Friday 9 May 2014

Gallstone's In Pregnancy

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now as ever since I suffered from gallstone's people have been asking me about it. I will start at the beginning when I was 32 week's and 2 days pregnant with Sophia in March 2013 I suffered my very first gallstone attack.

I went to bed feeling fine but I had only been in bed about an hour when I was woken up with a sharp pain under my right ribs, I just could not comfy.  I came downstairs thinking the baby was just lying on a nerve, but the pain started getting worse it was spreading right around my back and over my bump and felt like a tight band. I could not get comfortable at all and I was even finding it hard to breath as I felt so uncomfortable. I tried painkillers but they didn't even touch the pain so I got in the bath thinking that would help but the pain was just getting worse.

I have never felt pain like it and I have given birth twice, once was a painful induction. This pain was a lot worse than labour. I couldn't move, I started being sick, I was struggling to breathe. I honestly thought I was going to die. The other half was begging me to go to the hospital as he thought I was in premature labour, but I knew this wasn't labour pains they were constant and nothing like contractions. But I just couldn't leave the house to go to the hospital I was in too much pain and just wanted to stay curled up near the toilet being sick. Eventually, after about 5 hours of non-stop pain, it started to ease off, under my ribs felt tender but other than that I felt fine so I went to bed as I was so tired.

 When I woke up I felt back to normal so again I just thought the pain had been something to do with the way baby had been lying. I made some toast as I was starving and about an hour after eating the pains started again,  they were not as bad as the last time but I was being sick, this time I knew I had to go to the hospital as something was wrong. I sent me to the maternity assessment unit where I was seen straight away and hooked up to monitors to check baby and I had my urine, blood pressure and blood checked. Thankfully the baby was fine and as the pain was wearing off they sent me home and asked me to come back in two days to check my blood again.

Two days later I was back at the hospital in tears begging for pain relief to take the pain away, they give me codeine but it didn't even touch the pain. They checked my blood pressure and it was dangerously high so they give me blood pressure tablets and hooked me up to monitors to check baby's heartbeat but I just couldn't sit down as the pain was so bad.  I started to feel really ill I was burning up my skin was tingling, I felt light headed and then I fainted. The blood pressure medication had dropped my blood pressure too much. The doctors came to see me and give me more medication and I was told I needed to be admitted to the antenatal ward to find out what was going on.

 I was admitted to the antenatal ward where I spent five days and they didn't know what was wrong. At first, they thought I had pre-eclampsia but I had no swelling and my blood pressure kept returning to normal so they ruled that out. Then I was tested for obstetric cholestasis, a pregnancy liver disease as my liver enzymes were 280 and normal persons is under 40 but I wasn't itching so they ruled that out.

 I was in pain and being sick every night and begging the doctors for pain relief, but due to being pregnant they couldn't give me much in the form of pain relief. I ended up with a mixture of paracetamol, codeine and tramadol which made me feel totally spaced out.

 During all this baby started showing signs of distress and I was hooked up to heart trace monitors for hours every day, as they couldn't get a clear reading as she was kicking and moving non-stop. I really thought I was going to lose her and there was even talk of her being born early at 32 weeks by emergency c-section.

I was so scared and upset and in so much pain eventually after begging the doctors to do something as i couldn't take the pain anymore. I was sent for an ultrasound scan as they thought I had something wrong with my liver. They would have done it sooner but because it was Easter bank holiday weekend everywhere was shut and they only had scans available for emergency cases. When I had my scan they found out I had lots of little gallstones and some of them must have come loose and been stuck in my bile duct and that had been what had caused me pain.

I was sent back to the ward but I wasn't told anything about gallstones other then don't eat any fat. I was sent home the next day none the wiser to what gallstones were.

 I searched the Internet for hours to find out what I could and found it is really common in pregnancy or in the first few months after you have a baby, due to pregnancy hormones aggravating the conditions. It also runs in family's (my mam's siblings have had them) and women are more likely to get it then men and gallstones attack happen after eating fatty foods.

I was so scared to eat in case I ended up in pain, I actually lost a stone while I was in the hospital. I searched on the Internet and found that anything less than 5% fat was normally ok to eat, I followed this and thankfully never had another gallstone attack during my pregnancy.

 It was really hard not eating much when pregnant, so much for eating for two and indulging in pregnancy cravings. I lived on salad, chicken and fruit but I only gained 7lb while pregnant and when Sophia was two weeks old I actually weighed over 2 stone less then before I got pregnant. So on the plus side having gallstones is a brilliant diet.

Thankfully after everything I had been through Sophia was fine and healthy and weighed 8lb 2oz so it never harmed her at all and I had a normal labour.

I suffered another gallstone attack which also lasted a week when Sophia was two weeks old and when she was four months old I had my gallbladder removed through keyhole surgery. I was so scared to have the surgery to remove it but I'm so glad I had it,  I was in and out of hospital that day and I only have four small scars on my tummy. I can now eat whatever I want again and best of all I will never experience that awful pain ever again.

the day after my surgery - only tiny scars

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