Pregnancy and stroke.
Those are two words that I did not know could go together. And yet those are two words that I’ve heard a lot over the last few weeks.
I haven’t blogged about this pregnancy nearly as much as I wanted to. I have drafts sitting on here, nearly ready to go. I just have to find the time to finish them. This pregnancy has been much harder on me than Lily ever was. I guess that’s to be expected the second time around, as you don’t have nearly as much time. Everything feels a little more rushed, and a little more stressed.
For starters, I am already showing the symptoms of Cholestasis again with this pregnancy. Without getting into it, it is a liver condition I had with Lilly that caused us to be induced at 38 weeks. All in all it was fine. We had good notice and were prepared for it. However, it does mean that this little guy could be joining us in a mere 10 weeks.
Between home life, work, and school, I’m just starting to feel like I have nothing prepared. Like I’m running out of time.
However, as limited as my time feels right now, I wanted to make sure that I took some time to document what’s going on right now. I want to documented for my daughter, so she has this information for her future pregnancies. I also wanted to put it out here, because I know I have a lot of friends and family who are very supportive that read this blog. I know they will add me to prayer circles, keep me in their thoughts, and send me good jujus. All of which I would gladly take right now.
On December 11 I had the first episode. I’ve been doing some Christmas crafting with Lilly at the kitchen table, and when I stood up I knew immediately that something was wrong. The room was spinning, I had spots in front of my eyes and I told Adam that I thought I was going to pass out. He helped me to the couch so I could lay down. I told him he needed to turn off all of the lights because I just could not stand the sight of them. Right away I recognized the symptoms of what I was having as those of a migraine. I’m the only one in my immediate family that doesn’t get chronic migraines. But my mom did tell me that she didn’t start having migraines until she was pregnant with me. So maybe just my time is coming due.
I laid down on the couch for about 25 to 30 minutes and it was when I stood up that the scary part took over. I had lost feeling in my left arm. It hadn’t fallen asleep. It was just numb. Within five minutes it had climbed up and spread across the entire left side of my face. It literally felt as if I just left the dentist office with freezing in my mouth. It lasted about another 5 to 10 minutes before disappearing as quickly as it came on.
Being the Google happy mom that I am, I started digging. A few terms were coming back that could easily make sense, such as carpal tunnel or a pinched nerve from the little man inside of me. I saw my OB the next day and filled her in on what had happened. I told her the reading I had done, but she pointed out that carpal tunnel would really only be in the limps, not my face. The fact that it had impacted my face is what she found concerning. Then she said the word that started all of this; stroke. Apparently some women can carry such a high level of hormones in their blood when pregnant that it can cause migraines, blood clots and could lead to stroke. She put me on a daily low-dose of aspirin to help thin my blood and let me know I am to stay on it until a few weeks before labour. My blood needs time to thicken back up before labour to reduce the risk of hemorrhaging…another unpleasant word to hear.
Two days later I had a similar, but lesser episode, on the right side of my body. The room spun a little bit, I felt a little bit disoriented, and I lost feeling in my right arm. This episode was much shorter than the first one, which was a relief. This time I was alone with Lilly, which worried me even more, but it did pass quickly.
I started my aspirin right away and it seems to have helped. However, I have had two episodes since going on aspirin. While down in Toronto with my best friend, the room started spinning and I felt light headed. It passed quickly. Then last week I had a full blown migraine at the office. This time with the temple throbbing and all. The very presence of my laptop screen was painful. It lasted roughly 20 minutes.
Yesterday I had my latest check up with my OB. I filled her in on the two incidences I have had since going on the aspirin. She mentioned that she was going to put in a call with a local cardiologist specialist to get his opinion. 20 minutes after leaving my OB’s office, they called me to say I was to meet with the specialist today, first thing in the morning. In the words of the nurse, they want to make sure I’m not going to have a stroke on them in the next 2 and a half months…
So that brings us to the latest. I met with the cardiologist this morning and had a check up with him. We went over a lot with family history and what exactly I have been feeling, blow-by-blow, when the episodes come on. He mentioned their first suspect would be my blood pressure, but it is perfect. Next they would look at my blood work, which also came back fine. So now we are at the point of looking at other possible causes.
While he said this could easily just be all caused by migraines and nothing more, they want to look at all angles. I have an ECG on Monday and they were able to get me in today for an MRI. While the cardiologist assured me that both tests are safe during pregnancy, I have to admit, the MRI was incredibly emotional and stressful. They had me sign a consent form and warned me that the machine makes quite a lot of noise. Noise was an understatement. It was very loud and my poor little man spent the entire 30 minute procedure completely losing his mind in there. I laid still, taking deep breaths and trying to keep calm with tears streaming down my face. It doesn’t help that I am pregnant and therefore generally emotional all the time these days, but knowing my baby was stressed and there was nothing I could do for him was a very useless feeling.
So where am I through all of this? Basically, I am trying very hard not to freak out. I am working hard to remind myself that no real answers also means no real reason to overstress. The bottom line is this could be nothing. It could be something. We just simply don’t know yet.
Naturally I am feeling concerned. If this turns out to be something that has an increasing risk to me, are they going to want to take him out even earlier? Is he at risk through all of this? My episodes have come when I was walking, or when I was sitting doing nothing physical at all. Therefore I have nothing to pinpoint as a trigger. This freaks me out even more since it can come on at any time, with absolutely no warning.
I have just under 3 months to go and am really hoping for no further complications.
Ideally speaking, the phrase miracle of life will hold true throughout the rest of my pregnancy and both me and my little man will come out of it perfectly healthy. In the meantime, I’ll take all the good vibes you’ve got.