They say no two pregnancies are the same, and boy were they right. During my fourth pregnancy, I experienced a bizarre symptom I had never had before. My heart got a little weird, and while it ended up not being serious, it was still unsettling.
I had been trying to get pregnant for years, and a few days before I was going to take yet another pregnancy test, I woke up at 5am with my heart pounding. Like really pounding. It sounded like blood was wooshing in my ears, it was so hardcore. It was really weird, and looking back, it was obviously a sign that I was pregnant. I thought I was just stressed out but it happened again the next day, and the next, which was when I finally decided to take a pregnancy test.
I was super shocked, but at the same time, a part of me knew, because I already felt so damn odd. I had just turned 35 the month before and my last successful pregnancy took place seven long years before, so I sort of felt like a pregnancy newbie.
However, this pounding heart thing continued, and at my first OB appointment, I mentioned this to my doctor, who sent me to have a Holter monitor put on. Fortunately, it was only a 24-hour experience, and returned no anomalies. Since I was still feeling kind of crummy, he referred me to a cardiologist, who did a full workup, including an echocardiogram—none of which revealed any heart disease or serious problems.
Even though my heart looked good and sounded okay, I wound up admitted to the cardio floor of the hospital that day, at 17 weeks pregnant.
All good news, of course, but just a few months later, I was getting lightheaded and was experiencing palpitations at work, so I decided that I felt bad enough to go to the ER.
Even though my heart looked good and sounded okay, I wound up admitted to the cardio floor of the hospital that day, at 17 weeks pregnant. I got a bonus ultrasound to check on the baby and although I got a good night's rest, I never really got any answers.
Basically, my heart was healthy, but I should really try to take it easy because I felt bad.
I was able to maintain my optimism throughout the rest of my pregnancy, based on the reports of the extensive testing I'd had done—so when my heart felt weird, I didn't worry so much about it. However, when my little girl was a few months old, my palpitations started up again in earnest, and I again returned to the cardiologist. After being fitted with another portable heart monitor that I wore for an entire month, they determined that I was suffering from premature ventricular contractions, commonly referred to as PVCs.
Since I had no underlying heart disease, my cardio said that the PVCs weren't harmful. And although you can treat them, we decided not to. I've always enjoyed blood pressure that's a little on the low side and the drugs used for this purpose could lower it even more, which would not be fun.
And while I was eventually deemed safe and healthy, it was all sorts of scary to think my heart was about to burst while pregnant. But when I think about if I'd do it all over again, wonky heart and all, the answer is definitely yes. Because we moms are so much stronger than we know. And we can survive anything.