We know preeclampsia can cause complications in your pregnancy. But did you know that the effects go beyond delivery? Learn about the long-term effects of preeclampsia from a strong survivor mum.
For mothers, pregnancy is a beautiful journey filled with wonder and excitement. But you also know it can be a time of worry and concern, especially if you experience any medical complications. One of the most serious of these complications is preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a condition that affects millions of mothers worldwide, and it can be a scary and challenging journey to navigate. It’s characterised by high blood pressure and damage to important organs, like your liver and kidneys. This can put both you and your baby at risk and make your pregnancy more difficult than it already is.
As a mother, you want to keep your baby safe and healthy throughout pregnancy. But when you’re faced with a condition like preeclampsia, it can be overwhelming and emotional. Being unable to carry your baby to full term or fearing the unknown can be devastating.
As we share the story of a mother who survived the long-term effects of preeclampsia, we must acknowledge the emotional toll this condition can take on women. It is a reminder that pregnancy is not always a smooth journey, and women who develop complications deserve empathy and support.
Meet Mommy Maricar, A Preeclampsia Survivor
The story of Mommy Maricar Sheena Sobrenilla, a brave Filipina mother, reminds us that with timely medical interventions, emotional and financial support from our loved ones, and a resilient spirit, we can overcome even the toughest challenges during pregnancy.
Maricar battled preeclampsia during her pregnancy, complicated by hypertension and impaired vision. It wasn’t easy, but with her doctors’ help and her family’s unwavering support, she was able to navigate this challenging journey and deliver a healthy baby.
Being Diagnosed With Preeclampsia During Pregnancy
Mommy Maricar shares that even before her pregnancy, her health was at high risk for complications due to her diagnosis of hypertension in 2020. She believes that her job working the graveyard shift for an extended period was a contributing factor to her hypertension.
When she became pregnant for the first time, she thought things would be manageable. Yet she still experienced a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, headaches, swelling in her feet, hands, and face, and changes in her vision, making everything appear blurry.
As you could have predicted, her doctor eventually diagnosed her with preeclampsia. This condition can lead to severe complications for both mother and baby, and Mommy Maricar remembered feeling scared and overwhelmed.
Her medical team advised her to monitor her blood pressure closely and make lifestyle changes such as reducing salt intake and getting enough rest. Despite these efforts, her preeclampsia progressed, and she ultimately had to undergo an emergency C-section to deliver her baby.
As a preeclampsia survivor, Mommy Maricar wants to raise awareness about this condition and its potential risks. She stresses the importance of seeking medical attention if one experiences symptoms such as high blood pressure, headaches, or visual changes. She also urges mums to closely monitor their health during pregnancy.
Coping With the Physical and Emotional Challenges of Preeclampsia
Mommy Maricar shared that preeclampsia took a toll on her emotions during her pregnancy. She admits that there were times when she broke down and felt overwhelmed with guilt and self-blame. She recalls how the “what ifs” list never seemed to end and how she almost wanted to give up.
However, Mommy Maricar found strength in her child. During some of her darkest moments, she would hold her tummy and talk to her baby and found comfort in feeling him move inside her. She describes how this gave her hope and helped her reframe her perspective and focus on the positive.
Ultimately, Mommy Maricar found solace in her faith. She lifted her heavy burdens to God and found peace knowing she was not alone in her struggle. She emphasises the importance of finding support and comfort in whatever works best for each individual.
Mommy Maricar’s experience highlights the emotional challenges that can come with a difficult pregnancy and how finding strength in the love and support of others can help us to persevere through even the most challenging times.
Mommy Maricar shares some of the medical interventions necessary to manage her preeclampsia and ensure her and her baby’s health. She explains that she had to undergo consistent check-ups and follow-ups with her medical team to monitor her condition and adjust her treatment plan closely.
One of the medications that were prescribed to manage her hypertension was methyldopa. Additionally, Mommy Maricar needed to receive early lung surfactant treatment, which required a 3-day hospital admission to manage her blood pressure 2 weeks before giving birth.
Despite these efforts, her condition worsened, and an emergency C-section was necessary to deliver her baby. At this point, her baby was only 30 weeks old and was already in fetal distress. Although this was a difficult and unexpected situation, Mommy Maricar credits her medical team with providing excellent care and support.
Support From Family and Friends During This Challenging Time
The new mum shared that she received emotional, financial, and physical support from different people during her difficult journey with preeclampsia. She recalls how some of her friends messaged her and sent prayers and moral support, while others called her husband because she could not see anything due to her eye condition.
Thanking her husband for his support
Financially, despite the possibility of giving birth early, they had not yet prepared a hospital bag for their baby. However, some of her friends and acquaintances used social media to help raise funds for their hospital bills, which amounted to almost 500k.
They also posted to get breast milk donations for her baby, Arki, because she could not breastfeed at the time due to her hypertensive drug treatment.
Physically, Mommy Maricar’s husband, Mark Anthony, was a constant source of support and assistance while they were in the hospital. He did his best to get everything they needed while they were at the East Avenue Medical Center.
Mommy Maricar expresses her gratitude to all those who provided support and assistance during this difficult time, emphasizing how important it is to have a strong support system in times of need.
Delivering a Premature Baby
Mommy Maricar faced numerous challenges with her premature baby, Arki. Arki was born weighing only 1050g and was diagnosed with neonatal pneumonia, requiring him to receive a blood transfusion. One of the most challenging experiences was the ROP screening, which checks if the baby’s eyes develop properly.
Since Arki was under oxygen support for a month, long-term eye damage could occur. Fortunately, Arki was free from ROP. However, they are still assessing Arki’s right ear since he did not respond during his hearing test, and they were referred to a specialist. Arki’s left ear functions well, and he responds appropriately to sounds.
The family has scheduled an appointment with Manila Hearing Aid for further diagnosis. In addition, Arki’s first two weeks caused negative reactions in his tummy, so he needed IV feeding. He was also in the incubator for a month and underwent multiple blood extractions due to his blood transfusion and under oxygen support.
The Long-Term Effects of Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia can have long-term effects on a woman’s health, and Mommy Maricar has experienced some of them firsthand.
One of the most significant effects for her has been impaired vision, specifically maculopathy. This condition occurs when the back of the retina is exposed to extreme pressure caused by facial oedema, resulting in difficulty reading, seeing fine details in objects, and recognising faces and colours.
Mommy Maricar now struggles to see things in fine detail and appreciates colours as they appear one shade dimmer than they are. She also has trouble adjusting to bright lights, which can overwhelm her.
Unfortunately, there is no direct medicine or procedure to cure maculopathy. The only treatment available is to manage Mommy Maricar’s blood pressure and wait for her eyes to recover fully, which can take years.
Aside from impaired vision, Mommy Maricar also experienced Bell’s Palsy around November. Overworking herself and not taking enough time to recover from her previous health issues made her more susceptible to this condition, a risk factor associated with preeclampsia.
Fortunately, with the help of steroids, vitamins, and facial massages, she was able to recover by the end of January.
Planning for Future Pregnancies
For Mommy Maricar, having experienced preeclampsia during her first pregnancy has impacted her approach to future pregnancies or family planning. She acknowledges that her health is a top priority and the best investment to have a safe pregnancy and delivery and minimise the risk of possible complications.
For those who plan to become mums, it is essential to work with their medical providers and plan, especially if they have a high-risk condition. This may involve consistent check-ups, follow-ups, and regular monitoring of their health status. It may also include lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a healthy diet, staying active, and avoiding stress.
Regarding family planning, it is important to discuss their plans and options with their partner and medical providers. This may involve contraceptive methods or alternative ways to conceive, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), which may help minimize the risks of complications for both the mother and the baby.
Ultimately, the experience of preeclampsia has taught Mommy Maricar the importance of taking care of her health and planning ahead, not just for herself but also for her family’s future.
Having a Support Group
Mommy Maricar found theAsianparent app to be a helpful resource during her journey with preeclampsia. She could connect with other mums through the app and exchange information about the condition. Additionally, she researched and worked closely with her OB to ensure she received the best possible care.
Women need to have access to reliable and trustworthy resources when dealing with high-risk pregnancies. theAsianparent app is just one example of a community that can provide support and valuable information to women going through similar experiences.
Other resources that may be helpful include online support groups, reputable medical websites, and consultations with medical professionals.
Mommy Maricar believes that healthcare providers and the medical community can better support mothers dealing with preeclampsia by having a separate program or medical facility that focuses explicitly on catering to and helping mothers with this condition.
In addition, having a doctor that won’t judge mothers for pushing a pregnancy despite being considered high-risk is also important. Enough moral support should be provided despite the difficulties imposed on the mother.
Having a support system that understands and empathises with the challenges of having preeclampsia can make a significant difference in the journey of the mother and her baby.
“Is there anything you wish you had known or prepared for before experiencing preeclampsia during pregnancy?”
I wish I could have paid more attention to caring for myself so I would not expose my child to a difficult birth process. However, given a chance, I still won’t change anything. This experience made me realise two things. One God will never leave or forsake you. The second God made me witness a miracle.
To all the mom’s out there who could have been suffering from preeclampsia. I know how difficult it is, Mommies, but let’s choose HOPE. With HOPE, anything is possible.
Don’t blame yourself. You did what you had to do. Having a preemie is not a weakness. They are just the same as normal newborns that will only require a little extra care over time. They are tiny but mighty Preemie warriors.
Maricar’s story reminds us of the importance of seeking timely medical attention and working closely with our healthcare providers to manage any complications during pregnancy. It also highlights the crucial role that emotional and financial support from our loved ones can play during this challenging time.
In the face of adversity, it can be easy to lose hope. But Maricar’s story is a testament to the power of hope and resilience. As mothers, we have a natural strength that allows us to rise above even the toughest challenges.
So, if you or someone you know is battling preeclampsia or any other complications during pregnancy, know that you are not alone. With the right support and mindset, you can overcome anything and emerge stronger and more resilient.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.