When Anita Padilla of the FOX Chicago Morning News Team was pregnant, she didn’t feel well. But because she had always heard about the ugly symptoms of pregnancy, it didn’t occur to her that something may be wrong. She just chalked it up to regular pregnancy pain and did her best to deal with it.
Turns out, she was suffering from Preeclampsia, a sometimes fatal disorder that is found in one out of 12 pregnant women today. She went on to deliver a happy, healthy baby, but only because it was caught in time.
Last week, my mom and I participated in the Chicago Promise Walk with Anita, who emceed the event as a way to help spread the word. The Promise Walk is an annual nationwide fundraiser hosted by The Preeclampsia Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing maternal and infant illness and death due to Preeclampsia.
We walked alongside survivors as well as families who have lost wives, sisters, sons, daughters and mothers to Preeclampsia.
Being in the midst of this made this so much more real to me. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be when one of the best days of your life turns into a living nightmare.
It was heart-wrenching to see children planting pinwheel flowers in the ground to honor the living survivors and remember those lost. One of the flowers had the name Shelly Warner Bridgewater written on it. I learned later that Shelly passed away in 2005, one week after delivering her daughter Hailey seven weeks early.