Dallas Family Making Strides

March 11, 2013

Many of our walks will feature a local family, their story of preeclampsia and how it has changed their lives.  As we move closer to Preeclampsia Awareness Month and the start of our walks, we’ll begin featuring these brave families each week with Mission Family Monday.

This week we are featuring the Lara family.The Lara Family

Christine Lara had preeclampsia during both of her pregnancies: what started out as “not feeling well” at 29 weeks led to the premature delivery of her son Christopher 10 weeks premature.

After experiencing an upset stomach, no appetite, back pain and gas, Christine contacted her doctor to come in for an appointment.  When she arrived, she met with the nurse practicioner who reviewed her symptoms but seemed unconcerned, that was until she took Christine’s blood pressure.  Not wanting to cause alarm, but needing to confirm the reading, the nurse took Christine’s blood pressure again.  When she was done, she had her lie down on her left side and said she would be right back.  At this point, Christine started to get a little worried.

That concern only grew when the nurse came in to tell her they were going to admit her to the hospital for observation.  A wheel chair came in and she was off.  She was hooked up to a BP monitor and told to be quiet and not stress.  It was not too long before her doctor came in and told her she had preeclampsia.  At 29 weeks, she was told that if her BP didn’t return to safe levels they would have to deliver via emergency C-section.

It was Wednesday, December 10.  She was due February 20.  Christine’s mind raced with all the plans she had for that remaining time, with the concern for her baby and with questions about what was happening to her body.

Christine was given a catheter and was hooked up to a magnesium sulfate drip.  They also gave her two steroid shots to boost her baby’s lungs in case they did deliver.  She was told to communicate with the nurse and doctors if she felt a head ache or if she had changes in her visions and they warned of risk of stroke or seizure.  Her mind was spinning…all she could remember was that the books said preeclampsia was fairly rare, that there were so many other things she thought pregnant women should worry about first.

The following evening Christine was hot, hungry, tired, and had a headache.  She let her nurse know and in twenty minutes, she was in the operating room.  Christine was able to only briefly see her son, Christopher, when they rolled him out the door to the NICU from the OR.  He weighed 3 lbs. 7 oz. and was 16.5 inches long.

Following delivery and on the way to her new room the nurses took her by the NICU to see Christopher.  She was wheeled in, bed and all, and able to see him in his isolette.  Christine recalls that “he was so small and hooked up to a ventilator and all kinds of tubes.  I got to touch his hand for the very first time though through a port hole in the isolette.”

Finally, a week after he was born, Christine was able to hold him for the first time. She says it was the best and scariest moment of her life.  He was so tiny, but so strong… he would lift his head when he heard his mommy talk to him.

Christopher spent 49 days in the NICU and is now a healthy, happy three year old.

A year later, Christine was pregnant again and at 32 weeks preeclampsia seemed to rear its ugly head again.  She was admitted to the hospital with high blood pressure.  At 35 weeks, she was once again having an emergency c-section and her daughter Katie was born weighing 5 lbs and 7 oz.  Katie, fortunately, never needed the NICU, and Christine was able to hold her almost immediately.

This time, however, Christine’s BP did not go down with delivery.  After spending a scary night, the day of delivery, Christine’s BP finally comes down and recovery sets in.  Both Katie and Christine were able to leave the hospital together and are now both in good health.

Christine and her husband Mark, along with their children Christopher and Katie, will kick off the festivities and share their inspiring story at the 2013 Dallas Fort Worth Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, on Saturday, May 18 at Gussie Field Watterworth Park in Farmers Branch, Texas.  The walk starts at 10:30 and will also feature snacks, a family friendly one- mile route, 5K fun run, silent auction, merchandise and a kids’ activity zone. To sign up, go to www.promisewalk.org/dallas.



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