Dear HELLP

It's been 6 weeks since Hazel's dramatic beginning into this beautiful world, and what a long and emotional 6 weeks it has been. Someone recently encouraged me to continue to write in my journal as a vice against the stress and emotional toll this experience in the NICU would take and so I've been diligently keeping a record of Hazel's growth, my emotions and things I wanted myself and her to remember as the years go on. In doing so, I thought to write a letter to HELLP Syndrome as if it were a person. The only way to close the book on the emotional toll that syndrome took on my mind was to write to it. 

 

Dear HELLP,

 

I wish I could say I'd heard your name before, but i hadn't. You felt no need for introductions, you came suddenly and aggressively just 23 short weeks into my pregnancy with no warning and stomped all over the ideas I had of how we'd welcome our sweet baby into this beautiful world. 

 

I showed no symptoms until that day when in the early hours of the morning I had a little trouble breathing. I blamed it on anxiety after receiving some devastating news and tried to go back to sleep. I woke up a few hours later feeling like I was having contractions when In fact it was you.... you had decided to make yourself known and kicked off the party by shutting down my organs. 

 

I laid on the bathroom floor in tears and in pain, in fear that I was going into premature labour and waited for my sister to take me to the hospital. 

 

You didn't waste any time. Quickly and with a vengeance you took over my body. You consumed me. You were destroying my liver, and my kidneys. You came with such a force that my blood pressure was so high I was put on stroke and seizure precautions... and when you heard the doctor tell me that they would have to deliver the baby at some point that week to relieve me of my symptoms you laughed as if to say "not on my watch" and you came at me even harder. 

 

When I arrived at the transfer hospital your plan had become clear. You were strong and my body couldn't fight you... not yet. So they said the words I never wanted to hear "we are prepping the OR. We have to deliver the baby or you won't make it" 

 

They took my baby from me while I lay unconscious on a metal slab. They cut me open and took her out while you decided you weren't finished having your way with me. My platelets had gotten so low that my blood wasn't clotting and I was losing large amounts of blood. My blood pressure had been so high that they gave me meds to bring it down in order to cut me open, and in an attempt to save yourself when they delivered my baby girl, you took off making my blood pressure tank. It got so low after being so high that my kidneys were injured. 

 

You took from me the ability to birth a full term, healthy baby girl and instead forced her to come early living in an incubator on a breathing tube as she grows. You stole from me the moment to see my daughter being born, and the next 48 hours of memories. You changed the way it was supposed to be.... no exciting "it's a girl" from her daddy to our family, no tears of joy when I held my daughter after the pain and hard work of childbirth. Instead you left me in a hospital bed for 11 days. Tears of joy were replaced with tears of sadness and fear and guilt. 

 

But what you didn't take from me was my fight. I never wanted to meet you, and I sure as hell wasn't going to let you take any more of me. 

 

They spoke of blood transfusions, and of kidney biopsies. They took more blood than I thought I had, poked me with more needles than should be allowed leaving awful black and blue bruises all over my arms. They started and stopped IVs and gave me handfuls of pills.... all while my baby was downstairs being cared for by her nurses in a way that my body no longer could. 

 

So I thought of her. Of who she is... who she will be. I thought of my husband who had never left my side, who slept on a fold out cot in my room for 11 days, and was my eyes and ears when I couldn't remember what to say or what to ask. 

 

I kicked your ass. I took your unwanted nonsense diagnosis of kidney failure, and low blood levels, of failing liver functions and high blood pressures and I refused to let them consume me. I healed. For the most part, I healed and you, My unwanted friend showed me just how strong I am. YOU didn't decide my fate. I'm stronger than you are, I have a fight stronger than you do. 

 

You made me better. You made me appreciate the important things and let go of the superficial. You brought my husband and I even closer together than we already were and we have a daughter who is a fighter because of you. A strong-willed, beautiful baby girl who will grow up to feel her parents love, and show her the beautiful things in the world and who will always be reminded at how strong she is so that if ever you or anyone like you try to tell her she's not, she'll have already met you and know exactly where to send you.