Joanna Venditti: Styled Chaos


That Time I Caught the Norwalk Virus While Pregnant

It's called the winter vomiting virus for a reason

pregnant and sick with the Norwalk virus |

One fateful February night, when I was 8 months pregnant with our second baby, a violent virus ripped through our home, and we didn’t see it coming.

Norwalk Virus when Pregnant

Although I felt huge, I knew that our little girl was still comfortable in my tummy. Friends of ours were over visiting, and my husband was late getting home from work. After putting my 19 month-old son to bed, I felt a terrible pain across my midsection.

I had experienced labor before. This was different. I excused myself for a minute and went upstairs to hang my belly, while I stretched my body over a yoga ball.

It felt as though someone had tied a searing hot belt around the bottom section of my ribs, and kept pulling it tighter and tighter.

Was I mistaken? Was I in labor?

My husband soon arrived home from work and raced upstairs. Our friends were alarmed at this point, as I had been upstairs for a while. We both agreed that I needed to go to labor and delivery, just to be sure. Our friends agreed to stay, while our 19 month-old son slept in his bed.

Once arriving at L & D, there was a flurry of activity. Every nurse I encountered insisted I was in labour.  But I knew that I wasn’t. The pain was unbearable, but located much higher than labour pains.

I was examined, and like I had predicted, I wasn’t in labor. That’s when it happened…

I became violently ill.

After assessing my symptoms, now knowing I wasn’t in labor, I was diagnosed with the Norwalk virus, also accurately know as the winter vomiting virus.

I was admitted for the night, given an IV for dehydration and anti-nauseants for the vomiting. Mike said goodbye and headed home to relieve our babysitters and care for our son.

“At least the worst is over,” I foolishly thought to myself as I began to drift off to sleep.

Suddenly a nurse, who had an urgent look on her face, woke me saying, “your husband has been trying to call you, but I guess you don’t have any cellular reception in here. So he called the hospital.”

I was wide-awake now. What was wrong?

“Your son, he’s sick, too. So bad in fact that your husband took him to a different (nearby) hospital.”

What was I supposed to do with this information? I felt helpless. I wanted nothing more than to hold my baby. I was finally able to reach my husband, and he filled me in that our son had also been violently ill. He was given medication and sent home from the ER.

As soon as the sun came up, I convinced the doctor on call to discharge me. I had a family member pick me up, and raced home.

Just as I walked in the door, and could see that although there was a path of destruction from the night before, that I had missed the worst with my son, and that’s when my husband fell ill.

I had to kick back into mom-mode and take over with my sick child, while my husband went down the all-too-familiar Norwalk virus from hell journey.

After a day-or-so, each of us bounced back. But the Norwalk virus took a lot out of each of us.

Three weeks later and over the Norwalk virus, I was 39 weeks pregnant. Those same friends were over visiting and although I had sore hips and some cramping, I made it very clear that after being so sick, I needed that final week before our daughter arrived.

Our daughter was born before 10 A.M. the next morning. It was a nice thought though.

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