Friday, February 10, 2012

Nicole's Story

Nicole Fitzgerald: diagnosed at age 22 with atrial septal defect, tricuspid and mitral regurgitation, pulmonary hypertension.
I got pregnant with my first daughter and alot of things started happening.I had just turned 18 when a few days in a row, parts of my face started going numb. I was young and dumb and thought life was a joke, so I didnt even worry about it, I just thought it felt weird and laughed it off.
About 2 weeks later, I woke up in the middle of the night with the WORST headache of my life. My head burned, and my ears and everything. I literally just sat on the bed curled up rocking back and forward until i finally just passed out from the pain. After that, every day for 3 years straight, I had a headache. They ranged in intensity from slight to very bad. It was horrible at first but I eventually got used to the headaches. I also got purple areas on my lower legs and hands. I got preeclampsia with her and was put on bedrest. I told my OB over and over that I was feeling horrible. I always had times when I felt as if I were going to pass out. I got short of breath doing everything. I couldnt even be a kid anymore and run or anything. My heart rate was so fast it made me feel lightheaded.
I started getting arrythmias daily. After I had Kaylie, I just went about my life. Feeling horrible every day, I finally went to the clinic and got some medicine for my fast heart rate. I was put on metoprolol. It worked decent at first. They did an ultrasound of my heart. It was shown as being fine except i was on the upper limits of normal heart size.
At the age of 21 I got pregnant again. I was scared honestly because I knew something was wrong with my heart. I had spent years researching what the heck could possibly be wrong with me. I was tested for Lyme Disease, MS, and a stroke. I also had a MRI of my brain that showed white matter, but that was never further investigated. I went about my pregnancy and I was doing quite well.
The hormones from the pregnancy made my headaches go away which was nice. I was actually down to 1 beta blocker pill a day which was great cuz I usually took around 3. Everything went great until the 5th month when I got SO out of breath. I told my OB and she had me sent to a cardiologist to check my heart. He noticed that my fingernails and toenails were blue and he had me walk around the room with a pulse ox don and my oxygen dropped to 80. He did an ultrasound with saline bubbles and that day when I watched them inject the bubbles into me, I saw it and I KNEW that seeing the bubbles go from one side of the heart to the other, wasnt good.
I went back to the cardio and he told me I had an ASD. He put me on bedrest so that my pregnancy wouldnt be harmed from the lack of oxygen. I was told I needed it repaired since it is causing cyanosis and low oxygen levels. I think of Brennan as my miracle baby because if it werent for him, I would have probably never found out what was wrong with me because I had been to many doctors before and they had all thought that i was insane and nothing was wrong with me. Now i know all of the headaches and things were from low oxygen.
Now i have other secondary things wrong with me from being undiagnosed. Like a bad gallbladder, enlarged spleen, kidney problems, interstital cystitis. I've had SO many doctors tell me it was all in my head. They would try to prescribe me SO many pills that I always refused. They thought I was nuts for refusing the medicine, but sorry I'm not going to get addicted to some pills just because a doctor carelessly writes prescriptions!!! I was even prescribed Zoloft during my first pregnancy, which now I am VERY thankful that I never took it, because I see all the commercials that say Zoloft causes severe heart defects if taken during pregnancy!!


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