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  • Patricia Bermudez-Hizon On Having Postpartum Preeclampsia: 'I Could Have Died'

    Postpartum preeclampsia can happen to anyone, so all pregnant women should be aware of its symptoms.
    by Rachel Perez .
Patricia Bermudez-Hizon On Having Postpartum Preeclampsia: 'I Could Have Died'
PHOTO BY @patriciabermudezhizon/Instagram
  • Sportscaster Patricia Bermudez-Hizon and former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) player Vince Hizon welcomed their baby girl, Patrice Nicolasa, on January 11, 2020. The newborn girl is the couples’ rainbow baby after suffering a miscarriage in 2018.

    Patricia, 42, gave birth via C-section. She and baby girl Patrice were both doing well after delivery and sent home from the hospital just three days after, on January 14, 2020. Little did the mom of three she know that she'll face a life-threatening ordeal.

    “I could have died,” Patricia wrote on Facebook and Instagram last February 1, 2020.

    She suffered from postpartum preeclampsia, an after-birth complication where a woman who just gave birth experiences high blood pressure (BP) and high levels of protein in the urine. The condition can develop within 48 to 72 hours after delivery or even up to about one month postpartum.

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    “Just as happy as we are about having our new baby daughter, we could have easily been planning a funeral right now, and that’s so sad, so scary,” Patricia told GMA News Online.

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    Know the signs; postpartum preeclampsia can happen to anyone.

    “I had no idea what this rare condition was till I was rushed back to the hospital, swollen on my feet and face,” the former PBA courtside reporter recalled. Among the other symptoms Patricia had were “a wicked headache” that made her want to vomit, feeling like she was going to faint, and difficulty in breathing — she felt her throat was closing because it was also swollen.

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    The mom of three didn’t experience swelling during pregnancy. “Wala siyang pinipili eh,” Patricia stressed about postpartum preeclampsia.

    The 42-year-old mama had her share of pregnancy complications, but they were mostly due to her age and the 12-year gap between her pregnancies (excluding her pregnancy loss in 2018). She and Vince have two sons, aged 15 and 12, before Patrice arrived. Still, she considers herself fit and healthy.

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    By sharing her experience, Patricia hopes to encourage women who have just given birth to know the signs of postpartum preeclampsia. These include:

    • High blood pressure at or exceeding 140/90
    • Proteinuria, or too much protein in your urine
    • Headaches, severe or otherwise, that won’t go away
    • Vision changes such as blurry vision, light sensitivity, and a temporary loss of sight
    • Pain in the abdomen or stomach, particularly under the ribs of the upper-right-hand side of the stomach
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Swelling in the arms and face
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    Postpartum preeclampsia can damage vital body organs if not managed early.

    Patricia initially planned to just sleep it off, thinking she needed more rest recovering after a C-section. Good thing she consulted her doctors about her symptoms and was told to rush back to the hospital for immediate medical attention.

    By the time the sportscaster arrived at the hospital, her BP was 130 — a huge increase from her typical BP of 90/50. Then, it quickly peaked at 190. “It got very real, very fast,” Vince said. Patricia was also losing a lot of protein through her urine as well.

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    “Even did a brain scan to see if I had a stroke,” she shared. “We were looking at kidney and liver functions failing, seizure apart from possible stroke, and even death. Even death. I still can’t believe it,” Patricia added.

    Thanks to prompt action, plus several medications and careful monitoring, her BP had stabilized.

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    Patricia is still "pre-eclamptic" and checks her BP four times a day to keep it low. The mom of three also changed her diet, hoping to be cleared of the condition by April 2020.

    “I could have just ignored it. It was easy to just ignore it. It was easy to just go to bed. For some reason, and I’m so grateful, I was able to let my doctor know,” she said.

    The cause of postpartum preeclampsia is still unknown, so it can happen to anyone. Some women may be more at risk of developing the condition. Click here to know more about it.

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