Alright, folks, I’m 25 weeks pregnant! I’m sorry it’s been a while since I last posted. Time has been flying by so quickly!
My bump keeps getting bigger. Each week, I look in the mirror and I think, I’ve finally “popped!” And then a week passes and I laugh at myself for ever having thought that because NOW I’ve finally popped!
Needless to say, I've got myself a distinctly pregnant belly.
Until this point, when I climbed the stairs in my house (which are incredibly steep,) I noticed my heart would be pumping a little faster. This didn’t worry me too much because I know that I am essentially breathing for two. But, something changed recently...
Last week, I started feeling increasingly short of breath. Not just a little huffy and puffy, either. Like, really bad. As in, sometimes I genuinely feel like I can’t breathe.
My lungs are sore, like I’ve just gotten over a bad chest cold.
I get winded going from one room to the next. I get winded just sitting perfectly upright, writing at my computer.
Sometimes, my heart will start POUNDING! In a way that it never has before...
And, last week, I had a moment where it felt like my lungs just altogether stopped. I could not catch my breath. My heart was racing like it had gone into panic mode, trying to get oxygen to the rest of my body. I was, honestly, terrified.
Now, because we live in the times that we do, it was hard not to instantly leap to: coronavirus.
I tried to steer myself away from this line of thinking, but as the symptoms progressed, I became more worried. After all, every website and medical professional will tell you that the number one symptom to be wary of for coronavirus is breathlessness.
I tried to tell myself that my uterus was expanding and putting pressure on my lungs and diaphragm; that was why I could not get a full inhalation. I told myself that it could also explain the pressure I felt in my lungs. But, the racing heart palpitations were what had me particularly worried. And, to top it all off, I’d had a sore throat since these symptoms had begun.
I explored pregnancy-related shortness of breath online and decided that my symptoms did not perfectly match up. So, just to be safe, I called a doctor’s office. They agreed that I should be seen and I went in for a visit.
There, they checked my vitals, which were all great. My oxygen levels were fantastic. And they told me to go to the ER if my symptoms worsened.
I asked for specifics. What did worse look like?
“If you get winded walking from your couch to your kitchen, I’d say that’s a bad sign.”
Well, that wasn’t helpful. That was already happening!
“Or if your fingertips or your lips begin to turn blue,” the doctor added.
Surely, by then, that would be cutting it a little close to the wire!
There was a pretty big disparagement between those two criteria.
I went home feeling only marginally reassured. So, finally, I contacted my midwife.
Ladies, let me give you some advice—always contact your OB/midwife first. My word, it will save you a lot of time and worry!
Regular doctors are incredibly knowledgeable, but it benefits from speaking to someone whose sole expertise is pregnancy and the myriad of symptoms that go with it.
I would have saved myself a lot of time and stress had my midwife been my first call.
We live in difficult times. And, unfortunately for us, pregnancy-symptoms overlap with so many other conditions that vary from mild to potentially serious. And, right now, one of those conditions is the coronavirus. However, the breathlessness I have been experiencing, though at times very severe, is perfectly normal for this stage of pregnancy.
At around the 24-25 week mark, our bodies double their volume of blood. Our need for oxygen increases. And our hearts are put under more pressure and strain than ever before in our lives!
This time, when my midwife warned me of what worse symptoms looked like, the specifications were far more precise. If I ever get dizzy during an episode, or feel like I’m about to pass out, and especially if I do pass out… I should contact her immediately and they will run further tests.
I won’t lie or try to paint it over with rainbow colors… this is ROUGH.
This is by far the worst, most uncomfortable symptom I’ve had yet to experience. And, it can be scary! Breathing is a pretty integral part of existence and feeling like you can’t is, well… absolutely awful.
But, it has been incredibly helpful to know that this is completely normal.
Now, when I have an episode, I don’t panic and I don’t worry.
I can relax knowing the process that my body is going through.
It doesn’t make me breathe easier, but it does still help.
And, hopefully, it will get better around the 32 week mark as my body adjusts and regulates.
You know that normally I like to keep my posts positive. Everyone shares their horror stories, we don’t need more of them. But, at the same time, I want to be honest. This was very scary for me. And, frankly, if I had been able to speak with another woman who had gone through the same thing, maybe my first thought wouldn’t have been coronavirus.
The other lesson I learned from this, that I encourage you to receive as well, is to always contact your OB/midwife should you ever have any questions or concerns—and to contact them FIRST! Even when you’re sure your symptoms aren’t pregnancy-related!
As usual, I’d love to hear from some of you… has anyone else experienced this, too? What were your first thoughts?
I'm Kelsey! Proud Iowan native, world traveler, writer, wife to the most incredible husband, and now soon to be mother