Thursday, September 15, 2011

Post 2: My Pregnancy with UC and how we discovered a problem.


Elise, Happy and healthy!
I was always a bit worried about how being pregnant with UC would be. Research has shown that women who are in the middle of a flare up have a higher risk of complications and miscarriage. I wondered if I would be able to have a child. It did take us a little while to conceive, and we did have a miscarriage in April of 2010. It was devistating and one of the hardest things we went through. However, I can't imagine things not working out the way they did. We became pregnant again in August, 4 months later. I was so nervous and waited to tell everyone at work. I had to tell when I started to look like I was gaining weight. I guess I was afraid of it happening again. But now that we have Elise, I can't imagine having a different baby. We could not be more in love with this little girl. Of course we are heartbroken over our loss of our first baby. But if it had not happened, we would not have this little angel that is now part of our family. She is our whole world. It's like it was meant to be. I was very lucky that my colitis was under control and Elise was growing perfectly. My colitis during my pregnancy got even better. It practically went away when I was pregnant. I saw my gastro specialist regularly during my pregnancy. I was considered "high risk" since I had this condition.

While Elise was healthy, (we had a roller coaster of things showing up in ultrasounds that scared us to death, but that is another story & she turned out perfect) and that was all that mattered to me, I became very sick in other ways. I didn't have any UC problems that were obvious....BUT I did have vitamin absorption issues (that might have been caused by colitis) When you are pregnant, the baby will take what she needs from you. But sometimes if you're body is not able to replace it properly, you will definitely begin to feel the effects. Unfortunately my colon was not absorbing B12 or iron well. She was doing great, but I wasn't feeling so well. I was extremely tired. Like abnormally exhausted. I know you are going to be tired when you're pregnant, but I kept waiting for that 6/7 month mark where you "feel great and get your energy back." I could barely make it through the work day. I was still teaching art to PK-5th graders and at the end of the day I would just practically pass out. After blood tests I continued my regular prenatal vitamins, added iron supplements. I also went in for weekly B12 injections. Even though I was getting injections, I still never felt better because I guess it got used up as quickly as it went in.

My colitis symptoms were not really there. I was GREAT in that department.......Until one week before Elise was born. One morning about 3 weeks before my due date I could not keep anything down. I thought maybe I had a stomach bug. I couldn't eat or even drink water. It would come right back up. The next day, the same thing happened. Phillip called my nurse midwife and she said I needed to go to the emergency room. I was admitted for dehydration and they gave me something to make me stop vomiting. I was sent home after a few bags of IV fluid. The next morning it started again. I had to go back into the hospital for two nights. They tested me for viruses...nothing. No one could figure out why I couldn't keep ANYTHING down. We got my gastro specialist involved and he was worried I could possibly have a blockage. He didn't think I had a UC flare up because when you are pregnant, your immune system is supressed a bit and keeps colitis from flaring up. I lost 5 pounds that week and was so dehydrated despite all of my IV fluids.

My GI doctor admitted me for a sigmoidoscopy so he could take a look and see what was going on. This procedure is not really that horrible. I mean, yes, it really is very unpleasant and a bit uncomfortable (especially when you're pregnant!) but it's not the worst thing ever. You are not sedated for this like a colonoscopy because it's not as invasive. I will admit it is kind of weird laying there and being able to see your insides on a TV screen. The doctor talks to you the whole time while you lay there on your side. It's one of those awkward moments in life. We're chatting about the inside of my intestines while a tube is shoved up my rear end.....did I say awkward!? But my doctor here is AWESOME. He makes this strage situation as comfortable as possible. He really is patient with you and explains everything. I appreciate Dr. Fricker here in Valdosta and could not say enough great things about him. I really feel that his intuition and demand for further testing has saved my life.
During the sigmoidoscopy, we came across a large lump. We were all puzzled by what it was. Was it the baby resting on my intestines? Was it her elbow or foot causing a lump? What was this thing? The doctor took LOTS of biopsies. He had never seen anything quite like this.We couldn't do too much more because I was pregnant, so the doctor wanted to see me 6 weeks after Elise was born so we could perform another scope and take more biopsies to see if anything has changed.

So this is what caused my sickness.....Basically that week my intestines shut down and that is why I started vomiting. They were closed for business and they weren't letting any food in. It was a scary week. I missed a whole week of school and Doctor F. advised me to start my maternity leave early. I was just too sick to leave the house after I got home from the hospital. But then amazingly over the weekend, I was starving. I got up and cooked a huge breakfast, ate it all with no problems, then ate lunch, dinner....the next day the same. I was starving and able to eat! Monday labor started. Contractions all day, I felt better though and wanted to clean the house and go for a walk. It's like my body knew Elise was coming and it was preparing itself for the work I had ahead. My water broke Tuesday morning at 8:45 while I was in bed. We went to the hospital, and I had an amazingly perfect delivery. She was born at 5:15pm with no complications despite that she was 2 weeks early. I was back to normal and felt good. No more sickness. I thought for sure my next sigmoidoscopy would be great and I would be back to my normal self. However, unfortunately things went in a very different direction.

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