a post about that time I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS PREGNANT… FOR ALMOST 6 MONTHS! Ulcerative Colitis.

didn't-know-i-was-six-months-pregnant

Well the title says it all and I think I’m gonna have to change the name of this blog site to ‘live a great WILD story’ ………omg.  i’m at the point where I can now laugh [a little] about this all, in the place of the initial tears and disbelief.

I guess there’s no need to explain why I’ve been MIA from this blogsite again. it’s been quite the mental journey these last 11 weeks working through all the thoughts and emotions of life’s latest curveball. This is my story:

I got really really colitis sick this past summer. so bad that I was off work for almost 8 weeks and had to move in with my mom so she could take care of me. (bless her). I ended up having to go back on prednisone (at a higher than normal dose for me >> 50mg. frick) and it took me longer than normal to get better. by the time I was able to get off the prednisone it was already September and being on the prednisone for so long my body was a mess, tummy hard and bloated and it wasn’t going back to ‘normal’. and shamefully I was still eating things I shouldn’t have been, so; extra bloat!  (as you’ll see in the comparison pic of my belly below, with the colitis life I’ve lived for the past 13 years, it’s not unusual for my tummy to blow up like a balloon when I’m not fully in remission. I’ve joked countless times over the years that I was pregnant…I called it my colitis baby lol.

so anyway, my stress levels were high and being so sick in the flare I wasn’t worried when I wasn’t getting my woman’s cycle.

and ALSO………….

…HERE’S THE KICKER (!!):

my boyfriend has a VASECTOMY.

sooooo ya. there’s THAT.  (and he lives in Arizona, so it’s not like there was a big window of opportunity/or risk rather I guess you could say now lol ooooh boy)

and to add more craziness to the story … rewind to the beginning of June (right before I went in to the wicked flare) I was late with my woman cycle then too, so my doctor insisted I do a pregnancy test. (even though we both agreed it was probably due to stress.) and as I had expected the pregnancy test came back negative and then I got my period three days later. (but I had already been pregnant for 5 weeks… since the beginning of MAY. ?!!!)

So after the chaos of getting back to work after the flare and preparing to take the leave of absence, getting my house ready to rent and moving was over, I got back in to see my doctor to see what was up with my gut which ‘wasn’t getting better’ (she had initially said there was a mass on my uterus). and that’s when I found out that I was almost 24 weeks pregnant. this was just after Thanksgiving (mid-Oct) – about a week after I wrote my last post ..which I shake my head now when I read. ’52 Mondays to do whatever I want’ ….ha ha ha. riiiiight

The day we got the news I wish I could say I was overjoyed but something as big as having a BABY (for the first time ever) usually gets a some thought and planning put in to it. or at least the 9 months of mental prep! and all at once so many thoughts and fears came crashing at me like a tsunami…..

I had just taken the leave from my job only 4 weeks before that, so no income, just gave up my perfect little house, #babydaddy and I are not married/or haven’t even been in a longterm relationship…we only met last March! (thank God we love each other and have potential, and hopefully we’ll figure out the living in different countries thing. oye. lol) AND THEN a quick recap of everything i’ve been doing over the last 6 months… all the things you DON’T DO when you’re pregnant! drinking alcohol (thankfully not excessively or tons at a time, and only wine, but enough to definitely be concerned), eating sushi, painting my house, moving / lifting heavy boxes, cleaning the litter box, hot yoga, castor oil packs, no prenatals, getting in to such a bad flare and being on prednisone (also another worry).

and on top of all that it never occurred to me that people would ask me/my boyfriend if I had cheated. so there was that too. which hurt. mind you, we are talking about a damn VASECTOMY, I guess. WTF? !!!!!! anywaaay.. if there were any concerns I’d be the first to suggest a paternity test! or I also joke that I could be carrying baby Jesus.

I was OVERWHELMED beyond measure. after getting in to see an OB-GYN right away and getting a fetal assessment, I made an appointment with my naturopath – he got me on a great prenatal and also assured me that I had probably already been getting MORE than enough of the essential vitamins/supplements to be making a little human because of how many supplements I take on a regular basis anyway. plus the bone broth that is a staple in my diet – huge plus. (I’ll write a separate post on what it’s been like for me being pregnant with ibd). My OB-GYN assured me that I did not do any harm with the relatively few occasions I was drinking wine. and apparently prednisone is also safe to be on while pregnant, minus the one low risk of a cleft palette.

I also ordered this ‘Mama Natural’ book right away. I would have loved to have a midwife and deliver at a birthing centre but considering the circumstances of my health this year it’s probably best to be at hospital just in case.

the-mama-naturalguide-to-pregnancy

This book is the BEST and there are a lot of more great resources on her website.. mamanatural.com 

Babycenter.ca has been another great resource for me, i’m on the site every day learning and reading the forums. Searching ‘colitis and pregnancy’ did turn up a bunch of posts so that was a great but there is WAAAAY more room and need for discussion about IBD and pregnancy. i’m making it a priority to share my experience and what I’ve learned. The babycenter.com (US site) has a better forum on IBD and pregnancy and it can be found here.

So what does one do when they find out they’re pregnant AFTER they leave their job and give up their house? well I thank God every day for my mom is all I gotta say. she’s put a roof over my head and is working on a nursery. amongst other things. she is my rock and I am so thankful to have her. because of me she’s had to forfeit renting out her basement  and gets to hear a crying baby instead. happy retirement, mom!! lol, sorry :( … I will make sure it’s not for too long. I have this idea of building a tiny house now. I think I could totally do it for the short-term. especially if I’ll be back and forth between here and AZ.  who knows.

When I initially took the one year leave of absence the plan was for me was to stay at my moms for less than a month before heading down to Arizona to get to know my boyfriend lol lol. but obviously a baby changes A LOT . I did end up going down to AZ at the end of Oct for 6 weeks but had to come home early because of another  flare :( I am just finally getting out of it now. 

and it’s a good thing I like thrift shopping and hand-me-downs (thank you Kate + aunty)! it’s actually really satisfying to get such good deals on items that are in near perfect condition. my mom and I are now addicted to facebook marketplace. which helps me justify all the money i’m spending on the new stuff, organic stuff, natural/green diapers, wipes etc.

most of my maternity clothes were/are my regular clothes (obviously for the first 6 months anyway.. today I can still fit in to my winter coat so that’s a bonus). Aside from a bit of thrift shopping, I only bought two new pairs of tights and one maternity hoodie that was too expensive but it was too damn cute to pass up:

love-at-first-kick

‘LOVE AT FIRST KICK’ which rings really true for me: the day I found out I was pregnant, that evening, was when my TUMMY MOVED FOR THE FIRST TIME. liked jumped! boy am I glad I found out I was pregnant BEFORE that happened lol. and I have to say, feeling that movement helped instantly with a bit of the coping – there is nothing more amazing to feel those movements in the tummy. and to my future pregnant IBD peeps, just an fyi, the baby flutters you typically feel at the beginning of a pregnancy feel just like colitis gas (in hindsight lol)

ulcerative-colitis-bloat-vs-pregnant
on the left: just a normal colitis bloat. on the right: real 6MONTH baby! two weeks after I found out there was a baby in there this was me being silly trying to prove that I still don’t feel pregnant and can still do yoga! (tree pose of course)

yoga-pregnant

33-weeks-pregnant

I’m a little bit of a control freak (or I fear not being in control) and i’m also a planner for a living, so to not be in control of getting to plan such a HUGE life-changing event was a lot for my mind to work through. but today, I am happy to say that I am feeling that joy that most people get when they find out they’re pregnant. I’ve always wanted kids anyway. I am finally at peace and accepting of the fact that I didn’t get to decide the when or how or why. I can’t be anything but grateful for this blessing in disguise. There is no doubt in my mind that the man upstairs has sent me this child. considering everything, this is a little miracle baby. and strong as heck too… I have no idea how a baby/fetus could survive the flare I went through this past summer.

just-believe-pregnant
juuuust believe jenna. JUST BELIEVE. I’ll be the first to admit that I have to remind myself of that more than enough. I know God’s plan for me will continue to be nothing but great as long as I can keep trusting and have faith. I do believe that everything happens for a reason <3.

there are silver linings almost always, as long as we look for them. I am grateful

and I’m pretty convinced there’s a good reason for me having ‘skipped’ 6 months of my pregnancy. If that pregnancy test back in June hadn’t been a false negative, and I would have known I was pregnant back then, I wouldn’t have rented my house (which I wouldn’t have been able to afford on my own with a newborn anyway) and the leave of absence from my job probably wouldn’t have come to fruition. and work had gotten to be unhealthy for me (insert serenity prayer here) so who knows how that would have impacted my pregnancy. (since hearing of this news, my work has been very supportive and I am so grateful)

As I write this today i’m almost 36 weeks pregnant and I hope he stays put for as long as possible because I can still use all the mental prep I can get!! lol.

oh yeah, the babes is a little mama’s BOY :)

baby-boy-colitis-pregnancy

praying he doesn’t make an early arrival (due date is Feb 3) but my GI says that it is not uncommon for people with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) to deliver pre-term. sooooo at least does that mean he’ll just slide right out? :P

It is also not uncommon for IBD-ers to flare after delivery so praying that does not happen either.

If you’ve read this far (thank you!), I have one request before I go…

If you know of someone who has IBD (Crohn’s and/or colitis) and has been pregnant with the disease (with or without flare), or will become pregnant, can you please share this post with them? (send it in a private link if you have to). for their benefit or mine. it would be really nice to connect with other IBD momma’s to see what they’ve gone through and survived. thank you!!

Buh bye and HAPPY NEW YEAR

XO

p.s. please keep us in your prayers – this little man needs all the good health he can get.

aaaand I will leave you with these two feel-good songs for those who’re like me and like God and old-time country music ;-)

and yes. I’m an old soul ha ha.

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “a post about that time I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS PREGNANT… FOR ALMOST 6 MONTHS! Ulcerative Colitis.

  1. ME! I’m due March 12th! I have Crohn’s Colitis and this is my 2nd baby but my first “ostomy baby” since I had my total colectomy Oct. ’17. My first pregnancy put me (mercifully) into full remission. But I had a VERY hard time with breastfeeding and I got mastitis several times and took antibiotics, refusing to quit breastfeeding. I think this messed up my gut. At about 20 months postpartum (still breastfeeding–even on A LOT of drugs and in a flare I breastfed for 30 months) I started the epic flare that culminated in my change of diagnosis from UC to Crohn’s Colitis and my total colectomy. I feel better than I have in years without my colon! So things I would tell you about being an IBD mom:
    1. If you want to breastfeed, don’t let the docs scare you into thinking you shouldn’t because of your medications. A miniscule amount–if any–of most medicines passes into breastmilk. And the benefits FAR outweigh the risks. My kid is nearly 4yrs old and has never had an ear infection, never taken antibiotics for any reason–healthiest kid I know–and I breastfed her while taking a cornucopia of different medications (granted, I didn’t take anything that was truly dangerous).
    2. If breastfeeding doesn’t work out, that’s ok too. I don’t regret any decisions but I definitely sacrificed my own health to breastfeed and who’s to say if that was the “right” decision? You do you.
    3. If you do flare after birth, it’s ok. All your baby wants is to be close to you. You can still hold and cuddle your baby when you’re sick. Lord knows I did. But you’ll need help, so don’t be in a rush to leave your Mom’s basement. I had my husband.
    4. Don’t be afraid of surgery. My ostomy has given me better health and more freedom than I had even in “remission”. I’m a better mom for it. And I can do ALL the things–aerial hoops, paddleboard yoga, barre–you name it.
    If you have any questions, holla at me over at http://www.mylifeasacasestudy.wordpress.com XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU for sharing your story. this is super helpful and encouraging. and I definitely want to breastfeed (you are a champ!) I’ve been on asacol as my ‘low risk’ maintenance drug for 13 years so I’m hoping that’s the only one I have to be on while breastfeeding. It’s very comforting to hear your 4 year old is so healthy! thanks again for sharing XO

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was only taking Pentasa throughout my first pregnancy and for the first 20 months of breastfeeding. I was concerned about it passing through my breastmilk but baby never showed any signs. XO

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  2. Congratulations Jenna!! What a journey you have had and a fantastic ride you are about to start!! Enjoy every moment. You will be just fine. Being positive with lifes challenges is half the battle and you are killing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! Jesus baby for sure! 😜
    I hope you and baby are well, and living your best life.
    Twenty two years of ulcerative colitis here and three big, healthy, beautiful babies! Not one of the pregnancies were alike and the colitis was different each time, before and after.
    What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thanks for the comment and so happy (and encouraged) to hear that all your babes are healthy. I couldn’t help but notice you said *THE* colitis instead of *MY* colitis (awesome). we can’t own that shit!! ;-)

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