The birth of grandchildren is an exciting and joyous time for families. But, when Sharon Maxwell Ferguson's daughter-in-law, Aimee Savage, began experiencing severe symptoms of preeclampsia after giving birth to her twins, that joy turned to fear.
“Aimee became very ill and for several hours, we weren’t sure she was going to make it,” said Ferguson. “It was such a scary time for all of us, but thankfully, Aimee made a full recovery and was able to go home with her newborn twins.”
Preeclampsia is persistently high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy or postpartum. It can lead to severe complications, including seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure and even death of the mother and/or baby.
“Most people are more familiar with preeclampsia during pregnancy, but what most people don’t realize is any woman can develop preeclampsia up to six weeks after her baby is born whether she experienced high blood pressure during her pregnancy or not,” said Rob Stubley, MD, OBGYN at the Shaw Center. “It’s important for at-risk women to monitor their blood pressure even after their hospital stay.”
After the scare with her daughter-in-law, Maxwell Ferguson knew she wanted to do something in honor of Aimee to help expectant mothers who might be susceptible to preeclampsia. After much thought, Maxwell Ferguson decided to donate 50 blood pressure monitors in honor of Aimee’s 50th birthday to be distributed to at-risk expectant mothers at John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital.
Every year, the month of May is designated Preeclampsia Awareness Month, so it was fitting that this generous gift was presented to Archbold's Labor and Delivery staff on Wednesday, May 25. "I wanted to give a little something to help those mothers who might not have access to checking their blood pressure before and after childbirth. Aimee was lucky, but so many expectant mothers are not,” said Maxwell Ferguson. “Southwest Georgia has a higher than average maternal death rate than the rest of the country, and I am passionate about reversing that trend and helping where I can,” she added.