Every mother has a story of the birth of their child, especially their first. Get a group of moms together and it is not long before the stories start. While each story is different many of them share the same elements. Not so for my most recent family. First time parents, Kat and Issac, have a drastically different birth story to tell than most couples. Around 34 weeks Kat quickly went from glowing, expectant mom to needing emergency surgery to save her life and the life of her child.
Caused by a little known syndrome called HELLP, her story is an important one to tell, in her own words,” at 33 weeks +6 days I started to get uncomfortable, I vomited up for the FIRST time and thought I had pulled a muscle. Luckily my 34 week routine office visit was the next day. I told my OB about throwing up, and how I pulled a muscle and this end of pregnancy stuff is no joke. None of this sat right with her so she ordered blood work and a 24 hour urine test. On the drive home she called to tell me I needed to head back to have an emergency c section due to HELLP Syndrome, my liver and kidneys were only functioning at 10%, the pulled muscle was actually my liver swelling about to explode. My body was failing me, and creating an unsafe home for our unborn baby, I was c sectioned a few short hours later. My son and I are lucky to be alive, I spent 8 days in the hospital recovering and was on blood pressure meds for the next 3 months. Without the fast actions of my OB I am confident we wouldn’t be alive. HELLP is so rare nurses and other doctors would come in to my room just to meet me and I was (I say was because this experience has been very humbling) too stubborn to believe my body was failing. I meet women too often who have lost a baby or families who have lost a wife/daughter. Everyone talks about preeclampsia, but no one knows about HELLP. We were so blessed. Tak is now a happy, healthy 6 month old and I am now a stay at home mom loving watching him grow.”
I was connected to this warrior family through Preemie Prints, a non-profit organization that provides family sessions to parents of preemies either in the NICU or once they leave the hospital. Kat, Issac and Tak met me at the old Corona City Hall and we had an amazing time enjoying the sunshine and playing in the grass.
Tak decided his photo shoot was the perfect time to show off just how big and strong he is now. We all stopped to watch him sit up longer than he had before. No longer a fragile preemie, he is now sitting up strong and tall.
Let’s not forget just how strong the daddies are in these situations too, and there is always something comforting about being in his arms.