Pregnancy just wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the ER

As promised, here is the saga of how I took a trip to the “express” care while visiting the family, then the trip to the ER two days after I returned home. If you have read the archives (or are a long-time reader), you may remember how we had to make a trip to the ER when pregnant with Olivia. I joked with Bill after this past trip, how it wouldn’t be a pregnancy for us without a trip to the ER.

When pregnant, you tend to go to the bathroom a lot. Normally the “going every 10 minutes” phase is not until the end of the pregnancy, but apparently my growing baby didn’t get that memo. At least once a night (or very early in the a.m.) I am up and peeing. While at my mom’s house, I tried to make as few nighttime trips to the bathroom as possible, since I was sharing a room with Olivia and didn’t want to wake her by entering and exiting the room too many times. One morning, after feeling as though my bladder was going to explode, I ran to the bathroom and sat down, and waited for that sweet release. And waited, and waited, and…”what the fuck is going on here?” I thought. “How can my pee not be coming out?” So I shifted my belly, moved around a little bit, wiggled…but, nothing. Here we are, going on 20 minutes and I can’t start my stream of pee. I feel myself getting frustrated, but I decided to go back and lie down, maybe shifting my body while lying down could do some good?

Five minutes after lying down, I felt the urge stronger than ever, so I got back up and sat back down. Oh sweet pee!

“That was unusual” I thought to myself, “but, nothing burned or smelled funny, so it’s probably just a fluke.”

After it happened again, I decided that I should probably contact my doctor just to make sure. I was told (since I was out of town) to go to an urgent care facility or other doctor’s office and have my urine tested, just to be sure. You can never be too careful when pregnant.

After lunch that same day, my grandmother, Olivia and I headed over to the new and improved “Express Care” center in town. Apparently, using the word “urgent” was too confusing for people. I can only assume folks were coming into the urgent care with limbs falling off and gunshot wounds or something. People who thought “hey, it’s URGENT”. I really don’t know why they decided to change the name, but they also stuck the “Express Care” center across town from where it used to be, and right next to (actually adjoining) the Emergency Room. I suppose it makes it easier to send those gunshot victims to the ER if they are right next door.

I filled out the paperwork, left Olivia & Grandma in the waiting room, all the while praying Olivia would be content in her stroller, since I knew there was no way Grandma could keep up with her if she unbuckled her from the seat. After peeing in a cup, having a Physician’s Assistant press on my belly and waiting an hour, I saw a doctor. He said my urine looked fine, but they were going to get a bladder ultrasound machine just to make sure there wasn’t a problem there. So I waited…and waited…another hour later my grandma pushes the stroller into my examination room. “Well, we decided to come and see what was taking so long.” she said. After realizing my grandma had left the diaper bag in the waiting room (she hadn’t noticed it was there at all), and going back out to get the bag, we hunkered down in the exam room and awaited the doctor and his bladder ultrasound machine. Oh the things you can do in an exam room. Rubber gloves make excellent balloons to entertain a toddler. There are faucets, tables, curtains to pull on, man, the possibilities are endless!

Three hours after we arrived, I was released with nothing wrong with me. They still decided to give me some antibiotics, just to be safe. They were safe to take while pregnant, so I was happy. I didn’t anticipate any more problems, and for the remainder of the trip, I had none.

After being home for a day or two, and finishing up the last of my antibiotics the night before, I woke up around 5 a.m. desperately needing to pee. My bladder felt like it was going to explode. I sat down and waited…and waited (you see where this is going?). I thought that maybe if I drank some water I would get the party started. Oh, that made me had to pee much worse, with no results. Not a trickle, nothing. I was in agony. Thirty minutes later, nothing…by now I am starting to get mildly anxious, because the pressure was really building. Bill told me to try jumping in the shower after being unable to pee for close to an hour. “After all,” he pointed out, “when do you most want to pee? When you step into the warm shower.” This was a completely logical idea, so I took a warm shower, but nothing. I was crying and getting really upset because the pressure was starting to cause me pain in my back. I called my doctor’s after-hours number and was told that if the pain was too intense to wait until the office opened, I should definitely go to the ER. We’re now closing in on 2 hours of actively trying to pee, with no results.

We load Olivia in the car, give her a cup of milk and start our drive to the ER. Olivia is in a pretty good mood, she still has a cold at this time and is sniffling and coughing, but nothing major. Bill had reservations about taking the baby into the ER, but I felt like I needed him to be with me, I was scared, in pain, and what other option did we have?

So, Olivia drains her cup of milk and we are driving along, almost at the ER, when all of a sudden she coughs extremely hard and starts spewing milk. She’s not too upset about it, but it just keeps coming, which freaks her out a little.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of stories about being a mama bear, taking care of your children above all else, etc., I had always felt myself to have that in me, I have put Olivia first since before she was born, but this time, it was different, because I was in such excruciating pain I couldn’t move. However, as soon as she started throwing up, all of my own pain was forgotten. I jumped up, unsnapped my seatbelt and started wiping her down, checking her to make sure her mouth was clear and making sure she was alright. Luckily we were stopped at a red light, but Bill looked over at me and said “Just so you know, there is a cop in the lane next to us.” I looked over at him and said “well he’ll just have to give me a ticket, I have to take care of my baby right now, and I don’t care if there is a cop next to us.” Bill laughed and said “I know, just thought you would like to know.” I also told him that he just needed to drop me off, take Liv home and get her cleaned up and then he could come back for me. Olivia needed to be at home, with her daddy, and not in a crowded ER with sick people coughing all over her. I knew I had the strength to take care of my problem on my own. I just needed some puke to clear my head, apparently.

My puke-covered baby is happy again, and suddenly my pain comes into focus, and we can’t get to the ER fast enough.

While the guy is taking my vitals and getting my info, I am doubled over in pain, my bladder is so full I can’t stand straight. I had never realized how connected your bladder is to the rest of your body (haha), but the pain in my back was making it close to impossible to walk. The nurse helps me to a bed (after waiting for one to open up) and I am seen by a nurse-in-training and a doctor. The doctor says they will have to catheterize me, which I was assuming, since I had no idea how else they would drain my bladder. At that point, I didn’t care. I knew how painful the catheter would be, but I kept telling myself that it couldn’t be any worse than the pain I was already in.

Boy, let me tell you, that nurse-in-training had the most magical touch. It was uncomfortable, but nothing as bad as the first time I had to be catheterized. The relief was intense. I won’t go into too much detail, except that after all was said and done the doctor told me that I had had the equivalent of two six-packs in my bladder and he wasn’t surprised at my pain. He gave me another three days of antibiotics and some of those bladder pain pills that make your urine bright orange (both safe for the baby, obviously: I triple-checked).

His diagnosis?

Bladder spasms. Apparently it happens to people all the time, and obviously, it can be really common during pregnancy. The next time it happens he said to sit in a warm bath (of course standing in the shower did nothing!) but you just need to relax the muscles. He also told me I did the right thing by coming in, because as we know, you can never be too careful when pregnant.

Just so you know: Milk puke is probably the worst smelling puke in the world (so far as I know). Poor Bill had to drive around for two weeks with the windows down and I had to wash the car seat padding twice just to get rid of the smell.

But, all’s well that end’s well, as Pa Ingalls used to say.

1 comment to Pregnancy just wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the ER

  • Christy

    Holy cow! I know how painful it is when I have to pee after a night of drinking and I can’t get to a bathroom right away. I can’t imagine having to wait as long as you did! You poor thing!

    [Reply]

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