Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Mother & Baby

Throughout her/our pregnancies, my wife complained on numerous occasions that I had no idea what it's like being pregnant. Now, whilst I can't refute that (and if I could, I'd be earning a fortune), I did constantly remind her that she had no idea of what it's like to be living with someone who's pregnant. The mood swings, the cravings, the going shopping for mango sorbet at 3 in the morning, the vomit all over my clothes on the way to friends' weddings, and a multitude of other sins. Admittedly it's a lame argument, but it's an argument nonetheless. And it's the best I could come up with. All I can say for sure is that babies clearly start causing trouble well before they're even born.
Helene was on her third pregnancy, but she was a little out of practice as her 2 kids were already teenagers. She felt almost like it was the first time all over again. She'd almost forgotten about the twinges, the kicks, the nausea. She'd tried not to remember the sleepless nights, the discomfort and the anxieties that were caused by growing a small person inside you. Over the 38 weeks all her memories flooded back and she knew she could cope with them all.
Until she woke up one morning and thought her world was about to end. The meaning of having your breath taken away had never had such relevance, or filled her with so much fear. Helene had the sensation that she'd been stabbed in the chest and just couldn't take in enough air. She'd had a strange sensation the day before like a muscle cramp in the back of her leg, but put it down to another one of those pregnancy things. "Only 2 weeks to go," she thought, "then it'll all be worth it." At three in the morning she'd woken up and thought she was going to die.
Patients should most definitely not be blue. Unless they're smurfs, and I've never had one of those yet. Helene was blue. Her lips were blue, her finger tips were blue. It was as if she was being lit by an ultraviolet light. No need for an oxygen saturation reading before applying oxygen. It's low. Probably dangerously so. I place a 100% oxygen mask on her and then start checking observations. Pulse rapid, at about 140, oxygen levels unreadable at the moment, air entry greatly reduced, especially on one side. Blood pressure low and dropping. Helene is very poorly. My initial assessment leads me to think that it's a Pulmonary Embolism, or PE, a blood clot in the lungs. Pregnancy is one of the known causes of a PE, where it's either due to the fact that the blood's clotting is increased, or sometimes due to amniotic fluid escaping into the blood stream.
I start to hope that the ambulance is nearby, as there's not much more that can be done pre-hospital for a PE. Luckily they turn up only a few minutes after I complete my set of observations. We wheel Helene into the ambulance and she is whisked to hospital with due haste, while I'm left alone in my car with the paperwork, wondering if I was right or wrong, and what would happen to her now. I have no idea what happened after that. All I know is that, in pregnancy, if the mother's ill, the baby's ill too. So if you treat the mother, you treat the baby. If all's gone well since, the baby should be a few months old by now. I hope that's indeed the case.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

here's hoping.

(was worth the wait!)