Danielle: Coping with Pregnancy
Hi I am Danielle I am 23 years old and had good health until I started collapsing at the age of 20 were I was diagnosed with PoTS and Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST), I hope my story can persuade others to not let pots stop them from achieving the greatest gift of becoming a mum.
Discovering the news I was pregnant came as a shock to me and my husband, it was only just over a month ago I had underwent my second unsuccessful heart ablation as I also suffer from IST as well as PoTS , the pregnancy had been unplanned and I was terrified what this meant with my condition and how my body would cope, I knew it wouldn't be straight forward, I faint without medication, any physical activity leaves me exhausted, even just walking up stairs leaves me breathless.
The first challenge I faced was coming off my medication I made an appointment with my cardiologist were I told him my news, he put me on different medication. When me and my husband went for our first scan I discovered I was only 7 weeks and 2 days but even though the baby was only measuring a tiny 1cm we were amazed to discover a bright flashing light which was our baby's heart beating. Taking the new medication I was shocked when I made it to 12 weeks feeling really well with not a single fainting episode, during this time I was also booked in for a tilt table test which I was told was completely safe to do pregnant.
My pregnancy was classed as a high risk and we were told that because of the medication I was on our baby might not grow and develop properly, but not taking any medication wasn't an option with my condition, so doctors wanted to carry out growth scans to monitor the baby, and at 20 weeks I had made it halfway without any problems and the relief of the baby looking healthy the doctor asked if we wanted to know the sex of the baby, but we said no as hearing the baby was healthy was all we wanted to hear, we were booked in for the baby to have a heart scan when its heart was a little bigger the relief when we got the news the baby's heart looked healthy and we were even more relieved when they checked the baby's heart rhythm which was all beating normal.
At 31 weeks we discovered that our baby was measuring bigger than average and its weight was an amazing 4lb but it was at this point doctors noticed my blood pressure problems, midwifes were shocked how I would be fine one minute and how quickly my blood pressure and heart rate would increase for it to completely drop or return to normal in such a short period of time. My weekly day appointments started to turn into me been admitted into hospital overnight so doctors could monitor my condition more but this sometimes resulted in me being giving more medication to control it, but giving me the extra dose of medication, sometimes just left my blood pressure dropping even lower which left me physically unable to get out of bed.
When I reached 34 weeks pregnant our baby was measuring a brilliant 5lb 6oz but still the same routine of spending long days and nights in hospital and speaking with my obstetrician I was told to take each day at a time and I may have to be induced early if my health became worse or didn't improve, 2 weeks later the decision was made that I was going to be induced at 37 weeks, me and my husband were told the risks that the induction might fail and I was at a higher risk of needing a caesarean section and also how my labour would be more painful and because I was so early it would be a challenge to get my body into labour but by letting my pregnancy continue I was putting my health and the baby's in danger, we were giving the worst news no parent should hear, that our baby could be at risk of becoming a stillborn . At 37 weeks I started the first round of induction and reaching day 5 there was no sign of our baby, speaking with the obstetrician she told me and my husband they wanted to avoid a caesarean section unless it was necessary as my heart and body would struggle not just during it but the recovery, so we were sent home. I was booked in the next day for a scan to check the baby and it was at this point we were giving the news the baby had stopped growing, so the decision was made that I had to be induced again, but again my body still wouldn't go into labour and we were discharged home again and giving a break to let the drugs leave my body but in the hope I would go into labour itself.
Returning to my weekly appointment's my body was really proving a challenge, I was exhausted physically and emotionally and was starting to feel the strain of it all, we were also worried about the baby, who had stopped growing but the doctors kept saying despite everything the baby was fine, appeared healthy and very happy ,reaching my due date we were booked in for a 3rd round of induction, I started having irregular contractions but again these turned into nothing, the decision was finally made to break my waters as my condition was starting to become worse but still after the doctors breaking my waters my body still didn't go into labour and I was giving a hormone drip to induce my labour even more.
On 19/11/14 at 08.47, 2 days late, my little boy Kian entered the world weighing a small 6lb 6.5oz with a natural delivery, it was the most rewarding and amazing feeling bringing him into the world and my condition remained stable throughout the labour, the doctor described labour to me as running a marathon without the training and the big question was how my body would cope, and it was difficult but I was truly amazed how my body just done it.
We were told Kian was healthy but the paediatrician said his weight was just classed as acceptable as he was small, so small that newborn clothes were too big and family had to go out and buy tiny baby clothes even though Kian was 2 days late, but amazingly at one month old he had gained double the amount of weight a baby should and weighed in at an amazing 8lb 6oz. Returning to my cardiologist I had to make the hard decision about my medication as I wouldn't be able to breastfeed Kian if I started back on my tablets and that I had to outweigh the risk of my health and the risk of fainting and hurting Kian over the benefits of breastfeeding, but I made the decision since I managed 9 months of pregnancy without them that I want to feed him, until my body told me different. Making it to 8 weeks at my routine check my doctor told me I had to go back on my medication and that I had giving Kian such a good start to life but I now had to think of my health and that Kian needed a fit and healthy mum more than milk.
Having these conditions with a baby is difficult and there's some things that are impossible to do but learning to adapt and each day you learn more what your body can do, since Kian was a week old I have took a picture of him next to a big teddy as I treasure him growing so much and when I look back at the pictures I can't believe how my once so tiny baby has grown. If my condition has taught me anything , never let it stop you from achieving your dreams as becoming a mum was a huge dream for me and I thought would be impossible, it was a difficult journey but worth every dull minute, when me and my husband tell people Kian could of been here before Halloween they don't believe us.