Dealing with Hyperemesis 

As soon as I found out I was pregnant this time, I braced myself for the horrible, horrible morning sickness again. But two weeks went by and nothing really happened. I

I reread my Dealing with Morning Sickness post from when I was pregnant with Jack.  I made electrolyte ice cubes, bought ginger tea, started taking a probiotic in preparation. I though I was on top of it and had it totally under control.

I was wrong. Oh, so very wrong….

Six-and-half-weeks along and it hit me like a freight train. All day nausea. I managed to throw up very little, but only because I couldn’t eat much. I tried to drink as much as I could keep down, which wasn’t a lot. The only thing I could do was lay on the couch and rest. I spent a lot at my mom’s, mainly so she could take care of Jack for me.  It was just miserable, but manageable. I thought just a few more weeks likes this, it won’t be so bad. This was similar to what I had with Jack and I survived all alone most days.

Then one evening I got bad diarrhea that lasted into the next day. I felt weak and tired. I knew this was not good, so I went to Urgent Care. I was badly dehydrated—like after two full bags of fluids I didn’t even have to pee. Doctor said I had Hyperemesis and a stomach virus.I should have been diagnosed with Hyperemesis with Jack, but never told the doctor because I didn’t know any better. The doctor said I needed to rest and stay hydrated, and the virus should pass on its own. She also prescribed Zofran so I could start eating again. There are some warnings that Zofran causes birth defects, but I was so sick I knew for the baby’s and my health, I needed it.

I also tested positive for a UTI, but I had no symptoms at the time. My midwife said to keep an eye out but the test came back so high, it might be a false positive. A few days later, the stomach virus went away but I still felt awful. Then my lower abdomen started to hurt, so I called my midwife. She told me try a homeopathic method first since it seemed mild. It really helped the first day, but a few days later it started it hurt when I peed. So antibiotics. I felt less weak and the pain went away the next day.

I started to feel pretty good after that. I was 9.5 weeks—about the time my morning sickness cleared with Jack— so I thought I was in the clear! Wrong. Wrong again.

One afternoon at my mom’s house, I got the worse headache of my life. I had thrown up that morning, the first time in over a week, and just fell apart after that. I spent most of the day laying on the couch and feeling horrible that my mom had to care for my child yet again. My head just kept getting worse and worse. Nothing was helping. Not Tylenol, tea, heating pad, ice pack, or lavender oil.

About 8 PM, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I called Michael at work (he works nights) and he took me to Emergency room. The only plus side to this visit was we got an ultrasound. The doctor wanted to make sure these were not symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. We say a very active healthy baby inside the uterus where it should be—even measuring a little big! But I was still in rough shape. Dehydrated again, so another IV of fluids. They also gave me a Zofran shot in the IV so I could keep some water down too. And some extra strength Tylenol at a higher dose to curb my headache. The doctor also prescribed Diclegis, a nausea medication designed for pregnancy. He told me to take that daily until I feel better, and take the Zofran for breakthrough nausea only. I didn’t get home until 1 AM that night and was exhausted. My parents kept Jack the next day so I could rest.

But man, Diclegis works wonders. I actually wanted to go out for brunch the next day! And I ate most of my meal! That hadn’t happened in over a month. I thought for sure I was done with being ridiculously sick. The next few days went pretty good, I was very tired but very little nausea. Wrong again

I woke up one morning and new I was going to puke. I asked Michael to bring me a Zofran in bed, but as soon as it hit my lips I threw up. A lot. I just started crying and went back to bed. I felt horrible. A little while later I went to the couch and forced some water down. Then something weird happened. Every face on TV went all blurry. I looked away, and realized it wasn’t the TV. Everything was blurry in my left eye. It looked like static feedback. It really scared me. I told Michael and he said it sounded like a migraine, he gets them every so often. I called my midwife, she said it sounded like a ocular migraine too, but I still go get checked out at an Urgent Care.

So my parents came to pick up Jack and off we went again. On the car ride over, my head started pounding again and I became sensitive to light. Doctor pretty quickly said it was indeed a migraine, pregnancy often induces migraines on people who have never had them in their life before. Good news was I was not dehydrated and did not need an IV. But she said to take Tylenol every day until the headache goes away, so I can eat and drink normally and not end up dehydrated again. So also prescribed me Codeine to take if my migraine became unbearable. Codeine is Category C pregnancy drug, meaning its not totally unsafe, but there is no good evidence to prove it is safe. I took one later that night to help me sleep since my head was still killing me, but I haven’t taken one since. I am glad I have them, but understand the risks and will take them only if really needed.

I am 11.5 weeks today and feeling mostly better. The nausea is starting to go down, but I am still taking the Diclegis. I hope to be able to stop it sometime next week or the week  after. I haven’t taken any zofran in several days–knock on wood. I am still getting moderate headaches, but no full blown migraines in a week or so. I had an acupuncture session yesterday for migraines and it helped A LOT.

This whole first trimester knocked me on my ass in ways I never imagined. I was prepared for Hyperemesis to be bad like with Jack, but not for all the other crap. Seriously, extreme nausea, stomach virus, UTI, and migraines all in 5 weeks? Why! That’s just cruel an unusual punishment. The only thing I learned from this is that every pregnancy really is different. I heard people say that over and over, and didn’t believe it. But it’s so true.  I have my fingers crossed that there will be no more crazy surprises this pregnancy. I am preparing myself for the horrible acid reflux and the low blood pressure fainting I had with Jack, but cross your fingers nothing else happen!

 

 

 

Low Blood Pressure: So That’s Why I Keep Almost Fainting….

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I went to my nutritionist the day after my whole embarrassing Labor & Delivery ordeal. I had a much better experience this time, no crying in my car afterwards!

I explained how I got dizzy during my counseling appointment and that was not the first time that has happened. I explained how my doctor thought it was low blood sugar, and the doctor at L&D thinks my anemia was a factor too. She took the time to actually listen to me and look over all my lab work. Yes, my blood sugar was lower when I felt dizzy, but not actually out of the normal range. And yes, my blood work from my glucose screening 3 weeks ago said I had anemic iron levels, but the ones taken the at the hospital yesterday were within normal (meaning my iron supplements are working). So she was not convinced either one was the reason for feeling so faint.

Then she say my blood pressure readings and asked if I had naturally low blood pressure. The last pre-pregnancy blood pressure I can remember was from last May, and it was something like 104/75. It’s normal but on the lower side (here to learn how to read blood pressure). At the appointment to confirm my pregnancy, it was something like 102/80, still lower but normal. I couldn’t see the rest of the numbers on my chart, but the one from almost fainting was 91/71 and at L&D it went up to 94/75.

It’s normal for your blood pressure to drop in the first and second trimester, which is normally not a that big of a deal, just some minor dizziness. However, since I have blood pressure naturally, dropping 10+ points in just a few weeks makes it’s worse. I am do not have hypotension because I am still in the normal range though. And since my baby is doing fine and I have no other complaints, she does not think I have an underlying condition causing it.

She loved my diet and said there is no reason why I cannot continue being vegan. My weight gain is perfect, she said I could have one more snack a day if I wanted actually. She loved that my husband and I go for walks daily on our break. Her only suggest was maybe a few extra walks a week to help increase my blood pressure. She made a note for my doctor to follow up on it at my appointment on Friday too.

So I am going to keep doing what I am doing, take a few extra walks, and be grateful that I do not have hypertension or preeclampsia. Between high blood pressure that runs the risk of needing an emergency c-section before I have a stroke and low blood pressure that makes me almost faint, I’ll take the slight inconvenience of being faint.

Anyways, here is a recent pic of my bump. Twenty-six weeks and 2 days here.

Go Niners!

Dizziness and a Trip to the Hospital

It’s well known that pregnancy makes you constipated. Iron supplements also make you constipated. When you are constipated you don’t really want to eat much. And you get dizzy when you don’t eat much. So what do you think happens when you add being pregnant on top of all that? A lovely trip to Labor and Delivery.

Jack and I are both fine, it was just a precaution. I had a counselor appointment yesterday morning . I had a light breakfast because my stomach hurt from being constipated. I also had a light dinner the night before for the same reason. My appointment was going well when all the sudden I felt hot and dizzy (nothing new, it’s happened a bunch and it not that uncommon of a pregnancy symptom). I asked for a glass of water, but it did not improve. So the counselor altered the front desk, who much to my embarrassment called a code blue. That usually means all medical staff drop what they are doing and rush to help a critical patient. Everyone came to me instantly. They checked my blood pressure and decided to have me lay down because it was very low. They took my blood sugar next, which was low too. All my other vitals were fine though. Jack’s heart rate was fine, but the doctor urged me to go to the hospital just to be safe.

Michael luckily came with me to this appointment. The poor guy was was shoved into the hall way while they checked on me, but he quickly came in to comfort me when they finished. He brought the car the to front of the clinic and they brought me out in a wheelchair (straight through the waiting room, which was also kind of embarrassing) as a precaution.

Because I am over 20 weeks, I had to go to Labor and Delivery. They checked my vitals and compared them to ones reported earlier at the clinic. They also hooked me up to a fetal heart rate monitor and said Jack was perfectly fine. No signs of labor or distress. They determined that I had low blood sugar, causing my blood pressure to drop and made me dizzy. Plus being anemic on top of it didn’t help. They brought me juice and some snacks to munch on.  After an hour, they discharged me with orders to rest and prescription for Colace to help ease my constipation.

So what did I learn from this slightly embarrassing ordeal? I am not quiet sure. All the things they told me about  nutrition and anemia I already knew. They said it’s not my fault I am anemic, it’s a chronic condition that is being exacerbated by pregnancy. I talked to Michael about how frustrating all this is. At first I was told I was gaining too much weight so I started really watching what I ate (while still ensuring I was eating the required calories and nutrients). Now I am being told I need to eat more and more often!

People keep telling me I should eat meat, and I know they mean well, but it’s really pissing me off. I do not believe that meat is going to magically cure my anemia. It’s a chronic problem, my body does not know how to maintain iron in the long run. Not to mention I really hate the taste and texture of meat.

I admit I should being eating more frequently, and I am going to talk to my doctor about increasing my iron. But other than that, I do not think I am doing anything wrong. I eat very healthy, exercise daily, and drink tons of water.  My husband reminded me that our son is growing fine and overall my pregnancy has no major complications. Pregnant women get dizzy, they get anemic, and they need to eat more. I just need to keeping doing what my body is telling me to do and stay calm.

On the plus side, we know we can get to the hospital in 15 minutes if there is no traffic. And we know where to park and where Labor & Delivery is now.