Adventures In Kidney Stones: Sequels Are Never As Good As The Original

On Wednesday, I wrote a hundred words of a boring, nothing-to-see-here baby update before I lay down on the couch with a pillow over my head and screamed swear words into it until I worked up the energy to go to the Emergency Room.

Pregnancy is fun.

Let’s start this extremely long and health-detail related story at the beginning! At my regular check-up on Tuesday, I mentioned to the OB I didn’t feel great. Nothing was HORRIBLE but I just didn’t feel well. I said I had a vague pain in my left kidney and with my history of stones it made me a little worried. She offered to send me up for an ultrasound, but I said I’d rather just do a test for an infection and see if it got any worse. I spent the rest of Tuesday doing nothing and went to bed early with a headache, but no other symptoms and no more pain.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling totally fine. I made breakfast! I cleaned (a little)! I bought end-of-the-year teacher gifts for Caroline’s teachers! After school I got both kids to the dentist (where I lied straight to the hygienist’s face and told her I would try to only let Caroline snack once a day) and then we went to swim lessons. Right after I got both kids into their suits and turned them over to their instructor my left side started to hurt. It felt like I was being stabbed. Sitting comfortably in the pool chairs is hard when you’re pregnant, but sitting comfortably in a pool chair while you’re pregnant and being stabbed in the back is impossible.

I got up and paced. I sat down. I leaned forward. I leaned back. Half way through class Evan needed the potty, so I took him upstairs where I leaned against the wall and moaned. Being in pain discretely is hard – I didn’t want anyone to think I was in labor (I knew I was definitely not in labor) – but I managed to have several conversations where no one freaked out and asked if I was OK, so I think I pulled it off. “Why yes, we have greatly enjoyed swim lessons! No, no, I didn’t just lose consciousness for a second, I’m definitely paying attention to you!”

Because I had promised the kids Panera to celebrate the dentist AND the last day of swimming, we went to Panera. I’m guessing I ordered lunch and paid for it, since the cops didn’t show up at the house and the children look well-fed, but I don’t remember any of that either. We made it home. I ate a turkey sandwich but immediately threw it back up, which was when I realized I should probably call the OB.

The OB’s office suggested I just go to the ER to be evaluated, since they had an ultrasound machine and good drugs and could give them to me a lot faster than if I was admitted straight to L&D. I messaged a friend who said she could come over and watch the kids so I didn’t have to take them (THANK GOD) and made it to the hospital, which is luckily less than a mile away. The lady at the check-in desk took one look at me and paged four different people to come help. I got a bed and some water and a nice male nurse who I couldn’t pick out of a line up right now if my life depended on it because SERIOUSLY it hurt SO BAD I don’t remember anything.

I was expecting I’d have to live through a lot of poking and tests before they were willing to give me anything for the pain, but as soon as the ER doctor saw me he said I was crazy for not asking right away. I’ve seen enough medical dramas to know asking for morphine is a good way to get labeled a drug-seeker (Because TV is TOTALLY the same as real life!) and I didn’t want anyone to threaten to call CPS on me (I am not entirely rational when I’m in pain) so I resisted for about 20 seconds. Then it hurt so bad I threw up again and begged for drugs.

10 minutes after the first dose the nurse said “It’s amazing how fast Dilaudid works, isn’t it?” and I said “Are you $%&*ing kidding me?” It took three doses before I felt any better.  It also made me feel totally drunk and loopy and dizzy. I’m extremely surprised I never fell over. I did get rolled down to ultrasound where the tech said she could see stones in my kidneys (both of them, because why half-ass kidney stones?!) but couldn’t see a blockage where I was complaining about the pain. Surprisingly, never once did anyone say “I guess that means you’re OK! Go home!” They ran some more tests that said I had the beginnings of an infection and there was blood in my urine, so in addition to the narcotics I got pumped full of fluids and antibiotics.

At some point I messaged another friend (I didn’t have cell service in the ER but they do have free wifi!) who got a hold of my husband at work and told him I was in the ER. He showed up after the ultrasound but before they admitted me. It turns out extreme kidney pain, probably stones and elevated blood pressure (due ENTIRELY to the pain) at 35 weeks pregnant automatically gets you admitted.

I don’t remember the timeline for any of the rest of the night very well. I do know I couldn’t keep any water down so they gave me zofran (useless) then something for nausea through the IV. It took two more doses of Dilaudid and some heartburn medication but I finally, FINALLY, passed out at 2 am.

I spent all of Thursday lying in bed feeling better and waiting for the urologist to come check me before I lost patience and asked to go home. My nice OB agreed, since if I was feeling well enough to give up the IV drugs I was obviously OK. My kidneys on both sides still hurt a little, but not enough to waste a Percocet. The current plan is to wait out the pregnancy and see if the rest of the stones pass/clear on their own (we’re assuming the one that was stuck last night did)(they’re also assuming I had one, even if it didn’t show on the u/s)(because my doctors are nice and my history supports that theory). If I have more pain or any signs of an infection I have to go back in.

The whole thing is just a terrifying deja vu of what happened with Caroline, except I had NO IDEA what was causing my pain last time and it took almost a full DAY before anyone believed me enough to give me something. I’m going to be careful about drinking more (and then more and more and more) water and avoiding things that make my heartburn so bad I break down and take a Tums. I would also say I’m going to take it easy but there’s just no way. Maybe I’ll put off painting the nursery but I’ve been “putting off” literally every household chore for so long now I have to catch up.

I also missed Caroline’s last day of preschool yesterday. They didn’t do a graduation or a show or anything, so all I REALLY missed was dropping her off and picking her up one last time (and giving her teachers their gifts, which E assures me made it to school but were unfinished so weren’t quite Pinterest-worthy). But I didn’t get to take her last-day picture on her actual last day and I didn’t get to thank the school headmistress for taking care of my baby for the past 2 years. I’ve got 16 more last days before she leaves for college (OMG ONLY 16 MORE LAST DAYS) and hopefully I won’t be in the hospital for any of those.

Today is Evan’s kindergarten orientation where we both get to see his new school for the first time. It’s very Time Marches On, since Time obviously doesn’t care that I’m not READY for kindergarten yet and could he please just take an extended summer vacation for a few months so I can have this baby and recover and THEN I can think about sending my first baby to full time big-kid school. I CANNOT think about kidney stones anymore though, so I fingers crossed I don’t have to.

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2 Responses to “Adventures In Kidney Stones: Sequels Are Never As Good As The Original”

  1. Melissa says:

    Dang! I’m sorry you had to go through all that! I hope you continue to feel better :)

  2. Barbra says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you! (again!!) I am glad to see you are feeling better and back home. Thinking of you and your sweet family, I hope the next five-ish weeks go as smooth as possible!!

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