I was nearing my exit off the highway and had just called Jon to let him know that I would be by his work site in the next 20 min. to pick him up, when suddenly, I started getting severely sharp pains in my abdomen. They kept getting stronger and stronger and started to creep into my lower back, and immediately, I thought of a friend that had just experienced kidney stones, the week before. She is a lot further along in her pregnancy and had wondered if she was going into pre-term labour. They soon discovered that it was indeed kidney stones. Had it not been for her story, I probably would've freaked out even more than I did, and also assumed that something was terribly wrong in the way of my own pregnancy.
I managed to make it home, but not without several moments of debating whether to pull over along the way. By the time I parked the car in the garage and made it upstairs, the pain had almost incapacitated me. I tried lying down on the couch but that seemed to feel even worse than sitting up. It didn't help matters that I had a full bladder in preparation for the ultrasound, but I knew that I needed to keep it the way it was, for fear that they wouldn't be able to do the scan otherwise.
My original plan had been to stop at home, change into some more comfortable clothes, eat a quick lunch, pick up Jon from work, and then head to the hospital. But when the pain seemed to get worse and worse, I knew I needed to skip all off that and get right back in the car, before I was physically incapable of even driving. As it was, I have NO idea how I managed to make it across town to Jon's job site, without passing out. I parked the car, limped out of the driver's side and told Jon to hurry as I got in the passenger's side.
By the time we got to the hospital, I was moaning and crying in pain and could hardly walk. But I insisted that Jon not waste time helping me inside, and just go park the car and hurry back. I stumbled into the Medical Imaging area and slumped over the counter. The lady looked a bit alarmed (not that I can blame her) and I quickly stated that I needed to get my ultrasound done quickly because I thought I might have kidney stones and was in extreme pain. She immediately started typing in my information but standing there became too much and I told her I had to sit down. She told me not to sit but just to head straight to the back, where someone would meet me as soon as possible.
I again, stumbled down the corridor and made it to one of the chairs. This was when the pain got to be TOO much to handle and I seriously thought that I was either dying, or in labour. Everything in me wanted to sprawl out on the floor but I knew that a cold, filthy hospital floor was not the place to do it. I finally started to cry for help but the pain had almost muted my voice and I was certain that no one could hear me. I kept calling anyway and finally, a tech must have heard me and came rushing from one of the ultrasound rooms. She helped me up and lead me to a bed in one of the rooms and advised me to try to relieve the pain by letting out some of my full bladder. I tried that, but to no avail.
As I lay down on the bed, the tech explained that, though I was quite early for my appt. and they weren't quite ready for me, someone would be with me shortly, and then she left the room. By this point, I was practically hallucinating from the pain and contorting my body, all over the place, trying desperately to find a position that wasn't as excruciating.
Eventually, another u/s technician came in and began the ultrasound. I tried to explain what was going on, between my yelps and gasps for air. He said he would do his best to get through the scan as quickly as possible. Shortly after starting, I begged for Jon to come in because he had not yet seen our little munchkin, and though I was in no shape to "enjoy" the scan, I wanted him to be able to. Plus, I really needed a hand to crush! So the tech ran and got Jon and we continued on with the u/s. Closer to the end of the u/s, the pain got so unmanageable that I started throwing up, which, let me tell you, was not only disgusting but also completely embarassing.
The tech finished with the baby part of the u/s and thankfully, everything was exactly as it was meant to be. Baby was moving lots, heart rate was at 151 bpm, amniotic fluid was normal, and baby was now 10 oz.--- exactly what he/she was supposed to be. So... this excruciating pain had nothing to do with the baby. Hallelujah! He then checked my kidneys, liver and all other needed organs and then shipped me out the door to emergency.
Baby w/ hand beside its faceWe ended up being in emerg from 2:00pm til 9:15pm that night. They hooked me up to an IV because I was showing signs of dehydration and then treated my pain with morphine and Gravol. By 9pm, they told me that there was really no sure way of knowing what was wrong with me because they couldn't do the necessary CT scanning for kidney stones, that they would do on a normal person. Because of the baby, the radiation would be too much and unfortunately, we would just have to wait it out and hope that if it was indeed kidney stones, hopefully they would pass on their own. The ultrasound did pick up that my kidney's were swollen, but nothing that seemed abnormal outside of pregnancy. They then gave us the option of being admitted or going home with some morphine and gravol, and trying to get some rest in my own bed. I readily chose the latter option, so... we headed home.
Almost as soon as we arrived back at home, we realized that we had made the wrong decision. I had another "attack" and by this point, it was the worst one so far. We strongly debated getting right back in the car and driving back to the hospital but after a long, agonizing attack, it seemed to subside. So we tried to eat something and went to bed.
Once again, bad idea. The attacks started up again at around midnight and continued on every hour after that until we finally made our way back to emerg by 9am on Thursday morning. I spent the entire day in a chair in emerg (yes, a CHAIR! It was a reclining chair but still...) and by 7pm, they finally let me eat. Keep in mind that I really hadn't eaten since 11am on Wed. because I wasn't allowed to eat the night before, due to no diagnosis or plan of action on treating me. Then once we were home, I ended up throwing up the minuscule amount I had eaten, due to extreme pain. Anyway... they then moved me to a "bed" in emerg and admitted me for the night. By bed, I mean a stretcher and yes, I then spent the night, on a stretcher, next to a deaf, senile old woman that groaned and snored all night long. On top of that, the attacks continued to come fiercely and frequently all night. Putting the morphine and gravol through my IV drip stopped working so they moved on to giving me shots in the bum instead and anti-inflammatory suppositories. Nice, I know. All dignity was gone by this time but I'm told that it is good practice for labour, because that's when literally, nothing is sacred anymore :)
I was finally moved to a real bed on Friday afternoon, when they took me up to the maternity ward. I spent the rest of the day and night there and was eventually discharged (again, at my own choice & discretion) on Saturday afternoon. The specialist came to see me before discharging me and gave me the same "schpeel" about not fully knowing what was wrong with me and needing to just, manage the pain and see what happens. He said that if I did have stones, they would be very small as ultrasounds can at least pick up large stones. The fact that mine didn't pick anything up, was good news in the way of size if it was in fact stones. So they sent me home with more drugs, strainers for my urine, and told me to let them know if I did pass anything.
Well... its now a week later and still no sign of any stones. I was FINALLY starting to feel better yesterday and thought that I would be able to return to work on Thursday but things have almost completely reverted again. I was up most of last night with pain attacks (not quite as bad as the beginning but getting very close) and have been suffering all day again. I saw my doctor yesterday and he still isn't convinced that it was kidney stones. Unfortunately, he said we'll never really know for sure, and that I should just continue to get lots of rest and fluids, and wean myself off any medication as soon as possible.
So I guess we will see. I was starting to feel very optimistic yesterday as my body seemed to be bouncing back, but after today, my spirit feels a bit crushed again. I want so desperately to feel normal, to be able to go back to work, and most of all, to be able to just enjoy the rest of this pregnancy. I'll be 20 weeks (or 5 months if you prefer to keep track that way) on Monday--- the halfway mark, and so far... there haven't been a lot of weeks of feeling good or happy. I definitely don't want to sound like I'm complaining because I am SO thankful for this little one and the journey this has been. I just wish the pain and sickness would pass for good now until he/she arrives, so I can really get into the joy of all of this.
But on a brighter note, I have started feeling the baby kick, which has been a definite highlight through all of this pain. It started while I was in the hospital but I wasn't convinced that it was the baby. I figured it was just all the drugs or maybe gas :) But last night as I lay in bed, it became very obvious that it was indeed, the baby. What a uniquely distinct and incredible feeling! They told me that we had a very active baby, judging from my ultrasounds, but now that I can actually feel it, I'm realizing how true that is. Quite the wiggler :)
I know that a LOT of you have been thinking & praying for me through all of this and have waited very patiently to hear what has been going on. I want to say a huge thank-you to all of you who sent facebook messages, emails, flowers, and phonecalls. It has truly meant the world to both Jon and I and we so appreciate your care & support. Your prayers have been felt and accepted with grateful hearts! So, thank-you. And thank-you to our families for all of your support and for coming and spending time with us at the hospital. We love you so much!!