Celebrating my birthday with some unexpected and unexplained surprises

Just before Christmas was my 27th birthday. I’m at an age now where birthdays are not that important to me. Turning 27 is not a special age. But for some reason, my 27th birthday did not want to go on unnoticed.

The night before my birthday I was at my mom’s, celebrating not just mine, but my nephew Hunter’s birthday, as his is three days before mine. As soon as I got there, I started getting horrible cramps and didn’t feel good. I tried to suck it up and go to the table and eat. I’m so used to sucking up pain and moving on with lupus anyway. I ended up leaving and going into the bathroom halfway through dinner so I could curl up a little without making a scene. I finally just told everyone that I needed to lie down. I had horrible cramping on my right side where it hurt to even move. I got up long enough to help Hunter blow out candles and went straight back to the couch. Even sitting up on the couch to eat cake was much more of a task than it should be. I ended up leaving early so I could go home and go to bed. Even rolling from my side to my back caused a lot of pain. I slept some that night but woke up a lot.

The next morning the pain had faded. Normally, I would just move on because with lupus I get all kinds of random pains. Now that I’m pregnant, I wanted to make sure everything was ok, so I called the nurse line. The nurse didn’t seem too concerned and almost talked me into not going in, but she said that if I was concerned enough to call, it might not be a bad idea to come in. So I made an appointment for later that morning with my doctor.

My doctor did all sorts of tests. She did some preterm labor tests, blood work, and checked my urine. The baby was still moving a lot and the heartbeat was strong. Then I went back to work. I got a call about 2:30 p.m. from my actual doctor, which is rare. Normally I get a message through my online chart. If there’s something they want to talk about, it’s normally my nurse, not my doctor. She said that my preterm labor tests all came back negative. Phew.

But my white blood count was high enough where they were concerned about an infection and with the pain that I was describing, she was concerned it might be my appendix. She wanted me to come back and go into the ER for more tests and possibly a MRI.

I went in, got hooked up to IVs, talked to the doctor and waited to get an MRI. They normally do CT scans because they are quicker, but because I am pregnant, they chose to do an MRI. The doctor said that they were going to look at my whole abdominal area to check for any kind of infection. I was so thirsty at this point and they wouldn’t let me have any water because if they had to bring me into surgery they would want my belly to be empty.

After a lot of waiting, the doctor came in and said that they didn’t get a clear shot of my appendix. He did say that normally if the appendix is inflamed it will normally blur the area around it in the photo and they didn’t see that. Because of that, they didn’t think I needed immediate attention. He made me agree to follow up with my doctor the next day even if I was feeling better. I was also told to watch my temp and to come back in immediately if I got nauseous and threw up at all.

I went in the next day and felt a lot better. She said if it was my appendix, I would be a lot sicker. She said we might never know what caused it. It could have been a short viral infection or it could have been a small kidney stone that passed on its own. It’s hard to say.

It’s another case for always following your gut instinct. It’s you who knows your body better than anyone and if something doesn’t seem right, I recommend going in. It’s better to look a little paranoid than to ignore something that could be seriously wrong.

Everything with baby and I turned out fine in the end. Actually, the baby seemed unaffected by everything. For someone who normally doesn’t do much to celebrate my birthday, this year I had a very expensive birthday celebration!

Kristie Bauer

About the Author:

Kristie Bauer is a long-time Lupus Foundation of Minnesota supporter, Walk/5K attendee and volunteer and founder of the Leaf for Lupus event fundraiser. Diagnosed with lupus at the age of 17 and now 26, she and her husband Pete were exploring the possibilities of starting a family, but Kristie was frustrated with the lack of information available regarding pregnancy and lupus. As she LIVES this big milestone, she’s graciously agreed to share her personal story.
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