03/16/2016 03:56 EDT | Updated 03/17/2017 05:12 EDT

Postpartum Eclampsia Almost Left My Husband A Single Dad

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Photo of 2 babies on bed focusing on their legs.

I was 36 weeks and one day pregnant with my twins when my doctor told me they would be born the next day. The babies were both healthy, it was my body that was giving up. I had been hospitalized overnight a few days prior due to severe abdominal pain.

While I was at the hospital my right leg had swelled to more than twice the size of my left. Thankfully, I didn't have a blood clot, it was just my uterus putting too much pressure on my nerves. I got to go home the next day.

Oh Jan. 16, 2015 my husband (Chris) and I headed to the hospital for my C-section. My parents stayed at our house with our two-year-old, Evie. It was a long day waiting for an OR room to be available, but at 3:10 p.m. our six-pound, six-ounce son, Theodore, was born and his six-pound, four-ounce sister, Arielle, followed about 20 seconds after. We spent the next few days in the hospital being well taken care of.

My headaches started the day after we came home. I figured they were just spinal headaches, so I didn't worry too much. I was also extremely swollen but remembered being swollen after my first C-section, too. I had a couple of random nose bleeds which I chalked up to the dry January air. Other than those things, I was recovering nicely and was too tired to be worried.

When Arielle and Theo were 11 days old, everything changed. I was getting confused, I would read things multiple times and nothing was making sense.

At around 11:00 .a.m, I went to the kitchen to start making lunch. I remember staring at the fridge wondering what the little things were on it (magnets).

I then opened the cutlery drawer and pulled out a spoon. I had no idea what it was. I held the spoon up and asked Chris what it was, he told me it was a spoon, I started to panic and cry and told him that I didn't know what it was, so he asked me to sit down.

When I sat, I started frantically pointing at my arm asking Chris what it was, he kept telling me it was my arm but it made no sense to me. I then told him that I was going to faint and dropped to my knees. I have minimal memory of the rest of that day.

I had seizures, two or possibly three.

Chris rolled me onto my side and called 911. He had a friend look after A&T, then drove to the hospital with Eve to see me. I don't remember that day in the hospital, I have one memory of Eve wearing a little dinosaur mask, that's it. I don't remember the spinal tap or the multiple other tests they did throughout the day.

According to Chris, I didn't even know who he was. I have also been told that I was so swollen that I was hardly recognizable.

If you are pregnant or a new mom and have severe rib pain, major headaches or any of the other symptoms I listed, please seek medical attention. It's worth it to have it checked even if it turns out to be nothing.

I woke up the next morning in the ICU with two IVs and a catheter, I didn't know why I was there. My doctor came to see me and couldn't believe how small I was, my swelling was completely gone. I couldn't speak properly cause my tongue was huge, apparently I had bitten in when I was seizing and had bled all over the floor.

When Chris came to see me, he was relieved that I knew who he was. My parents also brought Evie for a visit but weren't allowed to stay for long.

My blood pressure was high and the doctors were having trouble getting it down, so they added a second medication to help lower it. There wasn't an official diagnosis at that time but all things were pointing towards postpartum eclampsia.

I had to take an ambulance to a city hospital for an MRI because our local hospital didn't have an MRI machine. After that MRI, the diagnosis was made official, I had had postpartum eclamptic seizures and I was lucky to be alive.

On day three I was moved out of ICU and taken to the maternity floor which meant I could finally see my babies. Chris brought A&T to see me for a short visit, I was overwhelmed and emotional. I spent the next three days on the maternity floor and was released with two different blood pressure meds and orders to have my blood pressure checked twice a day for the next couple of weeks.

I had my driver's license suspended due to the seizures, so we had to pack the whole family up twice a day just to get my blood pressure checks done.

My blood pressure was coming down nicely and I was slowly weaning off the medications. After less than six weeks, my pressure was down to it's normal state and I was completely off the meds. My body was healing itself nicely, it was the emotional aspect that became the hardest part for me.

I was having panic attacks when I would forget little things, I was crying a lot while trying to deal with the reality that I almost wasn't here anymore and I was just an overall emotional mess.

Postpartum pre-eclampsia isn't spoken about as much as regular pre-eclampsia. We're led to believe that we have our babies, then we're supposed to be in this land of happiness where everything is sunshine and roses. I'm told that eclamptic seizures often cause coma and death. Thankfully I am one of the positive statistics that avoided that.

It's been over a year and the emotional trauma still haunts me. I want my story told, I want it shared and I want more women to know about this condition and the dangers of it.

If you are pregnant or a new mom and have severe rib pain, major headaches or any of the other symptoms I listed, please seek medical attention. It's worth it to have it checked even if it turns out to be nothing.

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