Monday, November 11, 2019

Pulmonary Embolism/ Birth story

I know it's been a while since I have done a blog post. With pregnancy sickness,  a pulmonary embolism, and having a newborn, blogging was left on the back burner. I am hoping to get back into blogging with my health being a bit better.

I have had a lot of requests to post about my birth story and I have been putting it off. Partially because I have wanted to forget it. But I decided to go ahead and write it in case it helps just one of you.

During my pregnancy I was constantly tired and out of breath to the point where I couldn't even grocery shop. People would tell me it was because I was expecting a boy, and boys were harder than girls to carry. My first doctor kept telling me that "This was my fourth pregnancy",  "I was getting older" (I am 31๐Ÿ™„), and "My body wasn't what it used to be."

I knew something was off and I was told back when I had my last daughter that it wasn't recommend to have another kid because of my window during the last c section (they could see her face before they took her out while they were operating). I knew I was already a high risk and my doctor didn't seem to care about any of my concerns. I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to switch doctors.

The day after I switched doctors was the day I had my first, smaller attack. I was letting the dogs out of their kennel and I bent over to open the latch. I must have lost air while bending because I lightly coughed then I felt like I couldn't breathe. When I stood up to try to breathe better I felt light headed. My breathing got harder, I was sweating, and my heart was beating fast. I waited a few minutes then drove myself to the doctors office where they did blood work and told me nothing looked off. They sent me home telling me to drink more water and take it easy.

A few days later I was doing laundry and bent over to grab/ sort through dirty clothes the kids had thrown on the floor. The same thing happened where I must have lost air again, coughed, and this time when I stood up to try to breath better it was worse. I was hyperventilating, my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest, and I felt like I couldn't breath. I thought I was going to pass out.

I was standing in the doorway and I remember saying "Dear God, Please help me," as I grabbed the door frame and tried to help lower myself to the ground before I fell. I laid there on the ground unable to move, unable to speak, sweating, with my heart pounding. I felt like I couldn't get air and had to tell myself that if I was hyperventilating then I was still breathing. I remember laying there trying to stay awake, scared that if I went unconscious I wouldn't wake up. I was home alone with my 4 year old and I was terrified that I was going to die and she would be home alone to find me.

I had my phone on me and thought about trying to call 911. I thought that if I called and I couldn't talk they could trace my call and find me. I didn't end up calling because I was in my underwear (the reason why I was doing laundry haha) and I didn't want to be seen on a stretcher in my underwear by my neighbors. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Apparently my priorities are a bit off๐Ÿ˜‚. Luckily My husband had taken the day off work to put new flooring in before the baby came. He had just dropped the kids off at school and was running errands nearby. I waited to call him until I felt I could get a few words out, which felt like an eternity (my husband gets really annoyed when he can't hear what I'm saying). Through heavy breaths I was able to get out "Get- Home- Now".

He called the OB office where the nurse told him that it was normal to pass out during pregnancy and to help me to bed so I could rest- it is never normal to pass out when pregnant! He carried me to bed because I couldn't move. I couldn't sleep the whole day. Eventually I was able to walk. While sitting on the couch I could see my heart beating in my chest through my clothes. I called my mother in law who told me to go to the local store to use their blood pressure machine. My blood pressure was normal, however my BPM was 140, which wasn't even on the picture scale. We knew something was off and decided to go in to labor and delivery.

Luckily the on call doctor immediately thought she knew what it was and ordered a bunch of testing. They wanted to have us take a CT scan and told us it would not effect the baby. When we were down in the CT room they wanted us to sign a form that said we knew it could be harmful to the baby so we refused. We told the on call doctor we wanted to wait for the other tests first and we would see from there if we really needed to have the CT scan. After having a heart ultrasound and a couple other tests, a second doctor told us they think they know what it is but without this CT scan they cant be sure. Then he said "If you don't get this test and we can't tell if it is what we think it is, you will die."

SOOOOO we got the CT scan and found that I had a pulmonary embolism. We also learned that it was in the worst spot it could be in. right in the T blocking 75% of my airway to BOTH my lungs and it was one of the worst cases those doctors had seen. I was told I was lucky to be alive and people who have what I have don't just walk into the hospital, they show up in an ambulance getting CPR.

I stayed in the ICU for a few days and then in antepartum the remainder of the week till my rates went down enough to go home. I was put on blood thinners that were through shots, which was the only safe option I could take while pregnant. Needles are my biggest fear and I had to learn how to give myself shots 2x a day.

I lived in fear the rest of my pregnancy. The anesthesiologist called and while asking me questions he warned me that I had a much higher chance of not waking up with my heart condition.๐Ÿ˜ณ My OB made sure I was monitored weekly where I learned that I was having regular contractions. During my first monitor apt the nurse asked me did you feel that? I replied "Yes! He keeps stretching. He's running out of room." "No, Those are contractions' she said, "and they are pretty consistent." the contractions went on for months (I was told I have a high pain tolerance).

My new doctor kept playing the safety game. Trying to balance between when the baby would be safe enough to be delivered and how long I could safely wait before delivery. At 32 weeks I was being monitored 2 times a week. At 36 weeks I made a comment during monitoring about how much my right rib hurt from him constantly kicking. The nurse asked me a few new questions I was never asked before. I don't remember them all but I do remember being asked if I was seeing stars. I told her I don't know about stars, but at times I see little firefly looking things flying around. Which is apparently a sign of preeclampsia, along with pain under the right rib. I had multiple signs of preeclampsia along with my previous c section scar burning (tearing was the original safety problem we thought we would have if we had another child).

We came back the next day to see if I had dilated more than the previous day. I had. Which meant that the contractions and other complications were starting to do something labor wise. I was told they would be taking the baby out that day.

I had to have an artery line in addition to 2 IVs. (Artery line was extremely painful) I wasn't able to have a regular c section because I could not have the spinal. With my blood issues the risk of bleeding and becoming paralyzed was to high. I had to be put to sleep. I woke up in so much pain because I couldn't have the pain meds either. All I remember is I was in pain and told I had a baby boy somewhere with my husband in NICU and I didn't even know what he looked like. No picture, nothing. I was put in ICU while my baby was in NICU. It wasn't until many hours later that I even got to see a picture of him. I was told he was ok but he couldn't come to me and I couldn't go to him. I didn't see him for almost 2 days.

When I finally got to meet him I cried. I was so grateful he was here safe and that I didn't have to worry about getting him here safely because of my health issues anymore. They put us in antepartum because the nurse to patient ratio was higher and we could be monitored better. I stayed in the hospital a total of 8 days. Throughout my hospital stay I kept having what I later learned were panic attacks with uncontrollable shaking, teeth chattering, hyperventilating ect. My baby was released before me, but was able to stay in the hospital with me as long as there was another person there too (aka my husband wasn't allowed to leave ๐Ÿ˜‚)

We have been home a while. My baby is here safe. He is the sweetest thing and he is thriving. He was only born 3.5 weeks early and thanks to the steroid injections they gave me he did extremely well.

The whole experience was one I hope none of you have to endure. I tried to stay positive but I still lived in fear. I had written letters to my husband and kids in case I died, including one to my baby if he made it and I didn't. I put them in a sealed envelope in my drawer for my husband to find later just in case I didn't make it.  Those were the hardest letters I have ever written. How do you write someone you love 1 little letter to let them know you love them, to know your hopes and desires for them, things you hope they never forget?

There is a part of me that feels sad that I didn't get an ideal birthing situation and it took so long for me to meet him, but in the end my baby arrived here safe. And that is what really matters. I am so grateful for the medical staff that caught what was happening. I am still on blood thinners and my body is still fighting the clot. It may be something I have to be medicated for for the rest of my life, but things are much better. I am still taking things easy which usually consists of letting the house get destroyed while I snuggle my baby ๐Ÿ˜‚


Momma Koyle

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