About

July 10, 2009, our son was born at 31 weeks weighing 3lbs 2oz and 16in long.  I was diagnosed with preeclampsia 2 days before which quickly escalated to HELLP Syndrome.  By God’s grace, we are all healthy and blessed with a 2nd pregnancy.  This is my journal of Hope as the future is unknown and the risks are high.

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13 thoughts on “About

  1. Sarah P. says:

    Hello! My name is Sarah and I’m from Iowa. I just discovered your blog today through a comment you had left on a message board about preeclampsia. I am so thrilled I’ve found you! Here’s a little about my story…
    I am married to my husband Kris. We have a daughter, Sophia, who was born on July 25, 2008. She is a healthy and energetic toddler. I had developed preeclampsia during my pregnancy very early on, I say at about 5 months. I was sent to a high-risk doctor on a Monday and he IMMEDIATELY put me on hospital bedrest. Sophia was born the following Friday of that week at 29.1 weeks. She weighed 1 lb. 11 oz. and was 12 inches long. She stayed in the NICU for 2 months and managed to have a “minimal” eventful stay there, as compared to a lot of other preemies born that premature. There isn’t a day that goes by that my husband and I don’t feel extremely blessed to have her in our lives! I ended up having an emergency c-section (Sophia’s heart rate dropped and stopped breathing during our daily routine ultrasound that morning) and was put completely under (my choice). I was in recovery for 12 hours that day and saw Sophia that night briefly. I was so drugged up that I really don’t remember actually seeing her until Sunday night. I was released from the hospital on Monday. My symptoms almost immediately went away after Sophia was born. I had lost a ton of water weight, too!
    I am so glad I found you because you give me hope! My husband and I are thinking about trying for another baby later on this year. I don’t know anyone that has gone through a similar “high-risk” pregnancy and is wanting to have another baby. I am totally rooting for you 100%! I am hopeful for you and hopeful for my future pregnancy as well. God Bless You Indeed!!
    Sarah P.
    P.S. Isn’t this “blog world” so weird and interesting? I have no idea who you are and I just poured my story out to you! LOL It just goes to show that there are good people out there!

    • Thanks Sarah for sharing your story as well. I am so glad that your daughter is doing well… under 2lbs is even hard for me to imagine! It is nice to find others with similar stories and to know that I am not alone in what I went through. I think that is why it is so easy to share with strangers. It is definitely challenging being pregnant again and knowing the possibilites of what can happen, but seeing how Levi is such a miracle and blessing, how could I not want another one. Feel free to keep me updated if you decide to get pregnant again. I’d love to hear how you are doing. BTW, I live in Flordia but was born in Iowa and have family scattered throughout the state. I LOVE Iowa!
      God bless,
      Amanda

  2. Kelly Burlinski says:

    Hello,
    I am glad to see you and your family are doing so well. I Had Preeclampsia and HELLP with both of my daughters as well. With my first child, I was able to go until 39 weeks. Due to medical negligence, my daughter was born at 29 weeks, weighing in a 2 lbs, 1oz. She spent 60 days in the NICU, but now at one she is all caught up! Thank you for sharing your story. God Bless your and your family!
    Kelly

    • Marcoe says:

      Hello,
      my wife and I are looking everywhere for something that would help us to decide if risking another pregnancy after she had HELLP two years ago when our daughter Elisa was born.
      (We’re from Italy and I’m writing cause she doesn’t speak English).

      On one side we are so scared of risking her health, but on the other side the idea of not giving Elisa a sibling is so sad. This decision is actually driving us crazy.

      We saw 3 different OBs and they were really optimistic, but what we have read on internet doesn’t justify this easyness, given that recurrency rates are 40% for PE and about 15% for HELLP.
      Maybe the best thing we were said by them is that in case of recurrency it’s not possible that it happens to be more serious than first time, and it’s not possible that it comes earlier.
      Since my wife got it at 36 weeks, this gave us hope, cause at least baby wouldn’t be risking.
      So we are surprised to read above that Kelly had first time at 39 weeks, and second time at 29 weeks. Even the fact that she had HELLP both times is not encouraging.

      Thanks anyway for sharing your experience.
      Marco

      • Marco,
        Thank you for sharing your concerns. I completely understand how difficult this decision can be. My husband and I felt the exact same way of fearing for my health but sad over our son not having a sibling. We were also encouraged by talking with doctors but read discouraging stories on the internet. Ultimately we took our decision to God in prayer and asked Him to make it for us. He gave us a peace in our hearts and broke down our walls of fear. Having this peace, we knew that we could go forward in having another child and no matter what the outcome, we were going to trust my life and our child’s life into God’s care. He provided us with a doctor that we trusted to do her job well and to watch me carefully. As Kelly mentioned, her second daughter was born early due to medical negligance. We also went into our second pregnancy with the awareness of the signs for preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. We were proactive in my care… taking my blood pressure daily, wathcing my weight for sudden swelling, seeing a high risk doctor, and having additional appointments. If PE or HELLP was going to happen, we were going to catch it as early as possible and we were encouraged by the odds of it happening later for better health of our child. The reason I wrote this blog and documented our journey is to offer hope and encouragement in a world of fear and negativity. I hope that you and your wife will find the answers that you are looking for and most importantly find physical and emotional healing from the trama that HELLP syndrome leaves behind. Trust in God and He will guide you on the path you are to take. I’ll keep you in my prayers as you make your decision and feel free to write an update as you follow your own journey of life after HELLP.
        Amanda

  3. Marcoe says:

    Thanks Amanda for your support, you have been really nice.
    My wife Cristina was touched when I read her your letter and her eyes were in tears.

    I was also impressed from one thing you wrote. Actually I had printed out and read all your blog before I wrote my message, and I was noticing you guys have a big faith, but I was missing something.
    It seemed to me that you were trusting in a good outcome for your second pregnancy, but I couldn’t help thinking that maybe someone who had the same faith of yours could have a bad outcome instead.
    I thought a while about it and I ended up thinking that real faith should be the acceptance of whatever should happen, and not just the hope of a good result.
    So I was impressed that you mentioned that (“no matter what the outcome”) in your message above.

    But actually this is a problem for us, and we find difficult to think that way about a risk that we are choosing to take.
    Yes, we think that Elisa would be happier with a little sister or brother, but sure if she lost her mum that would be the worst for her. So we are doubting that maybe we want to take this risk more for sellfishness than for her good.
    So, in a certain way, the doubt that going for another pregnancy would be the wrong choice prevents us to have full faith.

    Anyway we still haven’t choosen, we’ll let you know if we’ll find the courage.
    Marco

    • Marco and Cristina,
      Having faith is very challenging, especially when your own mind wants to tell you something different. I just know that my most difficult experiences in life became my greatest learning experiences and opportunities for growth. If I hadn’t gone through having HELLP syndrome and almost losing my life (as well as some other very hard times in the past), I would still be taking life for granted and wouldn’t be the woman that I am today. God has taught me to depend on Him, not to worry especially about the little things, that material things are not as important as relationships, and to use the gifts He has given me for the greater good. That is why I can say “no matter what the outcome” because I know that something good can always come out of something bad. You have definitely got me thinking about this topic of faith and once I have time to process my thoughts a little more, I will write a post on it. I’m lacking too much sleep with having a newborn and a toddler keeping me up at night to clearly write about it right now. 🙂
      God bless! Amanda

  4. Mary Beth says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I’m not sure if you’re still checking comments on here but thought I’d write just in case. I just found your blog and read the whole thing. We have three children, ages 6, 4, and 3. My first baby was born Dec. 20, 2005 at 31 weeks via emergency c-section when I developed HELLP. He was 3 lbs 3 oz and 17 inches long. 🙂 Your story sounds so familiar! The swelling, sickness at night, hospital and NICU stay, the long emotional recovery. We were in the hospital for his first Christmas. Two years later after a healthy pregnancy our sweet girl was born and 13 months!!! after that God blessed us with another healthy boy. (Both were over 9 lbs.) I’ve had 3 c-sections and am expecting my fourth next January. At this point we worry more about the risks from repeat c-sections than HELLP but it’s still always there in the back of my mind. At the beginning of every pregnancy I end up googling “HELLP”, looking for the statistics and this time I decided to look for stories of other moms, which is how I stumbled across your story. Thank you so much for sharing. I still haven’t met anyone in real life that has been through HELLPs and it felt so comforting and reassuring to read another mom’s experience that was so similar to mine. I hiope you and your sweet boys are having a wonderful summer! Many blessings to your family!
    Mary Beth

    • Mary Beth, thank you for commenting. It seems that with my two boys I don’t find the time to write on the blog anymore, but I am still around and checking for any comments (and sometimes just lingering over how far we have come!). Wishing you all of the best on your fourth pregnancy and it is so great to hear that you have had multiple HELLP-free pregnancies. I am sure that will give a lot of encouragement to other women. Take care and God bless! Amanda

  5. Autumn says:

    Amanda,

    You’re blog has truly touched my heart.
    You and I sound a lot alike.
    I delivered my daughter by an emergency c-section on Aug. 26, 2011. Hannah was born at 30 wks and was 2 lbs. 15 oz.

    I was told I had the worst case of HELLP syndrome they had ever seen.
    It took them 3 bags of platelets, a lot of magnesium sulfate, and all kinds of drugs to stabilize me. Seven hours later they felt that it was safe to operate. They told me they had bags of blood ready and waiting in case I bled out too much (totally not reassuring). I felt so mad as I saw a bouncing baby in the ultrasound right before I had the c-section. Hannah was as happy as can be in the womb and I was so devastated to find out they had to deliver her.
    No one was allowed in the room and I was completely put under. I felt so alone and afraid.

    I prayed to God to let me live to see her pretty little face. I was so terrified.
    All of the sudden a nurse in the OR came in and had everyone pray, the OBGYN, the anesthesiologist, the nurses, everyone. It was so amazing and I felt so much peace before I was put under.

    I remembered coming to and seeing Happy Birthday Hannah, 2 lbs. 15 oz. written on the board in my room and being so upset and just having the tears roll down my face. She wasn’t supposed to be here. This shouldn’t be her birthday and she should weigh more. Ultimately, I thanked the Lord that we were both alive.

    There was so much comfort from the Lord during this difficult time.
    I wasn’t allowed to see her for 2 days after she was born. A nurse saw me crying and she couldn’t take it. She wheeled my bed into the NICU, even though it was against protocol.
    I was torn to pieces and an emotional mess the whole time she was in the NICU. She stayed for 40 days and everyday I was up there. I had to go back to work during this time and that was one of the hardest things to do.
    I trusted in the Lord the whole time, but went through such a range of emotions. I didn’t understand WHY? Why God? I was very angry for a while.
    I became very drawn in and didn’t want to see anyone except for Hannah.

    I’ve worked through many, but not all of my emotions. I’ve really had to learn to trust in the Lord and know that His ways are higher. He has brought my little family through so much and I thank Him everyday for the sweet blessing of Hannah and for my recovery.

    We are planning Hannah’s 1st birthday party and we are thrilled she is so happy and healthy. What a year it has been!!

    My husband and I are thinking of trying again when Hannah turns 2. I wonder sometimes if this is selfish of me knowing what all we have been through and knowing I almost died. I know that the second pregnancy can be HELLP free and that I will be closely monitored being a High Risk pregnancy, but I am so fearful. Reading what you have written has given me a comfort and a hope. I know when the time is closer we will start seeking the Lord on whether this is His will to have another. If we feel peace about it, I know we will proceed. All you can do is trust in God!

    Blessings to you Amanda and thanks so much for your amazing blog. I am so thankful for it.

    Autumn

    • Autumn, thank you for sharing your story with me. It blesses my heart and brings me continued healing to know that our story is giving hope and encouragement to others. I am so glad to hear that you and your daughter are doing well and planning her first birthday. Enjoy every moment with her and know that God has a perfect plan for your family! Many blessings, Amanda

  6. Taelor says:

    Amanda,

    I am so touched that you have taken the time and dedication to keep a blog about a condition so rare and scary. For those of us that have personally dealt with HELLP, the hardest thing about it is not knowing any answers. I find hope and encouragement in the experiences that I see with other moms with the same condition. Let me tell you a little bit about myself:

    My name is Taelor and i’m 19 years old. I became pregnant in September of 2012 and had a relatively difficult pregnancy with hyperemesis and just a high degree of fatigue for the whole time. At 24 weeks, I went into the hospital three times in one week with right quadrant pain and no doctor could give me an answer as to why I was in so much pain. Finally, my OB caught a high blood pressure reading and realized that the protein in my urine was high. She thought that this was a result of pre-eclampsia but had me transported to a large hospital regardless. Upon arrival, my blood pressure skyrocketed, and the high risk OBGYN on call told me that I had the most severe case of HELLP he had ever seen or even heard about. After an ultrasound, the doctor learned that my baby had stopped growing and was about the size of a 21 week old infant. As a result, he knew that neither my baby nor I would make it through the ordeal and decided to induce my labor. 18 hours later, my beautiful baby boy was born sleeping. Although devastated by the experience, my health progressed in the following week and I was discharged. 6 hours later, I was back in the hospital for postpartum HELLP syndrome once again. I spent an entire month there in total, fighting for my life and grieving the loss of my little one.

    Now, a month and a half later, I have a gap in my life for what should have been. I am not scared of HELLP syndrome, nor of the chance of it reoccuring. I know that I am strong enough to fight the battle, but I do want answers. My fiance’ and I have decided to try to conceive once again in the near future. I am seeing a MFM at the end of this week. Reading your story has given me a new sense of hope and faith that I will forever be grateful for. I hope that you are doing well!

    • Thank you Taelor for taking the time to share your own story. You have been through so much but write with so much maturity and growth. We are a sum of our life experiences and I know that God will use this in creating you into the woman He wants you to be. I am glad that you have found encouragement and hope through my own story. That is why I write! And I apprecitate the reminder that I should update every now and again just to let those who may find this journal know how we are today. Take care and wishing you all the best!

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