A Mom Shares: My Struggle With Preeclampsia

Photo: Matthew Richmond Photo: Matthew Richmond

I never thought I’d have anything in common with Kim Kardashian except the fact that we’re both brunettes. But in the wake of the news of her possible preeclampsia, I cannot help but feel a connection to her. I also suffered from this scary and serious condition with the birth of my older son, Cooper.

My pregnancy was uneventful and, dare I say, pleasant, for the first couple of trimesters. That’s why I was caught off-guard at my 32-week doctor visit when, after checking my vitals, my OB looked concerned and prescribed modified bed rest — starting immediately — and wrote me an Rx for a growth sonogram at a nearby hospital, also immediately.  She told me to get a blood pressure cuff and check myself daily and that I’d need to come for urine tests and growth sonograms every week. I was at risk for preeclampsia… but I looked and felt fine, so, excuse me… what?!

Fast forward to 36 weeks. I still had none of the typical physical symptoms of preeclampsia, but I did get a blood pressure reading of 160/110 (the “danger zone”), which was the signal to call my doctor right away.  She said my last urine test was also not good and that I needed to admit myself to the hospital as quickly as possible. I hadn’t packed ANYTHING and my husband was at work. But when your doctor gives you instructions like that, you just gotta do it!

My doctor originally planned to keep me on closely-monitored bed rest at the hospital until I reached 37 weeks, at which point they would deliver the baby, but, my body had other plans. The latest sonogram showed that the baby was not thriving and that growth had stopped. My placenta had basically stopped working and was no longer providing the baby any nutrients. The only way to “cure” precclampsia is by giving birth, so, my doctor informed me we would be doing a C-section, right now. (Did I mention he was also breech?!)

Even though they were expecting him to be well under 5 pounds, Cooper was born at a tiny but healthy 5 lb., 2 oz., narrowly avoiding NICU time! The 24 hours after his birth were extremely difficult for me, as I was medicated with a magnesium sulfate IV to prevent heart attack and stroke (which women with preeclampsia have an increased risk for after birth). I will never forget how miserable it was.

I do hope that Kim and baby are doing well, and, if she did have preeclampsia, that she’ll use her fame to bring much-needed attention to this condition. Nobody knows why preeclampsia happens and there is nothing that can prevent or cure it.  Moms — never, ever, miss your prenatal appointments! I am so thankful that my own doctor caught this early and reacted so quickly.

Did you have preeclampsia? How did you find out?

Plus, more from The Bump:

What Is Preeclampsia?

Pregnancy Conditions and Symptoms

Your Pregnancy: Week-by-Week