Erin’s Story: Pregnancy and Preeclampsia – Erin Elliott
Six months ago was World Preeclampsia Day. Today we have a patient that wanted to share her story and testimonial:
My husband and I learned we were pregnant with twins on my 30th birthday after our 4th frozen embryo transfer. I had an incredible pregnancy. I felt great, I was fit and healthy and so ready to bring these babies into our lives.
On May 1, 2018 at 33 + 6, I noticed some swelling in my legs. I called the clinic and talked with Dr. Schurr, she said I was probably dehydrated and should elevate my legs, drink lots of water and come in for my regular 34-week checkup the next day. I woke up feeling OK. It’s so strange, I remember everything about that day…I remember texts I sent, work emails and conversations, phone calls, streets signs, I remember the faces of people I saw before my appointment. When I got back to the room, the nurse said my BP was elevated a bit and she was going to check again. She took it again and quietly left the room.
A few minutes later, Dr. Melius was in the room talking to me about how my BP was elevated, and we’d probably be having babies that day. I started to panic.
I knew Preeclampsia was a possibility, especially for a first time, twin pregnancy but I never thought it would happen to me.
Dr. Melius made the decision to call me an ambulance to the hospital, which was a ride I’ll never forget. I can still hear all the beeps and feel the BP cuff tightening, pausing, tightening and pausing…I remember a radio call to the hospital asking if they could start magnesium because they ‘thought I was going to seize’, I remember telling the EMT how scared I was and asking him if they could get the babies out before they lost me. All I cared about was the babies.
Dr. Melius followed the ambulance in his car and was right there when I got to triage along with my terrified husand. Dr. Cardwell was on call that day and came in to help assist Dr. Melius with the c section.
My twin girls were born via emergency c-section within 2 hours of arriving at the hospital. My Blood Pressure had gotten up to 235/160 at one point. The girls were taken to the NICU and I was immediately put on Magnesium. I had absolutely no idea what was happening. I didn’t get to meet my babies until the next day. After years and years of trying to become a mom, I had spent the last 34 weeks dreaming of the day someone would place those sweet babies on my chest.
This experience was robbed of me because of Preeclampsia.
After 3 days, my BP spiked again. I was put back on Mag and wasn’t allowed to see my girls for another 24 hours. Someone may as well have cut my heart right out of my chest. I remember lying in my hospital bed balling. Dr. Schurr was so calm and came over and sat on my bed, held my hand and told me if I wanted to be around to see my kids grow up, we had to do this. That really hit home.
I don’t know if I can describe the feelings that I was having but I remember going back to bed and just feeling like a failure. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get my BP down, I didn’t have control and my body was failing me.
After 9 nights, I was discharged from the hospital. My beautiful baby girls, Elyse and Blake were discharged from the NICU about a week later. I stayed on medication and was monitored for roughly 6-8 weeks before weaning off my meds. I had a blood pressure cuff in my car, my house and my diaper bag. I kept track every 3 hours and reported the results to my doctors who were continuing to monitor me very closely.
I owe my life and my children’s lives to my INCREDIBLE OBGYN Team. I came to Physicians for Women because it was a small practice where there was 1 of 3 doctors always on call. I saw 1 of them everyday (sometimes multiple times a day) while I was inpatient. They discussed my care plan every single night with each other and asked my nurses to call them whenever something changed with me. Dr. Melius’ decision to send me via ambulance saved my life. He stayed calm and continued to crack jokes even though, after the fact, he told me he was scared to death for our safety. I am eternally grateful to this group of people. I was so impressed by the way that all three of them worked together and made sure the babies and I were safe.
We need to find a cure for preeclampsia. For me and my children and for the other 1 in 12 woman who have stories just like this.
It was truly a perfect pregnancy…until it wasn’t.