As Mike mentioned on Friday, I was having some vision problems in both eyes on Thursday night and went to bed early. I’d worn my contacts for most of the day, which I don’t do regularly, and I chalked it up to eye fatigue. Friday morning came around and despite ten hours of sleep, my eyes were worse. I was seeing spots and flashes in my vision, almost like static on a TV screen. I also had a low-grade headache, and some of my friends insisted that I get my blood pressure taken.
I went to the local CVS pharmacy, where they have a free blood pressure machine, and my BP came back within the normal range. I tried to go on with my morning, and went to a local breakfast restaurant to get Annabel pancakes. But while I was sitting in a booth watching Annie color, my right eye slowly started to get darker and darker, and I had to admit that something was definitely wrong. I called Dr. Risky’s office, and her nurse told me to come to Labor & Delivery immediately.
We ran into Dr. Risky as soon as we entered the L&D wing, and she asked me what was wrong. I told her and she said, “That’s not good,” and had the nurses get me in a room immediately. I gave a urine sample, some blood, and was attached to monitors and cuffs. The Acrobat looked great, which was a relief. Everything was sent out to the lab, and then we waited…and waited…and waited. My vision went in and out, and I alternately felt like sleeping or vomiting. I’m sure I would have done plenty of the latter, but I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink all day.
Finally, a nurse and a resident came in to tell me that my tests had all turned up negative for preeclampsia. I was extremely relieved, but I still wanted to know what was going on with my vision. The resident said that if we wanted, she would call for a neurology consult, but that they likely wouldn’t be able to do much since I was so pregnant (meaning, no scans or imaging of my head). She then said that Dr. Risky was ready to send me home.
That’s when I pretty much lost it. I pulled my hospital gown up over my face and just cried. The nurse and resident were very understanding, and the resident even said that she wished she could deliver me to “put an end to my stress and pain.” I’m glad The Acrobat has this time to develop more, but I am mentally done because I was supposed to be done. These are extra days of vomiting, of shots, of testing my blood sugars, of having pinched nerves, massive anxiety, and now vision loss. I. Am. Done. This baby better come out in perfect freaking condition.
The likely cause of my vision problems is my clotting disorder – something to do with the antiphospholipid antibodies in my system. My hematologist (Dr. Blood) would like to run tests this week, depending on what Dr. Risky’s plan is for me…which is the million dollar question. I see her Tuesday morning, and there will be a plan in place by the time I leave her office…because I won’t leave without one.
Sending you Mike, Annie and the Acrobat massively positive vibes from the UK. He’s soooo close to arriving now and soon you’ll have a son, after two daughters – it’ll be amazing!
I am so sorry that you have to go through this in the final leg of your pregnancy. I know nothing is really going to help at this point but imagine yourself in a month with Annie sitting On your knee beside the acrobat. Hopefully you will feel a bit better once you and Dr RIsky put a plan in place. I just want to say that I admire you so much you have done so well through extremely challenging pregnancies. You can do it Heather!
Huge internet hugs!!! He’ll be here this week, he has to be! I hope that the second they pull him out of you all your crappy pregnancy symptoms vanish! You deserve the relief from being sick and the joy of holding your sweet baby! You’re in my thoughts daily!
I’m sending prayers and peaceful thoughts your way. I can’t imagine how scary things must be for you right now. I’m 32 weeks along myself with my first and this pregnancy has been rough with the loss of a twin and then a mass and contractions. Thankfully everything seems to be ok right now, reading about what you have gone through and seeing your strength has given me strength. So I hope you can pull strength from us knowing that we are all pulling/praying/ sending our love for you and your family!
Also when ya can get your eyes checked if it doesn’t go away post baby,just to be safe.
Oh, pregnancy after the loss of a twin midway through. Girl, I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO feel you. You can do it!
Thank you very much! It’s been hard but I’m finally starting to think we might get to bring this little one home at the end of this. They would have been Identical so I take some comfort in that I know what my angel in heaven looks like.
You’re such a trooper Heather! I don’t know if I’d be as brave as you. Thinking of you every day and looking forward the to post that says the Acrobat has arrived and everyone is healthy and happy! xx
Oops, I meant to reverse ‘to the’. Senility must be setting in!
Sending you and the Acrobat good thoughts & hope relief comes sooner than later!
Awww- Poor Girlie!! I know this is so hard but it’s almost over!! Think of the chubby healthy baby boy you’re going to get at the end of this. Keep leaning on us Heather! We are all here for you!! You can tweet me ANYTIME & I’ll listen to you woes & encourage you with a cheer and visions of your perfect son!! Sending you endless support, a lots of HUGS & much friendship & love.
Chin Up Mama – You’ve Got This!!! xoxo
Sending big hugs and good thoughts from the east coast.
Oh geez. Just what you need to be dealing with on top of everything else. Hugs, Mama. He’ll be in your arms soon!
I’m sure someone has suggested this but have you seen an ophthalmologist? Even being pregnant they can dilate your pupils and make sure there is nothing going on in your actual eye. Hope you are feeling better today and get to meet the Acrobat soon!
I agree…but hopefully your vision will return to [your] normal after delivery and this will be a moot point.
On the message board I read for people with my clotting disorder, the vision issues seem to be a common third-trimester problem, and they usually resolve post-pregnancy!
That’s what I thought. Could be nothing to do with the pregnancy. I had a friend and a neighbor that had issues with a detached retina and spots were the first sign. Don’t be afraid to go see someone, it is treatable if you go in time.
Since it’s in both eyes, they felt certain it wasn’t an issue like a detached retina. I have a call into my primary care physician and my regular eye doctor, though.
I am really relieved, thanks for the update. I wasn’t try to scare you, just wanted to make sure you had everything covered. This baby is going to be the happiest event ever. Can’t wait for you and I am thinking of you every day, always thinking good thoughts for your family.
I was thinking the same thing. It’s an ER, you’d think they would have an ophthalmologist they can call in…
I was on L&D, not in the ER.
It’s in both eyes, it just seems to alternate which eye it’s worse in, which supposedly is one of the hallmarks of it being related to my disorder. But, I have a call into my primary care physician and my regular eye doctor to get more opinions!
Man oh man. You are seriously amazing for what you go through. I hope you get to meet your perfect baby boy soon!
Stay strong! You’re do something so amazing and just try and focus on the fact that labour and delivery is sooo close! Very excited for you, Heather!
You poor lady. I know the feeling of ‘being done’ and that was with normal pregnancies! You must be thoroughly OVER IT. Hang in there, you are doing such a great thing for your son!!
Poor Heather. I have been thinking about you all weekend. Extreme sympathy for what you’re going through. Thanks for keeping us updated. I hope that baby comes out soon!
Ugh, I am so so sorry. Such rotten luck and you’ve been a trooper through it all. Wishing you a stress-free holiday today.
Argh. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. *big gentle hugs*.
Oh Heather. This is so difficult. I’m so sorry you are going through all this shite. It’s all for a good cause, yes, but so, so hard. You’ve been through the ringer. I know I will breathe easier when The Acrobat gets here.
Oh Heather – I am so sorry to read about this. It is not fair! (I know you have already figured out that life is not fair but I couldn’t stop myself from writing it. . . ). After our first son died I really thought that if we were lucky enough to have more children it should all be easy – it did not work out that way but no one promised that life would be fair. Although I so wish I could make this easier for you.
Sending hope and hugs to you all! xo
Jenny F. Scientist, PhD says:
There are in fact neuro-opthalmologists, who can frequently diagnose nerve problems from an eye examination. Also, the resident is an idiot; neurologists do plenty of things that have nothing to do with CTs, and a head MRI without contrast (though deeply uncomfortable when pregnant- I had one at 39+2, I should know) are perfectly safe.
In any event, I join the others in hoping the baby is born soon and you are both fine afterwards.
That’s along the lines of what I was thinking. It seems I always have more eye problems when pregnant (nothing ever that scary, though), and my ophthalmologist has been able to do plenty of examinations. At least seeing an expert will help put a name to the problem, which will make it less scary.
Pre-E is also scary slippery to diagnose sometimes, my OB thinks I had a mild form last time around, but no amount of testing would pass the required thresholds for a formal diagnosis… Finally they got me to go to L&D based on my HBP alone (which would come and go every other day…).
Sorry – I didn’t explain that well. It’s not that they couldn’t do an MRI, it’s that she didn’t think they WOULD. I had an x-ray and CT with contrast when I was pregnant with Annabel and had a suspected PE. But mostly, I didn’t feel like spending five more hours there if I wasn’t going to have a baby!
Jenny F. Scientist, PhD says:
ICK. In that case… I’ll just think of you whenever I read a SF story with a uterine replicator. If anyone deserved one…
Oh sweetie!! Ugh!!! I just want this to be over for you with that perfect baby in your arms!!
I think I’d still be in that hospital room with my gown pulled over my head refusing to leave without having delivered…and/or possibly locked up for 3a days of mental health!!!
You’ve been such a trooper and handled everything this pregnancy has thrown at you with such amazing grace [overall].
I am hoping & praying that Dr Risky decides Tuesday is a great day to deliver your lil Acrobat!!!
Meantime~oodles of love being sent your way…
wow, you work SO hard for these precious babies! My oldest was born on May 28 — 27 years ago! he was 20 days late and has rarely been on time since. I am thinking of you and your family and can’t wait to hear about the birth of this so loved third child.
Sending you and your family tons of prayers and wishes from India…everything will go well because it has to!
I feel so sad that you keep having to go through all this pain and suffering. I feel like the resident, I wish this enormously difficult road was over for you! It will be soon, so soon. Good luck getting through until your appointment tomorrow.
Damn this baby is making you work for it!!! I hope that this dark and painful time is over ASAP. My heart goes out to you. ???
Those question marks were supposed to be hearts. Oops! Xoxo
I’m so sorry you are feeling so awful. It will be over soon, just hang on!
I’m 10.5 months post partum and had sudden vision loss about 2 months ago in one eye. Since then I’ve seen a neuro-ophthalmologist at the Jules Stein eye center at UCLA and will be seeing a retina specialist next week at the Doris Stein eye center. They can totally see into your eye without a scan. I did have a MRI too but hopefully that won’t be necessary for you.
Anyway–you are near some excellent eye resources if you end up needing them is what I’m trying to say.
Sending my best to you, Mike and Annie. You can do it!!
Thanks Liz! I was definitely joking at one point that I was going to walk across the street to Jules Stein!
I just had a mental picture of all the mommies who follow your blog going to Dr Risky’s office with you and in one of those slow -motion booming voices saying “get this baby out of her NOWWWW” would that help? Seriously im so sorry! Soon, just sleep as much as you possibly can until tomm… At least it may go faster. Thinking of you!!!
A friend of mine had a detached retina while pregnant. She saw spots. Also, one of her eyes went dark off and on. The eye dr sent her straight to the hospital and she was operated on. Her OB was the one who told her on the phone to get to the eye dr. I remember because my friend and I had a laugh when her OB said “I don’t do eyes. I do the other end.” lol You should really go to your eye doctor. Maybe it’s nothing, but go to be on the safe side.
I have a call in to my eye doctor – I actually just saw him three weeks ago! It’s likely not a detached retina since the problems are in both eyes, but I’m not taking any chances!
Stephanie Moore says:
Hang in there Heather! You are so close to holding your beautiful son! I had something similar to what you describe at the end of my last(and final) pregnancy. My OB said it was a “silent migraine”…sending hugs and prayers!
Sounds like a focal migraine. I have had them with the weird flashing white light streaks moving about in one eye and my mom has had the vision loss with them. A neurologist might have been some help…. Wishing you the best and that this little guy can get evicted soon! What your body has goon through with this pregnancy….you are amazing!
Oh Heather, I’m so sorry. Hang in there! You are almost done! Sending you positive vibes.
I hope Dr. Risky will consider that at this point your health is being affected negatively by continuing on. Yes, she has a responsibility to bring as healthy a baby to the world as possible, but also has to take your own health and well being into consideration. An unhappy, sick mama does no good to any baby, no matter how healthy the latter is. I am hoping this is the conclusion she will reach by tomorrow!!!
This is my thinking exactly. I have no medical knowledge whatsoever, and Dr. Risky has always come across as a very intelligent and compassionate doctor on this blog, so of course she knows best, but I find myself just a little (probably irrationally) irritated with her as I’ve read the blog the past few days. Prolonging the pregnancy at this point seems to be terribly bad for the mama, with limited upside for a baby that’s already stayed in a healthy number of weeks.
Again, though, Dr. Risky knows TONS that I don’t. Just sending good thoughts for a safe, healthy, happy delivery for the Spohr family VERY soon!
To be honest, it sounds like maybe she’s been super busy because of that hospital strike? Because not being able to field questions on the phone herself at all seems like an indicator.
It might be that given the unusual circumstances of the strike Heather mentioned, she hasn’t had a lot of time on her hands to think through what to do next, and so she took the extra time she might have with a holiday weekend to be able to formulate a more precise plan.
Let’s hope so!
Ugh! Hugs to you & the healthy acrobat will be here soon! Hoping the eye problems go away soon!
Patricia W. says:
Ugh! So Dr. Risky and team ruled out preeclampsia (yay!) but can say nothing about your visual symptoms? Do such issues occur with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, and are they almost certainly benign? I’m with you–I’d want more info, like STAT!
(From someone who’s undergone numerous eye surgeries . . . )
HUGS!!! I know how you’re feeling. It sucks. It’s miserable.
Oh man, I thought of you so much over the weekend — I was sure I would see a pic of The Acrobat in your arms tody! Tell Dr. Risky to hurry up and deliver you already!
Oh, goodness! Thinking tons and tons of good wishes for the Acrobat to be out perfect and soon and for all your symptoms to disappear! And that you’ll have the best story to guilt-trip him at appropriate times!
Hang in there! *hug*
You will be fine Heather. Did you see any spot when you were typing? It will go away soon. Wish you all the luck! We are all eagerly waiting to meet your precious son!
Yep! It always seems to be worse in one eye, so I type with one eye closed. Annie said I look like a pirate!
Ashley S says:
Hugs Heather! I had rotten pregnancies and I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. Sending you prayers and hugs!
Oh, Heather, I’m so sorry. Just keep telling yourself your little Acrobat will be here very soon.
Okay this is silly but I’m going to throw it out there. I had the same symptoms for about four months with my first pregnancy and had every test in the book trying to find out what was wrong with me. It turned out the cause of my daily loss of eyesight was Gatorade. I was drinking it to stay hydrated as I’ve done always but while pregnant my body was having a reaction. Could be something that simple?
Gatorade made you lose your eyesight?! OMG! I don’t think so, in my case…because of my gestational diabetes, I pretty much eat the exact same thing every day. Although I suppose my body could be like, “I AM SO TIRED OF THIS MENU!” and is punishing me by making me lose my vision!
Well this is basically running a marathon, but being told you have to do another 10k to finish it.
I’m not an expert, but… since serious things have been suggested as causes for your vision fluctuation… I thought I’d offer up a not-so-scary thing. Ocular migraines! They’re completely benign, can happen suddenly, may or may not be associated with headache, usually last for 30 minutes or so, and always resolve. Common symptoms are wavy lines in your visual field, flashes of light, temporary vision loss. Can be one eye or two. They’re scary when they happen for the first time, but are harmless.
I’m not saying that’s the cause, BUT at least you can now add this to the possibilities. I hope it’s something as harmless as this:). Good call reaching out to your eye doctor.
And my disclaimer (for the above post): I’m not a doctor, not a medical professional, just someone who was given this as an explanation for her own ocular migraines:). Wishing you all the best.
I feel so badly for you. Know that so many care about you and your sweet family. Hugs and prayers from Tennessee as I anxiously await the first post on The Acrobat. It’s gonna be so weird for him to have a real name!
Barb in Michigan says:
Just wishing your baby gets here THIS week with GREAT lungs. I am so sorry you are having to go through all this. That baby boy is worth his weight in GOLD!!!
Leslie K says:
Here’s my Southern side coming out… Oh, bless your heart! I am so sorry you’re having such a rough time. **I** am having a mini-anxiety attack just reading it, so I imagine your nerves and emotions are just shot! I can’t wait for you to hold your sweet boy in your arms and feel better!
This is insane and scary! I know that they are just trying to do the best thing for the Acrobat by keeping him in there a while longer, but at what point is the risk of you still being pregnant greater than the risk of him coming out?!
Hopefully Mike is busy scheduling an epic spa day for you sometime after the Acrobat comes, haha. You deserve much more than that after all you’ve gone through during this pregnancy, but it might be a nice start:)
As others have suggested, I was going to say that this sounds like my ocular migraines. I hope you can rest and your vision problems clear up.
Due to how long my vision problems last with my migraines, I am getting worked up for quite a few clotting disorders, including antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. I have read your blog for a few years now and knowing that you’ve lived with your clotting disorder is one of the few things that is keeping me from freaking out now while I wait for the blood work to get back. So thanks for that!
Good luck with the rest of your pregnany!
Thinking of you and wishing you all the best!
Did you ever find out the cause of your vision loss, Heather? You may want to look into ‘amaurosis fugal’, it is associated with oestrogen-related clotting disorders and anti-phospholipid syndrome. Seems like a good fit with your history and symptoms.
I will definitely look into that – I never got a definitive diagnosis, although that’s partly my fault. I had a follow-up appointment scheduled with my hematologist, and I canceled it and still haven’t rescheduled. This just gave me the push to do that! Thank you!