As I continue to learn about preeclampsia, more questions emerge than are answered. Not even the symptoms of it are consistent, which is frustrating, because it is the only preventative measure we have right now. Both the symptoms, and the stage of pregnancy at which they appear, are not the same for every woman, making it difficult to know when to be concerned. Preeclampsia.org lists some common symptoms, as well as those that are much less talked about, but are still very common. https://www.preeclampsia.org/health-information/sign-symptoms
Below were the preeclampsia warning signs I experienced, as well as those I have attributed to it, due to hindsight. I would love your input on anything I've said here! I'd also love to hear about the symptoms you've experienced and your theories behind your particular situation.
Interestingly, I continue to have these vision changes even now, one month after delivery, but they are much less frequent. Unfortunately, many doctors believe that only dark spots seen in the vision, or blurred vision, are a true sign of preeclampsia, and this is false; the type of visual disturbance experienced is not the same for every woman. As for my particular vision issue, its frequency has had no consistent pattern that I can identify, except I have noticed that there are more specks visible when I am looking toward a sunlit area (such as a window on a sunny day), or when I look down at a sharp angle (particularly when I'm in the shower, shaving my armpits). Here are three possible explanations for visual disturbances:
**A little note about inflammation: it has become increasingly clear that inflammation plays a big role in the development of preeclampsia (really, it is involved in many diseases, particularly those related to cardiovascular disease, because it's the body's first line of defense), but the cause of it in preeclamptic pregnancies isn't known.
Another reason why I didn't want to take the meds (I was on Amlodipine, and then Labetalol) was because they are Category C pregnancy drugs, which scared me. From studies I read, the risk of birth defects posed by untreated, chronic hypertension is just as high that of these drugs! So I figured that I'd forego the drug-induced problems and take a chance with my, otherwise reliable, body. Little did I know how unreliable it actually is! Also, what I did not know is that the major issue posed by high blood pressure in pregnancy is not the risk of birth defects. Rather, it's the risk of starving my child in-utero (which happened), due to lack of adequate blood flow, and preeclampsia/HELLP.
Anyway, by the second trimester, my average blood pressure was back to baseline, at which point I began taking the medication again. Unfortunately, however, I wasn't taking it consistently, because this was also when I was in the throes of the worst of my mental health issue
I wish I would have fired my doctor. I had the upper right quadrant pain for months, I would get winded and feel like I was going to stroke out at the grocery store, my legs and feet were extremely swollen. I kept saying this isn't right. I kept getting answers like well your urine is fine and you are pregnant thru the summer what did you expect. I had super severe migraines that wouldn't go away even with er visits. I started trying to go into preterm labor at 33 weeks. I ended up delivering at 36+1 and she had 2 birth defects we knew nothing about. NICU for 38 days, I was rehospitalized for severe pre-eclampsia, she made it through the 2 surgeries and is doing ok.
But, I feel ya girl (I know I couldn't possibly know your loss or pain but I'm down in the trenches trying to get back to me and seriously asking myself if I ever want to try again). I wanted to sue my *** doctor but "I suffered no injury or permanent loss" so I don't have a case. What kind of f*d up world is that. I'm 9 months postpartum and I'm just now starting to feel like myself and that's with a 7 months of counseling and a psychiatrist.
Anyways... I'm here. I made it and maybe that was so I would randomly find this and say hey you aren't alone.
Welcome to Share Brittany. I am deeply sorry to read about the loss of your daughter Brynn. I love her name. I hope that you and your husband are continuing to lean on each other. I am an angel mom to a baby boy. I can't believe it's been over 11 years and counting. I had preeclampsia as well. I knew symptoms, but unfortunately, this new OB I was transferred to was totally unfamiliar with me. She ignored my concerns and well, I found my way to this site. It's been super helpful in my own healing and I hope that it's offering you support as well. More research needs to be done for sure. Thank you for posting this and thank you to both you and your husband for your service to this country and for keeping us safe!
Hugs to you both,
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