Monday, 17 September 2012

5 hours of terror

There is no image that could adequately depict the pure hell and terror I experienced yesterday. The fact is I wouldn't want something on here that would depict that. On the whole, I try to share happy and heart-lifting thoughts. Not ones that make you shiver to the core.

It all started on Saturday afternoon when I felt cramping on my right side. I had been sitting down for most of the day and thought it was just my jeans being a bit restrictive. I Googled cramping and found out it was a common early pregnancy sign but it could also indicate an etopic pregnancy. I suddenly became a bit concerned.

I called my friend Chris who is 14 weeks pregnant with her third and explained the symptoms to her. She said it sounded like the cramps she experiences when she's feeling constipated and gassy. I did feel a bit of gassy and thought the cramping was similar to the severe cramping I use to experience when I first got my period. So I thought it was all ok,took some pain killers and went to bed.

In the morning, I woke up feeling better but still uncomfortable. The pain shifted during the day and came in waves with the severe pain on my right side. I went for walk in the afternoon and took it very easy. The pain continued but it wasn't too bad.

When I got back from my walk things started to ramp up. I was in alot of pain and was doubling over everytime a stabbing pain hit. I again turned to Google and re-read what I had read the night before. It said any cramping should be investigated by a doctor straight away. I still wasn't convinced it was something major but I also wan't prepared to take a risk.

I called the health advisory hotline and explained my symptoms. She said I needed to go to hospital and if the pain got worse to call an ambulance. That was all I needed to know. I grabbed my jacket and my husband and I ran out the door.

As I sat in the car on the way to hospital I was trying to keep calm. I was hoping I wasn't experiencing the worse and sending silent prayers to my grandfathers to keep a watch over my peanut. We missed the turn off to the hospital which sent a sudden spike to my anxiety level. 

My husband dropped me off at the entrance while he went to find a park. After waiting for what seemed like a lifetime, it was finally my turn. I gave the triage nurse all my symptoms and hoped I would be seen straight away. I didn't fancy waiting in the waiting room with everyone else, especially the man that was asleep, or possibly passed out on the floor.

I was admitted straight away and had to tell my story again to another nurse. She took my blood pressure and a few other vital signs before putting me into a bed. I had great difficultly putting on my hospital gown and after a few minutes, my husband finally figured out how to do it. We were laughing at our incompetence which helped lighten the mood.

The doctor and nurse came in and said they would take blood and urine and put in a drip. They were concerned it could be an etopic pregnancy or appendicitis so would need to cover all bases. The doctor asked me if I was ok with needles and I said so so. She told me to think of a happy place so I thought of a wonderful place where you could be pregnant and eat smoked salmon, pate, blue cheese and ham and drink all the red wine you like. Funnily I didn't really feel the needle go in.

After they had all left, I finally broke down. I had been so brave up until then but the reality of the situation suddenly hit. The thought of loosing my peanut was too much to bare. The thought of ending up in emergency surgery was too much to bare. As I sobbed, my husband could only hold my hand and rub my back. Seeing the look of concern on his face broke my heart. The nurse came back in and saw me crying. She said "Try not to worry, you don't have any bleeding so that's a really good sign." I tried to hang onto that. 

I was moved to a quieter area with a more comfortable bed. My husband and I were both starving as we had run out before we had had dinner. It was very cruel to see a guy walk into the bed opposite us with a bag of Hungry Jacks. It was even more cruel to have to smell the fries. I told my husband he could go and get something to eat but he didn't want to leave my side. 

We were waiting to see the sonographer to have the ultra-sound. I questioned whether we should call my parents or not as I know they would be concerned. Just as we made the choice to call them I was summoned for my scan. 

I was placed in a wheelchair, had my drip attached, and was pushed down the hallway. I got onto the table and the sonographer put the blue goop on my belly. I was thinking it would be like the movies where they say "Now this will be a little bit cold" but it was nice and warm so I thought the movies must get it wrong. Or we must just be ahead of America and realised it helps to make it warm!

She was looking for my uterus and my appendix. After what seemed like an age of being pushed and prodded, she said she would need to do an internal scan. I had had one of these before but they're not nice. They take a probe, put a condom on it and you have to guide it inside your vagina. It then feels like a cyclone in your abdomen with this probe being turned every which way.

In the end, she said she couldn't find anything abnormal. She showed us the scan of the baby's sack. It was just a black hole but it was inside the uterus - exactly where it was meant to be. It was the first time we had seen the black ball that will become our baby.

She asked me how far along I was and I said 5 weeks. It was meant to be 5 weeks on Tuesday so technically I was 4 weeks and 5 days but thought it was close enough to 5. I kept being asked if I had had the pregnancy confirmed by a blood test. I was realising the common factor was the shock everyone  had when I told them how far along I was. Clearly, it was abnormal for someone to know they were pregnant at this early stage, let alone have it confirmed by a blood test.

She asked me if I knew what the hormone level of the blood test was and I said 82. I have no idea why I remembered that number but I knew it was correct. She told me that normally a positive test was over 1,000 so, for a moment, I thought everyone had got it wrong and I wasn't pregnant. I was all of a sudden in a state of total confusion.

I was taken back to my room where we had to wait for the doctor. We decided to call my parents even though my husband really didn't want to. They were concerned but doing ok. 

The doctor soon appeared to say everything was normal. While they couldn't find my appendix, they didn't think it was a problem as I would have been in much more pain and the pain would have been in a different area. She said my pregnancy level was now over 1,000 so I felt better knowing for sure I was pregnant. She said as soon as the urine tests came back I could go.

At this stage it was 10pm. We had been there for 4 hours, were exhausted and starving. We both just slumped hoping the results would come back soon. After nearly an hour, the doctor came back to say everything was fine and I could go. She gave us a letter for my doctor and told me to go in tomorrow if I was feeling constant pain.

As I walked out of the hospital I was in a state of shock. I had hoped that everything would turn out ok but part of me must have thought the worse would still happen. My parents called as we drove home and it was good to speak to them. I felt like they thought I had over-reacted but I didn't care. When you know you're pregnant you will do anything in your power to protect the little life growing inside of you. The situation could have so easily gone the other way so I'm glad I listened to my intuition. 

On the bright side, we know there is a baby there. We know it is where it is meant to be. And we know it is 4 weeks and 2 days old. We also know that we can handle a crisis and be supportive of each other and I think as parenting looms, we will no doubt face our fair share of crisis. 

So at 11pm we finally got home. Exhausted but glad. We both hoped that that would be our one little hiccup through this pregnancy but I made a mental note to keep praying to my grandfathers to keep their watchful eye over peanut!

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