I have been under 24-hour observation one day now. Yet I still have no idea what is wrong with me.
The specialist is saying I am making good progress and can go back to the high-dependancy ward now.
When we are moved to yet another room, it all becomes to much for me. I burst into tears and finally reveal my worst fears to the hubby. I tell him: “I think I am really ill. I fear it is Cancer”.
I can’t keep anything in when it comes to the hubby. It was inevitable that my anxiety was going to reveal itself eventually. I was scared, confused and worried.
My hubby decided that enough was enough. He buzzed the buzzer on the wall. He was not happy and wanted answers.
When the midwife entered the room, my hubby doesn’t beat around the bush: “Is someone going to tell us what is going on. What the hell is wrong with my wife???”
The midwife says: “She has HELLP syndrome, of course”
Just like that, as if it were the most normal thing in the world.
As if she was telling us I had the common cold.
Absolutely not like she was breaking the news to us, that I had something with a 25% mortality rate.
That my life was at risk.
Then, the penny drops. The midwife realises that no-one has told us this before. After turning a shade of grey, the midwife makes her excuses and leaves the room.
We were left wondering what HELLP Syndrome is.
It wasn’t long before the specialist returned. We are finally told what is going on.
- I had definitely had preeclampsia prior to giving birth. I had likely had this for a while.
- I now had HELLP syndrome, and all test results indicated I was getting worse instead of better.
- My platelets were low, and continuing to drop after birth. The doctor told me this was unusual and as far as they were aware, giving birth should cure HELLP syndrome.
- My blood pressure was dangerously high.
- The rash on my stomach, the supposed stretch marks according to my midwife, was actually a sign that my liver was failing.
- I was at a very high risk from having a stroke
- I was at a high risk of my liver rupturing.
- I carried a risk of kidney damage.
- I had a very high risk of haemorrhaging.
- I ran the risk of lung failure
- I was told that I was very lucky that I managed to deliver two, healthy babies. I had run a high risk of placenta abruption.
- I was told repeatedly that HELLP syndrome was difficult to diagnose.
Finally, we had some answers. They were not what we wanted to hear, but somehow after fearing the C word, it was a relief.
There was still a long fight ahead for me. The doctor said I would not be going home any time soon.
In the meantime, Bob L was put on a bilirubin machine. His jaundice was a huge concern. He was only allowed out of plastic cot to be fed and changed. He had to stay in there as much as possible.
It was heartbreaking to see him lying there, unable to cuddle him. After missing that contact in the first 24-hours, I found this so very difficult. I knew it was for the best though. We – by which I mean the hubby, grandparents, aunts, uncles and me – took turns holding his hand. He was never without someone holding his tiny fingers. He would clutch onto us like his life depended on it.