Sunday, 12 February 2017

Early signs of pre-eclampsia?

The third trimester began about 5/6 weeks ago and since then, everything has seemed to go a little down hill....

I've been to the Maternity Triage unit at the hospital far too many times to count (but at least we're prepared for the journey when I do go into labour!). The everyday pregnancy symptoms (as I like to call them, take the morning sickness, achey back, dizziness, headaches for example) have definitely worsened. But one thing is for sure, Noah's kicking hasn't slowed down at all! He's being a good boy and telling me throughout the day that he's doing just fine in there and I need to stop being such a worrier. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you may have seen this little video of our little boy going a little mad - as he has been since around 20 weeks when I first felt him.

I thought I'd do a little update on everything health wise that has been going on for me and Noah, from extra growth scans to early signs of Pre-Eclampsia.

28-Week Growth Scan

Firstly, I had my 28-week growth scan, which was pretty awful. No, not because his weight and growth was low, but because of the horrible sonographer who make me feel like an awful mother. She told me his weight and rate of growth was too low because I was "tiny" and I should eat more chocolates and pizza. Not the best advice from a health professional. And since, I have upped my diet by a massive amount (eating every 1-2 hours), I really don't think (nor does my midwife!) it's my eating that is making his growth low.

And to add to this. When I went to see my midwife a week or so later, she said his rate of growth was absolutely fine! Albeit, yes, it is a big lower than average, but nothing for me to worry about!

So after a week of worrying and googling about what I can do, wondering if I'm really not eating enough etc etc. It was actually all fine. We were all relieved and I felt a little calmer about it all and comfortable that I was actually doing a good job growing him. But obviously, this calm outlook wasn't going to last very long....

First emergency trip to the hospital

A few days later, I came in from a long day at work and as I went to get out of the car, I had the most excruciating pain in my lower belly (which was not Braxton Hicks). I hadn't felt Noah kick for a few hours (usually he's kicking on the hour, every hour). And as I have quite a high pain threshold, my family were very worried about the pain I was experiencing.

So, we scooted off to the hospital for a check up. After finally finding our way around, they ran some tests and couldn't work out what the problem was. The pain had eventually subsided so we made our way home, had some dinner, got into bed and went into work the next day.

I was a bit confused as to why there was no diagnosis or explanation for this pain, (other than possibly being due to an infection) but I was glad that everything was okay with Noah and that I was feeling better, so I just forgot about it and moved on.

High blood pressure? 

A week or so later, came a few more trips to the Maternity Triage unit. I had experienced blurred vision and migraines in the second trimester (you'll see I talked about it in this blog post), but it has begun to get really bad these past few weeks.

It usually just comes out of nowhere. My vision will become blurred (sometimes going completely), I start to feel dizzy and lightheaded like I may pass out, I see spots and stars everywhere I look and later on, come the intense migraines. Due to the regularity and intensity of these symptoms, I am quite worried (and equally, fed up).

One particular day I was sitting at work and these symptoms started to come on. I done the usual, got some fresh air, took some time away from the computer and drank plenty of water. But nothing seemed to give. All of a sudden, my body felt completely weak and heavy. My vision had gone completely. And I felt like I wasn't really "here". I stepped outside the office and sat down for a minute. My body went into some kind of anxiety attack I think. I couldn't stop shaking and twitching. And my vision just wasn't coming back at all.

I phoned my midwife, who subsequently put me through to the Maternity Triage unit at the hospital and they asked to see me immediately.

The usual checks were completed: checked my blood pressure and temperate, checked the baby's heart rate for around 2 hours, done a blood test, had the doctor see me etc etc. And everything was fine. There was no explanation for the way I had been feeling, but the usual I need some rest. They signed me off to have a few days of rest (I managed one day of rest and worked from home for one day - which is good for me!) and I was back to feeling a little bit better. Baby was fine. I was back to feeling a bit better, apart from the migraines (and every other usual pregnancy symptom like exhaustion, aching body, Braxton Hicks etc.)

Early signs of Pre-Eclampsia?

The following week I was still stuck with these constant headaches and on and off blurry vision, but as I knew it was nothing to worry about and I had my midwives appointment coming up, I didn't worry too much and tried to relax as much as I could.

The morning of my midwives appointment, I was working from home and I'd had a bit of a stressful morning work-wise and personally. And then all of a sudden my vision had become blurry, I was seeing spots and starting to feel faint. I got some fresh air and just tried to ignore it as I knew it was nothing and I would be meeting the midwife soon.

The midwife done all her checks, but became worried. My blood pressure was a lot higher than the last time I had visited, baby was still measuring small and I explained the blurry vision, headaches and other symptoms I'd been getting. She asked me to wait outside so she could check my blood pressure for a third time in 20 minutes to see if it would decrease.

20 minutes later, my blood pressure had still not decreased. And due to my other symptoms, my midwife was worried it was the early signs of pre-eclampsia. She rang the hospital telling them of my symptoms and they asked to see me immediately to check over me and baby.

I was a little anxious at this point. Firstly, because of hearing pre-eclampsia and the affects it could have on Noah. And secondly, if it was just going to be nothing again like the last week I was there. Oh and I had a presentation to finish at work for the following day's big focus meeting.

Chris picked me up and we went off to the hospital. The usual checks took place: testing urine, blood pressure checked at different times, temperate checked, placed on the electronic fetal monitoring machine (which checks the baby's heart rate continiously), checked my reflexes and had another blood test testing a range of things.

Everything came back pretty much okay. Blood pressure still didn't decrease, but baby was fine, I was feeling a bit better (apart from the exhaustion and migraine) so we decided to go home. They booked me in for an emergency scan the next day and to have my blood pressure checked in a few days.

The check up and another scan

I worked from home in the morning, then went along to the hospital for my check up. They ran all the usual checks again and checked my blood pressure three times - it was still the same. So they've booked me in to come back in a few days again to keep an eye on it. My headaches have worsened, I've developed what I can only describe as "morning sickness" again and the dizzy spells/blurred vision spells are happening on a daily (actually, more than 3 times a day usually) basis. So on in all, not enjoying this part of pregnancy.

Onto better news, we had another scan on Sunday (the emergency one they booked as I couldn't make it the following day) and NOAH IS GROWING WELL. We were so happy to hear that news. I've been worrying for weeks about his growth and finally my mind can rest a little. He's gonna be our perfect little boy whatever, but knowing that I am growing him well (even though I am not really showing it), is one of the best feelings in the world. All that extra food must be doing him good (even if it's not making me feel too great). 

With more check ups this week and feeling super miserable with the constant trips to the hospital and feeling crappy, I am looking forward to our appointment with the consultant Friday. Hopefully we can just discuss all these worries and concerns I'm having and the hospital have about my blood pressure and symptoms, as well as my mental health (which I must add has been pretty good these last few weeks, despite all of this going on). And he'll tell me everything is fine and okay. 

Have you had any worries like this during pregnancy? Was high blood pressure a problem for you? I'd love to hear about your experiences and anything that helped this period for you? 


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