New To Our Site?

Welcome! The ABOUT page tells who we are and what we do. Like what you see? Then click DONATE to read about ways to help Team Abby. Below are various blog posts that relate to our foundation. If you need to get in touch, don't hesitate to CONTACT us! P.S.- My favorite post is here, and it tells you about the day Abby was born... and what happened next.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia

Team Abby is all about helping babies, and finding ways to prevent longer than necessary hospital stays-- for mother or baby.  Today we're welcoming Sarah Donza-Hughes from Finnegan and the Hughes to talk about the day her daughter was born... and the crazy three days following.  Not only is the information important, but Sarah is channeling her journey into an amazing event called The Promise Walk on May 12th.  Read on to hear her story, and be sure to join the fun on May 12th {I'm already jealous of those sponsors and prizes... wowza!}

When I had my daughter Hayley Jane at full term via c- section we were on cloud nine!  Our little princess had arrived and even my son Derek, at just 26 months old, was thrilled for our family. I was released from the hospital and spent the next two days in that post-baby honeymoon phase... but soon I knew something was off. I told my husband Rob I couldn't fully catch my breath, I had a dull headache and I thought my vision seemed blurry.

Then I thought I was being paranoid; I was recovering from a c-section and had a new baby that was nursing every 2 hours. Rob insisted I call the doctor. I was surprised at the stern immediacy in the doctor's voice when she said to "grab my pump and get back over the bridge."  My in-laws rushed over and I kissed my babies good-bye through flooding tears because I didn't want to leave.  Derek was going to be a fireman for Halloween that day, plus my brand new Hayley Jane, I needed to be home and dress Hayley in pink and cuddle her...would she forget me, would we never bond?!

I didn't realize then that it would be 3 horrible days until I saw them again.

2 days before I was readmitted to the hospital

In the Emergency Room they had no idea what to do with me.  I was a basketcase, I cried to EVERYONE!!  If the person changing the trash even looked in my direction and made eye contact I would cry to them and say "I just want to go home to my babies." After many hours in the ER I was sent to Labor and Delivery where I was told what I had was preeclampsia. WHAT?   I was so petrified and just wanted to be with my babies and here I was a mother of two, about to be hooked up to a magnesium IV so I wouldn't have a seizure due to preeclampsia.  I had NEVER even heard of having preeclampsia postpartum!

A very sweet nurse sat down next to me and she grabbed my hand firmly, she spoke clearly and calmly about how awful I was going to feel on the magnesium and she asked me to tell her what I was thinking and I told her, "I'm scared, I just want to be home with my babies and I'm nervous what will happen to me and I'm afraid that I could die."  She told me this would help me and that my husband could stay.  Rob stayed by my side for 3 long days.

The first night I was on the magnesium and he snored away in the chair next to my bed while I saw 5 of everything, had to wear an oxygen tube because they couldn't get my oxygen levels to stop dropping, pumping every two hours, unable to get out of bed and was hooked up to a catheter.  I  felt so sick, oh so sick, the magnesium makes you so so so sickly feeling.  After I came off the magnesium, I felt "better"-- my blood pressure was still high but low enough that I could go home.  It took a few weeks for my BP (and me) to get back to normal.

Hayley Jane, ready to leave the hospital

Thousands of women and babies die or get very sick each year from this dangerous condition called preeclampsia, a life-threatening disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, preeclampsia and related disorders such as HELLP syndrome and eclampsia are most often characterized by the presence of protein in the urine and a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure and death of the mother and/or baby.  Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms. Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks gestation (in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters or middle to late pregnancy), though it can occur earlier. Proper prenatal care is essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia.

The Preeclampsia Foundation is the only non-profit in the US devoted to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, serving the 10 million women worldwide who develop preeclampsia each year.  Join us for The Promise Walk on May 12 in the Philadelphia area!

As a NICU mom, I can completely relate to that "basketcase" feeling!  Being sick and postpartum is one difficult combination.  Thank you, Sarah, for that poignant insight into preeclampsia and for using your journey to help other mothers and babies, too.  Who's up for the Promise Walk on May 12th?!