33weeks, and I’m so damn tired.
33 weeks, and my body is, literally, giving out on me.
Last week I couldn’t catch my breath. I tried cleaning the house, and I did most of it while sitting on the floor feeling faint and lightheaded. My heart was RACING and I kept having palpitations.
Strong, cough to clear them, suck in a deep breath palpitations.
I thought to myself- I’m just overdoing it. I took a long nap. I felt a little better. Baby is kicking away in there, so I just need to take it easy.
But then Tuesday rolls around and, the palpitations haven’t gone away so much as slowed down. then 5pm hits and on my drive home I get a STRONG one. Every few minutes. It makes me nauseous and light headed. I call my OB, and they tell me to go straight to L&D
I get checked in, another palp, I get hooked up to the NST and baby is going nuts in there so we know he’s just fine. More annoyed that its been SO LONG since hes had anything to eat via mommy.
I spend about an hour in L&D where my bp bounces from 175/80 to 130/80 – the first one VERY concerning, the second one firmly in the “eh” range. Finally, they tell me that obstetric-ally- I’m fine. But they are sending me to the emergency room to get my heart checked out. Oh, and I cant walk there, some poor frail older woman who works at the hospital has to push me, all almost 300lbs of me, probably half a mile to the OTHER SIDE of the hospital. I wish I was making that up. She huffs and puffs and I think oh dear god if I got up and just started walking its not like she could stop me. This is embarrassing and I’m not sure who its MORE embarrassing for. Her or me. But I’m too tired, and too hungry, and the palps have started again so I just try not to make eye contact. With anyone.
Two twenty something techs come in and ask me to strip from the waist up. “Bra too! Sorry!” a very chipper blonde says to which I quip “Ive had fertility treatments and a baby- there isn’t an inch of my body some medical professional in this building hasn’t already seen, or that I’m embarrassed of showing at this point” and she laughs. Then I remember that I haven’t shaved my armpits in literally months, because no one needs to examine those when you’re pregnant, and I get just a little embarrassed. But it passes.
I’m hooked up to 47 machines, and slapped with a bajillion stickies for an EKG. Boom bam, done. My heart rate is high, my BP is now reading 175/85 and that makes everyone nervous, especially since it was JUST in the 130s/80s. A medical student comes in and asks how I’m doing. I smirk. “Well. I’m here, I’m hungry, and there’s that pesky ‘super pregnant’ thing going on too” she makes small talk. she says my BP is too high, and they’re nervous about that. Lady- i didn’t come IN because of my bp. its high because I’m stressed out and HUNGRY. Give me a cheeseburger and I bet it comes down. But my HR is also 110 at this point, which no one can explain.
The doc comes in and looks at me and goes “Did anyone ever tell you that your conductivity is abnormal?”
Me: I have no idea what you just said.
Him: You have a left branch bundle block
Me: *Looks at the med student* I don’t know what that means.
So they go on to explain that there are nerves in your heart that send electrical impulses from the top to the bottom and make it beat in sync. With a block, one side is just EVER SO SLIGHTLY behind. They drew a diagram. At this point he explains that its important to know because if the other side ever blocks, I need a pacemaker. Immediately. Like do not pass go, do not schedule for a later date when more convenient, call 911, go immediately into heart surgery. The bottom part of my heart would beat JUST frequently enough to keep me alive, but not to sustain me. 30 beats per minute. Essentially- it would assume a “fuck you top part of the heart” beating pattern where it tries to show that it don’t need no stinkin electrical currents. But it does. it needs them really really badly.
Apparently- its something that Ive had for at least 6m- because its on my last EKG from May of 2016, when I almost passed out at work for an exceptionally high fever and a heart rate that would. not. slow down. no one ever bothered to tell me after that EKG. This ER doc says that was a big mistake on their part- I needed to know, I needed to be on the look out and most of all, especially while pregnant, I needed to see a cardiologist. At the end of the visit they decide that I’m fine to go home. They give me labetal.ol and get my bp down. get my HR down, and off I go. with instructions to follow up with a cardiologist, asap and definitely before delivery.
At this point, I’m also SO thirsty that I can FEEL my legs cramping up. When I get dehydrated, I get muscle spasms in my calves so bad that it literally causes me to scream in pain. I have a really high pain tolerance. Screaming in response to pain for me is the equivalent of someone else being stabbed, repeatedly, with a salty rusty blade. They are so, SO painful and I can feel it coming. I sit on the floor of the parking ramp of the hospital because cold helps keep them at bay. its in the low 20s, and I stay on the concrete until my legs are sufficiently numb.
I get home. I get some water. I get to bed. But, just like I knew they would, the leg cramps wake me up from a dead sleep. Screaming. I think I start screaming before I’m even actually conscious. It freaks my husband out because there is literally nothing that can be done other than icing them, and waiting them out. I just keep screaming and its not something I can control. This one is so, so bad. Everything we read online says that I just need to keep moving my leg to get them to go away, but there is nothing I can physically do to move that muscle. I have tried FORCING it with my hands to move- and I cant. My husband- my 6’3 265lb husband- has tried to FORCE my leg out of its locked position in order to flex just a little movement and he cant. He says it feels like pulling on rock. like someone took out the stretchy muscles and ligaments and replaced them with steel bars. I just have to ride it out. everything that’s frozen ends up in our bed, piled on my leg, until I cant feel it anymore. It is the ONLY thing that helps. After the fact, I’m surprised it doesn’t wake up Gigi.
I finally, fitfully, get back to sleep. Then its time to go. Time to go to work, and time to make the appointments, and time to get on with the schedule. I don’t even have time to process the last 24 hours because fuck man. I have shit to do.
I do find time, however, to google. I google LBBB and very very little comes up. I do find a link to LBBB and something called Peripartum Cardiomyopathy. Basically- pregnancy heart failure. Great.
Though at this point, I’m so tired, and I’m in so much pain, that I have that brief- fleeting thought of “Fine, Jesus, fine. You want me that bad- who am I to fight it” but I know its just the stress. and the tired. I have no desire to leave my daughter or my family or this earth anytime soon. I’m just so burnt out. My body is so done with pregnancy that it is LITERALLY failing on me.
I have a cardiology appointment tomorrow to figure out wtf caused the LBBB, if its something I need to be actively concerned about, if I’m showing any signs of PPCM (Peripartum Cardiomyopathy) and if I’m OK to have a normal delivery.
For the most part… I’m trying not to think about it. I’m trying not to worry about why my heart rate is still sitting at an uncomfortably breathless 110 on average. I’m trying not to think about going in to heart failure at 29 years old weeks before I deliver my second baby. I’m trying not to think about how tired, and sore, and scared and nervous I am. I’m trying not to stress about what the ever loving f@$# my husband would do with their lives if I died. I literally manage everything of importance for the two of us. Id bet money he doesn’t even know who our mortgage is paid to- and its all electronic so its not like he’d have an easy way to figure it out.
I’m trying not to think. but I’m not very good at that.
Just a few more weeks to the other side. and a whole new slew of things to try to not think about… maybe it will be easier not to think about them when Im too sleep deprived to function with a newborn and a 2yo and a full time job.