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I’ve mentioned my leg cramps in some of my weekly pregnancy updates before…I will often wake up in the night with cramping in my calves. Typically it stretch it out and go back to sleep but lately it’s become more intense. Monday night we went trick-or-treating and I stayed up late cleaning house. Once I went to bed I was beyond tired. My legs were hurting so bad and Zach has taken up a new hobby (snoring!) so it’s difficult for me to go back to sleep once I wake up. I ended up going upstairs to our guest room so I could get some sleep but only ended up sleeping maybe four hours the entire night.
Tuesday was my birthday (more to come, someday…) and I woke up early to get finished cleaning. My legs typically don’t hurt during the day, it’s only something that bothers me at night. Well not that day! They both still hurt…but especially my right one. It was enough pain where I thought about it constantly. Staying busy helped take my mind off of it, but sitting still made it worse. I assumed I had restless leg syndrome as it’s common during pregnancy (although I’ve never personally experienced it) but when I looked it up online it said that it shouldn’t be during the day too. I suffered through the day and spent my birthday night celebration on the couch with Zach trying to stretch out my calves and me re-heating a heating pad every commercial break of Survivor. That night I literally saw EVERY hour. I couldn’t sleep at all. I actually ended up getting up at 3 am and went out to the living room to google search my symptoms.
I found that many women in their third trimester experience these type of pains in their lower legs and that many of the women I read about were in their second or third pregnancies. I literally sat there for an hour reading over 300 comments from people who had gone through my same symptoms. As usual with the internet, many of the tips contradicted each other. Some said stretch. Some said don’t. Some said drink more milk. Some said eat bananas. Some recommended different supplements. I decided the smartest thing was for me not to try a bunch of stuff and wait to ask my dr the next morning. I did try walking around on the tile floor (a lot of the comments swore that trick worked) and drinking a lot of water. Neither helped.
Yesterday morning on the way to Kye’s school I called Southern OB. The way it works up there is you call, you tell them what’s going on, then a nurse calls you back and asks you more questions, then they go talk to a dr and then call you back again. It’s a long, rather annoying, process. When I talked to them the first time I told them that I just wanted their advice on what to do b/c I didn’t want to try things off the internet without asking first. I told them I knew it was common but that I couldn’t sleep at all and needed some help. I went straight home after dropping Kye off and started to work on his Disney Shutterfly book I’m making him for Christmas. Like I said, being busy helps me not hurt as bad and I thought that it would be a great distraction. I got a good bit of it done during his school hours and headed back up to pick him up when they finally called me back.
They told me that I needed to come in. Which is fine, but also annoying. Why couldn’t they have told me that at 8 when I had just dropped Kye off instead of at noon when I had to rush home, feed him, and put him down for nap? Of course the latest they could get me in was 3. He naps until 3:30. Luckily it was a Wednesday and Mrs. Charlotte was behind me in line to pick up Colt from school. I talked to her then rushed home, fed Kye lunch in the car, and took him to her house for nap. I went home and ate some lunch myself then headed up to the dr. office.
I wasn’t really that worried or nervous but it did catch me off guard that I had to see a legit doctor. I’ve never been told that I have to see a doctor. It’s always been okay with them that I see a midwife! I brought along my thank you cards to fill out while I waited for my recent baby showers and they actually got me back pretty quickly. I met Dr. Temples who was very nice. I took the opportunity to tell her my plans for natural childbirth and told her I was glad I got to meet with her just in case she ends up delivering me. She asked the same questions they asked on the phone – was I swollen (no), was my calf hot to the touch (no), was it red in anyway (no). She looked at my right calf, since it’s the one in the most severe pain, then told me that she wanted me to have blood work done to see if I have a potassium deficiency and that I’d need to have an ultrasound done on my leg. She said since once leg was hurting much worse than the other one that they needed to rule out a blood clot. I didn’t think to ask her what to do to solve the problem…I thought the solutions would be coming after the blood work/ultrasound.
Personally, I’m pretty positive the blood work will come back that I do have a potassium deficiency b/c I never eat bananas. I had read online that it can cause the leg pains and assumed that it was probably part of my problem. I also read calcium deficiencies can cause it but with the amount of milk I drink, I know that’s not it! I had the blood work done and they said we won’t know for three days and that I had to go somewhere else to do the ultrasound. I then realized I wasn’t going to get answers that day and my MAIN concern was how I was going to sleep that night! That’s the WHOLE reason I called up there in the first place!
The girl who drew my blood said she had the same thing and that drinking a glass of milk and eating a banana before bed helped some. That is literally the only advice anyone gave me all day. Gr. After the blood work they told me that I had to go to the hospital right then to have the ultrasound on my leg. A. It was 4:00 and I had my kid to think about B. Zach was over an hour away, as was Mom, and the only other person who could go with me to the hospital was watching my kid and C. I HATE hospitals and was running on about 7 hours of total sleep in a 48 hour time frame. Not good.
Thankfully Casey was on her way home from work so she met me at the hospital to sit with me. It was an annoying process (when the hospital is involved, isn’t it always?). I didn’t have my insurance card with me. I had wanted to bring the thank you cards to the dr so instead of bringing my entire wallet I just threw in my license and left. I mean who thinks they will be going to the hospital? And why in the world with the age of the internet can’t they access my insurance information from Southern OB? Super annoying. So they told me I’d have to be self-pay until I could bring my insurance back up there.
Once we got called back the nurse (?) came out to get me and told me Casey couldn’t come back with me b/c there wasn’t enough room. Awesome. Then she made me sit in a wheelchair. Up until that point I felt like everyone was way over-reacting. I didn’t get why I had to go to the hospital. I didn’t get why Mom and Zach were freaking out. I didn’t really get it. I told the girl that I was fine and could walk and she insisted on the wheelchair and said that if I had a blood clot it could move to my lungs so they had to be careful. Maybe it was that I was in so much pain and running on so little sleep…but I still didn’t fully understand that I was kinda a big deal haha!
When we got back to the ultrasound room (which was HUGE by the way…) I asked her if she’d be able to tell me anything I could do to help it feel better. She said no. She also said that she wouldn’t even be able to tell me if I had a blood clot or not! I asked if she could just go ahead and do both legs since they both hurt and I was already there, again no. She told me that if they made me stay overnight in the hospital that it was a bad sign and if I was allowed to go home then it was a good sign (stay in the hospital???).
She did the ultrasound…and told me it would hurt but it actually tickled and I was cracking up the whole time (random Emily fact: my most ticklish spot is along my panty line haha). She had to go fully down my leg and check it all. After she was done she smiled really big and said “you can go home!” like I should be over-joyed. I knew I didn’t have any symptoms of a blood clot! I told her I had been 99% sure that I would be able to go home and that I really regretted ever calling the dr for advice since all I got was a huge headache and no help! She told me that I would have to call the office again the next morning so they could give me any advice. Great. Another night with no sleep. I was so exhausted that sleep was the ONLY concern I had!
After it was over Casey and I left and she told me the girl she had been with while on her way home from school (when Mrs. Charlotte called her about meeting me) told her that her sister had died from a blood clot at the age of 30. I guess it’s a more serious thing than I even realize. Like life or death type issue!
When I got to my car I saw my wallet laying on the passenger seat with all my insurance stuff in it…so I had to go back in and file that. By then Mom and Zach were both close to home so Mom stopped to buy me some bananas (I originally planned to down like 5 of them at once to help but the ultrasound girl said to only eat one as you can OD on potassium…) and Zach picked up Kye from Charlotte’s.
On top of all that craziness…I was wearing a maternity sweater that I’d never worn before and had just taken the tags off of it that morning. We discovered that it has a HUGE hold in the arm pit. Awesome. I decided to take a hot bath and soaked in it for almost an hour. It did give me some relief but the pain was back again as soon as I got out. Since I don’t like bananas, I made a smoothie to drink before bed. It was HUGE and I made myself drink it all…it totally gave me a stomach ache! While drinking the smoothie I thought I’d work some more on Kye’s Shutterfly book but when I went to open it…it was gone. Shutterfly had malfunctioned or something and it didn’t save. I’m telling you, it was NOT my day. Not a good way to start my 28th year of life right?
I went to bed and used a heating pad on my calf for about 15 min or so. It felt good and helped me relax so I turned it off and went to sleep as fast as I possibly could. I slept solid until around 5 am! 6 hours total which is GREAT for me at this point! I had a little bit of a struggle falling back to sleep but managed. I don’t feel much more rested today than I did yesterday though and I’m nervous about how I will sleep tonight since I got some sleep last night. Maybe I was only able to sleep b/c my body was just straight up exhausted?!?!
I have a call in Southern OB again hoping for some better advice. Do any of you have any tips or tricks to help me? My right calf is still in a lot of pain. It feels like it’s constantly cramped. I have tried stretching, massaging it, eating banana, drinking lots of water, walking, resting, heat pad, hot bath. From what I read online it sounds like I could just be stuck with it like this until Blitzen comes. I’m SO thankful that it waited until this late in my pregnancy to creep up on me (some women I read about were only like 20 weeks with it!). I told Zach though that if I’m stuck with this…that I WILL be doing EVERY trick in the BOOK to get this baby out early! I get better sleep with a newborn than with this leg pain!
It was a rough day and I’m trying to have a better day today but can you blame me for being a grouch when I’m this pregnant with this little of sleep? Usually I try to put a positive perspective on things, even when I don’t feel like it, and I’m trying to here as well. I’m thankful that Blitzen is FINE (it actually took them awhile to find the heartbeat but I had JUST felt him or her kick so I knew it was okay…once they found it, it was 136). I’m thankful that I’ve been SO BLESSED with such easy pregnancies up until this point. I’m thankful that I’m only 9 days away from being full term (um…can you believe that?!?!)! I’m thankful that Mrs. Charlotte was able to keep Kye (who was adorable by the way…I told him I had to go to the dr and he said “are you going to pick out the baby?”). I’m thankful Casey was able to come with me. I’m thankful it WASN’T a blood clot…I’m thankful I didn’t have to stay the night in the hospital and that I’m nice and alive today 😉
Hopefully I’ll get some advice (that WORKS) and will be feeling better. If not, then hopefully I’ll just get used to the constant pain and be able to sleep through it. Keep your fingers crossed!