Fun times with kidney stones

This is the story of how I ended up in the hospital last week. FYI it gets a little graphic if you’re squeamish. (Really not very much though.) Also, kind of long. Apparently I get wordy when I’m complaining. 

Sunday night I was watching TV and about 10 pm when I was getting ready to go to bed I thought, “Man, I don’t feel great.” I felt a little nauseated and my back was achy. But I figured I’d go to bed and be fine. I mean, I’m very pregnant. There are a lot of days I don’t feel great. However, by the time I walked up the stairs to our bedroom I was feeling alternately hot and cold, I was shaky, very nauseated, and my back was killing me. After I’d been sitting on the bathroom floor for about 20 minutes wondering when I’d finally throw up, Brian came to check on me. When he asked if I was okay I said, “I think it’s kidney stones.” (I don’t think I ever wrote about it here in detail, but I had kidney stones when I was pregnant with Kalena. Never anything that sent me to the ER, but I recognized all the symptoms this time around.) Some more sitting on the bathroom floor and I finally felt okay enough to get into bed. That was short lived however. Back in the bathroom 30 min or so later, this time actually puking and in significantly more pain. (When I had kidney stones with Kalena every episode like that brought at least some relief. Not the case this time.) By the second round I was crying out it was so painful to move, and after round 3 I told Brian, “I think I need to go to the ER.” You know what’s really fun when you’re new in town and know basically nobody and have 3 small kids? A midnight trip to the ER!

Brian helped me into some clothes and then out to the car and then he brought the kids out one by one. They were, fortunately, quite chipper and good sports about the whole thing. We went to the closest ER which was blessedly empty. I told the lady at admittance that it was kidney stones and of course she asked how far along I am and then called labor and delivery to ask if they wanted me up there. And of course yes, because 33 weeks pregnant means they want to check on the baby in addition to anything else. Admittance lady told me she’d take me upstairs and then asked if I was sure it wasn’t contractions. I just said, “This is my fourth.” She laughed and said, “Oh, okay! You know what you’re doing.” And then Brian walked in with the kids from parking the car.

L&D was also wonderfully empty so they got me into a bed right away. I answered questions while they tried to start an IV (I warned them that the inner elbow on my right arm was probably the only place but they tried a couple others anyway. I was right.) I got to do some more puking at this point, in case there was any question about my pain levels. Just before that some other nice nurses showed Brian and the kids where the snack station was and the kids had a midnight snack. Ice cream for Kalena, graham crackers and juice for Will. They were pretty pleased about this turn of events. (Bonus of L&D over the ER I guess!) As soon as I had an IV they gave me morphine. I believe that was around 1 am. Brian asked the nurses how long things might take and when they had no time frame I told him to go home. He said the kids went right back to bed when they got here (they were so well behaved through everything. SO fortunate.) The first dose of morphine didn’t do much for my pain. It DID make me super sleepy though, so I managed to doze on and off anyway. They gave me a second dose around 2 (I think?) and then set me up with a continuous drip. (And a button I could push every 8 minutes for extra. Gladly I never had to use that.) Finally comfortable and waiting on lab results I slept for a couple hours. By 4 am I had passed the stone. I’m REALLY hoping there’s just the one. I had at least 3 with Kalena.

By 5 am lab results were back (bladder infection. No surprise there.) and I was feeling fine. In fact, at that point I asked the nurse if I could go home. See, there was a big HUGE issue at this point. It was 5 am Monday morning. Monday the 13, Brian’s FIRST DAY at work. At the job we MOVED HERE FOR. And he needed to leave by 6:30 to make sure he had enough time to get there. (Training the first couple days was not at the building he’ll normally be working at, which is much closer to our house.) Now, obviously we knew this was going to be an issue when he left me at the hospital at 1 am. But we still weren’t sure what exactly we were going to do about it. I actually felt super guilty about the fact that I was laying in a hospital bed and he was going to have to figure out what to do with the kids so he could go to work. My only contribution was to say, as he was walking out of the hospital, “Call (name.) She left me a notecard with her number. It’s on the kitchen table.” See, we called our church out here before we moved out and several guys came out and helped us move in. I knew at least one of them had left phone numbers for himself and his wife with instructions to call if we needed anything. In addition, another of the wives had stopped by during the week. She wanted to meet me and introduce herself, and she brought cookies and left me a card with all her info. (We had a really nice chat while Will and her youngest daughter played.) She also instructed me to call if I needed anything, and that’s who I told Brian to call. Anyway, back to me in the hospital. The nurse informed me that no, I couldn’t leave until I’d actually been seen by the doctor who wouldn’t be in until 7 or 8.

I knew I needed to call Brian and get him up to date but guess what?! I didn’t have my cell phone! (Or my wallet or anything. At midnight all I could think was- get me to the hospital.) And because we still have Colorado phone numbers, Brian is long distance so I couldn’t call from the hospital room phone! Fortunately my lovely nurse loaned me a cell phone so I could talk to him. I was worried about what we were going to do with the kids- worried that nobody would answer a phone call from an unknown number so early in the morning, worried that bringing them to my hospital room might be the only option (and THEN WHAT? I’d have no way home and no way to deal with Daniel who would be in to everything.) But by the time I talked to Brian (around 5:45 am) he had everything taken care of. He had called both the families who had left phone numbers and although neither had answered the first time both called back within a few minutes. My friend who I’d instructed him to call happily took all 3 kids, at the crack of dawn, with no idea of when we’d be picking them up. And the second family he’d called, when they heard someone else was taking the kids offered to bring dinner over since, again, we had no idea how long I’d be in the hospital. The relief I felt was overwhelming. To have people who had met us once or twice willingly step in and help us out was incredible. 

With the kids taken care of and the doctor not in for a few hours I went back to sleep. Glorious sleep. Of course, it was hospital sleep so alarms went off every 20 minutes or so, but eh. You take what you can get. The doctor came in around 8, discussed lab results briefly, prescribed me some antibiotics and some vicodin (with tylenol instead of ibuprofen. So weird to me that I can have narcotics while I’m pregnant but ibuprofen is still a big no-no.) in case of another stone. FINGERS CROSSED I DON’T NEED IT. Then she insisted on getting a better monitor strip on the baby. They’d been monitoring contractions (none) and the baby’s heart rate the whole time, but when the new nurse (there was a shift change in there) knew we were just waiting on the doctor she’d been nice enough to let me sleep instead of adjusting when it started picking up my heart rate instead of the baby’s. Anyway, the doctor wanted to see some good reactivity before she let me go. Plus the nurse wanted to make sure I’d been off the morphine for a while before I drove anywhere. IV out, another quick half hour of monitoring and I was all set. (Baby was fine.)

At this point I had to call a cab because I had no car at the hospital. My sweet nurse told me if there was anyone extra on shift she would have had someone drive me home. Anyway, took a cab home (where I let myself in with the key Brian had left for me so I could get my wallet and pay) then changed clothes and went to pick up the kids. It was about 9:30 am. My friend was very sweet about the whole thing. She even made us a pasta bake to take home for dinner! I mean, COME ON. Let me just take your kids at 6 am on a moment’s notice for who knows how long and then when you pick them up I’ll have dinner for you! (Our other friends also brought a dinner over later, so I didn’t have to cook for 2 days.) The rest of the day actually ended up being pretty normal. I took one of the vicodin for residual pain that evening, after all the effects of the morphine had worn off, but other than that I’ve felt fine.

Now I’m just making sure to drink a ton of water every day. I feel normal, just hyper aware of any pain in my back. I’m a little paranoid that I’ll have more stones since I did with Kalena, but I’m holding out hope that it was just the one. Anyway, there you have it. The whole fun story.

8 thoughts on “Fun times with kidney stones

  1. OH MY GOSH LADY. This is so crazy. Thank goodness for helpful near-strangers!! (That’s Midwestern hospitality for you!) I hope the rest of your pregnancy is uneventful. Because, really. Heh.

  2. Oh good grief I knew this was terrible but seeing all the details it is REALLY terrible. I still cannot believe you went through all this on Brian’s first day of work!!!! Thank goodness for new awesome church members.

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