Preeclampsia affects up to 6% of pregnancies in the UK. The exact cause of preeclampsia is not known, and there is no cure. It is a major factor in premature births because delivering the baby is the only ‘cure.’*
- How and when did you find out that you had preeclampsia?
I had a routine check-up with the doctor, and they noticed that I had high blood pressure and was carrying fluid. I was around five months pregnant, and they said, “We will keep a close eye on it.” A few weeks later, I went in for my 32-week check, and my blood pressure was quite high. The doctor recommended complete bed rest, so I was admitted to the hospital at 32 weeks. I did not realise how serious it was because I felt completely fine. So, I had to rest completely in the hospital for three weeks.
My urine was tested regularly for protein (high protein levels in urine are another symptom). I had to write down all the fluid that I drank and all the fluid that I passed on a chart to see how much fluid I was gathering. Whenever they tested the protein levels at 35 weeks, they showed up as very high and very high in protein, so I was immediately taken into surgery for an emergency C-section.
- How did you feel mentally and emotionally?
I was scared because I did not know what would happen; it was a learning curve. It was very emotional because I was in the ward, where other mothers had their babies, and I only had a photograph after my daughter was born. I did not meet or hold her until the next day, which was incredibly difficult.
- What does the phrase ‘both lives matter’ mean to you?
The phrase ‘both lives matter’ became real when I was pregnant with my daughter. The medical staff were incredible, and they did everything they could to ensure that both of us were safe and cared for – both pre & post-birth. From the start, I always viewed her as a human being. A mum and baby may have different needs, but all of those needs are valid and should be given the same care and attention.
- What advice would you give to a mum in a similar situation?
Listen to the healthcare professionals. If they tell you to rest, rest. There is a reason why they are saying it. Childbirth may happen every day worldwide, but that does not mean that your story, pain or recovery is insignificant. Everyone heals at different rates – do not push yourself, especially during the first few weeks. Everyone initially feels overwhelmed, and asking for help is not a sign of weakness – do not be afraid to ask for help.