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Christine's Pregnancy Journal

Week 29 ~ July 13, 2005
~ Kidney Stones

Well, I just reread last week's entry and you remember when I said that I was lucky cause I have no real medical complications? I should NEVER have opened my big mouth. Boy, did I ever jinx myself with that one! Are you all ready? Cause this one is a doozy! I will try to spin it with humor, but it will be hard cause there was NOTHING humorous about it!

To cut right to the chase… I had a nice hospital stay on Sunday until Monday morning for kidney stones. It all started Sunday morning after a nice bowl of Frosted Flakes cereal, one of the few real cravings I have had. I started feeling a painful amount of pinching in the bladder area and just thought that Jellybean was laying on something causing me the discomfort. I started out my morning chores, feeling a little grumpy from the pain and wondering how I was going to get stuff done (taking Josh to the library and waterpark, vacuuming, laundry, etc). Then I had a nice trip to the restroom (not) and yet another battle with constipation (see last week's entry for more details). By this time an hour had gone by and that pinching, painful sensation in the bladder region had not subsided at all, not even for a minute. That was my first clue something different and out of the ordinary was happening, because usually Jellybean will move or get off the bladder within an hour. So, I cried a little to my husband (and three days later my son asked why I was crying in the hall with Daddy… it is amazing what kids notice), and I told him, "I guess I am just having a bad day". So, he and my brother left and took Josh out to ride the go-karts at our local miniature golf course and I immediately went to the bedroom, drew the curtains, and got into bed. I tried to breathe and relax, like I have been taught in yoga and Bradley classes. I even tried to do some pelvic rocking to move Jellybean… nothing worked and the pain was intensifying.

So, I called my Mommy. She and I talked about maybe having a bladder infection, but mostly just chalked it up to pregnancy annoyances. I got off the phone with her and decided, even though it was Sunday, to call my doctor. She called back within fifteen minutes or so, and in what was literally a 2 minute phone conversation, told me to go to labor and delivery at my hospital for a urine test, and that she would be calling me in. I felt a little brushed off and confused. So, I lay there a bit longer and sure enough the pain actually got a bit better. The boys got home, Nic fixed lunch and I ate, laying sideways on the couch. About an hour after the pain had subsided, it started coming back. I figured we better at least go and get a test to see if I had a bladder infection. I didn't want an infection to get out of hand.

So, I go get Nic and tell him we better go to the hospital for a check. On the way, the pain began spreading across my entire abdomen and I couldn't tell if I was just feeling major constipation or what. I even joked with Nic that we would get to the hospital and I would either fart or have a large bowel movement and all would be fine, except for my dignity! I was feeling really stupid for going to the hospital at this point, although the pain was ramping up (why is it we do this to ourselves? Not let our feelings be legitimized, just by the fact that we are experiencing it? I have no idea, but it bugs me, like it isn't enough to be in pain, I must have some physical proof of a problem, like a broken bone to legitimize a hospital trip).

We get to labor and delivery and they already have a room waiting for me (a real labor and delivery room)… and the nurse asks me to strip and get into the gown. I am immediately shocked, and ask "you have the right person right? I am just here to pee in a cup, I thought". They explain that they want to check the baby out while I am there, etc. and it sounds good to me so I agree. While the nurse is asking me questions the pain is getting worse and I am beginning to feel cold and nauseous. She leaves the room and I puke (into tiny little bed pans, that Nic has to change out mid-stream). When she returns I have transitioned into a whole other plane of pain. I now am having searing, knifelike ripping pains across my left flank and my whole abdomen is wracked with pain.

So, things progress rapidly from there (rapid in hospital terms means snail-like) with the nurse finishing my admission and then trying to reach my doctor to get permission to medicate. I get an IV for fluids, an external fetal monitor to watch Jellybean's heartbeat, another external monitor to watch me for contractions, oh joy! I have no fever, no contractions and Jellybean's heartbeat is good, with some fluctuations on the high side that had me worried.

I do get some morphine and some anti-nausea drugs slipped into the IV. But neither really worked. I didn't want too much morphine, so I didn't get much (all in all, only 6 measly mg, dispersed 2 mg at a time) and the anti-nausea drug didn't help at all, because I vomited many more times. The morphine was weird (I hate pain meds, another reason I don't want an epidural, I HATE the way they make me feel). I felt like a ton of bricks was on top of me and I was very sleepy, but still felt about the same level of pain.

What level of pain, you ask? This pain was AWFUL. I felt so helpless, so out of control, I was writhing and moaning and even screaming a little bit. No position, or anything I tried to do helped. I remember thinking how could a person possibly endure this much pain. I asked the nurse to put me under anesthesia, I asked to die, I felt like my body had totally turned on me and that no matter how much I willed it the pain would not subside or even become manageable. I couldn't take a deep breath, or even a normal breath, because the act of inhaling added so much more pain to my insides. I remember grabbing the sides of the bed, sitting up, even standing up, rolling to the other side, etc. Every movement was so painful, but I was hopeful that I would find some position to ease the pain. No such luck. I actually think it was instinctive, the movement. Cause I just remember thinking there has got to be a way to make this feel better. Wrong!

Finally, I drifted off and woke just about 10-20 minutes later (this had been going on for only 3 hours, but seemed like much more) and felt no pain. It was so strange. I was gingerly moving around testing myself and nothing hurt. Then my doctor came in and said that my urine had blood and crystals in it so they were 99% sure I had kidney stones. She said I may or may not pass anything stone-like out in my urine, that it might be just crystals by the time it leaves. She said that for a woman, the most painful part of 'passing' the stones is when it travels from the kidney in the duct to the bladder, which is different from a man who gets the pain as it travels from the bladder and out. She also gave me the best news I had ever heard and said that this was definitely a more painful experience than labor. It's a good thing she said that, because I had long before written off any hope of a natural childbirth after that pain experience. She said that this kind of pain is definitely much more intense, and prolonged rather than waves of contractions. So, I figure now I am a shoo-in for labor! Ha!!

The pain never came back to that level and I stayed in the hospital over night on IV fluids and antibiotics. Nic stayed the night with me, right next to me in a pull-out bed and thank goodness for him. I cannot even express my eternal gratitude for him. Just having him next to me I felt so safe and secure. Even in the throws of the most intense pain, just his very presence was the only thing keeping me from just totally dying and giving up. He was right there covering me with blankets when I was shivering, and just placing a loving hand on my leg when I could tolerate it (not too mention the changing of the vomit filled bed pans). What a man!

It has been two whole days since and I am at work, trying to cope. I am hanging in there, but definitely feel like all the emotional wind has been taken from my sails. I am very tired, feel like a train hit me, and in turn am feeling like the weight of the work world is on my shoulders. I really just want to chuck it all and crawl into a cave. And boy, am I ever grumpy. I am sure the negative feelings will pass, though. Except that every time I try to think positive, I remember that my doctor said I can't have milk anymore (no more decaf mochas from Starbucks, no more nightly ice cream bowls, no more bowls of Frosted Flakes) and I get bummed all over again. I tried to find some nutritional information online about kidney stones and there are all sorts of conflicting information on whether you should decrease, increase or not care about your calcium intake if you are prone to stones. It is enough to bring a gal (a gal already on the edge) to the brink of frustration!! Doc said to discontinue prenatal vitamins cause of the calcium, too. Oh, and the really fun part is I have to increase my water intake to over 3 liters per day. She said she wants me peeing at least 2 liters a day (this is the one piece of information consistently confirmed on the internet). That is a lot of peeing!!

That was my week. All I can say now that it is over is Nic and I have looked back and are SOOOOO thankful that we did not go into preterm labor! At the time, we had no idea how much of increased risk we were at, but now we know and are ever so grateful. Here's to hoping that the next weeks are 'normal'.

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