Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pouchitis in Pregnancy: Our First Trip to Labor & Delivery

Complications. They love me. Anaphylaxis, dysplastic nevi, kidney damage, abscess, Portal Vein Thrombosis, small bowel obstruction, thrush. And that's the short list. Now it's premature contractions. I  found myself hospitalized once again on Tuesday after being sent there by my OB. I had pretty bad cramps, but didn't think much of it. Thankfully, I have slightly more paranoid family members. After being blackmailed by the hubby, I called the doc, went to Labor and Delivery and, sure enough, discovered that I was having contractions 1-2 minutes apart. After receiving some terbutaline injections, IV fluids and several hours of monitoring, I was discharged home on indomethacin to be taken for the following 48 hours. Both terbutaline and indomethacin are used to stop early contractions from developing into premature labor.

This was all very frustrating. I finally called the GI doc and my surgeon the next day, per the request of my OB, as apparently it is not "normal," even for a J-Poucher, to be using the RR 25 times/day. I guess the bleeding was also of some concern to them. As a J-Poucher, I very honestly thought it was just the pressure of the baby causing the bleeding and frequency. It's just become such an unexceptional part of my existence over this past decade. Unfortunately, I do have pouchitis, a bacterial infection of the J-Pouch. Symptoms are very similar to UC, I would say only that the bleeding is not as severe and pain is very minimal with pouchitis, both welcome attributes of the infection. They believe that this infection is causing inflammation, and possibly dehydration at times, that could have led to these premature contractions. The problem? Treatment.

The antibiotics used to treat pouchitis are more or less off the table for we preggers ladies. They have put me on Canasa to try and minimize the inflammation, knowing that it will not treat the infection. Antimicrobials are the answer, but anti-inflammatories are the only safe treatment for now. The indomethacin, an NSAID, has also aggrevated the pouchitis, but after conferring with the GI ward at the hospital, it was decided that preventing labor at 28+ weeks was more of a priority than exacerbating the pouchitis symptoms. Nothing is ever straight-forward.

For now, just trying to get these symptoms under control as to avoid another onset of contractions. Between the lovenox monitoring, the pouchitis and the high-risk pregnancy, my trips to the doctors are becoming quite frequent! If any of you J-Pouchers out there have any au naturale treatments for pouchitis, dietary advice (I was put on a low-residue diet), or any comments at all I would love to hear. I do trust my doctors, but I believe sometimes as patients we can gain important insights.

Hoping Baby P can stay cooking for quite a bit longer! 29 weeks now and hoping to give this little girl a healthy start….

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Baby Pearce: Her Spin on Soccer & Surviving Sandy

It's been a while since my last update, but I blame Sandy entirely. She left us without power for eight days and scrambling to organize our lives until today. Her wrath lasted a full two weeks, but we're certainly the lucky ones as many have lost everything in our region. I was unable to reach my OB for seven days and the path to the hospital was ridden with fallen trees. Not a good two weeks to say the least. Thankfully, baby, Billy and I are all safe and healthy.

We are officially into the third trimester and this is nothing short of shocking and scary. Baby is coming soon! I've developed an irrational paranoia, topped with a debilitating anxiety disorder. Nesting instincts are also at full capacity. I suppose all of that is normal! However, in light of these new developments, I would make three recommendations if you happen to come across me:

1. Refrain from commenting on my spotty, acned skin. It makes me cry. A lot.

2. My weight is congregating in my ass. There is really no need to point this out.

3. I have developed ideas on parenting, breastfeeding, birth, and pregnancy that are based on well-researched medical advice. I believe these approaches to be the healthiest and best for both myself and our baby. If you disagree, keep it to yourself. Being lectured makes my eye twitch and my fists clench.

The baby is in perfect health and I am beginning to think she has inherited the Pearce and Orelli genes. These are the two sides of her family that don't get sick. Ever. This is really great news. She is still growing ahead of schedule, her anatomy is perfect, and she is keeping heart-healthy by practicing kickboxing from 8pm - 8am. Kickboxing is usually preceded by a four to five hour session of soccer. Not insignificantly, her makeshift soccer ball is my J-Pouch. This causes trips to the bathroom every 20 minutes and, often, great but fleeting pain.  I'm so relieved that she already has a healthy appreciation of the importance of cardio exercise, I just hope that when she is born she decides to readjust to a diurnal workout schedule. And get herself a real soccer ball.

The pouch-pouncing has even caused some bleeding at times, but all of these uncomfortable symptoms subside when she decides to take a nap or try a different activity. I have also been experiencing fairly severe sciatica pain and even some very unpleasant calf cramping. I don't think either of those common pregnancy symptoms prey on the J-Poucher in particular, but they suck nonetheless. I have had to cut back on my daily walking routine and I believe this is causing my hormones to rage. Endorphins were the only chemical keeping my body sane. I am told that almost everything else is off-limits.

Well, enough of the guff. The important thing is that my body is proving to be as resilient as ever. Being a J-Poucher has prepared me for these challenges more than I could ever hope for and these 6.5 months have been my healthiest in ten years. As moody as I am, I get ashamed when I find myself being ungrateful for this opportunity to carry life within my own. It was just last year that I was fighting to keep my own systems up and running and now I am strong enough to not only carry this little girl, but to allow her to thrive. My J-Pouch and my scars are daily reminders of just how lucky I am.

Since it has been so long since my last blog, I am posting two pictures below. The top picture is of a recent trip to the Nasher Museum at Duke University, taken at around 24+ weeks. The bottom picture was taken yesterday at 27+ weeks. I've really popped these past few weeks, wouldn'tchya say?