Amanda’s Story

Oh, where to begin!  This is a story that I hold dear to my heart and also scares me at the same time.  The day my first child is born is also the day I almost died.  But God spared our lives and gave us a story to tell.

I was having a wonderful pregnancy, normal morning sickness in the 1st trimester and feeling great throughout the 2nd.  The 3rd trimester came with swelling, but nothing that seemed unusual.  4th of July weekend we were boxing up our home in the process of moving to another city two hours away.  We had over two months until we expected our baby boy to arrive and were planning on staying with my parents for a short time as we closed on our new home.  It was a stressful time but nothing that we couldn’t handle.  My husband Matt was commuting the two hours but again we knew that would be only for a short season.

Three days after moving in with my parents my doctor diagnosed me with preeclampsia.  She debated about sending me home to strict bedrest or sending me to the hospital.  I was shocked as I felt perfectly fine (other than the annoying swelling).  The doctor sent me home.  One full day on bedrest and I was miserable and extremely uncomfortable!  How was I going to go through 9 weeks of this?  The next night I woke up at midnight, my body was shaking and I felt cold.  Matt cuddled up to me, trying to keep me warm and stop the shaking.  After a little while it began to alarm us.  He placed a call into the doctor as I got up to throw-up.  They told us to go to the hospital.  On the way, I felt just fine.  The idea was even mentioned to go back home, but God gave us the discernment to keep going.

Once we arrived, I was hooked up to a monitor… blood pressure was still high, baby looked good.  They drew my blood and we were just waiting for the results.  The doctor on call happened to be there and he came in with the results.  I must say that Dr Brown has the most kind spirit and reassuring nature.  He told us that we were going to have an emergency c-section.  I was going to be put completely under, my husband was not allowed in the room, and most importantly that myself and the baby were going to be ok.  SHOCKED and BAFFLED!  I felt fine.  What was he talking about?  Within minutes I was being wheeled away, with Matt following close behind. 

I had HELLP Syndrome.  My platelets where extremely low, my liver enzymes where high, my blood pressure was high.  They were afraid of complications, so Matt couldn’t be there for the delivery.  I would see him again in recovery.  I would meet my baby after I woke up.  I remember praying, “God please let me wake up and may our son be ok.”

Briefly I woke up in recovery.  Nurses were talking to me.  I don’t know what about.  I tried to push my morphine button, not understanding that it only works every 8 minutes, not every 8 seconds.  I drifted back to sleep as I was wheeled out of the room.  Once again I woke up as we went through the doors of the NICU.  I pushed myself to lean up, the feeling of nausea came over me but I continued to lean.  I reached out with one figure and touched the smallest baby I had ever seen.  Levi was laying on a warming table, with tubes and wires running everywhere.  Gently I touched him.  And then they wheeled me away.  It was the early morning hours of Friday, July 10th.  I wouldn’t get to see him again until Sunday.

Over the next two days, I was closely monitored.  Nothing was changing.  The cure is to deliver the baby and yet my blood pressure was still high, my platelets were still low, and my liver enzymes were not where they should be.  The swelling was throughout my whole body.  Ten days after delivery I had lost 25 lbs of just fluid!  When the anesthesia wore off and I finally came to, I realized that something was really wrong with my eyes.  Blurred vision even with my glasses on, very sensitive to light, and colors just weren’t right.  It would take a few weeks for the swelling in my retinas to go down, but I will live with very mild distortion due to permanent damage in my eyes.  The doctor debated about putting me in ICU, but fortunately a couple of days later my platelet count began to rise.  The nurses where not happy with my blood pressure but we convinced them to let me go to the NICU to see Levi.  Five days after delivery, I was well enough to go home.  Levi would remain in the hospital for five weeks, but that is another story to tell.

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” Psalm 23:4

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8 thoughts on “Amanda’s Story

  1. Lyndsey says:

    Amanda, I get choked up everytime I hear this story. Thank God that He was watching over you and Levi (and Matt) during this process. Thank you for telling your story!!!

  2. Pam Schwarzlose says:

    I, too, had pre-eclampsia and HELLP with my first pregnancy. Josh had a 17 day NICU stay. I had 3 VBAC pre/HELLP free. My last, I developd it again after 13 years. Jaden had a 25 day in NICU. What a blessing God gives! I never doubted in my mind that Josh would be the one and only. I had a transfusion of platelets with Josh. With Jaden, his APGAR scores were 2-4-7. We were very lucky both times! Loved reading your posts!

    • Wow, thank you for sharing your own story! It is great to hear of someone else who went through other pregnancies successfully but also had HELLPs again and made it through it a second time. I am sure this will give hope to other women who live in fear of HELLP syndrome. May God bless you and your children!

  3. Annie says:

    So glad to find this blog post! Just had the shock of preeclampsia with my second baby after a normal pregnancy the first time. It was a very scary experience and a week later after a sudden induction I’m still dealing with the anxiety of the ordeal and worry about what might still happen. I can see God’s hand in all that happened but your story really helps me to continue to trust him even more.

    • Annie, I’m glad that you can find hope in my story. I had my moments of struggle and fear, but overall I have always tried to focus on everything that went right at my son’s birth. He is such a blessing to our family and I’m sure you feel the same way about your children. Focus on God and notice the blessing through your experience. It will definitely help lessen the fear and anxiety. May God bless your family!

  4. Samantha says:

    Hi Amanda, I just delivered my twins 4 weeks ago today at 21 weeks. My baby boy and girl did not make it. I had a very early onset of preeclampsia and severe. They were talking the whole time about the possibilities of me having seizure or stroke and I knew it wasn’t good. I also had a little scare with my kidneys. Initially it is so extremely scary to consider another pregnancy, let alone more. I have a dilemma unlike you had or most people would ever have. My husband and I had IVF and we have 15 embryos frozen! We had no idea that in these times there were diseases that could take the life of a mother and babies in childbirth, yet it seems preeclampsia is actually common if you read online just how many women have had it. So we were very naive in allowing 15 embryos to be created. They likely do not all implant so we didn’t anticipate we would have 15 babies from 15 embryos! But we thought we could have several children. I started the whole process at 38 years old. Now I am 39 and have just lost my twins. I am very concerned for our future. I am a Christian like you, and I pray that soon the Lord would give us hope and understanding of what we should do. The fears of preeclampsia are very high especially with not only one pregnancy. I wish I could go back and do things differently. We were getting older, it was taking awhile to get pregnant each time we did, and with each natural conception that finally happened I then had 2 miscarriages before this pregnancy. So for that reson we were trying to preserve my fertility thru IVF but it is now looking back a careless and unwise decision. I just read your experiences trying to imagine me having the faith in God that I will need to go forward with one pregnancy let alone more. Prayers are so appreciated.

    • Samantha, I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I had words to say to bring you comfort and give you guidance but the only thing that comes to mind is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” I will definitely be praying for you and your husband.

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