB, and delivered KB via emergency c-section 5 hours later.

SO. Now I'm in Hawaii and I have a marvelous OB, as I've previously mentioned. As soon as she found out about my awesome pregnancy history, she began running tests. Since this post is long already, I'll save the tests I'm being subject to for tomorrow's post.

Since I am being so closely monitored, she sees no reason why they can't get Baby G to full-term. Also, (and also because I'm being so closely monitored,) she thinks that if the Pre-E were to set in, she'd be able to give me a good week's notice that I was getting sick. They would start even heavier monitoring at the very first sign, such as protein in the urine, or an elevated BP. I would go on bed rest and try to remain as calm as possible, since stress definitely elevates your BP.

She said that the magic gestational age for a healthy baby is 34 weeks, and that's probably why KB was so healthy since she was very close to 34 weeks. 34 weekers have significantly fewer instances of lung problems, which greatly reduces the time they spend in the NICU. So for his health's sake, we need to get him to 34 weeks. That's only 2.5 weeks away, y'all! I have every intention of being pregnant for at least 5 more weeks, but I could easily have a healthy baby in under 3! That's crazy.

So, for those who are anxiously awaiting every single pregnancy post, tomorrow I'll discuss how being high risk makes your relationship with your OB (and every single member of her staff) go to a whole new level.


  1. OH my goodness...I didn't realize HOW CLOSE you are, how exciting! I know that the whole pregnancy, travel, emergency C-section between Guam and Mississippi was like a whirlwind for you but good on you for using it to stay educated (and educated your doctors) this time around. Can't wait to see pics of Baby G when he makes his arrival. (but not for a few weeks yet!)

    Hope you take this as positively as I mean it (we all know I suck with communication) but you've grown so much as a person since you first arrived on Guam. Your family are blessed to have you as wife and mom!

  2. My best friend has had terrible pre-e with all three of her children. It's no fun, and definitely a little scary. I'm glad you've got a great OB for this pregnancy!


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