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I went 'blind' during pregnancy

KIRSTINE BENSON
Last updated 05:00 18/07/2013

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My first pregnancy was rather uneventful in the beginning, no morning sickness like others I knew. Everything seemed just fine until I reached the 29-week mark.

This was back when you could still do shared care with the hospital and your GP.

It was New Year and I noticed I had started to swell quite badly. I went to the hospital to have a check up and they said everything was fine.

I was due back at work on the Tuesday after New Year but I woke up feeling absolutely horrid, swelled up like a big balloon.

My GP was away on annual leave so I had to see another doctor, luckily for me he was straight talking and pulled no punches. He told me I had toxaemia and that I needed to go straight to the hospital.

I headed to the hospital and after a lot of testing they agreed with the GP and admitted me.

I never realised how serious it was until they sent a neo-natal nurse up to take me for a tour of the neo natal unit. It was only then that she told me the doctors were quite concerned about me.

It got to the end of the week and the consultants were discussing whether to induce me or not. One consultant wanted to, the other wanted to wait and see how things went over the weekend. They decided to wait.

I remember waking up in the very early hours of Sunday morning with pounding in the back of my head, I had never experienced a headache like it in my life before. They said my blood pressure was through the roof and tried to control it with medication.

The medication was not working and by mid-morning they were moving me out of my ward to a darkened, quiet room.

The consultant who was on duty that day was called in again later in the day to review my file and it was while he was reading through my file that I lost my eyesight, I went completely blind.

The last thing I remember is my right arm starting to shake. The next memory I have is waking up in ICU nearly 24 hours later.

I was hooked up to drips and monitors and was informed my baby boy was in the neo-natal unit. They wheeled me down (in my hospital bed) to see him about 11pm.

I spent the next week or so being monitored on the post-natal ward as seizures can still happen after delivery.

My son was doing great, they had given me steroids in case he had to be delivered early so he never had to be ventilated. He spent six and a half weeks in the unit growing and learning to feed. We lived on a farm an hour away so I spent the whole time down at the hospital with him.

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My sister told me that the doctors told her that they had expected to lose one of us if not both.

We are both so lucky to be here and healthy with no lasting effects. My wee boy is now 14 and wonderful, it took me a long time to pluck up the courage to ever do it again - 10 years and a new partner before I was brave enough.

I try not to share my traumatic birth experience with mums-to-be but I also know it is very important for them to be aware of the dangers and warning signs of pre-eclampsia. 


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