Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Little Trip to the ER and a Short Stay in the Hospital

So everything has been going pretty well with my pregnancy. I had easy pregnancies with Liv and Coleman aside from a little nausea the first trimester. I've felt a little more tired than usual (I am officially in the "old" category being 35) and okay, so maybe it's a LOT more tired, but that's to be expected. I've had a lot of nausea but no vomiting so things seemed to be going on just fine.

Early Thursday morning (around 1 am) I had some severe chest and shoulder pain that woke me up. I stayed in bed for awhile, hoping it would go away, but it got worse. Ryan woke up to the sound of my sobbing and knew that we had to go to the ER. I honestly thought I was dying. I figured I was either having a heart attack or that I had a blood clot in my lung.

He called our dear friend (and across the street neighbor) Sara to come and stay at our house while we went. I was much more worried about the state of our messy house than I should have been, I know Sara didn't care, I'm just grateful she was willing to come over immediately.

The hospital is pretty close to our house and we got into a room quickly (despite the lack of valet parking!). They checked my heart (all was normal) and confirmed that I hadn't had any trauma to my chest or shoulder and drew some blood to take a D-Dimer test. An elevated level says that something is going on, but isn't specific as to what. A normal level rules out any possibility that there is a blood clot. They wanted me to get a chest x-ray, but a ride in a wheelchair to radiology and a consult from the radiologist made us wary. The tech told us what a risk it was so early in pregnancy (since everything is still forming) and that it wouldn't show any clots, only if there was pneumonia, which I really didn't think was the problem (total lack of symptoms).

We went back to the room in the ER and we were waiting there when they came back with my D-Dimer results... normal is 0 to 500. Mine was 3378.... a little bit elevated!?!

The doctor insisted on a chest x-ray before doing a CT scan since the x-ray has a much lower risk of causing any problems. We actually left the x-ray room hoping that I had pneumonia (who hopes for pneumonia???).

The x-ray showed some small infiltrates in my lungs, and the radiologist interpreted it to mean that I was either in the very early stages of pneumonia or that I had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in my lung).... so we had to do the CT scan to find it and confirm that that was the problem.

Shortly after the CT scan, the ER doctor came into our room and told us that it wasn't a death sentence, but that I definitely had a pulmonary embolism, a big one, in my left lung. He said it meant that my pregnancy was now very high risk and that I would be treating myself with blood thinner injections until the end of my pregnancy. The regular treatment for blood clots is oral Heparin or Coumadin, but since those are really well known teratogens they are not an option during pregnancy. It also meant that I'd either be induced or have a c-section after quitting the blood thinners for a couple of days or I could end up bleeding to death.

We are so grateful that they found it when they did, blood clots often go undiagnosed and end up being lethal. I hadn't shown any signs of blood clots in my legs or pelvis and my only risk factor was pregnancy. They weren't able to find the origin, but didn't seem to be too concerned about where it came from since the blood thinners would prevent any further clotting and our bodies naturally dissolve clots in the absence of clotting factors (which I don't have anymore).

I was admitted to stay in the hospital for a couple of days where they managed my pain (saying "eight" has it's privileges) and continued treating me with medicine to prevent any further clotting. I had an ultrasound there that showed that so far everything looks good with the pregnancy and in the future they will monitor things closely. They told me I can resume normal activities, except I have to make sure I don't fall and hit my head or cut myself and absolutely NO CONTACT SPORTS. (Darn, I'll have to see if I can get my money back from that ice hockey team I signed up for.)

I am home now and feeling a lot better, although still extremely tired and a bit sore. Ryan and the kids have been great and although it goes against everything I believe in, I've been sitting and resting a lot. I'm not sure I'll get used to "taking it easy" but I'll do it.

I am so grateful for our friends and family who went overboard taking care of us while I was gone and since I've been home. We've had flowers and dinners and fruit and cards and treats and laundry fairies and we even walked in on a few dear friends cleaning my house while I was gone. (Mortifying and heart warming at the same time.) Some generous and kind souls brought an envelope of money to help us with medical bills. I am overwhelmed in so many ways at how charitable and kind people have been with us. I couldn't ask for better people to be around us in this time of need.

We are now facing the challenge of figuring out how to pay for my insanely expensive injections that our insurance company is saying they won't cover. We have several options that include getting the insurance company to make an exception for us, getting help from the drug company themselves, or road tripping it to Canada or Mexico. The latter sounds like the craziest option, I know, but at this point it is also seeming like the one that might be the most feasible.

Please know that I am okay and we believe the baby will be just fine. We would love and appreciate all of your prayers. I could use some extra ones to make sure I don't fall and trip and hit my head...

19 comments:

Linn said...

Oh no, I read the pregnancy post first and then came back to this one and am so sad you had to go back to that. Please, please know we are praying hard. I will definitely put your name in our temple and please know if there is absolutely anything I can do. Thinking of you...

Allyson said...

I am so glad you are home and that you and the baby are doing well! We're all praying for you!

Kristy said...

I am so sorry to hear of this. But at the same time I am so happy that you will have an addition to your family. It seems like I was always in and out of the hospital when I was pregnant. But because of kidney stones. I know you understand that. Please rest and I would love to help in any way. I do come visit my parents on a weekly basis. My prayers will be with you and your family.

Mary said...

YEAH LISA! I too have had a hard time getting pregnant. I know the tears and the joy behind finding out you are having a little one. I am having a little girl in 5 weeks. I will keep you in my prayers. I hope that everything goes well for you. If there is anything I can do from down here - please let me know! I wish I could bring you some dinner or a chocolate shake to make it easier on you :)

G Mathew said...

You are in our prayers Hermana Harper!

Michelle said...

wow.... what an ordeal! I hope everything goes smoothly with the shots and the rest of your pregnancy too!

Jenny said...

I am so happy to hear that everything is ok with you and the little "peanut". I know it's going to be hard to give up those hockey lessons you were so looking forward to (wink, wink) but do take care of yourself. We have been praying for you and other members of the family all week. I sure do you love ya!

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefamilyparker said...

How exciting Lisa!!!! Not that you had to go to the ER mind you, but that you are pregnant. I can understand the whole family is very excited for the baby if you have wished for it for so long. Congratulations to you all. And take good care of yourself during the pregnancy.

Lots of love,
Alexandra

bwalk said...

I'm sure that this blood clot stress is not what you expected during a much more anticipated pregnancy. What a blessing it was found!! You'll be in my prayers, Lisa. You guys are wonderful and this new little baby will be so blessed to have parents like you. :)

emilyw said...

The last comment was from me. :)

Sally said...

I"m so glad to finally know that everything's okay with the baby, but so sad that you had trauma, and that you have further stress ahead. What a scary scary thing. And you sounded so knowledgeable, too. How did you know it might be a blood clot? You smarty. We'll be praying for you too, and can do all kinds of other helpful things for you if you let us know. Good luck!

Julie Pia said...

You sweet thing! I'm so glad you're going to be okay. And I'm sooooo glad you live in such an amazing neighborhood where everyone bonds together in times of need. You are truly blessed Lisa and it's because you are such a good person.

Hang in there. You are in my thoughts and Prayers!

Kristi said...

First off, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am absolutely thrilled for your cute little family. What a lucky little one to join the Harper's.

But, I am sorry you had to go through all of that - but at the same time I am very relieved that they found that when they did. Blood clots are a scary thing and not to be messed with! I'm glad they caught everything and I am glad you have had so many "angels" to take care of you. (I wish I was closer so I could do the same!)

We'll be keeping you in our prayers!

Jen said...

I am so glad that everything is good. So scary to hear news like that! You'll be in my prayers.

Nicole said...

Oh my! So scary. Glad to hear things are okay now. I will keep you in my thoughts. Can I do anything for you??

Heidi said...

You will be in my prayers from here on!

Daniel, Lyndsie and Makai said...

Lis, that is so scary! I'm glad you are doing better. Know you and your baby are in my thoughts and prayers.

Angie, Wade, Jacob and Kaelyn said...

I am so excited for you guys! Congratulations on bringing a new special spirit into your home. Wonderful!

I am also glad to hear that you and baby Harper are well. Try appealing your insurances decision to not cover your meds. We have done that multiple times with Kaelyn, and usually once they take a second look and find that the med is actually needed to save your life (duh) they should cover it. Insurance companies (I am rolling my eyes...).

Happy Harpers!!!

Love ya,
Angie Perry