#stillborn - Skye's story of pre-eclampsia
Published on: 25/01/2016
We married in 2008 and decided if children happened then they did, we weren’t actively trying but on 15 February 2009 discovered we were expecting our first child on 21 October 2009.
I didn’t have a very easy pregnancy to say the least. I always seemed to be back and forth to the hospital as I was quite sickly and had a lot of headaches. I was even still being sick at 20 weeks or more. As I had a history of migraines and my urine was OK, I was told it was probably my migraines again. Though prior to pregnancy I hadn’t had any for a while but as this was my first pregnancy I knew no different and accepted the diagnosis. Oh every day I now wish I hadn’t!!
At my 31 week midwife appointment, I told the midwife that the movement wasn’t as strong and felt more like a slide than a kick. She said that my baby was just getting bigger and there was no space. I remember that I measured 1cm less than I should on the height but was assured that this was fine and not within guidance to scan me.
Still at more than 30 weeks I was being sick but thought this was normal due to what I’d been told before. Then at just over 33 weeks I was unwell at work and on my way home and crashed the car. I to this day don’t know what I hit and can. Only assume I blacked out for a moment. I rang the maternity unit and as I have a negative blood group they wanted me to be checked over. Looking back this probably contributed to saving my life.
After a 2 hour wait we were seen. I remember the midwife telling me the equipment must be faulty and getting a consultant and another machine. He came in with the screen away from my husband a and confirmed the worst. Our baby had died. In that room in those few seconds, I’d failed, my body couldn’t do what it wax supposed to. Our world fell apart and I vividly remember my husband telling his mum “the baby is dead”.
The hospital said if I wanted sleeping pills then I’d have to stay or I could go home and then be induced. We opted to stay and went in to the bereavement suite, held each other tight and anticipated the silent arrival of our baby.
The following day my blood pressure kept rising and I had a headache. I was too poorly to stay in the bereavement suite and was moved to another room. Eventually I also had protein in my urine and had pre eclampsia. I remember the midwife needing more help and saying to my husband ” if she starts to fit hit the emergency button “. I got more and more poorly and at one point my blood pressure was 247 systolic when it should be 120. They even asked if I could still hear them but assured my family it was best for me to give birth as oppose to a c section. I don’t think I have e very vomited so much in my life and haven’t since. The bereavement suite became a relatives room for our families as my parents live 40 miles away and they all took it in turns to stay with me.
I was stabilised and looked after by 2 midwives and induced by injection on Sunday 6th September. I remember the kind lead midwife giving me a wash and putting talc on me to try and freshen me up, even though they weren’t supposed to have it.
I gave birth to Skye with my husband, mum and mother in law in the room. She was perfect but weighed just 2lb 14oz and it turned out that she had IUGR along with the pre eclampsia. I spent another 5 days in hospital, recovering from the condition which had tragically taken our daughter and got close to leaving my husband without a wife and the rest of my family without a sister, daughter, granddaughter and auntie.
We consented to Skye having a post mortem. There was nothing genetic and the pre eclampsia would have taken about 6 weeks to do what it did and I was told that if someone had read my notes in full on my visits then it may have been different. It would have also been useful to have consultant care in the first place as there is high blood pressure in my family and my sister had mild pre eclampsia post birth. This of course was all said with hindsight and wouldn’t give us our little girl.
We went on to become pregnant again in February 2010, the due dates were just a year and a week different. This time I was monitored very closely and had a straightforward pregnancy but tainted with fear of what could happen. I had regular scans and blood tests throughout and Olivia was born at 37 weeks in October 2010 on her great Nan’s birthday!
Then a surprise in August 2012 meant we were pregnant for the third time. The consultant wasn’t concerned as Olivia had been straight forward and had me seen in the community as if I was having my first baby so I’d have extra appointments. I was really sick again and something didn’t feel right. I went to triage at 24 weeks with reduced movement but was reassured my boy was OK. At the 20 Week scan we’d been told even though we’d said we didn’t want to know!!
At 28 weeks I had a midwife appointment at the GP and my blood pressure was high. They sent me to be monitored and I was then asked to come back the next day which of course I did and we thought I’d just need blood pressure medication.
I was checked again the next day and it was even higher but no protein in my urine the day before. I advised them that I didn’t have protein until it was too late with Skye and the doctor listened. They sent me to scan and to do a sample. The sample showed protein and the s can showed my boy wasn’t growing and was the size of a 24 week gestation baby so pre eclampsia and growth restriction had struck again.
The consultant was called and advised he needed to be delivered but hoped to wait as !lo g as they could. By the early hours of the 31st January we were in theatre having a baby delivered who wasn’t due until 20th April. Callum was whisked past us in an incubator to NICU weighing just 1lb 10oz. I didn’t get to see him until later that day but it made us both think what could have been done for Skye who was bigger at a later gestation if they’d have listened to me and got to her in time.
Callum had a rocky road in NICU and spent 66 days in hospital, coming home 2 weeks before his due date a d is a happy healthy 3 (well nearly 3) year old.
I wonder all the time what Skye would be like with her brother and sister and how she’d be. I also feel that she was looking out for Callum and saved him. It would seem I was always going to lose a baby but hopefully in the future the statistics will get better and nobody will suffer this lifelong grief wondering what I could have done differently.
My advice would be if your instinct says something isn’t right then trust it. If you aren’t happy with the answers or responses then challenge it. I certainly wish I had done and maybe I’d have all 3 of my children.