Have you ever heard of HELLP Syndrome? I hadn’t until I was laboring for four hours in the hospital and something went wrong. I was feeling woozy and got up to go to the bathroom and realized I was too dizzy. It was almost instant — a rush of really not right feelings taking over the excitement that I was going to meet my twins soon.
I also saw it on the nurses face who ran to get me a cup to pee into so she could test my urine.
HELLP syndrome used to be known as severe preeclampsia but it got its own classification as HELLP in 1982. HELLP stands for Hemolytic anemia, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelet count. It’s life threatening. It’s effed up. And it was the scariest thing I have ever gone through and I’ve been holed up in an apartment in East New York when there was a shooting rampage outside, so yeah, it was worse than that.
But I think it was all worse on my husband. Oh gosh. Could you imagine? Any of you women reading this (you’re probably mostly all women, right?) imagine if your babies were in your husband’s belly and something was going really wrong!! Okay, that’s weird. Cancel that. But you know what I mean. Even though my husband wasn’t feeling a mix of extreme heat and the urge to nod out, he was watching as his wife was in danger along with the two babies inside. What the heck was happening?
There is a part of me that is angry I have never heard of HELLP before the doctors told me I had it and we had to terminate the pregnancy asap. They use the term ‘terminate’ so loosely but any birth is a termination of a pregnancy, though it sounds so horrifyingly morbid. But knowing about it wouldn’t have prevented me from getting it. Unfortunately. I read a lot about pregnancy, and complications. I was 37 and having twins and (shhhh) a closet hypochondriac. I had heard of preeclampsia and suspected I had it due to my extreme swelling but my urine always tested fine.
More needs to be done. It’s happening to women who don’t have any risk factors at all. Why? Doctors need to study HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia more because it seems like there are more and more women getting preeclampsia, which can develop into HELLP, and there isn’t an explanation. HELLP and often preeclampsia steals a woman’s desire to have a natural, vaginal child birth. HELLP steals those precious moments after baby is born from the mom because she is too drugged up so she won’t have a seizure or stroke to really feel. HELLP can derail breastfeeding plans. HELLP can increase postpartum depression. HELLP can orphan children before they have a chance to know their mom. More absolutely without a doubt needs to be done.
Have you heard of HELLP syndrome before? Do you know someone affected by preeclampsia or HELLP?