One tough pregnancy - Kelly's story

Kelly And Alfie's Story Hero

Kelly's longed-for pregnancy turned out to involve an ovarian cyst, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, along with her husband being deployed to Afghanistan.

After my husband and I decided to start a family, we spent a very difficult 18 months trying unsuccessfully, marked by so many negative pregnancy tests.

Then on Remembrance Sunday I did one random pregnancy test – and discovered I was pregnant. Our miracle had happened; we were so happy!

In my eyes, this was a done deal and nothing could change it. Then at six weeks I had a big bleed; a scan - to our joy - showed our baby’s little heartbeat, but also a 5cm ovarian cyst on my right side. I didn't care – my baby was there – but the doctors explained to me that cyst could burst or rupture, but they also reassured me that it could go without any trouble. We were so happy.

A few days passed and I was bent over in the bathroom. I couldn't stand; I was vomiting and in so much pain. I was taken to A&E and they told me my cyst had twisted.

I didn't want to admit the pain I had in my tummy; nothing was taking it away. However, after a few hours it got better and I was told the cyst was untwisting. I was allowed home, but told to come straight back if it happened again.

It did, at ten weeks. My husband was away so my friend took me to A&E.

They explained to me that I might need surgery to remove it, but I was very likely to miscarry. I didn’t want surgery, I hadn’t been a 'natural' to fall pregnant easily and so I wasn't letting my baby go. They agreed as long as I didn't get any worse; again the cyst started to untwist and they monitored me.

A plan was agreed to get me to 16 weeks, when surgery to remove the cyst would be the best option as by then my baby would have a good chance of survival. I continued to have regular scans, and got safely to 16 weeks.

My husband was due to deploy to Afghanistan in my 21st week. He was due back for his R and R on my due date, 18 July, and then to finish his tour of duty three months later for good. When we learned that our little joy was going to be a boy, we were so delighted.

Then, just when I thought nothing else could go wrong, the unthinkable started to happen…

I had a midwife check around 22 weeks; she told me I had swelling and increased blood pressure which she would monitor. Within a week I was getting headaches on and off. At 24 weeks, she sent me straight to hospital as my blood pressure was so high. They kept me in for a few hours and after that I started seeing the midwife weekly. But by 25 weeks my headaches were so bad they were waking me up in the night, and I lost vision at times in one of my eyes, often during the night. I’d call the maternity ward and they always brought me in to check me.

At 26 weeks my blood pressure was rapidly increasing. The doctors started me on blood pressure tablets, and they kept me in for the night.

This was like a miracle for me; the headaches were gone and I felt fabulous. But within three days the headaches were back, and banging my head on a brick wall would have been less painful.

People commented on how I was swelling, but I couldn't see it. I was rushed so many times to hospital within the next two weeks with my blood pressure rising; usually staying in for a couple of nights. I got to know all the staff so well!

My tablets were increased to the highest dose by 27 weeks, and at 28 weeks my consultant told me I was very poorly. He said they could add another blood pressure tablet, but once that stops controlling things – which he was sure it would – they would have to deliver me. At this point I was lucky if I felt my baby move three times in 24 hours. The consultant said he wanted to get me to 36 weeks, but he thought I would probably have my baby at 32 weeks.

At 29 weeks I was admitted into hospital until the birth. My husband was then flown home within 24 hours when I was classed as critical by 30 weeks – I could hardly get out of bed; I felt like I was going to die, and not have my baby.

I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, and I was then told I was at risk of having a fit or a stroke and my baby needed to be delivered.

Our beautiful baby boy was born at 32 weeks weighing 4lb 3oz by emergency c-section. He was a very poorly baby; he needed to be resuscitated when he was born and I had so many people in my delivery room – it was hard to believe that there were around 20 people in there for me and my baby.

He was taken straight to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Meanwhile, I was still classed as critical and I didn't see my baby for ten hours as I couldn't be moved.

Then I was put back onto the labour ward for another five days. The NICU was opposite the labour ward, and so just hours of having my c-section I was up and able to walk over to my baby.

Then his lung collapsed the day after he was born. He needed an operation to drain the fluid, and help to breathe over the next couple of weeks. I didn't hear my baby cry for over four days!

Nevertheless, my little Alfie and I are both very, very lucky and it is all thanks to the amazing care we were given during our experience.