Because of my blood clotting disorder, I will be giving myself Lovenox injections twice daily for the duration of my pregnancy, and possibly longer. This will cause no harm to the fetus, but I will have to be especially cautious being on anticoagulants during pregnancy. The risk of bleeding will be high. I am also being followed by a radiologist. After my first ultrasound my OB found a large mass of fluid around my ovary that needs to be monitored closely. The radiologist believes this was caused by my last surgery and has not been picked up on because I have not been subjected to any radiation/ultrasounds since the surgery. At first, I was upset to hear the news about both of these issues because I want more than anything to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. But, I am looking at both the Lovenox and the radiology visits as optimistically as I can. If I did not have great doctors that knew to test me for genetic blood clotting disorders, I could have been subjected to a possibly fatal pregnancy for both me and my baby. The Lovenox will keep us both safe. And this little one is already watching out for me. If it wasn't for him/her, they never would have found this fluid mass (or it would have at least gone undetected for quite some time).
Now to the important stuff. Pregnancy after undergoing panproctocolectomy and ileo-anal pouch anastamosis is an area plagued by a dearth of research and has a scant amount of information available, even with the world-wide web. This isn't surprising. There are only a few thousand people that have undergone these surgeries. Considering approximately half of them (this is an assumption) are female and only 13% of females that undergo these surgeries go on to have children, one can understand how information can be difficult to find. While my experience will only be one example of many, I want to chronicle this pregnancy as best I can for those of of you out there that have dreams of having a family after these surgeries (and for those of you out there going through it already!). I will give weekly updates.
As for Week 11, all is well and the pregnancy looks perfect. With a rough start and some tough news about my own health, I have gotten the first little dose of what it means to truly put another human being's needs before your own. In short, as long as my baby is healthy, nothing else matters. From a more practical standpoint, the pouch is already in full-on battle mode and has been since about Week 6. My frequency has increased to about 15 times/day and there is no reprieve during the night. I have also seen blood here and there. I know all pregnant women experience fatigue in their first trimester, but I can't help but wonder if my extremely low energy levels are exacerbated by these other symptoms. More to come next week, but for now here is little Baby P at the end of Week 10… And if this doesn't give all of you J-Pouchers a good feeling, I don't know what will!