Preeclampsia & HELLP Awareness: Novelle's Story
A rollercoaster story to never forget
Hello my name is Novelle Rozenblad and I want to share my story with you. It was the year 2017 when I found out that I was pregnant, just with a simple test we were becoming parents. Me and my husband were very excited and also our families.
In January 2018 I could not get a good night sleep, my back was hurting me, I thought is was due to my scoliosis and the fact that the baby was growing. I started to notice that my diastolic blood pressure was rising from 80 to 90. So I went to see the doctor who sent me immediately to the gynecologist. The GYN told me that I must be hospitalized because my BP was getting higher and my feet began to swell. I was 22 weeks pregnant at that time. While in the hospital I had a headache and was put in dark room where I was being monitored continuously and put on medication. My family told me that I just wasn't myself that day and my husband nor family were informed of what was wrong with me. My mother, who came to visit me, went to ask a nurse if she could tell her what was happening to me, and it was then that she was informed that I was developing HELLP Syndrome. The doctor came to me and explained that my liver and kidneys were failing and that he would need to end the pregnancy. You can imagine my sadness at hearing this. My husband and mother went to talk with the doctor to find another solution. They tried a few medications which seemed to work so the doctor told me they would keep me in the hospital until it was time for the baby to be born.
On February 18, 2018, at 27 weeks and 3 days, I was rushed to the operation room, because the EKG was showing signs of distress. A c-section was performed and my first son Anferny was born. I was able to see him but was not given a change to touch him as he was rushed to the NICU. While I was recovering from the operation, my husband was visiting our son each day and showing me pictures. I was told to begin to send breast milk to help my baby grow better. On the third day I was allowed to see my son and I was really happy to see him and to touch his body. The doctor from the NICU told me that they would do their utmost to help him because there was a 50% chance of living or dying. I was praying each day that my son would come out of the hospital just like any other baby so I kept my faith. On the fourth day I was informed that something was wrong with my baby and a nurse brought me to the NICU because I was not able to stand long due to my swollen feet. Upon arriving in the NICU, I saw that my son was gray in color and in need of aid. My husband & I were informed that his blood needed oxygen, he was in need of a blood transfusion and that antibodies were the cause of this. We were told that blood was requested at another hospital because the NICU did not have his type of blood.
My husband & I were praying with our son and telling him to hold on. We were singing songs for him to calm him down because we saw that he was fighting for his life. During that time we notice that our son had opened his eyes and looked at us. I was really happy to see that moment. He was listening to us and he kept waiting but unfortunately he passed away and the blood did not arrive. We were very sad and mad because we could not understand how this was possible. I started to ask questions like "Why wasn’t he given the blood? Is it because they saw that his life would not be worth it?" We were very sad and I was wondering why did my body failed. We buried our son which was so hard for us. We have received support from our families and friends. I purchased a book about HELLP syndrome because I wanted to learn more about this cruel disease and why it happened to me.
A Second Surprise
We conceived again in 2020 and this time I was sent to the OB for more regular visits. I was advised to take baby aspirin and blood pressure medication due to my history. The baby’s heart and growth were also being closely monitored. This time I really watched and listened to my body to make sure I knew if something strange occurred. It was July 2020 when I noticed that my diastolic BP was 90 and my feet began to swell again. But this time I was 27 weeks pregnant and was taken to the hospital. There I was told that I needed bedrest and that my baby was growing good. The OB told me that I would not be allowed to have a natural birth because my baby boy was lying in breech position and that they would monitor us. I did notice that my body was getting bigger, swelling with fluid and my feet were also hurting when I would walk. Still I thought I would hold on because my baby needed to wait for the right time to come. Each day I was put on a monitor to check the status of the baby.
On July 17, 2020 the nurse told me that they would prepare me for the OR because my EKG was not good. I said to her " No it is not the time yet. Why now? Who said that it was time?" I called my husband who rushed to the hospital along with my mother. The whole team was ready to do the operation. But before they would preform the operation, all the doctors came to speak with us (my husband, mother and I). The anesthetist told us that they have to operate but that someone could die, and that person could be me because I was give an injection each day called frexiparafin to prevent blood clots. As a result my blood was very thin and I was at risk of bleeding to death during the operation. So my
husband was asked who he would choose. He asked the doctors to wait until the medicine wore of enough for my blood clot, which ended up being the next day. My husband was allowed to sleep with me that night in the hospital and my mom went home to my father and younger brother where they started praying for us.
The next morning, I was on the monitor when I heard it become silent and I saw the curve going down. I began to yell for the nurse and asked her what was happening with my baby. She told me that we were going to the OR immediately. I was rushed into surgery and my second baby boy Evan was born. He was lifted over the curtain so that I could see him. He cried loudly enough that I felt relieved and thought that we were safe this time because he was bigger than my first baby. But he still needed to go to the NICU. I was rushed to the ICU and after two days I was moved to a step down unit and was told by a nurse that I had a partial placenta abruption. The third day, I was brought to visit my son in the NICU. While there, my sons lung collapsed. They resucitated and intubated him but a few hours later he passed away. The doctors were not able to help him because he did not receive the proper care. The proper care for premature babies is very poor in our country.
When you are on a rollercoaster, you start the ride slowly and it will eventually go very fast, up and down. This is just how my story went. It has now been 9 months since we lost our second son and 2 years since our first son. This was really hard for us because we have experienced this two times. I have my sons' pictures hanging in our living roam. My husband & I speak about them often and wonder how they
would have been if they were still alive. Sometimes I cry because it really hurts when you see others and their babies. With my story, I hope to inspire other mothers and parents to notice each difference that is happening to their body and ask questions if you are not sure. Speak for our babies because they deserve to receive proper care and aid. I hope to conceive again and that I will bring my baby home safely without complications. I hope to connect with others (e.g doctors, mothers and fathers) who have experience HELLP or Preeclampsia to learn and exchange thoughts to help each other. Have faith and all your dreams will come true!