After nearly dying during childbirth, woman hopes to educate about rare pregnancy syndrome

After nearly dying during childbirth, woman hopes to educate about rare pregnancy syndrome

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- The story of Kristin Friehe's pregnancy almost ended in tragedy. She nearly died after giving birth to her son Owen, who's now 4 years old.

Kristin's husband Mitch remembers his wife complaining of abdominal pain before she was eventually rushed to Methodist Women's Hospital for an emergency C-section.

"I wasn't ready to do this on my own. I needed her and my son was definitely going to need his mom," said Mitch.

Doctors had to deliver Owen six weeks early because Kristin's liver had ruptured. Her OBGYN, Dr. Judith Scott, said Kristin was one of the sickest patients she'd ever seen. Dr. Scott was part of the Methodist medical team that diagnosed Kristin with "HELLP" syndrome: an incredibly rare disease in pregnant women.

"You can be very sick and almost bleed to death internally. She was bleeding and not able to clot her own blood and it was collecting in her liver," said Dr. Scott.

Thankfully, Kristin's medical team stopped her bleeding and she survived. However, she struggled to recover and couldn't take care of her newborn son.

"That's hard for me because I feel like I missed out on the first few weeks of his life, because my body was in full mode recovery," said Kristin.

Now, four healthy years later, Kristin wants to educate other women about HELLP syndrome. Even though it affects less than 3 out of 1,000 pregnancies, Kristin hopes all pregnant women hear her message.

"Trust your body. If something doesn't feel right, it might not be right. Go get it check out. Don't wait," said Kristin.

Kristin's doctors have warned she's at risk to develop HELLP syndrome again, so the Friehe family is exploring adoption to keep their family growing.

For more information about HELLP syndrome, click here.

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