Pre-eclampsia is the most common of the serious complications of pregnancy. It is a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from 20 weeks) or soon after their baby is delivered. If you are pregnant and worried or feel unwell please contact your GP or midwife immediately.

When Michelle’s baby was born at just 26 weeks and three days, it was two long, terrifying days before she was able to see her precious daughter. Audrey had been born just four hours after Michelle had gone into hospital for what she thought would be a routine check.

But Michelle was immediately escalated to urgent care and diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome her baby daughter had to be born immediately. It was a terrifying time for Michelle and her husband Jeremy, especially as they had had five attempts at IVF, and had got pregnant with their final embryo.

“I had been feeling a bit unwell and went to the GP to get checked out. As soon as she took my blood pressure, she suggested I go straight to the hospital. I thought it was just going to be a routine check up, but I arrived at the hospital at 11:30am and Audrey was born four hours later. Those few hours were a bit of a blur of doctors, midwives, increasingly serious conversations, and being hooked up to more and more machines.

There was no time to really think through what was happening, we were terrified but powered by adrenaline, I think. The only clear decision I remember being able to make was that I wanted to name her before she was born, we called her Audrey, after my Nan. She was born by emergency C-section but fortunately I was able to be awake. We were told we wouldn’t be able to hold her and that she would need to be taken by the doctors immediately, but we did hear a little cry and it was incredible.”

It is hard to imagine what the couple went through as they waited six hours before before receiving the call from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to say that their daughter, who only weighed 1lb 10oz, was stable. Jeremy was able to go to the unit, but Michelle was too unwell, and it was another two days before she would be able to see Audrey properly for the first time.

Michelle and Jeremy’s story was published in Wales Online – you can read the full article here