Why Should This Have Ended Normally?

It of course, shouldn’t have. And yet it does, for many of us. This community consists of many women and couples who, for whatever reason, have an uphill battle in starting their family. For some of us, it takes just one or two fertility treatments. Others of us finally have success after trying for years. And others never succeed, or turn to other options such as adoption to build their families. In any case, none of it is “normal”. And in that absence of normalcy we found each other, and we build strength and character through that journey.

And for many of us, whether pregnancy happens slowly or quickly, or adoption is the route that is chosen, the end comes like any of those for normal people. Even if it’s difficult to get pregnant, many women experience a very normal, problem-free pregnancy. Others of us aren’t so lucky. This is that story; after all, why should this have ended normally?

HopeToBeMommy was one of those issue-free women for about 6 months. Almost the full two first trimesters. Some morning sickness, normal weight gain, no problems in any of the normal pregnancy tests for mom or for baby. Then, Thanksgiving happened. Actually, about a week before Thanksgiving, we started to see some added swelling for HTBM. We giggled about it, I gave her some light-hearted ribbing….we’d waited a long time to see ‘puffy’ HTBM. This was just a symptom of pregnancy, something we valued and wanted so, so much.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving with HTBM’s sister and her family, and then the first concrete symptoms of what was to come started to hit that night. I tweeted about this, calling it a stomach flu. That’s really what we thought it was, and her doctor did too. It got lots better within 24 hours, with a couple more bouts of nausea in the couple days afterward. But in retrospect, we can now see that she had no fever, no chills…nothing but extreme nausea and vomiting. And afterward, the swelling got much more advanced. In a matter of days, it seemed HTBM had gained 20 pounds….and was continuing to gain. And it was water weight that continued to swell her arms, legs, ankles, wrists, hands and feet….and eventually even her face, to very uncomfortable levels. It’s hard to explain just how swelled she was getting….but to explain, she couldn’t really bend her legs at the knee or ankle. She couldn’t wear any of her maternity pants anymore, resorting to yoga pants for work and church. And shoes….well, they were out of the question. HTBM now owned her first pair of crocs ever, and wore those or slippers wherever she went.

We started trying to find an answer to what could be causing such extreme swelling. It seemed she could be experiencing some ‘normal’ extreme pregnancy swelling….or she could have what we were learning lots more about. Preeclampsia.

We checked HTBM’s blood pressure a few times in late November and early December – all readings were okay. Symptoms seem to be able to vary for preeclampsia, but diagnosis depends on high blood pressure. So we waited. By Sunday, December 2, the swelling was horrible. And HTBM would experience occasional headaches and pressure. We had an appointment scheduled already for the next day, so we elected to wait until morning. But we were feeling that the blood pressure was very well rising….and that this could be our last night at home for a while.

I’ll continue in another post, hopefully to be posted in the next 30 minutes.


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