Friday, May 18, 2012

background info #5 (Changed title due to unauthorized med people coming in here)

*My blog is opened to the public for friends to comment. If you happened to be coming in here due to medical reading on my experience, you should know that I will not be posting your comments or adding anymore to my story. I am monitored and I am  already apart of legitimate case studies through research hospitals and universities.  I have not included my blood pressure, liver levels, and blood levels, etc., on purpose so they can not be used in any other study but only those that I have authroized to do so.

The info my friends desire....
(1st child c-section, 2nd child vbac,  3child c-section, 4 child vbac)

1st pregnancy --
I moved to Korea just 2 1/2 months before the Little Lady was born.
The Little Lady was born in Korea with no complications. There was drama but not health related issues to me . She was born in a Korean clinic (not a military clinic or hospital), on a cot, where no one spoke English but the Dr. The customs there and care were shocking -- needles just laying out on the tables, your family brings you food and takes care of your needs, etc. -- not the nurses. (I had a spinal and was not allowed to move for 48 hours).  It took days of fighting with them for me to be able to see and hold my  baby!   Weeks and weeks of trying to get her to nurse after they over feed her formul - 8 oz every 3 hours for a newborn - she was constantly throwing up.   And if that wasn't enough, just before she was born, the Dr did an abortion on another lady who did not want a girl.  Then, he came in to me and asked me questions to make sure I wanted to have my baby.  He delivered my sweet little Lady just minutes later.  The Little Lady did have pathological jaundice and it just so happens Koreans know how to deal with it really well!  So, despite the conditions, (which were shocking to me but was considered the best in their area)  the Lord put me where I needed to be for her to be taken care of with the extremely high levels of  jaundice.

My second pregnancy: 
In the process of moving to Savannah, Ga,  I got pregnant with the Little Man.  It is the Little Man's pregnancy in which allows me to say, "I am a class 1 HELLP syndrome survivor!"  Hellp stands for Hemolysis , Elevated Liver, and  Low Blood Platelets. So, what is HELLP really? Hellp syndrome means that your liver and kidneys are shutting down, your blood is not clotting, and your blood pressure is at stroke level.  In other words, your body is shutting down and trying to kill you and the baby. The only cure for HELLP syndrome is to get the baby out (Just like eclampsia)  However, if you get HELLP after having the baby,  the only thing they can do for you is to give you a blood transfusion to get your blood platelets to rise and give you magnesium in hopes that it will prevent you from getting a stroke and/or seizures.  I got HELLP syndrome just after delivering our son and came close to dying.

Some Drs believe HELLP is related to eclampsia because the symptoms start out similar. Others, believe it is something totally different. If they think it is related to eclampsia they tend to believe that it has to do with the placenta.  Those that don't believe there is a link to the placenta  sometimes believe it is either related to diet or to the child daddy mother's health issues such as immune diseases or to her complications in pregnancy when she was carrying the child's father.  (They are still looking at the mother-in-law link in which the son could possibly be carrying something but it would have to be proven by the mother-in-laws health issues and her pregnancy with him.)  Others believe that it is the genetics from the pregnant mom to her female relatives and their previous birth issues.  All Drs will say there is a noticeable trend that very Scandinavian people with light blond hair and  people with red hair tend to get HELLP more than dark hair people.  

My mother in law has immune issues and she is of Swedish decent. .My mother is healthy. She has not had any complications with pregnancy. My Mom had red hair when she was little. There is no indication that anyone on my side of the family have had complications but who knows with extended family members.  (NO high blood pressure, nothing during pregnancy.).  I am a redhead obviously.  And, there was no sign that the placenta wasn't normal. It was healthy. I was not on their charts for any complications until recently since more research has been accumulated.   
 HELLP Syndrome is very rare.  There are several classes of HELLP.  (Hellp3, Hellp 2, HEllp 1) All are dangerous but Class 1 is the worst!  HELLP Syndrome is rare! Class 1 is even more rare!   People that get HELLP syndrome tend to not have any more children after class 1. (Class 2 and Class 3 tend to have at least one more child.)  Most class 1 HELLP syndrome patients, if they walk away,  come away with some sort of PTSD due to the traumatic event.  (This has been most recently documented with research.)  I don't believe I had PTSD , (I am aware of what PTSD looks  like in a person) but I can say that it was very frustrating after the delivery and there was a lot of stress trying to get my body to do the right things!   (One thing that I can not do though is get on the HELLP syndrom boards unless it is a research board.  I just can't read the storeis!  I had a lot to work through in regards to my health and was very frustrated in trying to get my body to do what I wanted it to do and reading their stories bring back to many memories.)  The physical aspect of the complications I do not share at all really.  However, most  do know that I have had bladder complications from HELLP. And most know that I had for at least 6 months or more after HELLP of on going kidney infections, bladder infections, internal fevers and I barely could walk to the mail box.   It was a very hard time.  (Yet, through it all I nursed our son which was physically even more taxing.)  Drs are researching the complications in the area of after HELLP complications.  They are just now beginning to see a pattern.  My main complications resulted in bladder issues like I said because my bladder distended the size of a football and had to be drained.  It is amazing it did not rupture!  I still have bladder problems due to it and I need to get them fixed but cannot until I will no longer bare children and then they aren't sure how much it will help.  
It is rare to get HELLP and most get it before or during delivery. I had no signs what so ever of pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, or HELLP. I was healthy and then my body turned in a matter of hours. I got help after delivery. And, I have been told that you can get HELLP up to 2 weeks or more after delivery!  

This child got neo-natal mastitis – very rare issue also – two weeks after giving birth to him and was hospitalized.

The Lord gave me a wonderful sweet  Dr that had just came out of a HELLP seminar where she learned about the cutting edge research on  eclampsia and HELLP syndrome just a week or so before I got it.  Then, He  gave the Little Man a Dr who recognized the neo-natal mastitis even though she had never ever seen it.     

child 3 - I got pregnant 9 months after delivering the 2nd child with HELLP.  What is amazing is that it appears that his birth flushed out all the toxins in my body from the HELLP Syndrome birth previously.  When I mentioned this to my Dr, he said, "Yes, There is documentation that it could happen and that anything that caused HELLP complications can go back to normal but due to the extent of HELLP complications and risk to the mother and child, we do not offer that info to patients."  So, all the other toxins moved out of my body and except for the bladder issues that remained,  I had no complications and thought there were no issues with this pregnancy.  Anyway,  recently, I was told that in my charts, there is documentation that my levels were not what they should have been and I could have been in the early borderline stages of pre-eclampsia just days before I delivered him. (my levels were possibly at class 3)   The reason why he was born via c-section was they thought he was going to be an 11 pound baby. (Cracks me up! He was 8.) But, it appears that they may have seen a few signs and just had not told me.  The 3rd child, the Little Gentleman  got neo-natal mastitis also – remember it is suppose to be rare?! But, I knew what to look for and was able to get him seen before he needed to be hospitalized.  It doesn't really matter if I was going down the eclampsia road on this pregnancy to me. I didn't feel sick and  I felt great after this pregnancy. Plus, most of my complications left my body and that is what is intersting to me!

The Lord gave me the same DR and Child Dr for this pregnancy that I had from the second pregnancy so they took anything I had to say very seriously.  

 (I moved just a couple of months after delivering the Little Gentleman to Tennessee.)

Child 4  (no issues - slight jaundice is all) The Lord allowed me to deliver at Vanderbuilt with a Dr that knew HELLP and understood how careful she needed to be with me doing a vbac with the previous situations. I would have had pregnancy number 5 with this Dr if she had not moved and if I had not moved. She was wonderful.    (I moved to Kentucky just 2 weeks before she was born)

This is pregnancy #5 - 
(yet, another move, so another pregnancy! giggle)

 This pregnancy has had different symptoms and things going on with it very early but instead of listing all of it,  I will just get to the most recent.   I am borderline pre-eclampsia. That means that all my level are right at the borderline of Eclampsia.  My blood platelets and my liver enzymes are normal so there is no HELLP yet. This is what typically distinguishes the two pregnancy complications.  However, pre-eclampsia is not good because the levels in the blood and liver can change quickly. So, they are watching me. (Not as closely as I would like them to but then that never really happens. Plus, my body just gave them another issue to deal with...).
 The issue with having pre-eclampsia is that I already had a high risk of getting HELLP again. But, the pre-eclampsia has just raised the bar due to the previous pregnancy.  This is Not good since the likely hood is always great for me to get exactly what I had before!  Unlike before  though, I had no pre-eclampsia symptoms before getting HELLP.  This time I do.  So, it is showing that my body is not happy! I knew this! My body hasn't been happy the entire pregnancy. I can feel the shifts of hormones.

LIke I said, I have had lots of crazy things going on in this pregnancy.  But about two months ago, I got a sadic nerve issue,  then the following week I got  hives for 3 days,  it was awful and this was what I believed was the trigger point of all the more serious reactions.  It was shortly after this that my blood pressure spiked and the on set of pre-eclampsia began... but how do you really prove this?  Except that I know my body and know and feel the hormonal shifts!
This Sunday, my body threw in another situation.  I began to hurt very badly in my Kidney area.  Pain in my kidney can be a sign of HELLP but it didn't feel like pre-eclampsia symptoms.  The next day, I had bumps on my back. It looked like little tiny spider bites or maybe fire ants.  (And being camping that was entirely possible but it did not explain the intensity of the pain in the nerves and muscles.)

 The pain increased and it felt like labor but I knew it wasn't. It was a constant pain not one of any relief after just a few minutes.  I called the on-call nurse and she agreed that the symptoms were not HELLP or Pre-eclampsia related.  I had an appointment for the next day. So, I didn't go into the labor and delivery floor.  I took some Tylenol and cried most of the night due to the pain.  (A good thing now that I know what I have that I didn't go into the labor and delivery floor.  I would have taken in a live virus on to the that floor. )   I have shingles.  And by the time, that I got to my appointment the next day, the shingles had spread from my back to my front. The  legions are only on my back and my stomach at this point.

They cannot treat me for shingles aggressively because I am pregnant. So, they can't give me what other people are allowed to have and they would rather not give me steroids.  They have given me some pain medication to take the edge off and an oral antiviral medication that is class B. It is all they are willing to do at this point.  The pain medication isn't really even taking the edge off of the pain but at least it is something.   Shingles are very painful as you can imagine and also rare in pregnancy.  So, I am trying to maintain the pain as best as I can.  I can barely walk, extremely itchy and the pain is horrible. I told a friend that the beginning of labor should be a breeze!

Also, I am contagious to those that have not been exposed to Chicken Pox. (sigh)
Shingles isn't good when you are about to have a newborn. The baby can get chicken pox with in days after delivery and they have an increase of getting shingles before they are 5 years old. Plus, I have 4 kiddos that haven't had chicken pox either!  But, one step at a time, let's not borrow trouble!   Right now, we have more complications than just the shingles to deal with when it comes to the unknown of the kiddos.  

You see,  If my levels of pre-eclampsia go up they will need to do an emergency c-section to keep the baby safe and in hopes to keep me safe.  They will try not to allow the pre-eclampsia to go into HELLP. (Not that they really have any choice in this matter. HELLP can happen in seconds).  The shingles are in my back area and my stomach and moving around in the c-section cut area. If we do a c-section,  this could expose immediatly to the chicken pox virus and shingles instantly.   

 So, they need my pre-eclampsia levels to remain steady. Unfortunately, shingles travel along the nervous system, and if it should travel lower than it  could mean  I would not be able to have a vbac.  That would lead them back to doing the c-section option.  At that point they will have to try to cover up as many shingle infected area as possible before they cut me open.  

Long story short, they need the virus to not travel lower.  It is just a “Lets see and Wait”.  Shingles could take weeks and weeks to disappear.  And, I don’t have weeks. I have only 2 to 3 weeks until delivery if all remains on target.    The Drs are hoping that the virus will quickly leave my body not just for me and the baby but because they also don’t need a live virus on the labor and delivery room floor.
Since, I have to deliver at a military hospital for the first time, they have high risk Drs,  I don't get to see the same Dr every time. Each time, I get someone a little different because you do not know who will be on call at the time of delivery.  This is annoying because from week to week I get treated differently due to the Drs personality and what he likes to do!  This leaves me, putting  my trust in the Lord to have the exact Dr I need to be available to me.  Like I wrote early He has been faithful in this area.   And, I will continue to believe he will do so for this pregnancy as well nevertheless it is a challenge in regards to having peace since I am hurting so badly!   

So, as you can see, this pregnancy has been sort of a trying experience.   The whole pregnancy has had issues really and it all started out with me swelling up like a big balloon and just continued into all sorts of crazy things!  Toward the end here,  I have been on  limited activity for months now with the pre-eclampsia , and now I am unable to move very much with the shingles due to the pain.  This has all been going on while doing a move to a whole new area, (packing up a house, leaving people behind, finding a new church, new horseback instructor,) Beloved's new job, living in a camper at the beginning of the pregnancy  for Beloved's military Schools, and now  living in it again at the end of the pregnancy until we get a house on post, and doing home school, etc! 

There are only a few people that know all the complications that I have had to deal with this pregnancy and I have appreciate them so much!  Beloved and I are just not very opened with a lot of things but we have a few handful of people that we share things with because they support US faithfully with prayer and support!  We had so much going on this year with so many changes we just took everything one step at a time as things came up.  We would deal with each situation and try to leave the previous things behind --  Always looking forward and trying never to  look back!   It is the way I deal with stress and the way he deals with stress too, I think!  Sometimes, by the end of the stressful time, we forget to tell others since it is all over with and we are on to the next adventure!  I guess this time,  stress must have caught up with my low immunity in the form of shingles!  I don't know? I don't feel stress but obviously my body decided to say "Slow WAY down" because the shingles has put me flat on my back! (sigh) 

Anyway, I need a healing touch from the GREAT PHYSICIAN in the form of a miracle. I could use your prayers. I am holding on to 'By his stripes we are healed!" Also,  I have just a few weeks left. I am counting on feeling like a million bucks when I am finished and I get to hold her! ;)

On another note, The day I got diagnosed with shingles, My Dad brought my Mom up in their 5th wheel to come help me because I was so sick, close to my delivery, and also to help out since Beloved has a business trip this Sunday and won't be back until Thursday of next week.   So, for the first time this entire pregnancy I really got 2 days of good rest despite the fact that I had signed Dr papers months ago that I would rest at least a couple of hours a day!  (I did try to rest! But, resting is difficult with 4 children in a camper! ) I am hoping to rest more apparently my body needs it.

Anyway, let's pray that while Beloved is on his trip this Little Ones stays comfy-cozy! The military always has us cutting these things to close to comfort! (giggle) But, it always works out some how! God is just faithful, you know?!

Thanks for your Prayers, Dear Friends!!!!!

PS. There is a standard joke in the family that because I am a redhead - and if I am pregnant -- than I get the things that are rare!  It seems once again that this is being played out!  Can we say, "Case Study" again?!!! I can't tell you how true that statement really has been! I am a case study and I can't tell you how many people come in to see what we have dealt with, look like, and to ask questions.  It is commical but not very restful during our hospital time!


  1. I am praying in earnest for you! How far along are you, might I ask? If I may not ask, then just kindly tell my to MYOB, ha!

    As a mama who has experienced a "horrific/unsurvivable" pregnancy, as well as other not-easy pregnancies, I am highly empathetic of your situation, and thankful you are trusting in your Great Physician!

    God Bless you, and will check back frequently to check on you.

    God Bless..

  2. My first due date was June 6th. This was from the Vanderbuild Hospital. We moved. Normally due to my history I do not see military Drs but they have several high risk specialist here. So, the military hospital moved my date to May 31st. The June 6th is more accurate. ;)

  3. Oh, gosh sakes! I will be praying for you, Carmen!!

    What about B complex? B is so good for nerves - maybe what would help?

  4. I am on Super Mom Vitamins, (lots of B, vitamin C,) Magnesium (in hopes to keep any strokes/seisures away,) odor less garlic pills for blood -- all for just pre-eclampsia. Then, the pain medication and the antiviral medication for the shingles. (Sigh) And, if you know how much I hate swollowing pills you would be amazed at how faithful I have been ! (giggle)

  5. thank you for revealing more of what is going on and what you are dealing with. My prayers are with you and I am marking my calendar to keep checking back!!

    The Lord is with you at each and every moment and he knows what your needs are, he just needs you to put aside what you think your needs are and just rest in him :-)

    You are an amazing woman and have such a wonderful testimony about your life, this will only add to the heritage of your children one day.

    Your Sister in Christ,

  6. OH Mrs. Lisa, I forgot the prescription for iron! (giggle)

    Thank You, Melissa. I should share my testimony. I need to, I know. This might push me to do so. But, everyone has birth stories! ;) Don't we?

  7. Oh my goodness, I am going to pray for your health and a healthy rest of the pregnancy and delivery. Hang in there. It is so hard right now I am sure but the reward will be so sweet. I hope you can feel better as each day goes on. Thinking of you.

  8. Oh, my dear sister, I had no idea you were going through all this. I will definitely be praying for you and your family. You are an amazing woman. God bless.

  9. Oh my word! You have been through so much! I'll pray diligently that God will sustain you through this last stretch of pregnancy, and that he will comfort you with your shingles. I can't even imagine how rough that must be to endure without medications. Praying to Jehova-rapha, the one who heals!

    You have amazing strength and courage!

  10. We are here and will do all we can to help. Also, didn't know you were not aware that I was premature and weighed 3lbs at birth. Don't know why I was premature. You know grandma...she never revealed much about "birthing babies". Love much!!!

  11. Wow, Carmen. Just wow! God has given you an awesome testimony to His Greatness, hasn't He?!?

    I'll keep praying!

  12. Oh, dear...I haven't been reading blogs and am so far behind. We are officially done with school for the year and I've spent the morning with a cup of coffee catching up with long lost blog friends. I'm so sorry to hear of your pregnancy complications and discomfort (though that word sounds much to mild for what you've endured). I am praying for you and that precious Little One.

  13. oh my oh my! sorry I'm coming so late to this:( I'm truly amazed that despite everything you still kept having babies, you are one strong mamma! Praise God for His faithfulness! will be praying now that I know a bit more....

  14. Wow, Carmen! Thanks for sharing that. I have been praying for you....even though I have dropped behind on my blog is nice to have some specific things to pray for/about. May the Lord continue to bless you...and may you continue to rest in His peace even in the ....adventurous circumstances that you find yourself.


Your comments are a gift to me and they warm my heart. I read and treasure every one. If you leave a comment, I will visit you as well. ~ Carmen