Last updated: February 2021
I’ve already mentioned this in a previous post, but I’m pregnant. So far, it’s been an unexpected journey that’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’ve had the normal pregnancy symptoms: nausea, vomiting, exhaustion. Which is all fine and dandy! As I’m continually being told, that means the baby is healthy and the pregnancy is progressing as it’s supposed to… but that’s where it all trips me up. Healthy? Really?
Thoughts on pregnancy because of UC symptoms
When you live with IBD, nausea, vomiting and exhaustion are anything but healthy. I truly feel like my years with UC have greatly impacted how I feel about this pregnancy. Especially since this is my first pregnancy.
The first time I threw up after becoming pregnant, I panicked. “Oh man! What if I can’t keep anything down! I’ll end up in the hospital?!” My mind began reeling and I started thinking of all the worst-case scenarios. What if the baby isn’t getting enough nutrients?! I have to eat! If I don’t eat, the baby will die. And I don’t want to go to the hospital! I’ve seen enough of that place to last a lifetime.
PTSD from IBD symptoms
It’s SO hard to remember that pregnancy is a normal and natural part of life. I believe that, like so many of us, I am experiencing PTSD from all the years I’ve been living with ulcerative colitis. How could I not? The frequent doctor and Emergency Room visits. The tests, the medications, the sleepless nights, the pain, the tears, the anger, the emotional turmoil… the list goes on and on.
I remember just a few months after having my last J-Pouch surgery. I was in a good place. Suddenly, I was hit with a stomach bug of some sort. I was throwing up and I ached all over. It was scary. I didn’t know if I was “normal people” sick or if I was somehow flaring again. My husband, too, was worried. He kept asking, “Is your J-Pouch ok?” It was, but my years of UC took their toll on him, too.
One thing that gives me comfort during my times of morning sickness is knowing that there are MANY other women with IBD who’ve had babies. My mother and aunt being two of them. I also have several friends who’ve had babies and also live with IBD. Stephanie Hughes, one of our moderators, for instance has an ostomy and she’s living with Crohn’s. She’s been pregnant and had a baby and both she and baby are doing great!
All the women I’ve talked to who’ve had babies and are also living with IBD say that it’s all worth it in the end. I’ve also been told that the pain of giving birth is NOTHING compared to the pain you have when dealing with IBD. The most important distinction needs to be made here. IBD is a disease. Pregnancy is a natural and normal part of life. In the end, no matter what happens, you end up with one of life’s most precious gifts. And that’s something that I can really look forward to.
What has been the most helpful for managing IBD symptoms?