| ||A few weeks ago, Katherine figured out that Mommy and Daddy have other names: Backy and Maffew. She is a smart kid - however, it quickly ceased being cute and became annoying, mostly because of the looks I got from other parents. "You let your kid call you by your first name?" To which MY look responded, "YOU try stopping her."|
Also, K is not always tops in the pronunciation department, though this week she has finally learned that "ba-ba" is actually pronounced "wa-ter." In the car when she wants to get out of her carseat, she goes on and on about a new ornithological class, the Buckle-Duck. She has also discovered the Foot-Duck, the Sock-Duck, and the Shoe-Duck, all of which require immediate freeing/removing.
There is a poor Backy-Duck in Colorado.
Remember how I said I was here a week ago?
I am almost (almost) able to make light of it now, but I sure wasn't last Thursday when I had to cancel my flight home to Rhode Island because I was laying in a Bradley position, trying to relax and breathe through tears because of excruciating abdominal pain.
Remember how I spent the night at the hospital when I was pregnant with Katherine because of acute abdominal pain? (If not, here you go.) And remember how they sent me home with pain pills and NO diagnosis?
This pain felt very much the same - localized in the left side of my lower belly, radiating around to my back, and shooting down the front of my thigh. I didn't know what was causing it, since they had never figured it out last time. It started last Thursday morning, though it was more crampy than severe. I laid down and napped intermittently for a few hours.
I called my midwifery practice back home and described my symptoms and mentioned I had had something similar during my last pregnancy. I also mentioned that early in my last pregnancy, they had found a cyst on my left ovary (they thought it was a dermoid cyst), but that by the time I had the pain at 5 months along, my uterus was too big to show my ovaries on an ultrasound, so that was never determined as the source of my pain. (That cyst resolved by the time I went in for a post-partum ultrasound.) Lucie looked at my chart from this pregnancy and said she didn't see a cyst on the ultrasound I had had at 7 weeks. She advised me not to fly if I was in severe pain, but to get it checked out locally.
I started feeling better after resting and finished packing my things. I really wanted to get home Thursday because I was supposed to spend Friday morning on a work presentation and Friday afternoon helping Matthew get ready for a men's retreat he had organized for the weekend in New Hampshire. Then Katherine and I were going to ride up with him that night and spend the weekend with Gwyn on a long-planned girls' weekend, sewing, talking about boys, eating friendly toast, etc. So in spite of some uncomfortableness, we loaded the car and headed to Denver from Colorado Springs.
We stopped for a quick lunch at the home of my college friend Gina. She and her husband and their two girls live on the way to the airport. I had planned to spend the whole morning with them, but they were very understanding about my having to cut the visit short because of the pain weirdness. Just as we sat down to eat, I started feeling horrid again and stumbled over to the couch. After a few minutes, I knew I could never make it through two flights and three airports with myself, much less with a purse, a diaper bag, a laptop bag, a stroller, a suitcase, oh, and of course a 19-month-old.
Gina got me supported with pillows on her bed and called her doctor while my mom called Northwest Airlines to cancel my flight reservation. Dr. Furr, Gina's obstetrician, couldn't fit me in that afternoon because he was doing a C-section, but said there was an appointment open first thing in the morning. The nurse said I could take Motrin or ibuprofen and that it could possibly be round ligament pain.
The ibuprofen dulled the pain, and I was able to get up and deal with the flight insurance company, Access America, on the phone, trying to figure out how to cover the cost of the flight change fee, which reduced me to tears again. (Verdict is out on that...I'll let you know if flight insurance is worth it, i.e. if they actually pay the claim. Not looking likely at this point.) I finally booked a flight for Saturday, hoping I could still make it to New Hampshire by Saturday night.
I was adamant about not going to an emergency room. I did not want to repeat my last experience of hours spent in triage ending up in worse pain with no answers. I waffled about even going to the doctor in the morning, but finally decided to do it since the *&^% flight insurance company said I had to have a doctor's note, from a doctor's visit within 72 hours of when I talked with them.
I googled for a while, trying to figure out what it could be. While some women did describe severe round ligament pain, most sites said it tended to occur on the right, while my pain was on the left. I was unconvinced, but supposed it could be a possibility.
My mom headed back to Co Springs, Gina put up a pack n play for Katherine, and I tossed and turned on the couch all night. I didn't take any ibuprofen in the morning so that I would be able to describe my symptoms accurately. Gina's saint of a husband, Roger, took care of Katherine and Clahra all morning so that Gina could take care of me. Baby Lily was a doll the whole time too, through all the running around Gina took me on.
I ended up laying on my side on the floor of the waiting room while they processed my paperwork and verified my insurance. This seemed to take forever, apparently because I did not have an actual insurance card from Matthew's new job. I only had all the numbers and information on the card. Also the doctor was late, so I got to lay on the floor and pretend like all the pregnant ladies who came in weren't staring at me, and ultimately, I valued not crying and screaming, so I got over the staring.
Dr. Furr was fantastic. I do not usually like OB/GYNs. There are many good reasons why I go to midwives. I usually do not like male doctors. But he was singularly great. Asked me a lot of questions - the pain is worse than yesterday, it hurts herehereandhere, 13 weeks along, second pregnancy, no complications in the birth, had a left-sided cyst last time but my care provider said she didn't see one this time, had similar pain last pregnancy but the cause was never diagnosed, yes it hurts a LOT, etc. He had a great bedside manner and was very calming and thorough. He said it could be my cervix starting to open, so he checked that, and it was fine. He had the ultrasound tech come in and she did both internal and external ultrasounds...cervix fine, baby doing great, measuring big (atta Miller baby!), here are cute 4D images (but that's another post), there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with you. She turned the lights back on and said, "Well, it might just be round ligament pain."
"JUST round ligament pain?"
"Well," she said, "it can be quite painful."
I said, "Look. I went through 13 1/2 hours of labor with no drugs, including 45 minutes of pushing. And this pain is a million times worse." Dr. Furr had come back in time to hear this, and it must have caught his attention. He did an abdominal exam, and as he poked around he hit "the spot." "Oh, does it hurt when I push there?"
"Yes," I whimpered. "I have a really high tolerance for pain, and I would call this a 9 out of 10."
He felt a mass below and to the left of my belly button and had the tech get out her ultrasound wand again. She wasn't finding anything, so he eventually took the wand out of her hand and did it himself. "Here, see?" There was an indiscriminate something, but I guess he wasn't happy with what they were able to see, so he decided to order an MRI. And he gave me a prescription for Percocet, blessed man.
The office manager was wonderful. She got me in to the MRI at the nearby hospital AND wrote me a couple of "doctor's notes" about my canceled flight.
Gina drove me to the hospital, got me water, helped me get checked in, and filled my prescription while I got ready for the MRI. Have I mentioned that she's a great friend? Both the admitting lady and the manager at Dr. Furr's office asked if we were sisters, and we laughed. We've often were mistaken for sisters all through college.
The MRI wasn't too bad, though I can see why claustrophobic people would have issues with them - it's a TINY tube they squeeze you into. I think I actually fell asleep a couple times during the half hour I was in there.
Their doctor called Dr. Furr, and I was able to call him right away. He said there was a hemorrhagic cyst on my left ovary, 5-6 cm, and with a cyst that big, no wonder I was in so much pain. There's really nothing they can do to treat it since they don't like to operate on pregnant women, and cysts like that tend to resolve on their own, he said. He wasn't worried about it bleeding out, but he was concerned about torsion, twisting the ovary, so if the pain got a lot worse and I started throwing up, I needed to go to the emergency room right away for surgery. In the meantime, I should do absolutely nothing and take pain pills. Relieved to have a diagnosis, and feeling like I finally knew what had happened to me last time, we headed back to Gina's house and watched a movie till my mom came to bring me back to Co Springs.
I've become a bit of an expert on hemorrhagic cysts since then, and here are the symptoms, from Wikipedia: Dull aching, or severe, sudden, and sharp pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen (one or both sides), pelvis, lower back, or thighs; pain may be constant or intermittent -- this is the most common symptom. Check, check, check, check, check, check. Here's what I want to know: twice I met with the obstetrician at my practice back home about the cyst they found; there were notes about it all over my chart; when I went to the hospital, I had EXACTLY the symptoms of an ovarian cyst; why was it so bloody hard to diagnose? I'm glad that finally one of the midwives was willing to make that connection, even though she couldn't guarantee the diagnosis.
I also want to know why the cyst didn't show up on my 7 week ultrasound. Perhaps they didn't have good pictures of my ovary, since they were primarily looking at the baby, but it had to be there. Cysts are actually a normal part of the ovulatory cycle, it turns out, though they are normally much smaller and go away quickly. So this one has to date back to early March. Now, a hemorrhagic cyst is a "functional cyst" in which a blood vessel bursts, quickly filling it with blood and enlarging it, which often causes pain. With rest, the pain often subsides in 4-10 days.
I spent Friday night through Sunday afternoon in bed, either lying on my side or my back, with a heating pad as much as possible, alternating crying, breathing, praying, and sleeping (thankfully the pain pills made me really sleepy). My mom was AMAZING, totally taking care of Katherine for me. About all I could do was let K lay next to me to nurse when she really needed it. I know a lot of people were praying for me, and I'm so thankful.
By Sunday afternoon I was finally able to stand up long enough to shower (previously, trips to the bathroom had been put off as long as possible and ended with me doubled up in bed again) - my first shower since Thursday night. I know, gross, right? I hadn't even changed clothes till then. Monday I was able to go up and down stairs and eat more. I've been taking it slow all week, laying down a lot (and watching a ton of Food Network and HGTV, since TV was about all I had the mental capacity for), sitting, walking some. Over the week I've been able to cut down from two Percocet tablets every four hours to one, then stretching them out, then switching to ibuprofen, and I've finally been able to stop taking that. I've been able to help cook dinner the past couple nights. I've been trying to take care of Katherine more and play with her, though if I pick her up too much or get too active, I get crampy and very tired. I still feel pain if I push on the ovarian area, so I want to schedule a follow-up with Dr. Furr for an ultrasound to see how things are progressing.
Needless to say, I canceled my Saturday flight and left it open-ended. I so much wanted to get home this week - my birthday party was supposed to be tonight, and I have big presentations for work I was supposed to do on June 1 and 8. I ended up having to cancel it all. I'm afraid that traveling with K will be too strenuous, not to mention having the full time care of her (and the household) at home. Matthew decided he will fly out to Colorado this weekend and work from here to be with me. We'll head home probably around June 10 (we HAVE to be home by then, we have house guests coming from England that day!). Matthew will take K with him (we'll probably end up on different flights).
There are bright spots certainly, in spite of the out-of-control feeling that I'm totally cut off from my life and how will it run itself without me? My mom and Katherine get along delightfully, and K is having a blast with her "Tampa" - what she calls both my parents. Gina is coming from Denver today, and we'll spend my birthday together, something we haven't done since 2003. Zach and Hannah will be here June 7 before they travel to Greece on the 12th - we didn't think we'd make it out here to see them, but now we will get to spend several days with them! And of course, I've gotten some great recipes from Food Network.