Lucy Fredrick [Photo: Courtesy]

Lucy Fredrick,34, was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, a disorder in pregnancy characterized by the onset of high blood pressure and often a significant amount of protein in the urine.

I could barely contain my excitement the day I took a home pregnancy test and got a positive outcome. It was wonderful to confirm that my husband and I were finally becoming parents.

I had heard stories about pregnancies but I didn’t think mine would be a different one.

I experienced nausea from the third week which I believed was normal, but then I realised from about 20 weeks I was still throwing up,  in addition, my blood pressure was rising.

My face was getting puffy and my legs were swelling, but everyone I asked confirmed that all that was normal.

At week 24, these changes were visible to everyone else, and the fatigue was also quite heavy

At my prenatal visits, nurses would comment on my pressure but my doctor didn’t read much into the readings.

At almost week 29, my upper stomach felt really tender. My face, hands and feet were extremely swollen.

Almost the same time, I started experiencing upper epigastric pain. I had my blood and protein checked and I was given a clean bill of health with only a warning from the doctor that I might deliver at 32 weeks if my pressure kept rising. He, however, never told me what danger signs to look out for.

My 29th week was the most difficult; the pain was so severe that I couldn’t eat or stand for too long. My legs kept swelling; I could actually see them getting bigger and bigger.

 One morning I woke up so bad, my husband insisted that I go to hospital. When the nurses checked my blood pressure, I could see their shock from the results.

My doctor diagnosed me that I had gastritis and gave me medication.

The following day after the hospital visit, I couldn’t not even stand up straight and my stomach felt like it would burst the next minute. We sought a second opinion at a different hospital as the situation was moving from bad to worse.

It was at the second hospital I was informed I had severe type of preeclampsia. Some of the tests also revealed my organs were starting to fail.

My liver was distended and my kidneys were not looking good either, so they had to put a catheter to monitor the output and check on the protein. My platelets were also so low that they couldn’t operate. They administered steroids to help the baby’s lungs to develop and medications to help regulate my pressure.

All this was too much to handle, I found myself browsing for information on conditions I was hearing for the first time in my life. Armed with acres of information, I called almost every other doctor I knew of and they confirmed my fears – the baby had to be removed.

The extraction though difficult was successful as the baby was very small.

My daughter Michaela Kamuri was born weighing 1.2kg at 29 weeks and 6 days. 

She had to be rushed to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit since she had respiratory distress syndrome. Luckily she survived all that, even jaundice, but I still couldn’t take her home because her weight dropped to less than a kilo.  

I didn’t see my baby until the following day since I was too weak and I was scared when they told me how tiny she was.

I did not have breast milk for three days; she had to be fed on formula. It was a difficult journey for me but I found a support group online after five months which I really wish I had joined earlier.

The group was a source of inspiration for me since I realised so many other mums go through complications similar to what I went through. My advice to any mum out there, trust your gut feeling and get a second opinion whenever that need arises. My daughter is now one year and eleven months.