The Outdoor Wife has moved!

You will be automatically redirected to the new address. If that does not occur, visit
and update your bookmarks.


Inked: Part 2

We begin Part 2 at 30 weeks. I've recovered substantially from surgery at this point and I've now returned to normal pregnant life. Here's a picture of me at 30 weeks along...

...yep, that's my battle scar from the surgery. By the time I was full-term, it had stretched to about 10 inches in length. Cute, huh? I figure I can always use it as leverage against my child. I can just lift my shirt, point, and say, "Look what you did to me!" to get what I want out of him.

I digress.

So, I'm at 30 weeks.

I was laying on the couch watching a movie one evening. Erik was out of town again. All of a sudden, my back started hurting. The pain started to wrap around my chest. Before I knew it, I couldn't breathe because the pain was so excruciating. It felt like someone was holding onto my breastbone with one hand, my spine with the other, and trying to rip my ribcage apart. I know that sounds like it's straight out of Saw III, but I can't think of any other way to describe the amount of pain I was in.

Somehow, I drove myself to the hospital. I went to the ER, but they sent me upstairs to Labor/Delivery. I got checked into triage, hooked up to the baby monitors, was given some Vicodin, and proceeded to go through a night's full of tests. EKG's. MRI's. You name it, I had it. I sat there in that tiny room with bright florescent lights by myself for hours.

[Erik and I spent most of my pregnancy apart. He runs a whitewater rafting company and the operational base is just north of Grants Pass, Oregon, about 240 miles south of Portland. So, Erik spent Thursday through Monday in southern Oregon. He came home for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This went on all summer. Thus, the "by myself" piece.]

They couldn't find anything wrong with me, so they waited for the pain to subside. After the drugs wore off, they sent me home. I checked into the hospital at around 10pm. I got home around 6am.

I thought I was in the clear. It appeared to be an unexplainable pain attack of some sort, but the baby seemed to be fine. Well, it happened again. And again. And again. Over the course of the next five weeks, I was in the hospital seven different times. The second visit came with early contractions that put me on bed rest. The 3rd through 6th visit came with shots of Demerol. Finally, on the seventh visit, my doctor was working on-call at the hospital. She immediately had me admitted. She said I wasn't going home until we figured out what was going on.

More and more tests. More and more blood work. There was talk of delivering me early, if they couldn't get the pain under control. I was terrified. I called Erik & told him I was scared. He came home right away.

I was in the hospital for three days. Finally, on the third day, another doctor who wasn't my own came to check on me during morning rounds. She looked at my chart and noticed that there was one test I had yet to pass. an upper-abdominal ultrasound. We were confident at this point that nothing was wrong with my heart or lungs, so it was time to start crossing all of my other vital organs off the list. She booked me for that afternoon. The ultrasound tech was a gentle young woman, about my age. She kindly checked on the baby for me, not just my organs.

She printed a picture for me. My baby boy had a button nose, like me.

Three hours after my ultrasound, the doctor called my room.

"Exactly as I thought. You're full of gallstones."

Yep, it took seven visits to the hospital to find out I had pregnancy-induced gallstones. Awesome.

Now, this may not sound like a big deal, and in the grand scheme of things, it's really not. But, I had to immediately change my diet to dairy-free, fat-free and cholesterol-free foods. No exceptions. No eggs, cheese, milk, red meat, ice cream, among other things. I had already lost a ton of weight because of the surgery, and this only compounded my weight loss. I was the thinnest I'd ever been while I was pregnant. How's that for weird?

Anyway, the new diet took some getting used to. They had denied a pregnant woman her ice cream. I cursed a lot that first week.

I was thankful that we finally had a name for the attacks and we knew what steps to take. They prescribed me more pain medication: hydromorphone. Which is Morphine, but in a pill.

The attacks continued weekly, despite my diet change. But, luckily the medication has been effective! However the after-effects of the pain meds are intense. While I've never struggled with addiction, I can absolutely understand how someone could become addicted. Your body goes from extreme pain to no pain at all in almost 3 seconds, so it almost sends you into a type of euphoria. The downside is that you're completely wasted for the entire next day. Tired, drugged, weak, nauseous.

Only recently have the attacks started to dissipate. It appears that, despite my complaining and initial cursing, changing my diet & eliminating ice cream wasn't such a bad thing after all.

Now, if only I can get myself to stop binge-eating Whole Grain Goldfish...

No comments:

Post a Comment