Preeclampsia forced Kelli to fight for her life

“During my third trimester, I wasn’t feeling well. I had pain in her upper abdomen and severe headaches, but my doctors reassured me that these symptoms were a normal part of pregnancy. They were wrong. My symptoms were significant signs of preeclampsia–a high blood pressure disorder in pregnancy.”

“On September 19, 2012, I was rushed into an emergency C-section due to severe preeclampsia/HELLP syndrome and I gave birth to a happy and healthy baby boy, named Camden.”

“I knew the birth of my first child would be a life changing experience, but I could have never imagined what followed.”

“I was immediately airlifted to University of Health Care to be treated for preeclampsia-related complications. I woke up six days later in a hospital room at UI Health Care surrounded by tubes, IVs, and machines. I was unable to breath on my own and was told my kidneys were shutting down, and my liver was failing–the doctors were scrambling to keep me alive.”

“I met my son for the first time 12 days after he was born. From that day forward, I fought to get home to him.”

“During my time at the hospital, I had four major surgeries. One was to fix an infected incision, another to fix a major artery bleed, and the third was to fix and remove parts of my pancreas. After 56 days in the hospital, I was preparing to go home when I was rushed into my fourth surgery to fix a hole in my colon.”

“Determined not to spend my son’s first Christmas in my hospital room, I was finally cleared to go home on December 14, 2012, after 87 days in the hospital. I spent the following two months in a hospital bed in the comfort of my living room with care from in-house nurses. I held my son for the first time when he was five and half months old.”

“I felt like I was in good hands at UI Health Care. I was never as worried as other people were about my condition."

“I am grateful for my care team and thank them every day I am able to watch my son grow. Honestly, I wouldn’t be here without them.”

–Kelli Carlson

Burlington, Iowa