Friday 13th is perhaps not the most reassuring date for a hospital visit.
I am so grateful for the NHS and medical teams in Scotland. At all my many hospital trips over the past few months the nurses and doctors have been attentive, listened and smiled.
This year celebrates 70 years of the NHS, providing free healthcare to the entire UK. There are funding, staffing and overtime issues, but we are better off with it than without and it is so important to remember all the medical staff who work so hard and such long hours to keep it going. I felt I had to give them a heartfelt mention.
If there ever was a kidney stone, there certainly isn’t one now.
Thankfully I have had no flank pain for almost a month, and the ultrasound scan two weeks ago showed no swelling and all blood and urine tests have been clear of infection.
The suggestion currently is that baby is lying on a nerve or some other vessel which is what causes the sporadic cramping when I urinate.
Whether baby is responsible for the constant abdominal pain that was perplexing doctors 4 weeks ago is something I am still doubtful about. He would have had to have been lying on the same place for an awfully long time to generate such continual severe pain. (I know he doesn’t stay in the same place for long as, since I have started to feel his movements, I can feel him wriggle around in accordance to the flares up of cramping I am experiencing).
A nurse did scan my bladder and found a little retained fluid, but the doctor explained that the machine can pick up amniotic fluid by mistake. So essentially there is fluid in my abdomen which may or may not be meant to be there…
As ever though, with each appointment a little more knowledge and understanding is gleaned.
Although you won’t find much information out there about kidney stones in pregnancy (I hope to post up something shortly to rectify this) there is a trend between pregnancy and kidney stones because:
1: your body produces more blood so you kidneys are filtering a higher quantity than usual.
2: more calcium is passing through your kidneys, increasing the possibility of it crystallising and forming a stone.
3: in addition to your kidneys working extra for you they are also working for baby for the first 10 weeks as the fetus has no kidneys of its own at that time.
We all know how important hydration is, especially in pregnancy but it really is the most effective prevention against developing kidney stones.
I also learned a fun fact about kidney ultrasounds today (you can see I have had too many appointments as I am now describing this information as ‘fun’).
I mentioned in a previous post about that ultrasound is considered less effective but of course considerably safer during pregnancy than x-rays. Today the doctor inform me that the ultrasound scan is 90% effective and that what the sonographer is aiming to identify is any swelling or puffiness of the kidney itself, or any signs of blockage within the tubes connecting the kidneys and bladder.
As long as there is no blockage, kidney stones will be left to pass by themselves (I have a whole post on pain management during pregnancy which you can find here) which is usual treatment for kidney stones in non-pregnant patients as well (although they have more options for pain management). It is soley down to pain management that leads to the hospalisation of pregnant women with kidney stones.
If stones are particularly large, there is swelling or a potential blockage, urologists will consider treatment. Ultrasound may be used to break up the stone or surgery may be considered.
The doctor today mentioned (to my surprise) that had swelling been detected at the ultrasound the temple would have considered an x-ray and that the risk to my unborn child is negligible… bearing in mind that I am a completely untrained with no medical background whatsoever… I’m not convinced by that, especially given the information from other doctors I have seen. But I do imagine that there may be extreme circumstances where the risk to mum not having the procedure may be more than the risk the procedure holds for baby.
The matter seems to be put to bed for the time being. We can move forward with the confidence and reassurance that both baby and I are healthy and that everything is functioning as it should.
Now I can relax, hope baby stops elbowing my bladder or whatever he’s doing to cause this periodic cramping and just enjoy the rest of my pregnancy (despite the unabating nausea…).
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I am just relaying personal experience and the information that has been given to me by doctors, nurses and that I have uncovered through my own research. As I could find very little online when I first started this unpleasant process I hope that by creating these posts I might be able to assist somebody else.