Trista and Ryan Sutter, who found love on ABC's "The Bachelorette," open up about her health problems during her pregnancy in the new issue of Us Weekly.
While the reality TV couple proudly introduce their now 7-week-old son Maxwell Alston in the new issue of the magazine, they also recall how in her seventh month of pregnancy, Trista was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which was being controlled.
However, on July 24, while just beginning her ninth month, Trista was "terribly nauseous and in a lot of pain," which did not subside throughout the day, causing the couple to go to the hospital.
Having found protein in her urine, a symptom of preeclampsia, her OB tested Trista, finding elevated blood pressure as well as other symptoms, and diagnosed her with HELLP syndrome.
This occurs in about 10 percent of women with preeclampsia or eclampsia, and includes early breakdown of red blood cells, low platelet count and elevated liver enzymes. Severe cases of HELLP can be life-threatening to both mother and baby.
"The risks are seizures and coma, so they kept me overnight for observation. I can’t remember much of the next day. My liver was failing. The only cure for HELLP syndrome is to have the baby, so they induced me," she told the magazine.
"I was scared and shocked, but I was OK because I knew the hospital could handle a 36-week-old baby. While they were waiting for my cervix to dilate -- I had contractions for six hours -- my levels kept getting worse. I knew something was wrong when the doctor looked worried."
Ryan recalls the difficult decision to change their birth plan and give consent for a C-section, after Trista continued to get worse over the course of the afternoon and evening.
"Around 8 p.m., they got the last round of test results and things weren't going well. They said there was a chance her liver could rupture. They were trying to get us to make a comfortable decision to go with a C-section. Eventually we said if Trista’s health is deteriorating and we’re jeopardizing the baby’s health, then do what you have to do," he said.
Born four weeks early on July 26, Max weighed in at 5 lbs., 3 oz. and 18 inches long.
Max needed to stay in the hospital for 10 days because he wasn't breastfeeding consistently. He was also put on oxygen as his lungs weren't fully developed, Trista says.
Sutter had previously said that it had taken a long time for her to conceive.
The Sutters met on the first season of "The Bachelorette," and were married during a two-hour ABC special in December 2003.