Pregnancy Journey Part 5: Blood Pressure Hell
Blood pressure hell!
So I know it may seem like my pregnancy was problem after problem but it pretty much was. I can't emphasise enough how worth it it was and how just to get pregnant I was beyond lucky but that doesn't take away from how it impacts your life and how hard it can be.
As I mentioned in my last post I was in hospital a lot by the end of it. My blood pressure went crazy from about 30 weeks. I thought finally! The 10 week countdown begins, and it turned out to be the longest ten weeks of my life.
I never too much notice when the doctors would put that little cuff on your arm and muffle something along the lines of 'fine' or hardly acknowledged they had even done my blood pressure because throughout my whole life it was fine, never even really knew the importance of having good blood pressure. Then at 30 weeks or so it went sky high. I had to go straight to the hospital from my general midwife check up and from then on I was in hospital every few days getting checks.
We aren't just talking about a half hour appointment. We are talking they do my blood pressure, it's high, they then make you wait and they do it another three times at regular intervals ( also whilst you get your baby monitored for hours) and then if it's still high they take bloods and that takes another three hours to wait for the results. They do this to check for a condition called pre eclampsia. I had actually heard of this condition before pregnancy and knew how serious it could be, there is a serious threat to you and your baby if you get it. High bp is a symptom as well as protein in your urine. Thankfully every time they did my bloods ( I kid you not I think I had about 100 vials of blood taken from me during my pregnancy) I never had it. I'm very thankful for that and it shows that it could have been a lot worse but in that sense I got lucky. It's pretty scary though every time they did the blood I thought it would come back positive.
By the end of these tri weekly appointments my blood pressure was normally no better which led to me staying in hospital overnight for a night or two another 4 times. I was actually in overnight for bp issues when my water broke at 38 weeks!! At least I was in the right place right?! But we will talk about that on the next post!!
I don't know what caused my high blood pressure but it can happen during pregnancy sometimes. I am a very anxious person and I wonder wether as I got closer to the birth it subconsciously went up, also once I knew it was high I so badly wanted it to go down so I wouldn't have to stay in hospital I wouldn't constantly think about it and when the midwife went to take my blood pressure I could feel the butterflies in my belly! It was like a never ending circle. My dad lent me his bp machine and I would constantly do it at home and it would be fine! But the next day in the hospital it was always high. On the rare occasion it wasn't me and whoever it was with me would normally have a celebration dance and McDonald's for tea!!
My top tips for someone who has a lot of hospital stays during pregnancy
1.) Realise that it won't last forever-
At the time it may seem like it's going to last forever but the beauty of it is that eventually your pregnancy will come to an end and it will all seem like a distant memory. There may be people out there who are shocked that I wished my pregnancy to be over but staying in hospital multiple times a week, worrying about my baby and myself constantly was no fun.
2.) Value your family and friends -
I honestly couldn't have managed without my partner and mum during this time, they was always there for me coming whenever they could both to my appointments and spending all day at my bedside when I was in. Knowing you have that support is amazing and got me through.
3.) Realise it really is the best place for you -
Okay so I'm extremely guilty of this, why do I have to stay overnight I feel completely fine! ( that's the thing about high bp you feel absolutely normal most of the time) but I look back and realise it was for the best, the midwives would tell me stories of people who were in for high bp and they almost overnight developed pre eclampsia and sometimes had to have a emergency c section right away ( pretty worrying but needed) I hate every second in hospital away from my family and alone but I did it because I knew it was the best thing to do.
4.) Take a pack up/supplies for any long appointments -
By the time I had the baby me and my mum/partner were pros at being supplied for the long days waiting for results etc. It wasn't unusual to go in at 10am and come out about 7-8pm. You get extremely bored, hungry and thirsty and unless you loaded you can't continually shell out on the overpriced sandwiches and mars bars. So we always had a bag prepared full of snacks, drink, and things like change for parking. It was a life saver! I remember at one point I had a 'day visit bag' a 'overnight but not labour bag' and my full on labour bag all ready to go!!
5.) Find the silver lining -
Due to all my complications I had ALOT more ultrasound scans and monitoring of my baby ( where they put straps on your belly so you can hear the heartbeat and see the heart rate etc) which was obviously lovely when I got to see or hear her for another time ( although sometimes laying on an uncomfortable chair bed thing for two hours whilst I was monitored and needed a wee wasn't fun either) it made me feel a lot closer to her and like I knew her already.