26 April 2017
Caroline and her husband Tim live in Bolton. Their son Rory was born by emergency caesarean after Caroline developed severe pre-eclampia.
In 2012, I was 28 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I suddenly put on weight but had been tired and moving less, so I ignored it for over a week as I didn't want to be a nuisance. I even went on a walking weekend holiday, in Scotland, miles away from the nearest hospital.
In hindsight, I can’t believe how naive and foolish I was. I was putting my own health and that of my unborn baby in so much danger.
Eventually my legs started swelling so being a runner, I tried to run it off. I could have killed myself. My husband, Tim, kept asking me if I was sure I was okay, but I was so paranoid about being, what I thought was a hypochondriac, that I kept saying I was fine.
For some reason, I kept thinking about the Frank Spencer sitcom scene where Betty keeps going to the hospital when she’s in labour and being sent home 5 times! My work colleagues were begging me to make an appointment or go to the hospital, but I kept ignoring everyone.
My feet were so swollen, they were like rocks and it was so painful and stinging with pins and needles. I finally called a midwife, but even then, I convinced her I was just a worrier and we agreed to wait for my appointment the next day. At the appointment, my blood pressure was so high the midwife thought the machine was broken.
It turned out I had severe pre-eclampsia, which is incredibly dangerous and life-threatening. My midwife told me to go home immediately, pack a bag and go straight to hospital, and not even delay by 10 minutes. I should have been terrified but even then, I didn’t take on board how serious my condition was.
I was hospitalised for two weeks with delivery planned five times before the steroids brought my still dangerously high blood pressure down. This time I really was terrified and I knew something was very wrong, my body was not happy. I insisted on an emergency C-section delivery and thankfully the doctors agreed.
Rory was born at 32 weeks and 2 days weighing 3lbs 2. By a miracle he cried immediately, but was whisked away with suspected septicaemia. I stayed in hospital for 5 days and Rory for 8 weeks.
We were both so lucky to have survived. I ignored my instincts as I didn’t want to be a nuisance. The thought of what could have so easily happened is horrifying.
Being your own champion during pregnancy is important. That’s why Tommy’s has launched a new campaign called #AlwaysAsk to encourage you to trust your instincts and speak up when it comes to health concerns in pregnancy.
Practical tips from other women on how to get listened to and be taken seriously when you have a concern in pregnancy.