Meningitis Now
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Bacterial Meningitis and Pregnant

Hello, I have been reading everyone’s stories and decided it was time to share mine. I was 12 weeks pregnant when I contracted bacterial meningitis in northern CA. My three year old had shared her cold with me. My cold turned into an ear infection turned into sinus infection turned into flu-like symptoms. My Mom took my daughter to preschool on April 24th and I was barely able to get myself to an emergency doctor’s appointment. Since meningitis is difficult to diagnosis they said I had the flu. My stepmom took me home from my appointment because I was so ill. The last thing I remember trying to get my house keys into my front door. We have cameras in our house so my husband saw my stepmom bringing me home. He called her for an update on my status. He kept an eye on me throughout the day as I was on the living room couch not moving and I am so glad he had the gut feeling to leave work early because he found me on the living room floor sitting against the couch with fists clenched (eyes opened but unresponsive). He called 911 and the hospital took a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) right away. The neurologist at that point said I had to be in a more specialized hospital that specializes in strokes so a helicopter flew me to a hospital in San Francisco. The MRI and CT scans determined I had two mini strokes and a blood clot in my brain that was 90% full of blood. I had cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), severe sepsis, pneumonia, which all caused me to have a high risk pregnancy. The first 48 hours I was intubated with an icepack wrapped around my body to get my high fever down. The doctor’s discussed with my husband that they may have to do surgery to relieve pressure in my brain. But luckily my fever came down and I made it out without any surgeries. When the doctor’s woke me up after two days I was very confused. I had double vision; I had thrush on my tongue, cold sores around my mouth and no appetite. I was told while unconscious they had taken a heartbeat of our baby. Baby had a heartbeat. I was so emotional. My fear was if I was still pregnant and sadly the hospital didn’t have a heart doppler or ultra-sound machine at that hospital but they sent a high-risk doctor into see me and discuss all my concerns. The high-risk OB told me about any of the effects of the medications that could affect our baby. After 10 days in the hospital and making amazing progress I was released so I could recover at home. I was sent home with a full in-home pharmacy and pick-line for antibiotics and I had to wear a heart monitor for one month. My husband had to learn to give me blood thinner (Lovenox) injections into my belly or any fatty area twice a day. The day after being released from hospital I had my first trimester screening and when I heard my baby’s heartbeat I broke down in tears. I was beyond grateful that our baby had made it through meningitis with me. And to find out that at that appointment our baby was healthy was the reassurance I needed. I have an amazing family. Our three year old daughter stayed with my Mom for two months while I recovered and my Mother-in-Law stayed with me during the day to help me and take me to appointments because I could not drive. Being home and recovering wasn’t easy though. I had an in-home nurse visit and she even gave me a heads up that the second day home from hospital is usually the worst. And boy was she right. I was in so much pain; at that point I still had stiffness in my neck and horrible headaches along with vomiting. I no longer had double vision but my right eye lid was super droopy and my vision was blurry. I had physical therapist and occupational therapist visit me in my home. I did not require occupational therapy and each visit with my physical therapist I showed progress. Results from the heart monitor came back and I did not have any heart issues. About two weeks being home my blurry vision cleared up half way in my right eye. My ophthalmologist prescribed me eye glasses prescription which he said should help with my frequent headaches. I noticed the eye glasses helped almost right away. I recently had another MRI imaging performed and thankfully my blood clot has disappeared and the stroke areas are vanishing. Although, my primary care doctor is keeping me on the blood thinner injections the entire pregnancy because of the history of the blood clot. I cannot take the blood thinner orally because it is harmful to the pregnancy. The blood thinner medication is painful and I tend to bruise and some bumps have formed. I recently had my second trimester screening and again received wonderful news that the baby is healthy – growing at the correct rate and no cleft lip (an affect that the medication could have caused the baby). During the third trimester of my pregnancy the OB will check the size of the baby because he/she could be on the smaller side due to the medications. I am hoping the babys size will not be affected but we will know soon. Please note - all but maybe one or two of the medications the doctors used to save my life in the hospital were pregnancy approved (plus all the prescriptions taken at home were pregnancy safe). I suffer from migraines as well (before meningitis) so its hit me a handful of times since I’ve been home and the first time it woke me up in the middle of the night along with vomiting. My doctors advised any new symptoms to be seen by a doctor immediately so I ended up in the ER and fortunately it was only a migraine. Our 3 year old daughter has been home for about a month now and she regressed from being away from me. She regressed by putting her hands in her mouth, talking baby talk and having issues with controlling everything. I am happy to report that she is doing so much better since her life was turned upside down she is back to our regular routine. I started cooking a little before my daughter came home and driving again. At my last ophthalmology appointment my ophthalmologist said my vision was 20/20 even though it is still blurry. He is unsure if my vision is being hindered by my pregnancy but he feels my vision will completely clear up in time. I am about to return to work part-time – I have an office job and I am feeling anxious about returning because I am exhausted feeling all the time and the pregnancy adds a layer of exhaustion. I am glad my boss is supportive and I am able to return part-time to slowly acclimate to the work/life balance. I have been getting massages, acupuncture and seen a family counselor for my mental health to help me with my recovery. I was told my recovery will take about 6 months to one year and in that time I will be having my second child. I expect to have low energy for some time and I move a little bit slower but I am so glad to be getting back to normal. Being pregnant and recovering from meningitis has been very trying and being a newlywed isn’t what I expected to go through however it has made us closer. My amazing husband not only saved my life but our baby’s too and our 3 year old daughter has her Mommy here.

4 Replies
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What a fight u have had and are still going through. Sending you and your family my love

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I appreciate the warm wishes. Thank you.

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Your story is so similar to mine. Sinusitus to bacterial menningitis. I am 1 year a 1 week on. It took me 6 months to go back to work. I physically got better much quicker than my mental recovery. 4 weeks ago my neurolgists finally signed me off.

Best wishes on your recovery. Take each day one at a time and embrace the loce of your family.

Just remember your brain has had a huge injury and it will take time. What seems normal now you will reflect on in the future and realise how much you have been through.

Take care.

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Thank you for the warm wishes. Best of luck to you as well. It's a difficult road to recovery.

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