Saturday, February 4, 2012

Who needs to breathe?

Having a horrible time breathing = Spending our Thursday in the ER.
For about a week now I literally cant catch my breath. I have never experienced something like this. I am gasping for air constantly. It almost feels like a panic attack which I have experienced pretty much my whole life and I have been on anxiety medication for. But this is like a million times worse because it doesn't go away. From the time I wake up to when I go to bed. It hurts. My chest is aching. I finally gave in and called my OB on Thursday morning. He got really worried it was a blood clot so he said I needed to get to the emergency room asap. We had the mini but I didn't think it was going to be anything serious and so we took her thinking we wouldn't be there long. Ryan left work early and came to get me because trying to catch my breath leaves me super lightheaded and I was worried about driving.  We got to the ER and was there about 5 hours before they discharged me saying they didn't feel comfortable doing any tests on me since I was so early in my pregnancy and that they just thought it was anxiety.  We left and called my OB to update him on what they said. He got a bit upset that they wouldn't test me because the tests they needed to do to test me for a blood clot would do nothing to the baby. He said I needed to be seen and I should head to a different ER. We dropped the mini off at my sisters and headed to another ER. We got checked in much quicker and they started doing tests right away.  EKG and tons of blood work along with an IV. Geesh... Such a change from the other place. We waited and waited for the blood results. They finally came back and everything was normal. They called my OB and tried to figure out what to do. They finally had me leave and said to call my doctor the next day to figure something out. As long as it wasn't a blood clot I was fine to leave.  So after another 5 hours at the ER we were headed home. With no answers. I cant tell you how much I hate that. The whole day I kept telling Ryan the only thing I can think of is Makenzie. Thinking of how hard it was for her to breath and how I would take her from place to place having everyone say she is fine. I know you should trust your motherly instincts but I was so afraid I was over reacting. I mean how many hospital stays and specialist have to tell you everything is fine for you to start thinking your the crazy one and everything is fine. I have learned different for my child. Knowing I need to really listen to what my heart tells me and that I wont sit down ever if something feels wrong with this baby. But for myself. There is no motherly instinct. I know I cant breath very well and I know how I'm feeling but I walked out of both those ER visits feeling like I'm overreacting or something. Both ER doctors ended up saying anxiety. I just don't get it. I am on medication for anxiety and I feel fine. It doesn't come and go its constant. I have been looking online to see if there could be other answers. My sister told me about her friend who had pretty much every single symptom I have and she said it was something where when you get pregnant this hormone attacks your respiratory system and there is nothing you can do about it.  Have you heard of this? My OB hasn't but that doesn't mean anything. I'm wondering if anyone knows anything about this and if there is any advice to help. I feel so useless because it gets like a million times worse if I even stand up let alone start doing things around the house. I had to run to the grocery store yesterday and I thought I was going to die half way through. ahh...
Okay so I am not complaining and seriously if this is the worst that happens for the rest of my life I will be fine but it would sure be nice to know what is the cause of it and why its happening.
I have just been so worried this baby could be suffering but both ER doctors and my OB assured me the baby is fine. My stats all say I'm getting plenty of oxygen and my lungs are working great so the baby is doing fine. Thank God.
On a positive note... I have to say the morning all day sickness hasn't seemed near as bad since my focus is completely turned to just breathing :)

23 comments :

Blogger25 said...

Hey Kendra. I have anxiety as well (It sucks, doesn't it?!). I take Paxil and Klonopin for it, but I am definitely NOT pregnant LOL. Anyways, sometimes I feel like I can't catch my breath too. It happens mainly when I am real tired or stressed. Hope you feel better soon, hun!

Jenni said...

That is no fun Kendra! My sister had something similar (maybe?) where she always felt like she had a lump in her throat that was making it hard for her to breath. Same thing, they said it was anxiety and meds did work to take it away. I don't know, I am on anxiety meds and still get anxiety often.
You have had a lot going on. As wonderful as this new baby to look forward to is, it's a big change and so maybe it is anxiety???
I don't have the answers but I will keep you in my prayers. Keep us updated!

This is our journey said...

I think you shouldn't worry to much. I think it is the hormone change. I had the same feeling with both of my pregnancy's. My first time it was when i was 6 months. second time i started feeling like that when i was only 2 months. It is a horrible feeling and lasted the whole 9months. Just try and relax. I know it's hard but just try. I just would sit down and drink a cup of water and it would kind of make me feel better. hope it works for you too.

livieandhermommies said...

Oh Kendra, you aren't crazy- there are always things out there that docs havent heard of... Not every ER doc knows every thing... That being said- a friend of mine had pregnancy induced cardio-pulmonary something ( sorry drawing a blank on full name- it was 5 yrs ago)... Basically it was something that causes your body push the oxygenated blood to the lungs slower than usual. For most pregnant women it resolves itself by the 20th week.... This is what I am remembering from her case...ask your OB...if I talk to her I will try to get full name...

Pogue Mahone said...

My mom had trouble breathing and catching her breath and it turned out she has bronchitis.

Rosalie said...

I haven't ever heard of that either and I work in EMS. I will do some checking and ask a few of my Paramedic friends. I will even go back and re-read my book. I will let you know if I find anything out.

I am sorry you had to experience that. Sometimes a breakthrough anxiety attack can happen even if you are on your medication. Do you have asthma at all or been head cold type sick lately?

Jennifer said...

I have had anxiety symptoms like that before where it is constant. My oxygen levels are fine, but I feel like I can't get a full breath. The big irony is that the feeling makes you even more anxious, which probably makes the symptoms even worse. With so many worries on your mind, it doesn't seem strange that you would have anxiety symptoms even with the anti-anxiety meds. Plus, the pregnancy hormones could be changing the way your body responds to the medication. Hang in there!

Shelby said...

Hi Kendra,
Sometimes a pulled muscle can make you feel short of breath. For example if you were sitting in a funny psoition, even crying alot, or laying in a weird position. One day I took a field trip with my son and I sat funny on a bus all day, I got home and that night it felt like I was having a heart attack--then I got nervous (I suffer from anxiety too!) and then I just couldn't settle down. I was convinced it was a heart attack. Sometimes even crying can cause a feeling like that, pulled muscle. Isn't anxiety hard to deal with? Sometimes I get so envious of people who seem so relaxed and don't get worried at all. I am a Registered Nurse and I worry more than anyone :) Just another note..I hadn't been online in a while and I was so excited to see that you were pregnant; you deserve it! Good Luck my dear!
Shelby :)

Jenni said...

so sorry you are experiencing this! It just doesn't seem fair....to be working on this little person inside of you and yet feel like your body hates you! THAT is exactly how I feel right now! Out of all my pregnancies...this one has by far been the worst! I had a massive migrane set in withing 5 minutes and my entire right side of my body went numb....they couldn't explain it at the ER either. It took 24 hours for everything to go back to normal and are chalking it up to "pregnancy hormones". Sorry, but NO BODY does that....we think it was a blood clot, as the did in fact find a blood clot in my upper right arm {which is VERY rare for pregnant women}. Anyhow, I am right there with you on this...if you feel there is something wrong, keep working on it to find out what it is. YOu aren't crazy and you know your body better than anyone...and in my opinion...ER docs don't have a clue what is going on when a woman is pregnant cause they don't deal with them very often. GOod luck and praying it gets better for you soon!!! HUGS!

The Cade Family said...

Few questions...
1. Does it get worse or better when you lie down?
2. Does sitting up to breathe help alleviate it?
3. Are you around cigarette smoke throughout the day, or is the air pollution bad right now?
4. Do you have a history of asthma?
5. Does it get worse/better in the shower?

I'm not your dr, but chances are that if it's a true asthmatic problem, it gets worse when lying down & is alleviated by sitting up. It also usually gets worse with pollution or second-hand smoke. If you have a history of ashtma and have an albuterol inhaler, you can always see if that helps to alleviate it.

If they tested for a blood clot & that was negative, then that's a huge relief.

Otherwise, remember that stress and hormones are linked. Stress can very much contribute to tightness or heaviness in the chest. Yoga, seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist to work through fear & anxiety issues, relaxation exercises, and deep breathing are all great non-invasive interventions that can help.

HeatherD said...

Argh! We went through something similair with my husband. He was having persistent stomach problems. We went through lots of tests and a few specialists. As soon as a Dr. found out that my husband had a history of anxiety, they would brush off the stomach problems saying that they were probably a result of anxiety. They didn't want to keep testing after they found out he had anxiety. It was so frustrating. We kept being persistent and the doctor agreed to do one more test to shut us up and they found the problem. It wasn't anxiety it was an actual physical problem. It's hard to have a history of anxiety on your file. Stay strong.

Kendra L. said...

I am sorry! That's unsettling. I had a lot of shortness of breath as well, but it wasn't till after my baby was born. I had the hardest time breathing for at least 6 weeks after he was born. Hope you can breathe better and maybe find some answers!

BrittRegan said...

Hi Kendra,

I'm a nursing student and have been following your blog now for a few months. I read this most recent blog and wanted to help you find some information. Basically, the increase of HCG and progesterone in the beginning of pregnancy can both cause shortness of breath. I found a pretty good explanation of why this is:

"Progesterone has a very interesting direct action on the mother's respiratory center (medulla oblongata). It increases sensitivity to carbon dioxide. To say it another way: The respiratory center can't tolerate the usual amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. This accounts for the feeling of shortness of breath, dyspnea, or heightened awareness of the need to breathe reported by many pregnant women. The pregnant woman is actually forced to hyperventilate, and "blow off" more carbon dioxide than she normally would. As a result, the removal of carbon dioxide from the fetus's bloodstream is facilitated!"

Hope this helps!

Tyson and Christi Smith said...

You don't know me, but I have been reading your blog for awhile. I am continually amazed at your strength and love for your daughter. Anyways, when I was pregnant with my second child I started having severe chest pain. It was hard to breath and it felt literally like a ton of bricks were sitting on my chest. I too went to the ER and had multiple tests done, including some crazy breathing thing. What they determined was that I had such severe heartburn and indigestion, that it didn't even feel like heartburn. It was literally hard to breath. They gave me a prescription medicine and within 24 hours I felt great. With my 3rd pregnancy I also started having the same symptoms much earlier and they went away after starting the prescription again. I hope you get feeling better soon! Congratulations!

Tristan said...

I've read tons about babies and being pregnant so I can't quote where I read it but I heard that some of those pregnant hormones actually intensify anxiety in women for some reason. Typically I worry about my kids anyway but when I am pregnant, I sometimes feel panicky that something real awful is going to happen to them. I try to stay calm, clear my mind, and remind myself that it's all apart of the experience of being pregnant and everything really is going to be okay.

Then again, I know it's important to trust your own feelings. It's probably good that you've tried to get help. It's always better to be safe than sorry. I swear my doctor is so relieved when I finally have my babies and quit calling him over all my fears and doubts. HA HA!!!

Shannon said...

Ok this is crazy! I have had the same exact thing for several days now. It feels like I have anxiety but there is nothing I am anxious about. It is hard to take a deep breath and it is worse when I lay down. I was thinking blood clot also but I haven't been to the Dr or anything I just started to think I was making this up. Also what you said about it possibly being caused by pregnancy hormone, I think I might be pregnant and should find out this week some time. I hope that is what it is for both of us. Take care, I hope you feel better.

Gaspegirl said...

It has been a while since I have visited. I am over the moon, elated for you and Ryan to be expecting! I am not going to pretend to know what exactly you are going through but prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of a ride... but it WILL be worth it! My prayers are with you both and I can't wait to follow along with your new love story! I find myself crying with every post I read here and maybe that is why I stepped away for a bit... but I am not sure what made me find you this morning, but I am glad I did.

Make it a great day Bella and I am but an email away... if you want to talk.

marge_jeff@hotmail.com

(((hugs)))

marge

Robin said...

Praying for you always Kendra!

Mel said...

I had similar symptoms that began early in my most recent pregnancy. It felt much like a panic attack (originally how I was diagnosed- was even put on anti-anxiety meds). The symptoms still continued, and I would even wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath.

It was three months, many tests, and two ambulance rides before I was finally diagnosed (by a pulmonologist), with pregnancy exacerbated asthma. I was put on daily maintenance medications/steroids as well as a rescue inhaler. I dealt with the breathing issues throughout the pregnancy, and even strong smells would trigger episodes where I just couldn't catch my breath. (By the way, I was not an asthmatic prior to becoming pregnant.)

The symptoms vanished after I delivered my baby girl. Literally, the day after the delivery, I quit taking the meds and haven't needed them since. It was the strangest thing, and even though I was heavily medicated during my pregnancy, my baby was completely healthy and suffered no effects from the meds. It may be something you want to mention to your OB, but just so you know, neither my OB nor my PCP had ever heard of it. I will continue to pray for you and your precious little one.

Melody in VA

Susie Writes.... said...

It sounds like exactly what I had the entire month of December...it ended being a virus. It was terrible...I kept trying to take deep breathes and I felt like I wasn't getting any air. It was the weirdest thing because that seemed to be the only thing that was wrong. I hope you feel better soon. Sometimes, it just helps to know other people have similar symptoms. Take care.

The Little Martz Family said...

Kendra, I hope you don't mind me posting a comment. I stumbled upon your blog by a fellow friend, Kellie Staats. first I've read your entire blog within 2 days. I am sorry. I wanted to tell you that I bawled my eyes out reading of what you have gone through. And then I brawled my eyes out again when I read of your pregnancy! I am 17 weeks pregnant and have experienced shortness of breathe. It feels like a panic attack that never goes away. From what I've been told it is a combination of anxiety and an increase in hormones. Especially progesterone. The reaction effects your lungs and stimulates the respiratory center in your brain. And while the number of breaths you take per minute actually changes very little during pregnancy, the amount of air you take in with each breath increases significantly. I hope this helps.

Kathrine White Airmet Lee (Kay) said...

Kendra, even though it's time gone by, I will never forget each of my pregnancies, and certainly not my babies births. I was so excited with my first that I was higher than the sky (Aleta says I really over rated pregnancy)! However, first baby birth was harder than I could have believed. Every pregnancy is different, and I don't think we ever really know the whys. By my third baby I was exhausted and short of breath all the time. That got worse each time, and by number 6 (Angela), I was not only so dizzy and faint that I had to lie down just to talk to my kids about what needed to be done. Also, I threw up every day of that pregnancy and taking all the medicine for nausea, I worried if she would be all right. She was super healthy at birth. Then came Jamie. During those last pregnancies, I would call my OB/Gyn and he wanted to see me when it was the worst. I had to tell him there was no way I could get dressed and drive to his office. I don't think the dizziness really ever left. Years later when my husband Bob decided to leave I still had 3 kids at home (youngest 16). I was really involved in PTA (president-elect of all SLC elementary schools) and I kept trying to do it all. The shortness of breath got worse, panic attacks, couldn't focus or remember what I was trying to say. My kids, grown and half grown were wonderful, but when they could hear me wheezing in the next room, they checked me in to the hospital. Great doctor, a lung specialist put me on heavy duty oxygen and said, not just asthma, but also pneumonia. Immediately I could think and plan (Matthew said I got my mind back). Long story, but I think some parts could really relate to you. After the worst of the pneumonia was knocked down, I still had to be on oxygen at home full time. Buy within a year, I went to East LA on a fulltime proselyting mission, came back and went to business school and my life was on track. However-and this is what I think might help-asthma and panic/anxiety run in a circle: not breathing gives you panic and panic gives you asthma. I still take Zanax (alprasolam) every day to keep me calm and focused.
I think you need to know that what your body does is not always your fault. Make sure they test your blood for oxygen level every time you are feeling stressed by not breathing well. Also, learn how to do positive pressure breathing, which really helps. I am so happy that you are going forward; you may yet have babies after this one. You for sure, know their value. I will be praying for you with Uncle Glen and I feel so good about this new little babe!!
Blessings and Yes, angels will attend you. I know that is real. Love from Aunt Kay.

kristy said...

Hi, you don't know me but I happened upon your blog through another blog I follow. I just wanted to say that I too suffer from anxiety and I'm totally not saying that's all this is, but something that works wonders when I'm having trouble catching my breath is to do diaphragmic breathing. You can lay down and place a hand on your stomach and one on your chest, when you breath, make sure your abdomen rises and not your chest. Turns out this is how we are supposed to breath anyway, but it does feel weird at first and takes some getting used to, it will take the strained feeling on your chest away. I hope this helps:)

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