Approximately 7% of pregnant women develop a serious complication called preeclampsia, which can be deadly for mothers and babies. Symptoms include high blood pressure, protein in the urine, headaches, swelling, and a pain in the right part of the midsection. Preeclampsia is a leading cause of premature birth and kills 500,000 babies and 75,000 mothers worldwide each year.
My son Dex was born at 32 weeks, not from pre-e, but from a placental abruption. Unfortunately my condition could not be predicted, but as local survivor Jessie Ostendorf’s story illustrates, knowledge of preeclampsia can save lives.
At 18 weeks gestation, Jessie started exhibiting significant swelling. Attributing it to normal signs of pregnancy and working too hard, she was given the advice to relax and drink more water. Preeclampsia was a nagging thought. At 21 weeks, after a severe headache, she was admitted to the hospital with blood pressure of 200/100, protein in her urine, and a diagnosis of preeclampsia.
Baby Autumn and Jessie were failing quickly and delivery could not be delayed. It was a scramble to save Jessie’s life as she was sent to the ICU with a fever of 107.5.
Autumn was delivered stillborn on May 14, 2011.
The Ostendorfs found the Preeclampsia Foundation as a source of information and support. They founded Team Autumn for the 2011 Denver Promise Walk and have been volunteers since.
To join the Ostendorfs, register for the 4th Annual Denver Promise Walk for Preeclampsia.
My son was born at Rose Medical Center and, along with my OBGYN, they saved our lives.
Learn the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia. You may need it while pregnant, or be able to inform a friend or family member in need.
Many thanks to Jessie and her lovely family for sharing their story with us.