I was watching the suppertime news last night on the local CBC channel when they announced an upcoming story on pre-ecclampsia. My ears always prick up whenever I hear anything to do with infertility or pregnancy loss issues, so I stayed tuned. And who should come onto the screen but a familiar-looking face? It took me only a split second to recognize & gasp out the name of Mrs. Spit.
Mrs. Spit was talking about pre-eclampsia -- which killed her son, Gabriel, & almost took her life as well -- because researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered a way to test pregnant women for preeclampsia at 15 weeks -- thereby enabling them to receive specialized care & monitoring, reducing complications and, hopefully, paving the way for a cure.
Did you know that, in Canada alone, an estimated 13,000 women experience pre-eclampsia every year?
While any research that would reduce pregnancy & maternal loss is welcome news, this story has special meaning for me too. I did not have pre-ecclampsia with Katie -- but I had always heard vague stories that my mother had had "a hard time" when I was born (full term), almost 50 years ago now. I did not realize until just a few years ago that she had actually had pre-ecclampsia. (As a result, her next pregnancy was monitored, & my younger sister born, at a hospital in the city, about an hour away.) "We both almost didn't make it," my mother said matter of factly.
Needless to say, I'm glad we both did.
Thank you, U of A. And thank you, Mrs. Spit, for speaking out about your experiences.
Mrs. Spit has posted some links to the relevant news stories & video clips on her blog, here