Thursday, April 21, 2011


I have been a little MIA the past few days, but for good reason :)

I woke up Tuesday morning around 2am and my heart was racing out of control.  I thought it might just be the pregnancy, a hot flash, or something related to that so I decided to just lie back down and try to breathe through it.  Especially since I had already been to the doctor on Monday for my regular OB appt and everything looked fine.  As you may know, I tend to overreact sometimes (ha!) so I thought it might just be all in my head....which would not be completely unheard of. :)

When Jeffrey's alarm went off around 6, I was still feeling my heart race and I was having trouble breathing, so I told him we should probably go to the emergency room. Luckily, my mom was close by, so she came over to stay with Libbi and Jeffrey and I got up and headed for the ER.  I honestly thought that they were going to tell me to just go home and relax (which is why I didn't even shower....) but no such luck.

Once we arrived, they took me up to Labor and Delivery (since I am almost 36 weeks - not because I was actually in labor) to evaluate me there.   At that time, my heart was beating over 200 bpm which is REALLY fast.  I was put on oxygen since the fast heart rate was causing me to have trouble breathing and they began to monitor the baby to make sure he/she was not being affected by any of this.

The cardiologist came in and explained that they were going to give me some medication to try to slow down my heart rate which was incredibly too fast for comfort. I took the medication and nothing happened.  They decided to give it to me through an IV and still nothing happened.  At this point, the maternal fetal specialist came in, as well as my OB, and the cardiologist to discuss what our next options would be.  They decided to move me up to the ICU so they could continuously monitor my heart and the baby, especially since they were much more concerned with watching my progress because the baby was doing just fine.

They moved me upstairs and the cardiologist explained that he suspected (based on the NUMEROUS tests they had run) that I have a condition called AVNRT and that it was being aggravated by the way the baby was resting on the large vein that transported blood to my heart.  They decided to give me one more dose of the medication to slow my heart rate through the IV.

Obviously, I was concerned about the effects on the baby, but they had many specialists, my doctor, and the cardiologist monitoring both of us at all times and assuring us that these medications would not effect the baby, but my fast heart rate could.  They did ultrasounds through out the process to check on the baby and I was continuously hooked up to a fetal monitor.  I was also having contractions about every 2-3 minutes, so we were concerned that the stress of everything would send me into early labor.  The chances of baby being okay were high, but we were not comfortable with delivering at 35.5 weeks if we didn't have to (especially since it would mean an emergency c-section because I couldn't push).

Once they started the IV drip, we thought we had an hour or so before it was complete and since I was stable, Jeffrey ran home to get a few things since we were going to be staying the night and I had nothing!  About 10 minutes after he left, around 10 doctors came in and the cardiologist said they were extremely concerned because my heart rate was continuing to rise and my blood pressure was dropping, which could have a negative effect on the baby as well.  He believed the best option was to administer adenosine to try to immediately break the rapid heart rate.  I had about three doctors monitoring the baby, 5 monitoring me, my OB, the nurses, and the cardiologist (as well as a few interns!) crowded into my little room and I was scared to death.  The put the adenosine in the IV and it was seriously one of the most terrifying feelings I have ever had!  I literally felt like my heart was stopping and I couldn't breathe. Apparently this is called asystole and they assured me this was normal and that it would only last a few seconds (which seemed like FOREVER!)  Unfortunately, the first dose didn't work so they had to do it again.  Believe it or not, the second dose didn't work either, so they upped the dosage and decided to try one more time.  Since it was a higher dosage, the effects were a little more intense.  It was a horribly scary moment feeling like I couldn't breathe.  Praise God throughout all of this, the baby remained unaffected and continued to just kick away.

The third try did not have the effect that the doctors were hoping for.  It did slow my heart rate, but it was still consistently in the 160-170 range which was still way too high.  Poor Jeffrey missed all the action!  Of course, he felt terrible that he wasn't there with me, but we had NO idea they were going to be doing this.  If we had, there was no way he would have left!

Since my heart rate was still high, they decided to send me to have CT scan done to see if there was a clot in my lungs - which thankfully there was not.  Finally, around 5pm (after close to 15 hours!) my heart rate broke and began to beat at a normal resting rate.  By now, Jeffrey was back with me, Libbi had gone home with my mom and dad, and we were preparing to settle in for the night.  (Did I mention that Libbi was sick during all of this, too?  I felt AWFUL leaving her when she wasn't feeling well!!)

They monitored me and the baby throughout the night and my heart rate and blood pressure continued to remain at a comfortable level and baby's heart rate did, too.  I only thought I had insomnia at home - ha! There was NO sleep going on in that hospital room. Especially since someone was coming in every hour to check my contractions and baby's heat beat, every couple of hours to readjust my monitors, and at 4am to draw blood!

When we met with the cardiologist first thing Wednesday morning, he gave us the okay to be moved back down to Labor and Delivery.  He also explained that he believed this AVNRT to be something I was born with.  There wasn't really an explanation as to why it happened when it did, except for the pregnancy exasperating it.  The cardiologist explained that he would like for me to consider an ablation after the baby is born to help eliminate the problem, but there is also medication I can take to help regulate my heart.

Jeffrey left Wednesday morning to meet my dad at the pediatrician's office for Libbi's appt and my dad came over to sit with me (fortunately, Libbi's doctor is literally across the street from the hospital).  She had a horrible ear infection and was given antibiotics.  Jeffrey's mom was at our house helping to finish painting the nursery, so he ran Libbi home to drop her off with his mom and then came back to the hospital to stay with me again.  Bless his heart, I know he was stressed!

Wednesday consisted of a lot of monitoring and resting.  My heart stayed at a resting rate and another ultrasound of the baby showed that he/she was still going strong and doing great!  We were finally discharged around 6:00 last night.  I am on bed rest until I go back to the doctor on Tuesday for my follow-up.  We have made a plan with the cardiologist to be present during delivery and I will also have to follow-up with him after I deliver the baby to decide what our next step will be (ablation or medication).  Libbi is still staying with the grandparents so I can rest a little bit more.  I am on a medication that is safe for me and baby until I deliver to help regulate my heart rate and hopefully prevent me from going into those fast rates again! I will be monitored closely and so will Baby. I will see the perinatologist twice a week for ultrasounds and monitoring until we deliver (which at this point we're shooting for 37 weeks; HOWEVER, if my heart were to go into such a rhythm again, they would immediately take the baby).

If you think about it, we would really LOVE your prayers!  Please pray that my heart rate will remain at a resting rate and that I will stay healthy!  Pray for Baby Tippins to continue to be unaffected by all of this and to safely "hang out" for another week or two.  Please pray for Libbi to feel better and to be able to handle all of this disruption to her normal schedule.  And pray for Jeffrey - because he has to deal with all this craziness! :)
Thank you so much and hopefully I'll be back to "regular blogging" soon!
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