Caution up ahead: Signs to watch for HELLP Syndrome

Today I had a great doctor’s appointment and the path I’m on is looking very positive.  But I thought that I would write down the warning signs my doctor reminded me of as I am closely monitored for HELLPs.  Here is the list of things she asked me to watch for:

1.  Edema – any kind of swelling.  It has been so hot lately and my body has really been feeling it.  Lately I have had occasional swelling in my hands where my rings feel tight, but with plenty of water and rest it goes away easily.  Fortunately I haven’t had any regular swelling in my hands or feet and the rest of my body looks good.  Well at least in the swelling category. 🙂

2.  High Blood Pressure – I am monitoring my BP daily and am producing great results.  At my appointment today, my BP was 90/58!!  Usually it is a bit higher in the doctor’s office, but today I felt calm, positive, and excited to have another ultrasound.

3.  Headaches – For the past month or so, I’ve been having more frequent headaches than usual.  But with rest, Tylenol, and a little food, they have been going away.  It’s when they continue on after a nap and Tylenol is when I should be concerned.  Something I’ve been closely paying attention to and taking good care of myself if they come up.  Thankfully I have help from family if I need my noisey toddler to be distracted from Mama.

4.  Upper right abdominal pain – This is where the liver is located.  I didn’t have this pain when I had HELLPs, but I’ve been warned to watch for it.  Recently I have experienced upper left pain, but that was just my baby boy kicking me in the ribs.  He is definitely looking for more room to stretch out.

5.  Visual Disturbances – I had a lot of vision problems due to swelling in my retinas after Levi was delivered.  It was not an early sign of HELLPs for me the last time, but having struggled with healing for a year after his birth with visual distortion, I am definitely cautious in this area. 

6.  Nausea and Vomiting – This is part of what sent me to the hospital the night that Levi was born.  I also had uncontrollable shaking.  I won’t hesitate to go straight to Labor and Delivery Triage at the hospital if this happens again.

This list is a good reminder of what to look for, but the list is not meant to cause me any fear or worry as if I am waiting for them to happen.  My life and the baby’s life are in God’s hands.  He saw us through the worst before and I trust that He will see us through anything that comes our way.  Fortunately the path right now is looking good.

The best part of my appointment today was seeing the baby again.  I’ve never been this big and this pregnant before, so the ultrasound was very interesting.  Apparently as the baby gets bigger, ultrasounds become less clear and harder to read.  But my doctor was concerned with my size and wanted to get a measurement on the baby.  He is weighing in at roughly 4lbs 14 oz!  BIG BOY!! Levi was born at almost this same gestational age and he was only 3lbs 2oz and when he came home for the hospital 5 weeks later, he was just under 5lbs.  Hard to imagine this baby is already so much bigger.  My belly is now measuring at 34 weeks, so I am just going to be HUGE!  If the baby continues at this rate, my doctor said that she may recommend a c-section after we reach full term.  I’d love to do a VBAC but knowing what my mom went through getting my 10lbs brother out (and me at 8lbs 5 oz), the c-section sounds like it could be a good idea.  We’ll just have to wait and see, but so happy that I won’t have such an itty bitty baby this time around.

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3 thoughts on “Caution up ahead: Signs to watch for HELLP Syndrome

  1. Amanda,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I just found you online a few days ago, and I have read through everything. I had HELLP with our son in March 2009, and we are now seriously considering having another child. It is great to see how well you are doing and how you cope with what God throws your way. Hope all continues to go well!

    Becky

    • Thank you Becky! I know that God doesn’t give us any more than what we can handle, and I have grown so much because of the trials I have faced in life. Having another child after HELLPs is definitely a step of faith, but I am appreciating how I am continuing to learn to rely on Him for everything. Keep in mind Proverbs 3:6 as you make your decision to have another child. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Wishing you all the best!! Amanda

  2. mammone says:

    im tearing up as im reading dis. Im 27yrs old & just delivered a stillborn due to severe pre-eclamsia & hellp. I miss my boy so much. I really hope i get the strenght cause im not bitter or angry with god. I just pray he blesses me wth a baby again. Thnks for your story, im praying for you & your family. Stay blessed.

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