When I was about 20 weeks pregnant I started to get really bad pains all down my right side of my stomach, each time I would need to take paracetamol as that is all you can take whilst pregnant but this would take the edge of the pain but would not take it away. This went on for a couple of weeks and I kept putting it down to the fact that I was pregnant, baby was growing, skin was stretching and organs moving! I mentioned it briefly to the midwife and she agreed that it was certainly down to all these things as my body was adapting to carrying a baby.
One night I had gone to bed and woke up at 1am sobbing in excruciating pain I was convinced that it was something to do with the baby. It suddenly felt like there was a tight belt around my upper abdomen that would get tighter and tighter. I took paracetamol and Babs started to help by rubbing my back.
One of my friends had given me a rocking chair ready for when the baby was born and I sat in this rocking backwards and forwards curled up in blankets but my temperature kept increasing and decreasing from one extreme to another. After a couple of hours I phoned maternity triage and they advised just to have a hot bath and it relaxes the muscles and would help with the pain. Babs ran me a bath and I spent about 45 minutes in the bath with Babs sat by the side of the bath regularly putting more hot water in and making sure I was ok. I kept nodding of as I was so tired but would wake instantly in pain. We ran out of hot water so I had no choice but to get out! Once put I could not warm up at all I was freezing even being curled up with a duvet and blankets. Soon after I was being violently sick every 10/15 minutes. We were getting scared what it could be so I phoned triage again and they informed me that I could not go to them as it was only a sickness bug and I would get over it!
I spent the next few hours in agony and constantly being sick. I had to ring in sick to work and ended up hanging up on them as I started to be sick again. During this period I would fall asleep for a few minutes and then wake up either being sick or in pain.
I rang the doctors but typically they were shut for staff training so was referred to 111. I went through everything with them and received a phone call back from a doctor who said I could go to him to get some anti sickness tablets. The tablets he wanted to give me were the same tablets I had previously been prescribed with the Hypemesis Gravdium which luckily I still had some left which meant not needing to travel the 45 minute journey to the on call doctors.
It got to around 8pm and the tablets had not worked at all and I was still rocking in excruciating pain. I phoned 111 again and they advised me to go to A&E especially as I had not been able to keep any fluid down at all. Where I live we have two hospitals that are under the same trust; both hospitals have an A&E but everything else is either at one or the other. I asked 111 whether I needed to go to the hospital (Pembury) that was further away (30 minutes) as it has the Womens and Childrens Department and they told me not to worry and just go to the closer hospital (Maidstone) as it’s only 5 minutes away. Babs took me to the hospital and immediately on arrival we were questioned as to why I hadn’t gone to Pembury. We explained the situation and as there was only a couple of people in A&E they agreed to see me. Luckily I only had to wait about 20 minutes to be seen which is pretty amazing seeing as how long you usually have to wait. The doctor immediately took bloods, urine sample, temperature and blood pressure. Instantly it showed that I was severely dehydrated and it was decided I would have to stay in A&E just so that they could intravenously administer anti sickness, painkillers and most importantly help to rehydrate me. Whilst it was all being administered there were multiple phone calls to Pembury as to whether I should go there and they can fully check everything.
Babs was asked if he was able to drive me to Pembury but within a few minutes we were then informed that it was decided that I would need to go via ambulance. Once at Pembury I was taken straight to Maternity Triage and Babs had driven over to Pembury but stopped to pick up my Mum on the way! Every girl needs their mum when they aren’t well!! Whilst at Pembury we were waiting for what seemed like such a long time. Finally the pain had started to die down and the Doctor arrived – He informed us it was just Gastroenteritis and that I could go home and just rest. Just after he left the room suddenly the pain came back a lot stronger and was running through my right shoulder as well. My mum informed the nurses and the Doctor was called back which it was then decided I would be admitted to hospital. Whilst my mum was pregnant with my sister she had a really bad flare up of gallstones which later resulted in her having an operation after my sister was born. Whilst talking to the doctors Mum kept saying could it be gallstones and they kept insisting no it couldn’t be! Once I was finally admitted to the ward both Mum and Babs went home as it was 5am!
Once admitted I was constantly given pain relief and it would go through stages of being excruciating again. The Doctors came round and arranged for me to have an ultrasound on my gallbladder just in case it was gallstones but they still highly doubted it. A midwife came into me to inform me it would be the following day unless they suddenly have space and I would go down. I had just finished my lunch when a porter arrived to take me down to have the ultrasound! I couldn’t believe how quick it was as it had only been an hour since the midwife had told me that it would be the following day.
We arrived at the scan and the Sonographer started scanning before saying ‘You’ve eaten recently’ I told her that I had only just finished my lunch and she informed me that I should have been told that I shouldn’t eat before the scan. I explained the situation and how I had actually been told the scan wouldn’t have been until the following day. The Sonographer was lovely and agreed to continue the scan and informed me instantly that I had gallstones! I was so relieved that it was confirmed and that it meant that it certainly wasn’t anything else or anything wrong with the baby! The Sonographer then turned the screen towards me and I was expecting her to show me the stones but I was surprised to see the baby! She was telling me that each Sonographer specialises in different areas so it is very rare for her to see a baby and she thought it would be nice for me to be able to see the baby!
Once back up on the ward the Midwife came round again and warned me that I would not be able to eat before my ultrasound! She couldn’t believe it when I said that I had already been down and they had found gallstones! She went back to the Nurses area and my notes were just being updated so she received all the relevant information. I was informed that because I was in the second trimester but so close to the third trimester it would not be safe for them to operate. It was decided I would have to wait until after the baby was born but I would have to be monitored through the pregnancy in case of flare ups.
After this it would be another day before I was released from hospital. Everybody kept saying that it must have been fatty foods that I had been eating that made it worse. It can’t have been because I was living on fruit and vegetables as I had no appetite. I saw a consultant the following week and we agreed that at my 6 week post partum check up that I would mention it to the doctor for it to be followed up. It was also agreed if I felt that kind of pain again that I would go straight to the maternity unit again.
Thankfully after that flare up I have not had any issues since including since I have had Lola.