Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crohn's and baby...

I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease on July 22, 2010, 8 days before my 30th birthday. I remember being so groggy, waking up from my colonoscopy, and the doctor's face swimming above mine as he said, "Jennifer, you have Crohn's disease, just as I suspected." I was still too confused to know what that really meant, and I remember asking if I would still be able to have children. He laughingly brushed it off and told me that it didn't matter right now.

Well, it certainly mattered to me.

He is no longer my GI doctor.

When Jeremy and I started talking about trying to have a baby a few months ago, I nearly worried myself sick wondering if the Crohn's disease would have any negative lasting effects on my body. I spent the last 2 years in flare after flare, never fully getting to remission. I had been having Crohn's symptoms for about 5 years before I was diagnosed, so who knows what my body had been through. My normally slim and muscular 130 pound body whittled down to 105, and then back up to 145 on prednisone. (I hate you, prednisone. Never again.)

I'm currently on Remicade, a strong IV infusion drug that I receive every 8 weeks. I also take Imuran daily (an immunosuppressant), Lialda, Vitamin D3, fish oil, Vitamin B12, Iron, a probiotic, and prenatal. 15 pills a day - which I don't mind at all, as long as I stay healthy. I've been in remission since my first dose of Remicade in April 2012.

But the fear remained after every month that I wasn't pregnant....did Crohn's somehow scar my body in ways I wasn't aware of? Was I going to be able to have children?

I was overjoyed when I picked up that little stick and saw those 2 pink lines - but I was also overwhelmingly relieved. Crohn's had taken a lot away from me, but it couldn't take away babies and my future. I still can't believe it.

I still haven't lost all the weight from the prednisone, and it looks like I won't for another 9 months. I'm upset that I'm heavier than I want to be, but at least I am healthy and in remission. I still miss being a size 2, but I do not miss the pain, sickness and horror being a size 2 cost me. I'll be 20 pounds heavier any day if it means that I'm pain-free. And I am. Which is the best feeling in the world. (I promise, it's 100 times better than being a size 2!) :)

I know, deep down, that if I was still a tiny size 2, sick and flaring, that my body would not be able to support a pregnancy. So I thank God that I have some extra meat on me, healthy and able to get pregnant and nourish another life.

I'll be continuing on my Remicade and Imuran throughout the pregnancy. There is some controversy about whether it's ok to remain on such strong drugs - some GI and high-risk obgyn's say no. However, most doctors realize that in order to have a healthy baby, you must have a healthy mother. And without these drugs, I am not healthy.

I can only pray that the rest of this pregnancy continues smoothly...I'm only 4weeks and 2days, so I have roughly, oh, 35 weeks and 5 days left....:)


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