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Educating yourselves is a good way to help relieve some of your fears. I recommend a childbirth class for everyone, even if it is your second baby (or more). Asking questions when you see the practitioner, making it a point to write down the answers. Reading books is a good way to educate yourselves, although not every book is as accurate as it should be, so ask for recommendations from educators, practitioners, etc.
I'm afraid of pregnancy. I'm afraid of the next set of test results that will show I have yet another complication. I'm tired of worrying about my baby's health and my health. I'm tired of feeling sick and in pain and feeling like it will never stop. I'm tired of trying to keep an upbeat attitude. I'm afraid I'm exhausting my husband and my family with my concerns and my never-ending list of complications.
My first diagnosis was just anemia. No big deal--eat more steak, take some supplements.
Then my 20 week ultrasound showed I had placenta previa. But my OB said that usually resolves itself.
I was then diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which came as quite a surprise to me. I am (or was) very healthy, active and not overweight. I ate well and took care of my body--particularly since becoming pregnant. But none of that mattered, apparently. I started monitoring my blood sugar carefully by poking my finger 4 times a day. My diabetes could not be controlled by diet alone, so I started medication as well.
Somewhere around this time, I also started to have bleeding. Fortunately, that turned out to be a likely result of the placenta previa, rather than a miscarriage or some other disaster.
Next, I started having severe, crippling pain in my "right upper quadrant," or on the upper right side of my torso, just under my rib cage. My OB put me on oxycodone to relieve the pain (believe it or not, oxycodone is one of the few safe painkillers for pregnancy). That was eventually diagnosed as "biliary dyskinesia." Basically, my gall bladder isn't working correctly.
While undergoing a MRI to investigate the gall bladder issue, they discovered I also have severe hydronephrosis. Basically, my right kidney was blocked for some unknown reason, causing my kidney to become swollen and dysfunctional. I underwent surgery to have a nephrostomy tube inserted into my kidney. The tube goes through my rib cage and into my kidney on one end. The other end drains my urine into a plastic bag I carry on my leg. SEXY. Surgery itself was pretty darn awful. They couldn't give me all of the usual medications to knock me out because they weren't safe for the baby. I was awake the whole time and could feel a lot more than I would have liked.
Recovery from surgery took about a week of being in a lot of pain and staying in bed. For a couple days after that, I felt great. But then I got a kidney infection that just wouldn't die. It turned out I had a rare, antibiotic resistant strain. After 3 weeks of attempted treatment and several trips to urgent care, they decided to put me on the only antibiotic that stood a good chance of working. Unfortunately, it was only available in IV form.
So, they cut an IV port into my arm. This isn't just a normal IV, because those only last 3 days and mine needed to last 10. So more minor surgery. Now I give myself a giant syringe full of antibiotics (in a very careful and controlled manner) once a day. I think the infection is finally starting to go away.
I'm also allergic to adhesive, which normally isn't a big deal, except now that I have 2 tubes going into me that are held on by adhesive tape, it has become an issue. I got a huge blistering rash all around the area near my tubes. That was no fun and resulted in another trip to urgent care.
I'm 34 weeks pregnant now. I have an ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow to see if the previa has managed to resolve itself, though I'm pretty skeptical that my placenta has moved, since it hadn't budged at all on any of my other ultrasounds. The day after tomorrow, I have to go back in for surgery to have my kidney tube (nephrostomy tube) swapped out, which will mean another week of recovery.
I've still had to stay on the oxycodone, which just makes me so mad. I had planned for this pregnancy and given up anything remotely bad for me--sweets, caffeine, alcohol, etc. My OB says I've been on it long enough that I am now dependent, which is different than addicted. Dependency means I can't go off of it without severe physical symptoms. Addicted means I feel I need it to be happy. Because of the dependency, she says I will need to stay on it for the rest of my pregnancy or risk "a bad pregnancy outcome." The heartbreaking part is that there is a chance my baby will be born dependent as well. That would mean he would need to spend a few weeks in the NICU tapering off of it. The thought of that is just too much--I never dreamed I would give birth to a drug dependent baby.
Through all of this, I'm told that my baby looks completely healthy and happy and I am so incredibly thankful for that. I feel like if he can just stay that way, everything will be fine. I'm also so thankful to my amazing husband, family and friends. I also have a great therapist who is helping me through this as well. They have been unbelievably helpful and supportive.
I am trying so hard not to burden them more than absolutely necessary. They are wonderful, but I know they have their limits. I know that are getting tired of me worrying about the next round of test results and researching complications until I'm in tears. I try to show them that I am upbeat and staying positive. They all say I am handling this so well. But some times I'm not. Some times I just want to curl up into a ball and cry.
If you've read this far, I'm impressed. I'm sorry this turned into such a long post. I guess I had a lot I needed to get off my chest. Thank you for listening to me. It helped a lot to write this all out. I hope that if you are going through something similar, you can take some comfort in knowing that I'm out here having a hard time too. You aren't alone.