For me, this journey started eight months after my tubal ligation when I was told that somehow it had failed and I was now pregnant with baby number 6! I couldn't believe it! This would mean in a few short months I would have children ages 16, 9, 8, 4, 18 mths, and a newborn to take care of, while teaching third grade in public school! I like a busy life, but WOW, this would be a challenge for sure! One would think with such a surprise pregnancy, I would at least be given by the good lord an easy one. However, that did not turn out to be the case. From severe morning sickness in the beginning (had never experienced that with the others), to spending the entire last month of my pregnancy on hospital bedrest for pre-term labor issues, there seemed nothing easy about it! Little did I know, the bigger struggles were just ahead! When she was born, everything seemed wonderful. She was very healthy (and very big at 8lb 8oz), and the biggest joy ever to our family. I was looking forward to finally getting home and enjoying my last (surely!) newborn baby. However, when I got home, I realized the swelling in my legs was getting worse. I had been told it might take 2 weeks to go down. I had never had this with the other pregnancies, but everything had been so different this time, why shouldn't this be too? I waited a week, but the swelling at this point was up past my knees. When I would try to do anything at all, I would feel extremely weak, but when I started having pain while breathing, I knew this was not normal. I dusted off my old blood pressure machine and saw my bp was 170/110, but my pulse was 45 (I usually have always had doctors comment my resting pulse is a little high, so 45 was DEFINITELY not normal for me). Anyway, I called my OB and she told me to go to the ER, that I might have post partum preeclampsia. When i went to the hospital, they noted the swelling and high blood pressure, but my chest cat scan and ekg came back normal. All my blood work was normal except for my BNP that came back over 200. You would think with my symptoms and the BNP they would've done an echo, but they just told me to go home and follow up in a few days with a cardiologist if things didn't get better. Well, they didn't get better, so the next day I called the referred cardio and he told me to come in right away. When I got there, he did the echo and found my EF to be 35 to 40. I was put on lasix and coreg and told to come back in a week. I lost about 20 lbs that week! At my next visit, my EF was 45 to 50. YEA! THis next part is very significant for moms who are reading this and recently diagnosed. Some of us are natural worry warts, others are way to complacent, writing everything off to a little cold or allergies or whatever. I am in the latter category. After finishing my first round of meds, I decided I was either misdiagnosed (I felt so great by now) or I had a super mild form of the disease. I did not refill my prescription, convinced that the pharmaceutical companies just want to get us dependent on drugs when diet and excersise is all we really need. Ohhh, how silly that was! Everything went fine for about a week. I was checking my bp regularly - never been better! However, I woke up 10 days later with terrible headache, by the time noon came around, I was delerious with pain. My husband checked my bp and it was almost 200 over 120 (up from 130/70) We made it to the ER and I was vomiting everywhere by now. After spending the day there, we were able to get my bp back down to a reasonable number and my cardiologist was called. I told him what I did and they put me back on meds right away. However, by the next day my bnp had gone back up to around 100, and I was experiencing a little swelling in my feet and some on my lungs as well. It's taken a week of doubling my meds to get my bp down and I now feel pretty good again. My swelling and breathing seem better too. Even though I think I will be okay, medicines were not immediately as effective as last time, and that's pretty scary. I will have an echo done on Thursday, and I'm hoping it's back up to 45/50 where it was before. Obviously, even if it is 80, I will not be going off meds again! I guess the pharmaceuticals have their uses after all!