Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Brave Stories: Kristen Brockman, Little Miss Peanut, & The Preeclampsia Foundation

Kristen Brockman is a volunteer and huge supporter of The Preeclampsia Foundation. She started her own Brave Page to support this organization. Her story is a beautiful journey of survival and awareness. We are so thankful Kristen chose to share this with us. Support her Brave Page here:

Read Kristen's story:

I had been diagnosed with hypertension when I was in my 20s. (Thank you, genetics). I was on and off meds for a few years, and for at least a whole year, my blood pressure was measuring fine, and I had not been on any medication.
I got married in 2011, and we were finally ready to start a family in 2014. We found out my due date was smack dab on Valentine's Day, 2015!
I was hesitant to tell family (even my parents) until 12 weeks, but my doctor said we could (I was almost 7 weeks) in case of any complications. At that point - I knew “complications” could probably only mean miscarriage - preeclampsia had not even entered my mind.
So we went on and surprised both of our parents with the news, each in a special way, and caught their reactions on video!
I went to all of my prenatal appointments and did all of the tests the doctor ordered along the way. I asked my doctor how "big" I would get because I was going to be in a wedding at my 20-week mark. She told me I would gain the average 20-30 pounds (I think?). All along though, I knew my belly was still kind of small. I only gained about 15 - maybe 20 pounds. By about the 31st week, they couldn't get a good measurement of baby. I was sent to Maternal Fetal Medicine for an ultrasound where they discovered IUGR. My BP was also starting to climb. I personally had no physical symptoms/pain/signs. If I wasn’t being monitored, this could have gotten out of hand and killed both me and my baby.
At 31 weeks, 6 days, I was admitted to the hospital for overnight observation/24-hour urine analysis, and "luckily" sent home on BP meds. Now seeing a high-risk doctor in addition to my regular OB, I thought it would be under control until at least 37 weeks (our goal)...but our goal was shattered.
At the next appointment at 33 weeks, 6 days, the high-risk doctor told me to go straight to the hospital. Again, I was admitted - the whole 24-hour urine analysis, BP checks every hour, and no food after midnight (I ate a blueberry pop tart at 11PM! Cravings!) thing. Unfortunately, I was by myself (except for a roommate), and I could hardly sleep. I knew despite trying to “will” my BP down, it was inevitable. I was going to be a mother to a premature baby in a few hours. I was terrified to say the least.
In the back of my mind I always thought I would have a C-Section - but not because of preeclampsia. But that is how I delivered my premature, 3lb., 4oz., beautiful, baby girl - 6 weeks ahead of her due date – right after the New Year. My last pregnant picture was on New Year’s Eve boasting a chalkboard that read – “we’re having a baby this year!” Had no idea it would be 3 days later!
People constantly say how she just wanted to come into the world early. I knew that wasn't the truth.
"It was my fault."
Because of preeclampsia I suffered the loss of 6 whole weeks of pregnancy (& I know some people who have the “usual” discomforts would love that & say I’m lucky – but I wasn’t lucky). Because of preeclampsia the details of the later parts of pregnancy are a blur and were not enjoyable. Because of preeclampsia I blamed myself for putting our first born in danger. Because of preeclampsia we had a 24-day NICU journey resulting in PTSD. Because of preeclampsia we suffered financially. Because of preeclampsia, I cried
But because of preeclampsia and the awareness my doctors had, we survived. Awareness saved our lives. Surviving this is how I am able to write this today. Little Miss Peanut and I are survivors. Because of preeclampsia I am now trying to help raise awareness of this devastating condition so everyone can survive - moms and babies - any woman - any pregnancy.

Visit The Preeclampsia Foundation Here:
Support Kristen’s mission to raise awareness here:
Bravelets is so thankful for Little Miss Peanut & Kristen!


  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Kristen! We're so grateful that Kristen had good providers who managed her care to help her and "Little Miss Peanut" get through their pregnancy safely. As a representative of the Preeclampsia Foundation, I want to emphasize that though many preeclampsia survivors feel a lot of guilt after their traumatic pregnancy experiences, it was DEFINITELY not Kristen's fault that she developed preeclampsia! Preeclampsia is a very complex pregnancy condition that generally occurs in the latter half of pregnancy and during the postpartum period. The leading research theory is that it is caused by a malfunction early in pregnancy in the creation of the placenta. It's our organization's goal to help empower great advocates like Kristen to go out and tell their stories to help educate others and save lives!

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