The cold I’ve battled this week has been vicious, largely in part to the fact that I can’t take any of the cold medications I usually rely on. (I am a firm believer in the magic of any product with the root “-Quil” in it’s name.) I took Tylenol for a day or two to help ease my fever, but I had sworn off cold medicines until things got really bad on Tuesday. I had tried as many home remedies as I could, but to no avail. And I really, really missed breathing. That afternoon, I decided that I would buy some Sudafed and finally relieve my congestion. I’ve taken Sudafed plenty of times in the past, and it’s on the list of approved medications provided by my OBGYN, so I had no qualms about it. And after I took the first dose that afternoon, I could breathe! It was amazing. I took another dose that evening and then again Wednesday morning.
Now, in the meantime, I had noticed that I was having weird heart palpitations once or twice during the day. I had first noticed it on Friday while sitting at work, just a quick jolt that felt like a really strong heartbeat or something. Odd, but it wasn’t happening that often, so I didn’t give it much thought. Tuesday afternoon, I had them a little more frequently for about two hours. I looked it up online, and read that it was perfectly normal for pregnant women to have heart palpitations because of all of the extra blood their body is filled with. And the palpitations stopped after a few hours, so I didn’t think too much about it. However, on Wednesday, I started having heart palpitations probably around 4:00 that afternoon, and by 7:30 that night, they hadn’t stopped. At one point, I counted that I had 33 heart palpitations in five minutes. I was worried, so I called Urgent Care, who told me to call my OBGYN (who doesn’t have an after-hours on call service – useful information to know in advance.) I called my friend/doula, Leslee, and she and I both felt like I would be okay to wait to go to the doctor the next day, but if I really started freaking out, then I should go to the ER.
The next morning, the palpitations had slowed significantly, but I called my OBGYN to see what she thought. She thought I should go to the ER and have an EKG done just as a precaution. When I arrived, they had to send me to Labor and Delivery Triage first to make sure the baby was okay (which she was – HUGE relief.) After that, I got wheeled over to the ER, where they had separate waiting areas for “well” people and for people with “flu-like symptoms” – cough, congestion, sneezing. Well, I had all of those, but I also knew that I didn’t have swine flu, and NO WAY I was exposing my pregnant self to the swine flu people, so I sat on the well side. I spent about two hours sanitizing my hands approximately every two minutes and trying to not look too sick so I wasn’t exiled to “Swine Flu Corner.”
After my EKG, they sent me to a room in the back, hooked me up to a heart monitor, and did some blood work to make sure I didn’t have a potassium deficiency or a problem with my electrolytes or thyroid. By the time I was taken to the back, the palpitations were back to happening every 10 seconds or so. All of my blood work came back clear, so the only apparent reason for the heart palpitations (technically, they were PVCs – Premature Ventricular Contractions) was because I’m pregnant, and it was probably exacerbated by the Sudafed. And the palpitations aren’t dangerous – just really, really annoying. I’m still having the palpitations off and on throughout the day, but not as bad as they were on Wednesday and Thurday.
I know this is a really, really long story, but it was a really, really long week, especially Thursday. And I could be really upset about it all – I didn’t get to go to Chicago, I’ve had a miserable cold for over a week, I had scary heart palpitations that caused me to spend all day in the ER. But I’m actually okay – not upset, not dejected, not miserable, and actually pretty darn happy. I’m fine, the baby’s fine, and today I’ve only had to blow my nose 15 times. Things are pretty great!