MOLINE, Illinois — Kara Boeldt thought she had plenty of time. She was expecting her first child, attending birthing classes and baby showers. But at 31 weeks, she unexpectedly found herself hospitalized and delivering her daughter, due to complications of preeclampsia. She was left to wonder - did my body fail my baby? That baby born at 2.5 pounds is a teenager now, and Kara has turned a traumatic birth experience into advocacy for other women. Her online support group connects 30,000 women in more than 100 countries around the world.
The Mayo Clinic defines preeclampsia as a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal.
In Kara's case, doctors noticed her blood pressure was high. But things escalated when she started to experience extreme swelling that seemed to happen before her eyes. By the time she got to the hospital, it would be only 50 hours before her daughter was born.
In this episode of "On A Mother Level", Kara shares her experience of taking home her daughter after 27 days in the NICU. She discusses coping with birth trauma, pressures to breastfeed, and the advice that changed how she parented her daughter after heart surgery.
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