Basically what happened is this... I was in the shower with Charlotte when I started to pass out. I immediately sat down and crawled out of the bathroom thinking it was just the heat of the room. My OB had said that when you're pregnant your blood pressure can drop suddenly (and often for no reason), leading to fainting and near-fainting.
I also thought that maybe it was a blood sugar thing since I hadn't eaten second breakfast yet. First breakfast occurs at 6:30am and is always a bowl of cereal, second breakfast occurs a few hours later and usually has protein.
But then my heart started beating fast. And I don't mean work-out-at-the-gym fast, I mean out-running-a-serial-killer-fast. Like faster than I knew it was medically possible for a heart to beat. So fast and violent that I could actually SEE my chest moving and couldn't even count the beats.
At first I thought it was a fluke and some kind of body-correction from almost passing out, so I waited a few minutes. Then I thought I was crazy and just needed to take some deep breaths and slow everything down. Then I thought that I should help the blood sugar issue and get some string cheese.
But after I went downstairs to get the cheese and came back to the bathroom (Charlotte was still in the tub) to try to eat the cheese, I immediately felt sick and started hyperventilating.
This was what I couldn't figure out: I knew at needed to go to the ER. The neighbors weren't home, all friends and family were 15 minutes away, and there's no way Charlotte would have let a huge paramedic pull her naked from a tub and get her dressed. Also, the front door was bolted shut and I knew I wouldn't be able to get down the two sets of stairs to unlock the door for them without passing out with a child in the tub. Do I call B? Do I call 911? Do I call B? Do I call 911? Do I call B? Do I call 911?....
So I called B and whisper told him (b/c I couldn't breathe) that I was having an emergency and needed to go to the ER. Then I prayed to god that he wouldn't kill himself or someone else on what I knew would be THE most ridiculous drive home in history. I half expected him to pull in the driveway with most of the police department trailing him.
So I waited. And it only got worse. I was on the floor of the bathroom and felt like I was going to pass out again (not a reassuring feeling when you're ALREADY sitting down) and I thought so help me god I can NOT pass out with this child in the bathtub, I will WILL my heart not to make my brain it's bitch and lose consciousness. So I picked a spot on the wall and tried to will myself to stay awake.
B came home, saw what was happening (panting wife, child in the tub) and called 911. Luckily we live four blocks from the hospital and could hear the sirens about six seconds after he hung up.
Two fire trucks, one ambulance, nine people, and a few monitors later and they told me that my heartbeat was over 180bpm (MORE than 3 beats per second, in case you're counting). They actually said "WHOA!" when they hooked me up. And the crazy part was that that wasn't even my peak, it had started to settle quite a bit by the time they got there.
And then, when everyone was in our living room (and trailing down the stairs because not everyone could actually FIT in the living room) the episode broke, 40 min after it started.
So I got an ambulance ride, spent the day in the ER and the night in the hospital, talked to a cardiologist and my OBGYN and came out the other side on partial bed rest.
The cardiologist thinks it was all pregnancy related and was just a perfect storm of a warm room, dehydration, low blood sugar, a very low baby who's pushing on all the good things in your legs that return blood to your heart (veins? arteries? capillaries? plastic tubes?), and bad luck.
The OB isn't convinced it was pregnancy related since it went on for so long. But either way, it doesn't matter. They were on the same page with recommendations: Drink 3 liters of water a day instead of the 2 I had been drinking (water keeps your blood pressure up), and sit my ass on the couch for the next 7 weeks. No cleaning, no cooking, no going out to stores, very little activity, and no driving, and hope it never happens again.
You can imagine that these orders would be a little difficult for someone with a toddler at home, but with the help of family, our amazing neighbors, and some paid help, I think we've cobbled together enough people so that I won't ever have Charlotte for a whole day to myself, only half days.
And for the half days, we'll set the living room up to be blocked off, hold more toys and diapers, and keep the Disney Channel and Nick, Jr. in business. We don't have all the logistics worked out, but we're getting there.
In the meantime, I present Scenes From A Hospital...
The 13 heart monitors I pulled off my chest and stomach. Every step (EMTs, ER, OBGYN) meant that more got added and none every got removed.
Water tracking chart