Thursday, July 18, 2013

#tbt One Year Ago

It was one year ago that I started off the day nursing my baby for, what I didn't know, would be the last time.

For two weeks prior I had been having weird pains in my lungs and severe headaches.  I took headache medicine and assumed it would just work itself out.  However, the night of July 17, my "lung pain" (chest pain) had become so severe that I could not get a deep breathe and was in tears trying to get to sleep because I knew my dear sweet baby would be up in the morning with or without me having a good night sleep.  By the grace of God I was able to fall asleep with the promise to my husband that I would call the doctor in the morning.

July, 18, 2012 I called my primary care physician to make an appointment about my chest pain and trouble breathing--words that a PCP practically sound the alarm for (as they should.)  They directed me to the ER and suggested going to the Good Samaritan location because it would be less busy.  I arranged to drop off Sam for a few hours with my mom and drove myself to the ER.  I calmly checked myself in explaining my severe chest pain and trouble breathing.  I sat in the empty waiting room as they prepared my papers and then gave me my bracelet.

By this time I was nervous all the time, didn't sleep well, and had my current problems on top of it.  Since I was never diagnosed with PPD, I figured all of those symptoms were just coming to a head and I was about to implode. (As it turns out, the nervousness was a symptom of the condition I was about to be diagnosed with.)

I answered all the nurses questions, got an IV, and officially became a little scared.  Also, I was thinking about how my son was going to need to nurse soon, so I needed to get a diagnosis and head home.

I'm not really sure why I didn't understand that chest pain was kind of a big deal.  Now I know!

After more doctors came and asked similar questions and lots of other questions, and then the same exact questions over and over, they decided to run some tests.  (I texted my husband the above picture and suggested that maybe he come over from his office.)  I was at a teaching hospital, so I had the student doctor, then the resident, then the attending doctor all come in and talk to me.  I realized the severity when the attending came in.  (Lucky for me I had been watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix, so a lot of the things that happened to me or people I met weren't so much scary to me as they were amusing.  I felt like I was making my own episode of Grey's.)

I ended up having an EKG (electrocardiogram) also called an Echo.  They put a bunch of stickers on my chest to monitor things, then a nice tech lady came in and did a sort of ultrasound around my heart.  I also had an x-ray and a few more tests, one of which included a CT scan (or a CAT scan.)  That was the test that made me thinking I really must be filming an episode of a hospital tv show!

Finally it was determined that there was a thick layer of fluid around my heart that was causing the pressure.  This is called Pericarditis or also a Pericardial effusion.  The doctors used the terms interchangeably.   One doctor (I think the eager resident) suggested extracting the fluid by jabbing a giant needle in my chest.  Thankfully, the attending had a less-invasive solution!!!

The doctors went ahead and admitted me to stay overnight in the hospital for observation.  Because of the 'contrast' they gave me during the CT scan and some other drugs that had been pumped into me by that time, I was instructed to pump and dump my milk for the time being.  It would take 48 hours until my milk would be safe for Sammy.

What!?  Overnight?  Pump and dump!?  This was suppose to be a quick trip to the doctor and back home.  I guess I was wrong.  I talked to my mom and told her where she could find a bottle and the formula that had been mailed to me for free from the formula companies that I had saved "just in case."  If ever there was a "just in case" time, this was it!

I had my family praying for me and by this time my husband had come to stay and my dear friend was kind enough to bring me an overnight bag of clothes and deodorant, etc.   While Lee J got Sam settled in at home for his first night away from his parents and without nursing, I got settled in at the hospital.

The next day the doctors told me my options.  I was offered the option of taking ibuprofen in high doses to bring down the inflammation.  This would allow me to continue breastfeeding, but was not a sure thing solution.  Then I was offered a drug that had been in some case studies that gave me a 90% chance of the inflammation not returning, however I wouldn't be allowed to nurse Sam while I took the medicine for 3 months.

After some ignorant comments about breastfeeding from the doctors (that were probably said to make me feel like a good mom, no matter what my choice was,) and some praying and thinking, my husband and I decided I should take the second drug.  This choice also meant I was choosing (sort of) to stop breastfeeding.  It was a tough decision, but ultimately my long term health outweighed Sam receiving breast milk.  

I was released from the hospital on Thursday and our family hopped in the mini van with Lee J's family and drove to the beach in Flordia on Friday night...a detail I decided not to share with the doctors.  I figured relaxing at the beach was a great option for recovery anyway.

Weening Sam definitely didn't happen the way I had planned it, but most things don't go according to our plans, do they?  I'm thankful to have been able to breastfeed him for the 6+ months I was able to!

I'm thankful that a year later I am feeling healthy and strong and that my kid is well-grown and happy as ever (most of the time!) 

That's my #throwbackthursday story, what's yours!?   

No comments:

Post a Comment