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When Fear Creeps In

Here is my reality of life with Crohn’s Disease (in remission).

Thoughts and fears from the bathroom stall

I started this blog post in a note on my iPhone while sitting in a public bathroom stall. Ironically, I am currently at the hospital for a class on breastfeeding. I am 27 weeks pregnant and my Crohn’s disease has been in remission since before we began IVF to conceive our daughter. During this season, as we’ve been preparing for her arrival, I’ve thought about all the things I’ve been able to do despite my IBD, and about all of the things that my IBD might affect once she’s here – including her delivery, my ability to breastfeed her, and my prayers to be present for her as she learns and grows.

In the weeks and months that have passed since confirming my pregnancy, I’ve alternated between gratitude, fear, and holding my breath in relation to my Crohn’s disease. Mostly, I feel like I have been waiting for the moment the other shoe will drop. Right now, I am so worried that that night is tonight, and that moment is now. My stomach is upset, I feel some familiar pains and I am in the middle of what was most definitely an urgent trip to the bathroom.

Remission can be taken away at any moment with Crohn’s

This moment makes me panic a little. It makes me think about how fast everything could change. About the fact that my mostly uneventful pregnancy could become jeopardized or cut short at any moment. About the fact that my daughter still has growing she needs to do before she enters the world. This moment made me feel upset. It made me think about the fact that many expectant parents don’t have to worry about autoimmune diseases, the way they could impact every single detail you’re trying so hard to be prepared for. It made me realize how much my husband and I have been on our toes, refusing to relax even during the enjoyable moments, just incase, just incase we need to put on our game faces & fight back against a Crohn’s disease flare, dehydration, malnutrition, anemia, or the ways that any of those can compromise my baby in utero. This moment is more than I’d like to face right now.

It’s been a week since I started this post, a week since quite literally, I was scared sh*tless, and I can’t help but think the events could repeat themselves at any moment in time. Tonight I sit at home at my desk, and reflect on what this sense of fear has been like for me during my pregnancy. While I’ve written previously on some of the anxieties I’ve experienced since my Crohn’s disease has been in remission, I have been thinking more and more about how for me, the stakes seem higher while I’m currently pregnant. It’s not just my body and my time that I am thinking about. It’s my daughter. It’s how far I am into my third trimester. It’s her delivery. It’s the first few weeks and months of her life.

Life with IBD is unpredictable

Unfortunately, the truth about life with IBD is that unpredictability is the only predictable part of the disease for many of us. We can stay compliant with our medications, our therapies, our diets, our doctor’s appointments, monitoring our physical and mental health, but what about the times when it’s just not enough? What about the times when our symptoms flare or our disease rears its head, and all we can do is ride the waves back to better days?

These are the moments that I have spent the last seven months thinking about, ruminating on, working through, and hoping for. I know that staying calm is to my best advantage, so I discuss these fears with my husband, and with my therapist regularly. I meditate and practice guided imagery when I feel anxieties creeping in. And I remind myself that no matter what happens, I will adjust – for that is how I’ve grown to accept my life with IBD – constantly evolving, constantly finding a new sense of balance.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • nsherin
    4 days ago

    This is exactly how I felt when I was pregnant with my daughter. I flared when i was 7 weeks pregnant and worried that would be my reality throughout pregnancy. Thankfully, I have been in remission since then (August 2017), delivered on time without a c-section and was able to breastfeed for just over a year. I still worry about how to chase a toddler if my disease returns, but living in the moments when things are good helps me stay positive!

  • Amanda Osowski moderator author
    4 days ago

    @nsherin thank you so much for sharing your experience with me! I’m so glad to hear how you’re doing now 🙂 I also completely understand the worries about flaring with a toddler! My daughter was born on 5/9 and I’m still working on the breastfeeding – I’m currently still mostly triple feeding, but so far, my body and disease have mostly cooperated <3

    Warmly,
    Amanda (Team member)

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