HELLP Syndrome Almost Took Our First-born

But, it didn’t.

Shae Jackson
3 min readSep 11, 2020
Our daughter Jocelyn next to her Daddy’s hand.

It was April of 2013. I was a newly pregnant 27 year old. My husband and I had been married for 3 years, and we were right in the middle of moving from New Mexico back to Utah. When I started to have some weird symptoms that I thought were pregnancy related.

It turns out, they were not.

They were symptoms of HELLP syndrome. But at the time I didn’t know that. In fact for the 6.674 months I was pregnant HELLP syndrome had never ever been mentioned to me.

It wasn’t until after I delivered our 2.1 pound, 14 inch long baby girl that HELLP syndrome was even brought up. The quick thinking OB who was on call when I showed up, completely blind, to the ER was the person discussing it with us. And what he said floored me.

HELLP syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and a low platelet count) is not very common. In fact there are only about 20,000 cases every year. No one knows for sure why HELLP effects some women and doesn’t others.

Young mothers are more apt to get it than older mothers, but that is about the only thing that has any sway when it comes to who gets HELLP and who doesn’t. Race and weight do not contribute to diagnosis (at least according to our OB).



Shae Jackson

Wife, mom, artist, writer. Jack of all trades, but master to none. I know I could be someone if given the chance. I am here to learn and grow, will you join me?