Postpartum Preeclampsia and PPD Lies

I shared this post on Facebook one year ago.


“Prayers please. I am being admitted for severe postpartum preeclampsia. I hate being away from Olivia and just want to be healthy and home with our sweet girl.”

pp preeclampsia admittance

I remember typing this post as I was waiting for the magnesium bag to start and to get moved to a room. It took me a very long time to figure out what to say. I knew that I should ask for prayers because I knew that I was supposed to want to get better. I also knew that I was supposed to be heartbroken being separated from a 4-day old baby, my 4-day old baby (which I couldn’t even say). I knew that I should be longing to get healthy and be able to hold her again. Yet I felt none of those things.


Earlier on the evening of November 11th, I really hit a wall. Olivia came home with us on November 8th, following her birthday on the 7th. I was exhausted, obviously. I hadn’t been sleeping (even when she was). I was just unable to. Keeping up with pumping was miserable, but I would give myself zero grace on that schedule. I never knew if I had eaten because my appetite had disappeared. I was so irritable and anxious. I had this newly discovered hypervigilance where every noise sent me through the roof and was physically painful. And the tears. Oh, the tears. I don’t mean crying at a moving commercial like they tell you the “baby blues” are. I mean, hysterical sobbing every moment I was alone, going to the bathroom, pumping, staying up with the baby, etc. I was already gone. And so, on this day, symptomatically, I was feeling physically very run down. I was absolutely just so tired. I had a headache and my vision was “weird”. I had chest pain, tightness, and shortness of breath. I had stomach pain and had been nauseous. I was super swollen still and weighed exactly what I did prior to delivery, except now my hands and face also felt really swollen and puffy instead of just my legs. And my entire body just hurt. But I wrote all of this off as being a new Mom that wasn’t getting the sleep she needed and was emotionally drained. Until the shivering started. I went to try to urinate and was barely able to. Instead, I was shivering uncontrollably. Just shaking, really. So, naturally, I took my temperature, worried about a postpartum infection. And it was completely normal. I checked my blood sugar, wondering if it was low because I hadn’t eaten. It was fine. So again, I figured I was just tired. I went and sat in front of the fireplace, where I continued to shake and shiver. My sister asked what was going on and knowing how prone I am to problems with really low blood pressure, she suggested I check it. So I did. Several times. On different cuffs. Automatic. Manual. Different sizes. Anything to try to change the 190/110 I kept seeing. I laid in bed for 15 minutes, took it a few more times, and it was still the same. I finally came out of my room and tried to avoid them. Mind you all, I am a chiropractor. If this had been any of them, I would have been calling an ambulance. Yet my mind was just so checked out and uncaring about my situation, I really just didn’t want to deal with it. They asked how my blood pressure was. I sat down and told them it was a little high. They asked how high, and when I told them, they of course said I needed to go to the ER. I told them that sounded a little dramatic to me, but I would call the on-call OB. And I did, begrudgingly, because I knew the answer I was going to get. She said to get in there. So Gabe and I went in late on the evening of the 11th.


When we arrived at the ER, we were greeted at the desk and triaged immediately. I was walked straight back to a room and a flurry of things began to happen very, very quickly. I have never seen a team work like that. But, I suppose I have never been the patient undergoing a true emergency. I just didn’t realize that at the time. Blood, urine, IV’s, EKG, neuro tests, stat everything, calling the doctor in at surgery, etc. It was wild. And fast. The OB made it out of surgery and came in. My kidneys weren’t really filtering anything anymore. I had protein, red blood cells, white blood cells, and other substances that should have been filtered out in my urine (but no infection), my headache was increasing and vision decreasing (hallmarks of brain swelling), hyperreflexia and one beat clonus in my feet (neuromuscular irritability), high and uncontrolled pressures, amongst other things. The doctor looked at me and told me that the severity of my condition was quite serious and was life-threatening. I remember thinking in that moment that it seemed like a silly thing to say. But maybe if it is that bad then I will at least get to finally rest. Whether that is for a few days or forever, I honestly didn’t care. Truthfully, though, this all felt so distant to me. I know I was there and it was happening to me, but it didn’t feel that way. I felt in the room, but not in my body. I was more a spectator… Until the roaring headache just continued to worsen. What I wouldn’t have given to be absent from my body for that!


So as I was waiting for the magnesium to start to protect me from seizing, they informed me that they had one bed left in the postpartum wing.

         “Isn’t that great?! Now your daughter can come be with you the duration of your stay.”

It was something I absolutely did not want to hear. I already feel like a monster. Now I have been told I might die. And I can’t even rest and be alone for those couple days to die… Or get better, however that might go. But how could I really say that to anybody? I wasn’t being honest about what my mind was already doing; about the torture in my mind every day; about the monster I felt I had become. PPD had already infiltrated every crevice in there and completely taken over. I was just babysitting Olivia anyway, so why did she have to come to the hospital while I was sick? But I knew I needed to keep faking it and trying to save face. Be excited she gets to come. Keep pumping. Hold her and do skin to skin as soon as she arrives. Be gracious and loving. Ask for prayers of healing to get back to the “bundle of joy”.


And so… I lied. One of many. And it turned my stomach to post it. But everybody said that one day it would just change. One day I would just feel like her Mom and love her so, so much and my world would be flipped upside down. So I figured in a few more days it would be fine and those words would be true. I even convinced myself that really I only felt that way because I was physically ill, and once the preeclampsia was resolved, and my brain wasn’t swollen, then my mind would work better. But that was wishful thinking. Because the journey was very long after that point.


Mamas, please don’t feel you have to lie about where you are. All that does is postpone your access to care and keep you from healing. Because this journey can look different. It can have joy and bonding and love! It can be so wonderful! This is your postpartum story. You get to write it. So be honest about what is going on. If your mind isn’t on your team, then let’s work on getting you to the appropriate specialists that can help with that, so this next chapter starts how you want it to.


Preeclampsia/Postpartum Preeclampsia Symptoms:

High blood pressure

Protein in your urine



Nausea or Vomiting

Abdominal and/or Stomach Pain

Lower Back Pain

Sudden Weight Gain

Vision Changes


Shortness of Breath, Anxiety


Preeclampsia can develop during pregnancy or the immediate postpartum period. Please contact your provider or go to L&D or the ER if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.


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