That’s right… I’m back.
I know that it’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve graced any of you with my thoughts. I’m sorry. I know you’ve missed me. 😉
Recently my life has taken a fantastic turn. My husband and I were blessed with a surprise baby girl! She’s 2 months old now and has brought so much joy to our lives. Our family is now complete. Which, I’m thankful for because I had my own scare shortly after her birth.
Childbirth is an interesting thing. A human being literally exits your body. It’s still so bizarre to me and I’ve done it twice now. After my son was born, I knew I wanted another. I had to beat my top score of his labor, which wasn’t hard since it took an eternity to birth that boy. Well, mission accomplished.
You know on the movies and television when the woman is like “WHERE’S THE DOCTOR?! THE BABY IS COMING!!” Yeah… that was me. lol My sweet Juliana Claire made her way into the world in a hurry. It took a mere 4 minutes of pushing before she took her first breath. Considering it took HOURS of pushing with my son, I feel that I deserve a high-five.
About a week after she was born I found myself in the ER. I had been having a hard time breathing anytime I went to bed. It was annoying, but I didn’t think it warranted a trip to the ER. That is, until, a woman in my Facebook parenting group said that some women develop a condition called PPCM, which can be deadly. Essentially your heart fails and it’s really scary.
I had woken up that morning at about 4am, unable to breathe. I felt like I was being a drama queen so I waited until a more respectable hour and paged my OB asking for advice. He told me to go to the ER immediately. Fair enough.
Now, I’ve been to the ER for my kids, but never for myself. This was an entirely new experience. When I’ve taken my kids for whatever reason it takes an ETERNITY to figure anything out. Everyone seems to take their time, and when you’re a panicking parent, it’s easy to get frustrated. This was completely different.
It took me about 30 mins to drive to the one my OB specified. I checked in and they said ominously, “We’ve been waiting for you.” Now, keep in mind, since I was upright, I felt fine. The problem was just when I was laying down. So they rush me back and ask me a few questions while they lead me to the room. I got changed into the lovely hospital apparel and then a flood of people came in. About 5 or 6 people surrounded my bed. They inserted an IV into my hand and draw some blood and stuck monitors all over my chest. They explained that they were checking me for heart failure. I started to get a little scared at that point. What if that other mother was right?
The doctor advised they were going to do a series of tests. EKG, X-ray, CT Scan, and an echo-cardiogram. It was clear that I would be there for a while. My mom was in town so I text her to see how long she would be around, just in case she had to watch the kids if my husband needed to come to the hospital. I quickly got my EKG (normal) and chest x-ray (enlarged heart). Then they wheeled me off to the CT scan.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a CT scan with contrast. I was NOT a fan. Imagine, being a brand new mother, if you will. After a long pregnancy and pushing a baby out after they messed up your catheter (that’s a whole other story), it can be difficult to control your bladder. Not to mention, at that point I hadn’t regained feeling in my bladder at all yet. Well, when they give you contrast it heats up your entire body. It’s really unpleasant. I felt like I had hot water running through my veins. The worst part was that it all rushed to my groin and I was absolutely convinced I had peed myself. Thankfully I hadn’t… I guess that’s a normal sensation with these things.
Anyhow, I get wheeled back to my room (which, it’s really odd to have someone rolling you around on a hospital bed when you feel like you are entirely capable of walking). My mom and step-dad are waiting in the room for me. I feel kind of embarrassed because part of me still feels like this isn’t a big deal. Don’t get me wrong, the other part of me was hysterically freaking out in the back corner of my mind hoping it was nothing serious.
I’m reattached to the monitors and the doctors are in and out checking on me. Oxygen levels were fine. However, my pulse was really low. We’re talking in the 40s. Now, thanks to my FitBit, I know that my resting pulse when I’m about to drift off to sleep at night is in the 70s. So I was getting pretty nervous. My mom gives the Dr a history of my dad’s heart condition and the medicines he had to take. The doctor was really rude and pretty much scoffed at her and told me there was no way they were going to give me meds.
After a while, while my mom and step-dad went out for a walk (we were there several hours), I was just sitting there, minding my own business when alarms started going off in the ER. I remember thinking to myself “Well that can’t be good.” It only took a few seconds to realize that I was making the alarms go off. My heart rate had dipped into the 30s. Thankfully, realizing that my body was freaking out was enough to bring my heart rate back into the 40s. I asked the nurse about it being so low when she came back and she asked if I was an athlete (hahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahhahahaha), I am not.
Anyway, after that episode it was relatively dull. The echo-cardiogram was neat. I got to watch my heart pumping on an ultrasound machine. Then we sat around for a while waiting for everything to be reviewed. I had a BnP nearing 300. Normal is less than 100. There were a few other things that were elevated too. But the echo-cardiogram came back to show that my heart was running at 66% efficiency (this is a good number). And I was sent home. I still couldn’t breathe when I laid down, but they said that was just because I was retaining so much water still.
Fast forward to my 6 week postpartum visit…. I’m talking to my OB about the series of the events. He explained that my heart was under a lot of stress. This, combined with the excessive amount of fluid that my body was hanging on to was causing my heart to have difficulties. The breathing was caused by the fluid distributing through my body and my lungs. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but because my heart was stressed and pumping so slowly, the blood wasn’t moving quickly enough and instead was getting backed up in my lungs. He then went on to add that the medication that he told them to give me should have resolved the issue very quickly.
Wait… what?! They didn’t give me any medication. It was weeks before I could lay down and breathe.
Of course my OB was not thrilled at this news. He looked like he was ready to give someone a talking to. He apologized profusely for me having to suffer so long. It turns out, that the medicine my mom had mentioned in the ER was the same medicine that he told the ER doctor to give me.
Either way, I’m fine now. And now I know about PPCM, which is a horrifying condition.
All of this has helped me see that I need to be around for my children. My job was very stressful, so I resigned. I’m now a stay-at-home-mom. Of course, writing being my passion, I’ll still continue to do that. I’m still writing for a marketing company based in Texas and am enjoying that. I also plan on getting back to blogging and working on my novel.
I can’t promise my blogs will be entertaining for everyone… they’ll probably be about writing, cooking, gardening, kids, and trying to balance it all. But I’ll be here… plugging away for anyone who wants to take a peek. 😉