Monday, March 4, 2013

PP Pre-E

Did you know that you can get Pre-Eclampsia AFTER you give birth?!  Yeah. Me either.  But apparently it happens.  It's aptly named Postpartum Pre-Eclampsia, and it's no fun.

I'm a low blood pressure kind of gal.  Like, it never gets above 110/70. Throughout my pregnancy with Abigail (and Addalee, for that matter), I was borderline hypotensive. I had trouble keeping my bp high enough during labor and had to lay flat for most of it. 

Just after Abigail was born, I began having headaches. I have a history of migraines, but this was different. I didn't know how much of my feeling bad  had to do with the birth process, so I wasn't too worried. My blood pressure was monitored for a bit after the birth, and had returned to textbook average. I felt kind of under the weather for the days after. I developed a lot of pain in my right side, terrible headaches, and radiating pain up the side of my neck.

I called my OB, and told them what was going on with me. It had been a week since having Abby, and 7 long days of feeling pretty rough. I still thought that a lot or most of what I was feeling was just my body going through trauma and drastic hormone changes, not to mention the lack of sleep! I figured they'd have me come in just to have a quick look, and they did. They thought I was having hormonal migtaines and some gallbladder issues. I was scheduled for a CT of my head and an ultrasound of my gallbladder the next day. I was also given a shot for the pain. As we sat and waited at the office, my head throbbed with each beat of my heart. It was pretty miserable.

We went home and tried to go about our routine. Unfortunately, the pain meds never really helped and I started feeling worse by dinner time.  I tried to relax a bit, but finally the pain in my side and head was enough to make me cry, and that's not like me. I went into my bedroom to have a little time alone (read I was about to throw up from the pain, and I don't want anyone within a mile of me when I feel sick). While I was upstairs, my mom and Arthur decided to call my doctor. He said I needed to be brought back to L&D. So I got Abigail into her PJs, a bottle of expressed milk ready, and hopped in Mom's car to be whisked away to the hospital. Everyone figured I'd be back later that night.

We got there, it was cold and dark and a Tuesday, just like when we went with Caroline. I sat in the same stupid chair to get checked in.  When we got up to L&D, I was walked back to triage.  I hadn't been back in that room since that terrible night.  As the door opened, I felt like I was going to pass out. I wasn't sure if it was the pain or just being back there.  I tried to hold myself together, and did okay until I was told to take the same bed.  There were 3 in the room.  A 1 in 3 chance of being placed in the same one...and I broke down. I told the nurse that I just couldn't lay in that bed, and shared why.  Ugh. 

Once I got situated, the nurse set about examining me.  She asked questions about how I was feeling and lots of, "Do you have pain here? Or here?"  She checked my temperature and my blood pressure.  When the automatic cuff reached the end of its cycle, I heard the little alarm go off, signaling that there was a problem.  I figured it was just a problem with the cuff.  Nope.  My blood pressure was high, but no one told me.  The nurse started really checking my reflexes.  She was hitting my knees and moving my arms.  She hit the button on the blood pressure machine again, telling it to take another reading immediately, and kept checking my reflexes.  I was annoyed.  I was there because my headache was too bad to hold my head up.  Quit making me kick and give me some pain medicine!  Seriously.  My mom is a nurse and I could tell that she was starting to get pretty uncomfortable, but I was in too much pain to really care.  The nurse, who was a total sweetheart, left to call my doctor and update him.

Apparently, my blood pressure was around 190/99, and my reflexes were troublesome too.  And still, all I was concerned about was the pain!  Mostly because I didn't understand what else was going on.  The nurse came back and told me that I was being admitted, and I was going to be getting morphine to help with the pain.  I couldn't believe I was being admitted.  The only hospital stays I'd ever had were to have my girls!  I was shocked that they believed I was sick enough to be hospitalized!  I still thought this was a migraine!

After a delirious night and morning of medication and pain, I had a CT, an ultrasound, and an MRI.  There were blood tests done and more needles and shots than I can count.  Once the pain was managed, I began to feel at least some better.  My blood pressure came back down to a normal level and the pain in my side went away.  I was in the hospital from Tuesday night to Friday late afternoon.  Thankfully, Abigail was able to come and stay with me, so I was able to continue to nurse her.  

All the tests came back normal and my blood pressure returned to normal (even my low normal), I was given a clean bill of health.  The crisis is over and I'm so thankful.  That was no fun, no fun at all.


  1. How crazy! I had no idea that all that could even happen! So thankful that you are well again!


  2. I'm so glad that is all behind you. How scary and unpleasant to have to go BACK to the hospital. Ugh.

  3. Agh. That all sounds so rough.

    I did know you can develop Pre-E after birth, as a couple of my local friends have been dealt those cards. I'm so sorry you were as well.

    To be back in that triage room. My stomach went all jiggly (inside, not outside like it normally is. hah) when I read that, because it brought me back to both of my experiences in triage with my boys. I really, really want those rooms to disappear. Worst PTSD trigger ever.

    SO happy you are all better and fixed. Such a scary experience.

  4. I had no idea that you could get pp Pre-e, especially since I had read that the only sure cure for Pre-E is delivery... So, you know, that makes no sense.

    I'm glad they were able to figure it out and that you are feeling better.

    I'm sorry you were being taken to the same room- that must have been traumatic for you. In addition to already feeling sick, then it's the triggers, too. Ugh. :(

  5. How awful! I hope things are getting better and you are able to recover more now that you are home. xoxo