All my life I have had asthma. It was worse when I was a little girl. I can remember my parents taking me, in my footy pajamas, to the ER late at night for nebulizer treatments. However, as I grew older it seemed that I had grown out of it. About 2 years ago, I started having asthma attacks, but nothing too serious. Then about 2 months ago my asthma reached a new peak. I mean I figured it would get worse with pregnancy, but not this bad. Everyday I have been experiencing at least one asthma attack or shortness of breath. I have been feeling light-headed, dizzy, and I have been feeling like all the blood in my body rushes to my head. I haven't been super concerned, because I know that as the baby gets bigger, shortness of breath is common. I mentioned how I was feeling a few times to my midwife, but she kept telling me to take my inhaler when need be...This brings us to this past Thursday.
Erik and I had just gotten back from a short get-away house sitting for sister. It was a very relaxing few days. We haven't been alone since we moved back to Chicago, so this was a real treat. We watched movies, went out to dinner, and got to talk. I mean, I don't think we have talked and laughed like that in quite a while.
Anyway, Thursday we arrived back to my parents house, and I had to quickly leave and go pick up my sister and brother-in-law from the airport. My mom decided to come with me because after we picked them up, we were going to go shopping. At any rate, we were only about 1 block in to our journey, when the familiar feelings of asthma began to creep up. I felt short of breath, dizzy, and my face felt really hot. I was driving, and we came to a stop light. I asked my mom to do a Chinese fire drill with me. (for those of you who don't know what a Chinese fire drill is exactly....its basically when you get to a red light everyone gets out of the car and changes seats, before the light turns green). So quickly we get out of the car, and as I'm rounding the back of the car I start to see black spots and then next thing I know I hear my mom yelling my name, and I hear others voices that I don't recognize. To be totally honest, I thought that I was still walking around the corner to get into the passenger seat. This was not true....Apparently I collapsed and my mom caught me as I was going down. People in their cars came to help and 4 people called 911. Slowly I opened my eyes, and saw my mom and she was talking to the man next to her,
"She's 7 months pregnant! Vannae! Vannae! Keep breathing sweety!" I closed my eyes again, and felt people picking me up and putting me in the car...my original destination. Next thing I know I hear the sirens and the paramedics were asking me if I could walk to the stretcher. Slowly, I made my way (with the help of 2 paramedics) to the stretcher and got loaded into the ambulance. I still wasn't breathing very well, so they gave me oxygen. Very quickly the paramedics began asking me a million questions, and simultaneously the other paramedic was hooking me up to the IV and checking my blood pressure. I was so disoriented that I hardly noticed. Then I heard my mom's voice again, and heard her say "Erik said stay calm Vannae, you'll be alright." Then I think I finally realized what was going on. I started to cry and shake, and then I heard the paramedic tell my mom to meet us at the hospital. I was so worried about the baby. I kept asking if my baby was okay. They paramedic kept telling me that everything was going to be fine. I was starting to get panicky and then as if the baby read my mind, I felt her kick, and kick, and kick! Hooray! I was so relieved that I believe I actually smiled a little.
When we got to the hospital the doctors immediately started putting EKG stickers on me, and asking me a million questions. I still wasn't breathing very well, so they started me on a nebulizer treatment. I was really anxious and kept asking where my mom was. Finally after what seemed like forever, my mom and Erik came in. It was nice to see them. My mom was crying a little bit and Erik had "the worried" face on. I reassured them that I was going to be okay. The doctors started taking blood from finger and my arm. Any fear of needles that I once had, has officially gone out of the window after this day...Eventually they brought me up to Labor and Delivery, so they could finally monitor the baby. The baby was fine, had a strong heart beat, she was kicking and moving around. That made me relax finally. But they still wanted to monitor her for at least another hour. Then the pulmonologist came in and started running breathing tests on me. They found out that I have a murmur, which they said they weren't concerned with. They said that they would come back after they got more results back. So in the mean time, my sister (remember I was supposed to pick her up) took the train to the hospital, and my dad came to see me. Everyone was a little freaked out, but once they saw I was breathing and talking again, they seemed to calm down. However everyone was staring at me and every 5 seconds someone would ask if I was okay...so I sent my sister and brother-in-law to get food, made parents go home, and made Erik take a nap. So, I finally got some piece and quiet,and I just listened to the baby's heartbeat for a while. Finally after what seemed liked eternity, the pulmonologist came in and told me what was going on.
He said that yes, my asthma is a huge problem, but on top of that the baby is squishing my lungs. While this is normal for pregnancy, its worse for me because I'm already not breathing well, because of the asthma. So they said that I am taking 4 times as many breaths as a non-pregnant non-asthmatic person. Basically I collapsed because I'm not getting enough oxygen to my brain. They gave me a stronger inhaler, and gave me some tips on how to stop the process of passing out. They also told me not to exert energy. I need to really focus on just breathing. I should pretty much do only low impact activities. However I should be careful about being outside, because of my allergies. So I'm pretty much on house arrest. That is why I had time to even write this long post
So since my dramatic ordeal at the hospital, I have still had trouble breathing. I have almost passed out a few times, but my wonderful family (and the doctors tips) have helped Today I didn't feel very well, but toward the end of the evening I was better. Its going to be an interesting few months...