The Importance of Water
This blog won't be as boring as you may think, and i strongly urge any mum to be, first time or more, to have a read and remember how important water can be in pregnancy. I will be sharing my experience of being hospitalised from a severe lack of water, which led to my kidney's almost shutting down.
What happened to me?
To say i was very confused about what happened to me when i was 35 weeks pregnant with my first baby, is an understatement. I woke one night, out of the blue, with severe back pain on my right side, and what felt like contractions to the right of my abdomen in the front. I was incredibly worried that my baby was coming early and i wasn't prepared for it yet. My husband jumped onto the midwife hotline and spoke to them about my condition. I was pacing the house in my attempt to get rid of the pain, whilst on the phone to my mum. She, as well as the midwife encouraged me to go to hospital, or call an ambulance. We opted to drive to the hospital and head to emergency. Upon arrival, we were seated in emergency and told that someone would be down from birthing suite shortly. About ten minutes later i started to feel incredibly nauseous, dizzy and hot. I felt like i couldn't breathe, and i was starting to panic slightly. Once someone came to collect me, i walked up to birthing suite where i was placed in a room and immediately put on a monitor to check the baby. His heart rate was fluctuating and so was mine. My blood pressure was also through the roof and i was scared. The midwife didn't think there was anything wrong with me and that i was just having some sort of panic attack. But in reality something was wrong, and i just didn't know what. I laid on the bed in that small delivery room for an hour, before a doctor finally came to see me. He did a cervical check which showed that my cervix was not dilated, closed and hard. But my heart monitor and the baby's monitor were going off, and he couldn't work out why. He performed a pap smear and sent them off for checks to make sure that i wasn't enduring the result of an STD or STI. and They seemed to be at some kind of medical stump with me, until i started vomiting. Everything and anything i had eaten had come up, and i couldn't seem to stop vomiting. That is when they seemed to make some kind of breakthrough.
I had multiple blood tests taken and urine samples done. Not too long after i underwent multiple tests, i was hooked up to a drip in which i was placed on fluids and liquid nausea medication to stop the vomiting. I was transported from birthing suite to maternity ward where i was informed that my blood results and urine sample had returned, which showed a positive for suspected kidney infection. My white cells were incredibly high, and the protein in my urine was also very high. I was placed on double fluids as my results were also showing a lack in water. They then left me for the rest of the early morning to attempt to get some kind of rest. And i can tell you i was exhausted, i had been up vomiting, being poked and prodded to finally be told that i was suffering a kidney infection. The strange part was, in the lead up to being hospitalised i had no signs of any issue whatsoever until that night. And i have had my fair share of Urinary Tract Infections before so i know what kind of symptoms to look out for. But i had none of that, and i was sure i had been drinking a decent amount of water recently but i obviously didn't.
The following morning, after about three hours of rest, a team of doctors and midwives came into my room to inform me of my infection, and i was placed on an immediate course of antibiotics. I was given a scan to check my kidneys and the level of possible damage to them, and also a growth scan for my baby. They found that my right kidney was infected and i needed to put on a strong course of antibiotics via a drip. I spent another night in hospital being pumped with antibiotics every two hours and had vital checks every three to four hours. It was a scary thing, being hospitalised, being told that i was suffering from a very serious infection, and if i had of let it go any further, i would have been at risk of kidney failure. I've never been as worried about myself as i was then. I typically try to put others before myself, but this time i was truly frightened. And above all, i just wanted to go home and rest.
When i was finally released from hospital, i was put on a further antibiotic course for three weeks and told to drink a minimum of two litres of water a day to continue flushing my kidneys. The road to recovery afterwards was hard. I was always worried about what would happen if the antibiotics weren't working? And what if i wasn't drinking enough water? I was so concerned about the safety of my baby as well. What if he wasn't getting enough nutrients from me not drinking enough water? All these different questions and i wasn't sure how it was going to end.
From not knowing what a lack of water could do to my body, i put myself and my baby at risk for damage. And my time after my hospitalisation, after having my baby, up til now, i have continued to suffer from UTI's and ascending kidney infections. I have had three close calls since my hospitalisation, as well as plenty of courses of antibiotics. In fact i was going through a UTI when i discovered that i was pregnant with my current pregnancy. I had to switch my course of antibiotics to that of a safer course after discovering i was pregnant. This time around in my pregnancy, my midwife has payed close attention to my water intake, and i have undertaken quite a few different urine samples and blood tests to monitor my levels of hydration and white cell count. It's been a hard road, but i intend to make sure i don't go through what i went through in my first pregnancy again!
My Best Tips
Drink as much as you can: Try to drink at least two litres of water a day if you can. If you are someone who doesn't like water, try flavoured water, i know that it has also helped me during this pregnancy. If you think that one bottle of 500ml of water is enough, it isn't. During pregnancy most of your water goes to the baby, so you have to increase the amount you would normally drink to keep yourself hydrated as well as your baby.
Listen to your body: If you are experiencing the typical symptoms of a UTI, don't ignore it. I know that increased urination is a symptom of pregnancy especially in the last trimester, but if you're concerned or you believe it needs to be checked, see you GP and have your urine checked. It's much better to be safe than sorry.
Always talk to your midwife or GP: If you have questions or concerns about your water intake, or any symptoms you might be experiencing, always talk to your midwife or GP. No question you could ever ask, would be considered stupid or silly, if you feel you need to ask, please do so, as your concerns should be heard during your pregnancy.
Drinking water during pregnancy can be hard i know. It makes you bloated and full, sometimes you just don't want any, or you might be feeling too sick to even try to drink water. But getting hydration into you is so important, and if you don't want to end up in my situation do everything in your power to ensure you have as much water as you can. Especially if you are pregnant during summer, the hotter it is the more hydration you lose. Which mean you just have to drink more! It sucks, and sometimes it can be really hard, but it's important and i cannot express how much you need it.