Kieley's story - symptoms during pregnancy
In June 2014, we found out that we were having a baby. We couldn't have been happier. I started to experience a few headaches and was told it could be migraines due to the pregnancy as I had suffered them when I was in my teens. After going for my 12-week scan I was told my due date was 21 February. A further scan at 15 weeks showed my due date was now 1 February. We couldn't wait. It was so exciting.
In my second trimester I started to get more headaches. They would start mild and then just continue to get worse. The pain would be unbearable at the top of my head. I would also experience nausea and nose bleeds. I had a severe thirst and was drinking litres of water, coke, in fact anything to try to quench my thirst. I ended up passing water every 15-20 minutes. At 28 weeks I experienced a really severe headache with vomiting. It was so severe I was clutching my head. My mum took me to the hospital as my vision was blurred and I also was losing my balance. At the hospital we were put in a room where they turned off the lights and they checked my blood pressure and I was given an ECG .The nurse gave me codeine tablets. I was sobbing and said I couldn't cope with the pain. It felt like a band of pressure around my head. I started vomiting again. I was told it could be migraines and given codeine tablets to take at home and they said to go home and rest. My pain carried on for a few days so I spent most of the time in bed and took the codeine tablets.
The following Saturday, I went to pass urine and I passed blood. I rang the hospital and was told to go straight away. I then rang my mum who came and got me. Tenny my partner was called to meet us at the hospital. After some examinations the doctor said I would need to stay in for a few days. My headaches, nose bleeds and severe thirst continued. Another scan was taken and they discovered the baby wasn't feeding fully, as I had experienced a rupture in the placenta. I would have to be monitored to see how far we could get without the baby being in danger. It was decided at 34 weeks our baby would be born by C-section on 23 December. I still went to the hospital every other day to get checked out with the baby.
23 December came and we arrived at 7am. We were 2nd to go down but it kept getting put back as emergencies were happening. I was given an ice cube to suck as I felt unwell and if they gave me fluids I couldn't go to theatre. Finally, I went to theatre and Tennyson Thomas Bradbury was born - bigger than expected at 4lb 3oz. He was fed by tube so we were kept in over Christmas and New Year in special care. Three days after having Tennyson the thirst and headaches became worse and I lost most of my sight in my right eye. The doctors thought my headaches were due to stress as the baby was in special care. After speaking to another doctor I was sent to the eye hospital to be checked and was referred for an MRI scan. A few days later I was discharged and received a phone call from the hospital to say that they had found a tumour on the brain. I was so scared. I thought I was going to die. It was supposed to be a happy time with our first baby and now I didn't understand what was happening.
My doctor explained I would be under the Walton Centre, where I would be closely monitored. I was told I had a bleed on the brain, which in fact had caused me to lose the sight in my right eye. The tumour was on the pituitary. It was like a waiting game and more things started to happen. The first few months of becoming a new mum were spent in the house with our baby as I was so tired and didn't have the energy to get out and about. I just didn't know what was happening to me. I then got a call from the Walton Centre and was told my hormone levels were dangerously low and I needed to go to my doctor today and collect my medication.
I was told they had faxed everything through to my doctor so the doctor knew what I needed and would I’d be dependent on it. All this explained my thirst, constant passing of urine, headaches, nausea, loss of balance and numbness with pins and needles in my arms and legs. Then my loss of eye sight. All this was so overwhelming and scary that I had gone from using an inhaler every now and then to being dependant on medication that if I don't use then my body would start to shut down and worse case, could go into a coma .The next thing was trying to explain to people what had happened, which was so hard as I didn't really understand myself but I don't think I could have got through all this without my mum and my partner (now husband), Tenny, who have been there every step of the way on good days and bad days.
We take each day as it comes. Some days I can be great, others I can't get out of bed as my head is so sore with pressure around it, then my body feels weak and this in turn affects my balance. This wipes me out for a few days. I have been given emergency injections of hydrocortisone which I have at home to use if I can't take my normal dose, for example if I have been vomiting and I can't keep the tablets down so I don't go into shock. My mum and husband have been shown how to put the injection together and how to administer it, as when I become too ill like this I cannot do it myself.
Our local pituitary Support Group has given us lots of information. We are now registered with the ambulance service so I am now red flagged with them so they know I am dependent on my medication. I also wear a medical bracelet and carry a card in my bag in case of an emergency. I have regular checks and MRI scans at the hospital and they monitor my medication. I attend the pituitary group regularly as they have helped us greatly. I hope in telling people about what happened to me, that they will find hope and take each day as it comes and realise they don't have to be alone. There is support and people to help with our illness. I am so lucky to have a loving and supportive family and friends and I am so grateful our little boy is ok. The doctors are still not sure if we can have any more children, so Tennyson really is our little miracle. To me I have my perfect little family and you realise when things like this happen what really is important.