Congratulations on your new baby! Let me be the first to welcome you to our exclusive club: the Hypertension in Pregnancy Club, or as I like to call it, the 'HIP' Mamas Club... 'cause you know, there is something 'oh-so-hip' about those fat feet and puffy cheeks of preeclampsia.
Our club is so exclusive that I suspect you would have paid not to join it, but since you didn't get a choice, it is my honor to welcome you and show you around.
I wanted to share some tips from a fellow HIP Mama member -- I can imagine you are feeling a little overwhelmed. That is totally normal.
First -- repeat after me -- 'I did nothing wrong.'
I know you, Kim. I've watched your show. You and I share a love of order that others do not understand. So, please do not examine every last thing you ate or drank, or wonder about every set of exercises you did, or didn't do, or whatever.
Preeclampsia starts when the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterine lining. The chocolate bunny you snuck at Easter? Not your fault. So, to all the haters out there who say it happened to you because of something you did (like that floral horror you wore to the Met) or ate? (like the bunny), stick your fingers in your ears and sing it with me: 'La-la-la-la-la. I did nothing wrong.'
Second: Keep an eye on yourself
Preeclampsia starts to resolve as soon as the baby (and technically the placenta) are out. That being said, I know women who have had complications post-partum (me), as late as a week (me) and even six weeks out (me). The U.S. actually tracks 'incidents' out to 12 months, so they happen. Keep an eye on your blood pressure, swelling and headaches, and report in if they are out of the ordinary. That same nasty headache -- or pain under your right rib -- worth checking out. No doctor ever died from checking a woman's blood pressure too many times.
Third: It can happen again
I'm sorry. I hate to be the one to say this but yes, it is most common in first pregnancies, and yes, most women who had it the first time, don't have it the second time, but the highest risk factor for a second case of preeclampsia is... drumroll... a first case. This is not to say you shouldn't have more babies, should you choose, but just be aware and be sure to get a really good OB, preferably a maternal fetal medicine specialist who is used to dealing with cases like yours, because trust me...
Four: You are NOT alone
I had preeclampsia with my first pregnancy (a very handsome, healthy, 28-year-old aspiring actor/musician in LA, FYI), and had a perfectly healthy second pregnancy, and then went on to nearly die of HELLP Syndrome with my third pregnancy. If it were not for the care of an excellent obstetrician in Seattle, I would have had a 'near-miss' with my fourth as well.
In addition to the 200-300,000 American women who experience preeclampsia and related complications every year, many famous women are rumored to be HIP Mamas Club members:
• Former First Lady Laura Bush
• Jane Seymour
• Deborah Norville
• Deborah Messing
There are many survivors out there, some outspoken, others quiet, but certainly someone who can understand what you went through and be a resource for you during this tough time.
The point is, while preeclampsia, might be relatively unknown, it isn't choosy; any pregnant woman is at risk. It is the leading cause of maternal and infant death and near-miss globally and in the U.S.A.
Please feel free to look around the best resource for the topic in the world and reach out to their team. (www.preeclampsia.org) and get acquainted with the other members in the online forum.
Finally, please know that by speaking out about the importance of prenatal care and listening to your body and your doctor or midwife, you can not only educate women, but you can save lives -- the lives of mommies AND babies.
Blessings to you, Kanye and the baby and welcome (??!) to the club!
Join the conversation - talk about maternal death and near-miss in the U.S.