Sarah Scott went into her first pregnancy fueled by traditional pregnancy advice you’ve probably heard before. “Eat whatever you want. Whatever you crave is what the baby wants you to eat.”
Sarah started to notice this advice was leading her down the wrong path around 29 weeks into her pregnancy:” I began to feel lethargic. It took me 45 minutes to walk across the street for a neighborhood block party.”
In response she was told “It’s just the summer heat getting to you. It’s hard to be pregnant in the summer.”
What came next was exactly what Sarah had been worried about all along. These hunches she had been having were right, and things were about to go terribly wrong. Here she is describing the events:
“In hindsight, all of the signs were there, I just didn’t know what it was that I was experiencing. I called in to my OB/GYN’s nurse line and was put on hold for half an hour. When the nurse’s southern drawl finally met my Jersey-born-and-raised anxiety, I was simply told to “put my feet up and drink some water. This is all normal, darlin.'”
The next day, I found myself lying on my back in our living room, staring up at a ceiling fan, going in and out of seizure as I watched it spin around and around. I was vomiting on myself and had severe upper right quadrant pain. “This is not normal. Something is terribly wrong,” I thought.”
Once stabilized at the hospital Sarah was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome – a life threatening pregnancy complication that breaks down like this:
- H (hemolysis, which is the breaking down of red blood cells)
- EL (elevated liver enzymes)
- LP (low platelet count)
“Basically, my blood could not clot in this condition so if I had to have an emergency C-section I would have bled out.” says Sarah. She was at serious risk of losing her life, and her unborn child’s chance at life.
Sarah overheard a doctor express his doubt of her survival to a nearby nurse. Sarah’s husband watched as hospital staff lined up coolers of blood with Sarah’s name on them in preparation of blood transfusions.
What came next wasn’t how Sarah wanted the birth of her first child to unfold, but extremely fortunate given the circumstances.
“Our sweet baby was born extremely premature as a result of my own naiveté in listening to the poor advice of others. I did not get to hold my son after he was born or for a long time afterwards as I was so sick. The special moments of bonding with my son were replaced with beeping machines and IV drugs to stabilize and heal my very sick body.”
Both Sarah and her Son survived this nerve wracking ordeal. It was a lesson to Sarah who no longer follows conventional pregnancy advice. “I took ownership of my pregnancy and body. Make sure to eat healthy food in smaller quantities throughout the day.”
Sarah successfully gave birth to her second child following her revised pregnancy regimen.
Is it possible we’re going to look back 50 years from now and wonder how we gave pregnant women such terrible advice?