We thought we were in the clear. 31 weeks and 4 days had already passed, and apart from some very swollen feet, Chantelle and little unborn Jessica were doing absolutely fine.

That all changed yesterday.

Chantelle spent Friday night at the guest house, pampering herself with a nice bath and the soft embrace of that luxurious bed they have. Saturday morning however she awoke to the strange sensation of not being able to close her hands due to an unusual swelling. Louise also picked up on the fact that Chantelle wasn’t looking well and indeed, was appearing rather swollen.

And for once Chantelle listened to her advice and went to her GP.

Her blood pressure was sky high, but worse than that – her urine test showed positive for containing proteins.

I was in the middle of Somerset Mall’s Pick ‘n Pay with my shopping when I received Louise’s call to come and pick Chantelle up because something wasn’t right. Quickly exiting the mall, I raced through to the guest house where I came across a Chantelle who wasn’t feeling great but certainly wasn’t showing any signs of distress and appeared to be okay.

Still, knowing that one doesn’t mess around with these things (thanks to Irene Bourquin’s antenatal classes!), we attempted to contact our gynaecologist, Dr. Adele Le Roux at Louis Leipoldt hospital in Bellville. Unfortunately, she wasn’t on duty and we were referred to the gynaecologist standing in for her, Dr. Du Toit.

Needless to say, Dr. Du Toit immediately advised us to pack Chantelle’s bags and bring her in to hospital for observation.

It is not a great feeling knowing that there is definitely something wrong here, and so we drove through to the hospital in mostly silence. On arrival, Chantelle was shown to a bed in the maternity ward where they immediately hooked her up to some machines to check on the baby’s condition as well as hers – and of course take the obligatory readings and blood for further blood tests.

I took care of signing my wife in, and with the help of a wonderful woman running the desk, sat back as she took care of all the details of organising everything with Chantelle’s medical aid, which for once was actually extremely helpful and we got the necessary authorisation codes without too much hassle.

The fantastic Dr. Du Toit eventually arrived and after a brief look through the measurements, instructed that Chantelle be wheeled through to her office for a full check-up. Baby was put up on the monitor and all the necessary measurements were taken again. The good news is that Baby looks fine, about a week under-developed though, but weighing in at just over 1.5 kg.

The bad news is that Chantelle has Pre-eclampsia.

The wikipedia link above will tell you everything you might want to know, but for those of you not familiar with pre-eclampsia, here’s the executive summary: Basically Chantelle’s placenta is in the process of poisoning her. It is pumping out toxins into her system and overwhelming her kidney system. No one knows exactly, outside of a few theories, what causes pre-eclampsia but what we do know is that it is INCURABLE, affects up to 10% of pregnancies, strikes normally around the 32 week mark and is prevalent in first-time pregnancies. It is highly dangerous to mothers and can affect the baby as well. Two of the most common symptoms is rocketing blood pressure levels as well as proteins in the urine.

And now for the worst part. The only way to deal with this incurable affliction is to REMOVE the placenta.

Which of course means that the baby has to come out with it.

If you’re doing your sums, this means that little Jessica will have to be prematurely removed a full 8 weeks before her due date, and will have to be placed in an incubator. My little daughter will now HAVE to become a fighter to make it through.

The good news is that her chance of survival is pretty high, though of course the cost at which her survival might come is anyone’s guess. Because of her weight and development, we’ve been assured that she should be able to pull through, and as we’ve heard before, girl’s do tend to pull through premature birth better than boys – but remember – she’s coming out a full two months to early!

Thanks to the medical aid situation of Chantelle still languishing on her Discovery KeyCare Plus plan, she will have to be shifted to Kuilsriver for the neonatal ward there, but for now she is being held over at Louis Leipoldt for observation, before the big decision gets made on Monday as to when the caesarean will have to take place.

In case you’re interested (and the more visitors to cheer her up, the better), visiting hours are 15:00-16:00 and 19:00-20:00 and she’s in the maternity ward, room 2. She will no doubt spend tonight there as well.

So in summary, if you could just keep us in your thoughts, pray for us and send positive energy our way, it would really, really be appreciated.

Thank you.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preeclampsia