Mission Family Monday is when we take the opportunity to spotlight the real stories of families affected by preeclampsia, who have chosen to share that story in their local community to raise awareness of this cause. These individuals shine a spotlight on the work that the Preeclampsia Foundation supporters do through the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia. Please feel free to share this story in your own community!
On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, Christie Polverelli came home from work as usual to her loving family: partner Chris Lehoisky, seven-year-old daughter Alexis; three-year-old son Carter and two-year old son Lukas. The whole family was ecstatic that Christie was 27 weeks along, expecting the birth of a new baby sister.
Christie had noticed some bad swelling in her fingers, ankles and face, but as a busy mom of three, she didn’t have much time to worry. But the sudden, agonizing pain on her right side that day was enough to call an ambulance to take her to the hospital.
Blood work and vital signs confirmed that Christie and her baby were in critical condition, and that if the medical staff did not deliver immediately, Christie and the baby could both lose their lives. There was no time to lose.
At a mere 1 pound, 12 ounces, baby Elle (ell-ee) was brought into the world and whisked away to a nearby neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Meanwhile, Christie struggled for her life: her doctors found severe internal bleeding from what turned out to be a ruptured liver. Christie had HELLP syndrome.
Christie’s family was in total shock. They could not understand how Christie could be so sick, so fast. By 7:30 am, it was decided that Christie needed to be transferred to the same high risk facility as Elle.
As soon as Christie arrived at the new facility, she was taken into exploratory surgery to try and control the continual internal bleeding and to repack her critically damaged liver. A short time later, more bad news arrived: Christie was bleeding from her stomach and her lung had collapsed. Emergency surgery was incredibly dangerous, but necessary.
Christie passed away at 2:14 pm on February 27, less than 24 hours after giving birth to her beautiful little Elle.
“We felt crushed, horrified, shocked,” explained Christie’s sister Lisa Colvin, the team captain of “Christie’s Crusaders” for the Albany, NY Promise Walk for Preeclampsia. “These feelings remain to this day.”
The family had great comfort in little Elle, who turned out to be a fighter and just celebrated her first birth day a few weeks ago. For the family, it was a bittersweet day.
“The outpouring of prayers, love, kindness and support we have received gives our family faith, hope and trust in the world’s future,” said Christie’s dad Mark, who has worked continuously to raise awareness in his local community. “Our hope is that Christie’s life will live on, that mothers and babies will be saved. We trust that her four children will continue to be just like her; loving, caring and very unselfish.”
You can join the Polverelli and Lehoisky family and their team at the New York Capital District Promise Walk on Sunday, June 1 at The Crossings of Colonie in Loudonville, NY by registering at www.promisewalk.org/albany.