My story is a little like yours. I found out that I was pregnant in March 2008, nine months after I had miscarried my first pregnancy at 9 weeks. My mother was visiting from out of town when I found out, and I was so glad to share that moment with her as well as my husband.
Two months later, Mom was diagnosed w/a very aggressive form of breast cancer and immediately began chemotherapy treatments to try and shrink her tumor before any surgery could take place. My pregnancy became bittersweet. I am an only child, so while my mother was going through chemotherapy, I was the person that our extended family members would call for updates on how she was doing. It was hard for me to be excited about welcoming my first child when something so heavy was happening to my mother.
At my 28 week appointment, everything looked great. I was beginning my 3rd trimester and couldn't have felt better. I had never had much morning sickness and my energy was great. The next day, my husband and I drove three hours to his hometown to attend his sister's wedding. By the time we arrived, my feet, hands and face had swollen a bit. I attributed the swelling to the August heat, but when I went to bed that night, I was unable to sleep. I had a terrible stomach ache and a knot in my shoulder that kept me awake. All in all, I only got about 4 hours of sleep that night and tried to catnap throughout the next day as my husband's family had fun with the out of town guests who had come for the wedding.
Once again, I was unable to sleep that night. I realized this time, though, that my "stomach ache" was actually rib pain. This made sense to me. I had entered my third trimester and had heard that rib pain toward the end of pregnancy is killer.
The next morning, we headed for home. Over the next 10 days, the pain in my ribs intensified. I was averaging 2-4 hours of sleep per night. During the awake times, I would search google for ideas on how to alleviate the pain. I would take Tylenol every four hours (at times, I would stand in front of the clock and wait for the exact minute). I tried hot drinks, cold drinks, stretching, baths, showers, ice packs, heating pads. You name it, I tried it. Nothing helped with the pain. I got two massages to try to loosen my muscles so that my baby might have more room to move, but I felt like she was still firmly planted in my ribs. All of my friends commiserated with me, telling me how bad their rib pain had been during pregnancy. I called my doctor's office twice to ask what to do and was told that I was doing everything right and that the pain was just "part of pregnancy." I felt like the biggest whiner on the planet because millions of pregnant women had gone through this, yet to me, I felt like I was dying.
September 8th, I didn't even bother going to bed. Again, I paced my living room, stretched, took one bath and eight showers to try to help relive some of the pain. Finally, around 4am, I was able to fall asleep for about 2 hours. When I awoke, I was drenched in sweat and had a pounding headache. I waited until it was a reasonable hour to call and wake my mom. As soon as she answered, I started to cry. I was officially 30 weeks pregnant and I was terrified that I had to endure 10 more weeks of this misery. She told me to make an appointment to see my doctor. I agreed that it was time. I knew something wasn't right. Even if all they could do was give me prescription muscle relaxers or pain medication, that would help!
My appointment was at 1:10pm. As soon as I was checked in, they asked for a urine sample. Because I had been feeling so sick, my urine was cloudy and brown. I was embarrassed because I hadn't been drinking enough water and was sure that the ugly urine sample was my fault. As I handed the cup to my nurse, her eyes got really wide and she dipped her little test strip into the sample. Immediately, she turned to me and said, 'Honey. I think your kidneys are failing.' She then took my blood pressure: 200/130. I was immediately admitted to labor and delivery for "24-hour observation." I was hooked to monitors and given magnesium sulfate through an IV to help prevent a seizure since my blood pressure was so high. I was also given two shots of morphine to try and reduce the rib pain, but nothing helped. The magnesium was awful: It made me hot, then cold. It made me itch. It made the room spin. It made me nauseous. After about an hour, my nurse made an off-handed remark about me not leaving the hospital until our baby (a girl) was born. I flipped out! I was going to be in the hospital for 10 weeks!?! She laughed and said, 'No. I'm guessing you'll have a baby by the weekend.'
(part 1 of 2)