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Charlotte Family Working to Bring Awareness

March 18, 2013
The Spann Family

The Spann Family

In December of 2010, Kristi Spann and her husband were expecting their first child. They were excited, scared but made it through a relatively easy first trimester. All that changed for Kristi in the second trimester.

Working as a nursing assistant in a local hospital, Kristi was at work when one day she didn’t feel well. She had one of the nurses on her floor check her blood pressure, and compared to her normal levels, it was a little high. She called her doctor, went in to see him the following day and after some tests was diagnosed with preeclampsia.

In just her 25th week of pregnancy, Kristi was put on strict bed rest and had every hope that she could make it full term. At home, she checked her blood pressure every 4 hours as instructed, but it gradually continued to get higher and her swelling increased.

Two weeks later, Kristi went in for an ultrasound and just didn’t feel well. Her doctor sent her home with a prescription for a possible urinary tract infection. That night she couldn’t get comfortable. She was having horrible pains under her ribcage, couldn’t lay down, couldn’t sit up, was nauseated, and had a horrible headache. Finally at 3 a.m., she woke her husband and told him to take her to the ER.

Once at the hospital, she was sent directly to Labor and Delivery. Initially, the doctor on call treated her for indigestion and merely checked to make sure she wasn’t dilated. Thankfully, they were still there at 7 am, when the shifts changed. The new doctor started running blood tests and did an ultrasound to make sure Kristi’s gallbladder could be ruled out as the culprit.

Around lunchtime, the doctor came in and this time had a diagnosis. Kristi had developed HELLP syndrome which she had never heard of. The doctor also informed her that a transport team was on its way to move her to a larger, more specialized hospital, and to not expect going home until her son was born. Kristi was 27 weeks pregnant and terrified.

Once she was at the new, larger hospital, the doctors placed Kristi on magnesium. Kristi remembers having “the worst headache ever.” Her blood pressure had reached 200’s/190’s. Her liver enzymes were through the roof, her blood platelet count was very low, and her vision had become extremely blurry. The only way to treat Kristi was delivery.

Doctors scheduled her C-section for the 24th hour after her 2nd steroid shot for her son Carson’s lungs. Carson was born weighing 2lbs, 8oz.

After Kristi came out of recovery, she still wasn’t allowed to get out of bed. Her blood pressure was still high and she had developed fluid on her lungs. Finally two days after her son was born, she was allowed to get out of her room to see her new little boy.

Kristi recovered in the hospital, struggling to understand what had happened and wondering if there was anything she could have done to prevent it. She recalled a kind nurse who stayed with her and assured her there was nothing she could have done to change things.

Kristi spent another few days in the hospital before being discharged, however Carson had to spend another eight weeks in the NICU before going home. Those were eight difficult weeks with Carson at a hospital an hour away from the Spann’s home.

Fortunately, Carson’s stay was a smooth one and he’s now as Kristi says, “a healthy, messy” two-year old little boy.

To walk with the Spann family and meet Kristi and Carson, register now at www.promisewalk.org/charlotte.

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