I almost lost my life (heterotopic pregnancy)

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Life can be short.

I spent eight days from the pulmonary embolism diagnosis battling both mental crutches and physical. I was so tired, in a bit of chest pain, and battling the first trimester of pregnancy. Justin was pretty supportive about our new normal and he was the one to administer my blood thinner injections during the appropriate times. I was thankful for that. The shots stung. They made me feel icky. I was sort of "woe is me" for a few days because I didn't understand how this happened without me noticing. I didn't have charlie horses, swollen legs, pain in my legs -- how did I end up with blood clots in my lungs? Apparently, this is more common than we think and many people lose their lives each year due to undiagnosed pulmonary embolisms. It's scary to know that but even more scary to navigate it when it's your life. Justin put in a week of leave and we hoped his command would approve it (they did). My neighbor had come over after me putting my pride aside that week and she made a crockpot dinner for our family. I will forever be grateful for that (thank you, Shauna). I really thought after some adjustment I would be okay and I started to feel better later that week. I ended up having another check-up ultrasound with my reproductive endo and then decided to check in on my cousin (their car had been stolen that morning). I was grateful that she was home and we were able to get sushi together. That was the last good memory I had for the month of August. 

The next day I woke up in severe pain. I thought I was miscarrying. The pain was radiating through my womb, my back, my shoulders. It hurt so bad. I couldn't move. Justin helped me up the stairs and I immediately got in a warm shower (those always seem to help). It did help and I was able to lay on our bean bag and just eat popsicles and binge shows while Justin took care of the babies. I thought I was in the clear but less than two hours later even more painful pain came about. This time, I couldn't even bring myself to stand straight. That's when I knew something bad was happening. I told Justin we needed to call 9-1-1 and I did. Through sobs of pain and moaning, I made the call myself. I was on all fours when the medical aid arrived and even still, I couldn't stand up straight to walk out my front door. They got me on a gurney, put me in the ambulance, and I was in for the most painful and bumpy ride of my life. In the ambulance, I remember an aid asking me questions. I could answer them, trying not to focus on the pain I was in. I also felt myself like drifting in and out -- it was the weirdest thing I had ever felt. He asked me to keep my eyes open and he then proceeded to take my blood pressure. It was shortly after that that I heard the aid talking to the driver, asking if he could hurry. I heard him say something about my blood pressure dropping... I got scared. 

He sped up and so did the bumps in the road. They hurt SO bad. Before I knew it, we were at Providence Hospital in Olympia. All too familiar I had been there twice in the last week or so. This time I was being carted through the ambulance friendly doors. I remember being taken in on the gurney and then being switched to a chair that belonged to the E.R. floor. When this happened, I felt myself drift again. More intense than it felt in the ambulance. I tried to vocalize myself and the triage nurse was trying to get me to calm down? They got me in a room, I remember having to lay down and being in the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. I met a couple of nurses and maybe a doctor? I can't remember. Before I knew it I was being rushed into a different part of the E.R. there was a SWARM of nurses and a doctor that were in the room with me. My blood pressure was crashing and my emergent visit had now become a saving my life emergent visit. My clothes were ripped off, lines were put into both arms, and eventually my neck. ultrasound came in and I couldn't even tolerate having the probe near me. I was crying so badly but also trying to stay awake and apart of what they were doing. I found out later that they were giving me BP meds to keep my BP from dropping. They tried to stabilize it enough to get me to C.T.

The E.R. doctor somehow knew that I was having an ectopic pregnancy but after finding out that we had a confirmed uterine pregnancy, realized this was a heterotopic pregnancy. Another baby was lodged into my right fallopian tube. The tube had ruptured and I was bleeding internally into my abdominal cavity. The C.T. scan showed this. I felt like a whale being transported from the sea during the C.T. scan. Because I couldn't walk, I couldn't move -- they had to use this lift to move me from the bed to the C.T. bed. I don't remember most of that. I remember the dye being injected and burning. I remember the doctor frantically making way to insert an iv in my IJ vein? I could be wrong with those letters. I had come back from C.T. and I met the O/B that would go on to save my life and my salvageable pregnancy. Dr. Madrid. I was still fading in and out at that point and she was talking to me about their findings and what had to be done. I could hear her, but my response was so delayed. She had me sign consent and I remember singing with my left hand (I'm right-handed). the nurse that was in there with me pretty much the whole time was so frustrated and flustered. That was the worse part of this, to be honest. I felt like a burden as I lay there dying. I started to shake because I was so cold and I had no clothes on. I just wanted a warm blanket. They switched nurses and I was so thankful for that. The next nurse was kind, she reminded me of a relative with her almond-shaped eyes. I could see her and she could see me. She offered IV pain meds and they worked almost instantly. The edge of the pain was leaving and I was being carted to emergency surgery. Fear was everywhere. I had no idea if I was going to live or die to see the kids again. To see Justin again. And then, something changed. 

The operating room team took me over and took me to the room where I'd be put under. The room was bright, white, and the staff looked like angels surrounding me. I said it out loud. I told them that they looked like angels. The mask came shortly after. I recall seeing my babies before I went to sleep. I saw their faces so vividly at that moment and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery from surgery. 

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