High blood pressure.
Protein in urine.
All these classic symptoms of preeclampsia popped up during the third trimester of my first pregnancy.
The last doctor visit before I gave birth, my blood pressure was so high that I was told to lay on my left side. The doctor returned and my membranes were broken. I went home unsure of what the future would hold, but the plan was to encourage the birth of my baby in order to save the health of us both. After reviewing the results of my 24 hour urine collection, the doctor called to tell me it was time to bring our baby into the world. I checked in to the hospital the following evening so that the induction process could begin.
The nurse wrapped the sides of my bedrails with padding. “Just in case you have a seizure,” she told me while keeping a calm demeanor.
The following evening at 6:47 PM, my healthy baby boy was born. He was just a couple days into his 37th week of gestation. I know not all mothers diagnosed with preeclampsia are as lucky.
The idea of becoming pregnant after preeclampsia is scary. It is possible to have future pregnancies free of preeclampsia. I am blessed to say that I am proof of that. Here are some ways I have been able to deal with the fear of the unknown:
Connect With a Mom Who Has Been There
I have a couple girlfriends with this shared experience. These are the people who truly understand what a triumph it is to leave a doctor visit having passed all the tests.
Follow Doctor’s Orders
With my second and now third pregnancy, my doctor recommended taking a baby Aspirin a day, starting at 14 weeks. This method has proven to be successful for me. When my blood pressure started spiking again in my second pregnancy, she had me go on modified best rest as a preventative measure.
Help Find a Cure
The University of Iowa is paving the way towards finding a cure for mothers suffering from preeclampsia. I was able to donate blood early on in my third pregnancy in order to assist in their research due to my previous history.
Diet and Hydration
I avoid foods high in sodium and drink LOTS of water.
I have a blood pressure cuff at home so I can check it when I am worried. I check my hands, feet, and ankles for signs of any sudden swelling.
This advice is easier said than done. When I was on bed rest, my methods included aromatherapy candles and lotions. Pandora relaxation music before bed combined with meditation helped also. Journal, read a book, or indulge in a bubble bath.
I am just weeks away from having my third child. Yes, I am fearful. However, I am hopeful due to the success of my second pregnancy. My wish for all mothers is that they can find peace despite a previous or current diagnosis.
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