My husband and I were married in 2001. He and I both have teenage boys from previous marriages and we waited a long time before deciding to have a baby together.
I didn't feel well my entire pregnancy and by the time I was 7 months along I began to show signs of fluid retention. This pregnancy was far different than my last because this time most of my days were spent in bed.
By the time I was almost 7 1/2 months along, I knew that something wasn't right and I asked my Dad to take me to my doctor's appointment on 2-23-07. My husband would have gone with me that day, but he just started a new job and he couldn't really afford to take the time off. So, I didn't bother to call him until I knew more about my situation.
It turned out that I had severe preeclampsia and I would have to be ambulanced to the closest hospital that would be able to facilitate a premature baby. Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder that occurs during pregnancy and it effects multiple symptoms. Severe preeclampsia is just that - severe. It usually involves a large amount of protein in the woman's urine (kidneys are not functioning properly) and her blood pressure is dangerously high. In fact, it can be high enough to induce seizures, a coma, or death. Not only can it take the life of the mother, but the baby also.
My beautiful little bundle of joy was born 3 days later by C-Section. Shortly after his delivery I felt wonderful. My severe preeclampsia was resolving itself just as the doctors assured me it would (by delivering the baby). I even borrowed a laptop from one of the nurses and began balancing my checkbook prior to checking out of the hospital. Unfortunately, my little one had to stay until he met his goals that were assigned.
While I was waiting for my husband to come pick me up, a doctor entered my room with a Rubella Vaccine. She assured me that it was needed in the event that I decide to have a baby again in the future. I was simply told that at best, there may be swelling at the injection site or I may run a low-grade fever, nothing more. So, I quickly signed the sheet of paper she presented me with.
Shortly after receiving the vaccine I began to feel very strange. My husband and I were traveling the 1 hour back though to our house because I needed to pack a quick suitcase and return to be with our baby. I even planned on coming right back to the hospital that same day.
By dinner time, I decided that I would stay home and return to the hospital the next day. By 1 am I had called my Mom because I felt like I was having a panic attack and difficulty breathing. My Mom said that she would say some prayers (which always make me feel better) and told me to go to bed.
By morning, I was in much worse shape. I assured my husband that I would be fine though and ordered him to go to work. Within the next few hours I was shaking uncontrollably, sweating profusely, crying, and became convinced that it was my time to go and that my new baby would be in great hands with a wonderful father. I even saw the bright white above my bed! I really do believe that I was near death because I could hear what seemed to be many people talking at once while also seeing that bright white light. Were they people who were already in heaven and waiting for my arrival? Thankfully, my husband knew something was wrong and he called home to check on me. He heard it in my voice and said he would be there as quickly as he could (we were in the middle of a snowstorm).
At this point, something in me snapped when I thought of my teenage son having to live with his father. I am not saying anything bad about his Dad, but I've been struggling with getting my child help for his learning disabilities. It has been me that has dealt with the situation all of these years, not him. I forced myself out of bed, barely able to even walk because I literally swelled up with probably 25 lbs of fluid overnight. I don't know how I did it, but I forced myself into the shower to wash some of the sweat off of me. All I remember during that shower was pleading with God to spare my life. I just kept begging God to let me live and not let it be my time. I was in such bad shape that I couldn't even get dressed afterward. My husband arrived and helped me into my clothes, down the stairs, and into his vehicle.
When we arrived at the hospital I discovered that my blood pressure was 182/128. I didn't know anything about blood pressure readings, but I could tell from the look on my husband's face that it wasn't good. I could see him say a quick prayer each time they gave me another dose of medicine to try to bring it down (five doses in all for it to take effect finally). When I came right out and asked him in the middle of all of this if I was going to die, he said, "No, don't be silly." He's my best friend though and I can tell when he isn't being truthful (he never lies to me). I could also see at that moment that his face went from red to purple and his heart was literally beating outside of his chest.
I had to spend the next 3 days at this same hospital which was 50 minutes away from my baby. It was absolute torture not being able to see him or hold him. I would replay my video recordings while lying in my hospital bed and just sob. "Why was I here"? I asked. "What happened"? I was told that relapses after delivery can occur with preeclampsia when the mother's milk comes in (hormonal changes can trigger it).
Little did I know that this was just the beginning of my vaccine-induced nightmare.