HELLP: I have my medical notes

HELLP: I have my medical notes

Since I was discharged from hospital, I have wondered often about my medical notes.

I wondered what they contained.

I wished that I had read them properly at the time.

In reality I was too ill.

When I first started to write this blog back in January, I started to – tentatively – write about my HELLP syndrome story.

I had no idea that writing about what happened would lead me to a happier place.  Who would have thought sitting down and writing about what happened, would help me to such a huge extent?

I don’t think I would have found the strength to request my notes from the hospital, had I not started this blog.

I requested my medical notes a few months ago. A few weeks later, I received them through the post.  I was surprised that they were sent on a CD.  For some reason I was expecting photocopies.

Since I received them, I have slowly worked my way through the pages.

It may seem like an easy thing, but to be honest reading through them took me right back there.  Like I was reliving it all again.  It was both hard-going and cathartic.

To be honest there was nothing startling there.

Nothing hugely shocking.

computer-15812_1920No life-changing light bulb moment, where everything suddenly made perfect sense.

That said, it was not a complete waste of time.  I did read a few things that made me think.


I was so sure that I had mentioned my symptoms to my midwife at the appointments which led up to giving birth to the boys.

However over the years, I started to doubt myself.

My medical notes, however, confirmed this.  Turns out I am not going to mad after all.

A month before I was admitted to hospital, I had a lot of symptoms which could have pointed to pre-eclampsia and/or HELLP Syndrome.  It is clear on my notes that I suffered from; swelling, protein in urine, pain at the top of my bump, rising blood pressure, black spots and visual problems.

As well as this, I had a rash all over my bump.  The midwife said that it was most likely stretching.

At the end of listing all these symptoms, the midwife finishes her comments with: “mother is generally well”.


I was told that I developed HELLP syndrome after I gave birth to the boys.

I was told this at my follow up appointment after I was discharged from hospital.  At this appointment the hospital could not find my medical notes.  However, the doctor said they were ‘pretty sure’ that this was the case.  I have doubted this but had nothing to prove otherwise.

From looking at my blood tests, my platelets dropped 24-hours before I gave birth to the boys.  Perhaps indicating that I had HELLP syndrome a little earlier.

The Diagnosis

As far as timescales go, I was intrigued to find out when they diagnosed me.  I was never clear on this.  The medical notes spell this out quite clearly:

Monday:  Admitted to hospital

Tuesday evening:  My waters broke

Thursday morning:  The boys were born

Friday afternoon:  HELLP syndrome was diagnosed

Sunday morning:  We were advised I had HELLP Syndrome

I have always got the distinct impression that the doctors were baffled by my symptoms.  No one seemed to know what was going on in those first 24-hours.  My notes confirmed this.  Throughout my notes in those first 24-hours, I noted many comments about requesting further blood tests and calling the doctor / specialist for further advice.

Bob L

We didn’t know this but apparently, Bob L had a gritty placenta.  We were told that both placentas were intact and healthy.

I didn’t know what this meant.  So I turned to Dr Google.  Where I found that this is a sign that the placenta was not working properly.  I also read that this tends to go hand in hand with pre-eclampsia.  It also could cause a baby to stop growing in the womb.  Which makes sense as he was tiny considering I gave birth at 37 weeks.

It is not going to be particularly helpful to dwell on this, but I did find it interesting.

I have often wondered why he was so small.  We have also often wondered if his hip development problems were caused by my illness.  I am now sure that this was no coincidence.


I have one more thing that I noticed, doctors have terrible handwriting!!!!  I really struggled to read some of the comments, not so much from the midwives but the doctor and in particular the specialist!

So has this helped me?

Yes I think it has, despite it being hard to read.

I really feel like I can start to draw a line under my experience now.

So what is next?  

Although my story on the blog has finished, I am determined to continue to raise awareness of pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome.

Please read my blog post next weekend, where I will be asking for anyone who has suffered pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome to share their story on my blog.

Lastly, I want to thanks those who have continued to read about my HELLP journey.  I have appreciated the kind words and support from readers.

As for the weekend slot on my blog, as I have finished my HELLP story I now plan to try and recall what it was like in those hazy days of new parenting.  I will be trying to talk about what it was like with twin babies, the good, the bad and the ugly!





  1. 9th July 2016 / 7:59 am

    I’ve just been reading back through your journey Yvonne and my goodness what a truly terrifying experience for you all – I am so glad that your have come through this with two healthy happy boys and relatively physically unharmed. So glad to hear that reading through your medical notes has been helpful for you. I have to say I am quite stunned that your midwife missed your symptoms, that she wrote down “mother appears well” given the list of things that appeared on your medical notes. At the very least you should have been referred for assessment sooner. I know that HELLP is rare and difficult to diagnose but pre-eclampsia is something that every midwife should be fully aware of and alert to the symptoms of. I’m glad that her colleague was on the ball though and helped to save your life. Well done for blogging your way through your journey and helping to raise awareness.

    • Double the Monkey Business
      1st August 2016 / 8:26 pm

      Thank you hun. I am still shocked that it wasn’t picked up, when I think about it I just cant believe it. I was definitely one of the lucky ones though and I am thankful I can try and help by raising awareness xx

  2. 6th July 2016 / 8:57 pm

    Thank you for writing about this – my sister also was diagnosed with HELLP when she had her baby boy last November. She had quite severe rib pain but no other real symptoms until the baby was born. The hospital, too, were baffled and it was quite a scary week of blood tests and transfusions. Thankfully, I think HELLP is relatively rare, but it still needs to be “out there”. I’ll be sending my sister to your blog… #BloggerClubUK

    • Double the Monkey Business
      26th July 2016 / 9:25 pm

      Thanks for reading, I have heard from so many people that have went through similar things. xx

  3. 6th July 2016 / 8:54 am

    Thank you so much for raising awareness of this. It’s so interesting to hear that they could have spotted it before you even went into labour. It’s amazing how things can be missed because of the busy nature of doctors and midwives lives. I’m glad it’s all over for you now and you can just enjoy your little ones. xx

    • Double the Monkey Business
      26th July 2016 / 9:29 pm

      thank you hun, I feel very lucky to be here with my boys, happy and healthy xx

  4. 5th July 2016 / 3:17 pm

    I was diagnosed with HELLP the day my son was born. I had previously been to the GPS with pain around my liver area to be told my bra was too tight. Paranoid first parent syndrome apparently! My platelets were so low they had to be tested twice before they believed them. He was born at 33+3 weighing in at 4lb 2oz. I did request my medical notes but they were very poorly photocopied. Maybe I should try again but it was 11 years ago now.

  5. 5th July 2016 / 7:08 am

    I’m glad getting your medical.notes back has helped you process your thoughts and try to figure out the timeline of your illness. I was admitted to be induced at 41 weeks with suspected pre-eclampsia which resulted in an emergency c-section because baby simply wasn’t ready to come. I made sure I read through my notes after giving birth before the midwife took them and I was shocked to see there was barely a mention of the condition, which worries me slightly for subsequent pregnancies. I totally agree with the handwriting thing – it’s hard to figure out what was written when you can barely read it! I will definitely be requesting my medical notes before my next pregnancy to try and make sense of it all. #marvmondays

  6. 4th July 2016 / 1:26 pm

    I didn’t realize you could get copies of your medical notes. I wonder if it would help me. I still feel on the verge of a panic attack when I think about my birth (which didn’t hold a candle to yours) almost two years later. Not very helpful when we’re talking about having a second.


    • Double the Monkey Business
      26th July 2016 / 9:30 pm

      You never know, it may help. I am glad I went through my notes, it definitely helped. Good luck and sorry to hear you had such a bad time xx

  7. 4th July 2016 / 11:43 am

    I am so sorry you went through these experiences, especially if there were actions that could have been taken by medical staff had they been more aware or more communicative. I hope you feel a little better for writing your story – it’s so brave of you to share it and I am sure it will help many other women. Oh and I totally agree about doctor’s handwriting! #fartglitter

    • Double the Monkey Business
      26th July 2016 / 9:31 pm

      Oh yes doctors handwriting is so bad at points, I truly have no idea what it says x

  8. Fran Back With A Bump
    4th July 2016 / 1:36 pm

    Good on you for getting your medical notes so you could explore further. It’s a pity they didn’t detect it sooner. I don’t know much about HELLP so will have to read your other posts. Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays

  9. 3rd July 2016 / 11:48 pm

    I found this really interesting. I need to get a copy of my medical notes but its a overwhelming thing and I have been putting it off and off! When I have requested things in the past it has been an eye opener and an emotional roller coaster.


    • Double the Monkey Business
      26th July 2016 / 9:32 pm

      It isn’t an easy thing to read through, especially after everything you have been through hun. Good luck if you do decide to request them x

  10. 3rd July 2016 / 4:50 pm

    Well done you for getting hold of your medical notes and being able to decipher the doctors hand-writing, I am sure it’s been a great help for you even cathartic.

    • Double the Monkey Business
      3rd July 2016 / 8:15 pm

      The handwriting was definitely the hardest part! x

    • Double the Monkey Business
      3rd July 2016 / 8:15 pm

      thanks hun xxx

  11. 3rd July 2016 / 2:34 pm

    Why did it take so long for them to tell you what it was, after diagnosing you on the Friday? In general, I have faith in doctors and medical professionals but they do make mistakes – they are only human after all. The midwife should have been pulled up on her silly mistake and for not seeing what was going on 🙁 I can imagine how hard it was to read your notes – I wouldn’t want to go through mine, but glad it was cathartic! x

    • Double the Monkey Business
      3rd July 2016 / 8:16 pm

      Who knows, I often wonder about that. I think a huge error on their part and also the result of being in such a busy hospital. I have to say the general care was great in the hospital, just communication was terrible! x

  12. 3rd July 2016 / 8:57 am

    I had my medical notes for a while after giving birth to Erin. My notes were soooo long because of all the problems I had (emergency section, sepsis, internal bleeding to name a few). It’s amazing how any other doctor, nurse or midwife can read the previous notes.

    • Double the Monkey Business
      3rd July 2016 / 8:17 pm

      It does make me wonder how they know what is going on when the handwriting is so bad! xx

  13. 3rd July 2016 / 7:03 am

    You’re so brave Yvonne. Well done you.
    I cannot believe the multitude of medical team errors which led you down this path in the first place. I know it won’t change things but it’s very worrying and I truly hope it doesn’t happen to someone else to this extent.
    Glad you’re ok.

    • Double the Monkey Business
      3rd July 2016 / 8:17 pm

      Thanks hunni, hopefully by raising awareness it might help someone in a similar position. xx

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