June 7, 2011
My "ER" Story
Being in my third trimester, I am more worried than usual about my health and safety. I have already gone through an early miscarriage [after six or seven weeks in] which took me over a year to recover from so I am easily panicked when it comes to unusual symptoms, pregnancy related or not. I will start off my ER story with the fact that there is nothing wrong with me other than I am really pregnant, and my baby's just getting big!
The end of last week I had a day where I was having trouble breathing. I had to concentrate on breathing in and out slowly. It actually hurt when I was breathing in. Let me tell you, this was not fun. It was scary as heck! I was out crib hunting with my mom and I kept telling her that it was hard to breathe. She said to lay on my left side (in the passenger seat of the car). I did and it wasn't helping. We continued looking at cribs and ended up purchasing one but when I got home, as thrilled as I was, I couldn't do anything but lay on the floor and try to get a fulfilling breath of air. No luck. My mom suggested I call the doctor's office. I did and I was to be transferred to the ER department so I decided to hang up instead. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, and plus I never called the ER department before. I didn't know what I would say. I felt dumb because I knew I was in my third trimester and that it is supposed to get harder and harder to breathe due to the baby pressing against my diaphragm. After awhile my mom went home. I decided I was just going to go to bed early and hope I was able to breathe smoother the next day. Before I laid down, I called a few people to see if they experienced what I was going through. Some told me they couldn't remember having difficulty breathing in their pregnancy. My sister said she became out of breath easier but couldn't remember having any actual pain accompanied with her breathing. These stories frightened me so I became panicky. I started crying. Being panicky while crying never ever helps ease the difficulty of breathing!
Meanwhile, my right arm begins tingling and goes numb. My arm felt weird all day. It felt like it was dead. This is how I describe the annoying heavy, kinda painful feeling. That scared me because my entire arm has never gone numb before. So my sister-in-law "to be" talked to me on the phone and recommended I call the hospital back to see if I should go in to the ER. She said she would take me if necessary. I called, and of course I was crying out of fear so the nurse said that I needed to call an ambulance right away since my pain was so bad. She assumed my pain was bad because I was crying... I am a baby... Crying does not equal physical pain. I said okay and hanged up. Instead of calling an ambulance, I waited for my sister-in-law to be [haha long title] to pick me up. She came and I had my first experience in the Emergency Room.
First, they began by checking all my vitals [heart rate, blood pressure, whatever else that means]. They stuck a bunch of sticky things all over my body that were hooked to cords... they monitored something. My breathing? Heart rate? [I am not a medical expert by any means. I have no clue what they were doing half the time. I studied social science...] Then they said they needed to give me an IV. I have never had an IV before. This was one of my worst fears for going into actual labor!! I was more afraid of the IV than actually giving birth! I always thought that with an IV, the needle actually stayed inside my arm so I would be able to feel it when I needed to move my arm. Instead it's just a catheter. For some reason, a bendable tube in my vein is a much nicer mental image than a pointed, metal object in my vein. It calms me... slightly. Anyways, when the IV was all set I was wheeled down the hall on my bed [lifetime fantasy fulfilled!]. I was going to have a cat scan to make sure there were no blood clots on my lung. The nurse gave me some medicine with iodine in it that warmed up my entire body. It felt like I peed my pants because it was an instant rush of heat... unexplainable. It took 5 minutes. I was pushed in and out of a round doughnut shaped machine. And then I was pushed back to my room. Thirty minutes later, I found out there was nothing wrong with me and that I could go home.
I was at the hospital for about two hours around 12am that night. They had me hooked to so many cords, I felt like I was in a movie and that something was severely wrong with me. All in all I am still glad to have gone to the hospital because it was comforting to know that nothing was wrong. I still get easily out of breath, [example: winded from walking 3 flights of stairs to my apartment]. But I haven't had as much difficulty with breathing since that day. I wonder if the baby was in some weird position. The doctor never said what the problem was. He said my numb arm was likely due to carpal tunnel syndrome which occurs often in pregnant women. My arm, nor any other limbs have not gone numb either since that day.
What an experience! I would like to have a smoother 6 weeks and leave the real suffering until it's baby delivery time!