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Lose The Baby Weight â€" Get Postpartum Preeclampsia

Posted Aug 23 2008 3:20pm

Just over a week after we left the hospital when Madelyn was born, we found ourselves back in the hospital for round two. When we were discharged the first time, my wife had high blood pressure but nothing that her doctor was too worried about. He just said, “…keep and eye on it and call me if the bottom number (diastolic) gets above 90″. Okay - so we headed home.

Fortunately for us, my sister-in-law was a nurse and was able to help monitor my wife’s blood pressure a couple of times a day. The Thursday after we came home the first time, my wife was complaining about a headache. She had headaches in the hospital and the nurses told us that it was probably from the high blood pressure. So, my sister-in-law checks her blood pressure and said it was ~195/105 (she was hovering between Stage I and Stage II hypertension) and we immediately called the doctor.

Photo courtesy: Topgold on Flickr

The nurse, without any hesitation, told us to head to the emergency room right away. Not what you want to hear when your blood pressure is already dangerously high!

We scurried around the house gathering a few things for the hospital. We had no idea what was in store for us when we arrived at the emergency room. I had to drop my wife and 2 week old infant off at the emergency room so I could pick up our oldest daughter from daycare.

Not 10 minutes after I dropped them off, she called and said that she was being taken to Labor and Delivery for treatment. Treatment? What treatment? I thought we would be in and out of there in a couple of hours. Don’t they have blood pressure medicine for this sorta stuff?

Before I could get my oldest daughter from school my wife called me again and told me that she was being readmitted because of postpartum preeclampsia and the doctor ordered a 24 hour magnesium treatment to alleviate her blood pressure. Wow!

My blood pressure shot through the roof because she told me that the nurses were waiting on me to get back to the hospital so they could begin the magnesium treatment. I was 30 minutes away and it was pouring down rain AND it was 5 o’clock rush hour traffic.

Magnesium Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons

I didn’t realize the importance of me being there for the treatment. I later learned that magnesium makes the patient feel “like they have the flu” and my wife couldn’t be responsible for taking care of Madelyn while on the magnesium.

The magnesium not only made my wife feel like shit, it got into her milk supply and made Madelyn very sleepy. Both the doctor and the nurses informed us that the magnesium would not harm the baby and all it would do is make her sleep.

After being hooked up to the magnesium for 12 hours, my wife’s blood pressure returned back to normal. Normally magnesium is given for 24 hours, but her body responded well to the treatment and they said they could take her off the treatment at 12 hours.

Postpartum preeclampsia generally develops during pregnancy around 32 weeks but it can also develop, as we learned, up to six weeks AFTER delivery. Wikipedia describes preeclampsia as “…when a woman develops high blood pressure (two separate readings taken at least 4 hours apart of 140/90 or more) and 300 mg of protein in a 24-hour urine sample.”

After being off the magnesium treatment for a few hours, my wife’s blood pressure began to rise. Not to the point where it was when this all began, but enough for the doctor to keep us in the hospital another night. Another night!?! Really? I guess hospitals and doctors don’t mess around with high blood pressure.

We were able to leave two days later with a prescription for some blood pressure medicine and a note saying to watch how much salt she eats. I thought going into the whole ordeal that she would be prescribed some BP medicine on the front end - it seemed like overkill to admit her for two whole days, but I’m guessing that high blood pressure from preeclampsia is different than your mom’s BP problems.

Between being on hospital food for 7 of the last 14 days, a 12 hour magnesium treatment and nursing my wife got a jump start on losing some of the baby weight. The magnesium treatment really curbed my wife’s appetite and was much harder on her than “the flu”. All joking aside, magnesium treatments are hard on a woman’s body and hopefully we’re in the clear now. Madelyn is a month old now, so we still have a couple of weeks left of monitoring her blood pressure.

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