Pre-Eclampsia: Knowing the Signs and Risks
By Sophie-Beth Munroe
Pregnancy was normal at first, just the usual morning sickness and fatigue.
At 23 weeks pregnant, I felt a change in my body. I spent days in and out of hospital to be told the same again and again, "everything is fine, we can hear the babies heart beat" blah blah blah. But I just knew something wasn't quite right hence why I just kept going back and back. They found +1 protein in my urine and high blood pressure time and time again, yet they would still send me away.
A very unwell few weeks passed with intense headaches and dizziness. Some days worse than others. I even brought one of those blood pressure monitors for home to keep an eye on my blood pressure as suggested by my midwife. It was always sky high so I thought the monitor must have been faulty or something. I just put it down to normal pregnancy symptoms, after all I had already been to the hospital numerous times.
I got used to the same routine. I had my check-ups with my community midwife who would send me over as an emergency to the hospital for further testing. Turns out the home blood monitor was correct after all. Same old though, the hospital doctors would always just send me back home with the same advice, just a new day “we think everything is fine, come back if you feel any worse.” It was getting more difficult to understand what they meant because every day I was getting worse. They just needed the bed.
At 32 weeks, my measurements were starting to show as abnormal. My baby hadn’t seemed to grow since my 27 week check-up. Again, same old routine. Community midwife, hospital, home. Hours of stress and worry for nothing.
At 34 weeks pregnant after no growth still. The hospital finally decided to investigate further with a scan. Everything came back relatively normal and baby seemed to be cooking away nicely.
Can you guess where I was at 36+6 weeks? Good guess, back in the same old dingy hospital. But this time was different. I could not even sit in a room with a light on, I couldn’t bare speaking to people because my head hurt that much. My blood pressure was through the roof. The nurse actually said “I’m going to check that again, I don’t think you would be as calm as you are now if it was that.” Shock, same result again. Isn’t it amazing how different someone can look on the outside but actually feel on the inside.
Things suddenly took a turn for the worse. Next thing we knew we were having conversations with doctors and nurses about things I never thought possible. The doctors said it’s vital that we get the baby out now because not only my babies life was in danger but so was mine. I knew I already loved my baby from that moment because all I could think about is getting him out alive no matter the consequence. There it was, at 36+6 weeks I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.
Contractions were intense from the start. This was the beautiful moment we had been waiting for to give birth to our baby boy. I always dreamed of having a water birth but it wasn’t long before I was linked to machines galore. Our babies heart beat kept dropping lower and lower. At one point, I couldn’t even see my birthing partners there was that many nurses and doctors in the room. I finally had an urge to just push. Screaming “I need to push.” The nurse said it’s not possible, you are only 2cm dilated. I had one focus only. That was to get my baby out alive and I already lost all trust in doctors opinions. I remember turning around to the doctor and saying, “If I said I need to push, I need to push.” The nurse re-checked and surprise, surprise. I jumped straight from 2cm dilated to fully dilated. So, I did. I pushed once. There was his head. Then again a second time. And there he was. That’s all it took for our baby boy to come in to our world.
He was placed straight in my arms. His skin against mine. My heart was full of love and happiness. How could I make something so precious? The room felt silent as if it was just me and my son in the room and in that moment nothing else mattered. My baby boy alive in my arms.
It wasn’t long before they took my little boy away from me rushing him to the neonatal unit. Our little boy was alive but in that moment I forgot about how unwell he really was. Low birthweight, low temperature and low blood sugars.
Seeing other parents in the post-delivery ward holding and feeding their babies was heart breaking. Their biggest worry was when their babies next feed was while ours was if our baby was going to survive.
I guess you’re wondering if he survived? Of course he did. He survived every single high and low we encountered within the next few weeks to come. He’s our miracle baby. He’s our Joshua.
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