Lisa contacted APEC to share her story in the hope of connecting with others, getting involved and raising awareness after suffering the devastating impact of HELLP syndrome in 2023.

My husband and I found out we were pregnant in March 2023 following a miscarriage in January 2023 at 8 weeks. We were cautiously excited and the pregnancy was going along fairly uneventful. Checks at the Dr were going fine, 20 week scan was ok and we travelled to the UK from our home in Abu Dhabi for the summer with our families. Fast forward to August 2023, I started to get some unusual heartburn whilst at home in Scotland. Saw a Dr and was given heartburn medication and the next evening my parents took me to A&E as the pain was intensifying.

After 7 hours in A&E, I was transferred to the maternity ward and told I had HELLP Syndrome. I didn’t know what HELLP was and was told if we were lucky the baby would stay in the womb for 48 hours and would need to be delivered. Liver enzymes were sky high, platelets were dropping and blood pressure skyrocketing. I was given steroids for the baby’s lungs and magnesium for me. I was only 24 weeks pregnant and my husband had travelled back to Abu Dhabi 2 days prior. I was blue lighted to another hospital with a level 3 NICU the same morning.

Within 20 minutes of arrival at the new hospital, I had a seizure and the baby’s heart rate started to drop. I was taken straight to theatre for an emergency C -Section. Our baby Angus Benjamin Rowley was born on the 8th of August 2023. He needed to be resuscitated immediately and was taken to NICU.

During my C-Section the consultant found internal bleeding and the surgeons were called to do an emergency laparotomy. My liver had ruptured and my life was in danger. Luckily, the surgeons were able to glue my liver rupture back together and I was taken to ICU for 4 days.

Our Angus fought in NICU for 7 days with the support of the spectacular consultants and nurses. He had 2 brain bleeds and his oxygen struggled to stabilise and went in a downward decline on his last day. He loved when we held his hand and would require less oxygen during these times but his lungs were not developed enough for him to survive. We were lucky to have all of the grandparents with us to spend time during those 7 days with Angus and tell him stories. My husband and I were able to hold him on the morning of his last day on earth and we will forever treasure those moments.