Just before my birthday and a few days before my baby shower, on January 14th, Kendall and I had a normal day with no reason to think that anything would go amiss. We got ready for bed and, as I laid down, I mentioned to Kendall that I was having slight pain in my chest. Thinking I was having a pregnancy symptom, which I never had, we tried an antacid and some tylenol and laid back down. After a few minutes, I told him it wasn't getting any better. He told me to be patient. A few more minute and the pain got worse, but I was being patient. Then, full blown ten-out-of-ten pain started.
We laid in bed breathing together for over 2 hours, hoping it would get better. At this point, the pain was so severe that I was hyperventilating and my arms were starting to go numb. Kendall started to become scared and started packing me up to head to the ER. We didn't know what was happening to my body, but all my symptoms pointed to a heart attack and we were afraid of how my difficulty breathing would affect our tiny baby.
When you go to the hospital with chest pain and you're pregnant, it's like a fast pass to the front of the line. They didn't have a room available for the doctor to see me, but they immediately took me back to a smaller room and put me on an EKG, while they checked for baby's heartbeat. Immediate relief as I hear the baby's heart thump. EKG says no heart attack. Because I have asthma, they order a breathing treatment. The breathing treatment doesn't relieve my shortness of breath. They finally get me into an actual room to see a doctor after about an hour and a half.
While we were waiting for the doctor, the pain was so unbearable I couldn't sit or lay down. I kept moving from different positions trying to relieve the pain, or at least be in a position where I wasn't making it worse. Before the doctor walked in, I began vomiting in the sink - which actually relieved my pain. I explained everything to him when he walked in and he immediately ordered an ultrasound of my gallbladder. I remember thinking, "what the heck is a gallbladder, anyway?"
They sent me to antepartum, where they were able to monitor both me and the baby and have quick access to ultrasounds, OBs, and prenatal nurses. The ultrasound revealed that my baby was perfect, but my gallbladder was far from it. I had massive gallstones that they weren't sure were staying in my gallbladder. If they were not staying in my gallbladder, they could be severely damaging my liver which could be dangerous for my growing fetus. They warned me that if the gallstones were obstructing my liver, they would have to take my tiny, 33 gestational week baby through c-section to be able to operate on me to remove the gallbladder and any gallstones.
I cried when they told me I had to stay in the hospital over night, missing my first ever baby shower the next day. However, I'm so grateful for the care I received while I was there. I didn't know what a long and painful journey that would start, but I know that without the nurses and doctors that weekend, my baby may not have been here.
I don't have any pictures to make this post more visually appealing or happy, and honestly I don't think it would be appropriate for this entry as this was one of the hardest trials of my life. There was nothing pretty about this experience. I was lucky that all my tests showed that the gallstones were remaining in my gallbladder, and they believed that with a fat-free diet I could get my baby to term without needing surgery.
But, as I said, this was a long and painful journey, and this was just the beginning.