Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Catching Up...

well, a lot has happened since my last post a couple of weeks ago... without posting a super long blog, I'll try to hit on the high points to bring readers up to speed!

Last Saturday we celebrated Baby B's upcoming arrival with lots of wonderful friends & family at a baby shower!! Every detail was absolutely PERFECT & we are so very thankful for everybody who came together to make it possible! Baby B is already so loved by so many great folks!

Beginning the week of the shower, I noticed that I was experiencing some not-so-great pregnancy symptoms including: trouble sleeping, shortness of breath, hot flashes, etc... I just assumed that these were normal things to experience at 8+ months pregnant, so I wasn't too worried about it. However, after these symptoms started to increase, I started to get nervous.

Last Tuesday I went in for a weekly prenatal office visit with my OB. I was scheduled to have another NST (non-stress test) & an ultrasound to check baby's growth. While doing the NST, the office nurse noticed that I was breathing heavily / short of breath & asked how long I'd felt like that. When I told her, she immediately went to get my doctor, who was very concerned & immediately had me admitted to the labor & delivery unit at St. Vincent's hospital.

As it turns out, my heart hate was in the 180s (normal is between 60 - 100). It wasn't long before a cardiologist & a pulmonologist were evaluating me & it was determined that I needed to be admitted to the Cardiovascular ICU (CVICU) for closer observation of my heart & the baby.

I was under very close observation, underwent a laundry-list of tests, was put on bed-rest & 24 hour fetal monitoring over the next several days, until it was determined that it would be in my best interest to be moved to UAB hospital, a teaching hospital where I would have access to more specialists.

I have been at UAB in the high risk OB unit since Friday afternoon. Without over simplifying, I am doing much better & Baby B is doing great! I am no longer on 24 hour fetal monitoring or any IV medications for my heart (only oral medication & blood thinners). The cardiology team here at UAB has deemed me to be pretty stable & but would like to keep me here for a few more days to make sure that my heart rate stays in a safe range (under 115) with "regular" activity. Hoping to be released to go home by the end of this week!!

My official "diagnosis" is cardiomyopathy, which converted to atrial-fibrillation - the cardiologists believe that this was brought on by one of two things: pregnancy itself (stress of pregnancy manifested itself in this way), or it may have been caused by a slight heartbeat irregularity that I've had since high school, which was aggravated by pregnancy. Both cases self-correct, so no lifetime care should be necessary. At most, I will require a little bit of follow up care after delivery, likely no more than 6 weeks.

It is highly likely that they will induce labor when I reach 37 weeks gestational (which is only a couple of weeks from now!!) since they don't want to make it harder on my heart than necessary.

This has all been a pretty stressful process, but I am happy to have caught it now before it was too late. It is so very important to listen to your body - because it will tell you when something isn't right. I wasn't alarmed by my symptoms because I assumed it was typical for this late in pregnancy, but it could have led to something much more serious / dangerous for myself & Baby B.

Throughout this experience, I am so very thankful for all of the thoughts, prayers, & support from our friends & family! We've had an out-pouring of love from the folks in our lives who have called / emailed to check in on me & help keep things as normal as possible at home. Continued prayers are much appreciated! I will continue to keep posting updates as they come in!


  1. saw your blog on fb and clicked over to check it out. you may/may not remember me from high school, but i wanted to comment and offer you some encouragement. i had almost an identical situation when pregnant w/ our second (we also didn't find out what we were having!) when my heart rate reached almost 200 bpm, i was admitted to the hospital (i was around 36ish weeks) and monitored/baby monitored for the next several days.
    once released i saw a cardiologist and a perinatal specialist once a week for the remainder of my pregnancy. i took blood thinners and beta blockers also. my diagnosis was much the same as yours....either the baby was sitting in a way that inhibited blood flow to my heart and/or it was a preexisting condition that was just exasperated by the baby. while pregnant, they were unsure if it was something that was caused by the baby or if it was something that the baby just "brought out"
    anyway...sorry this is getting so long! i was on modified bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy and basically was out of breath constantly and SO tired. i felt like just going to the bathroom was equivalent to running a marathon. i was also extremely nervous about labor since i was already prone to being short of breath/fast heart rate, etc. but (and here's the encouraging part!) everything was fine! i had NO problems in labor whatsoever. no traces of arrhythmia, the baby was completely fine and even better - the whole thing corrected itself once she was born! i was able to stop taking all meds and after a follow-up with my cardiologist was cleared. now i just have to check back in if/when we get pregnant again.
    sorry again for the long comment, but just thought you would like to hear from someone who has been in a similar situation! prayers for a healthy rest of your pregnancy and a safe delivery and healthy baby!! feel free to email me if you have any questions! :)

  2. SO thankful it was caught!! And hoping for a quick self-correction asap! Love you so much.