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Preparing to Become a Mother with Crohn’s Disease – Part 2

In my last post, “Preparing to Become a Mother with Crohn’s Disease – Part 1“, I shared several of the things that have stood out for me in planning for motherhood with Crohn’s disease, including a little about my journey to this moment at 8 months pregnant. I wrote about some of the biggest additional obstacles my husband are I are working to plan for once our daughter arrives, including my getting enough rest/sleep to not set off a disease flare, and getting enough/correct nutrition and hydration to hopefully breastfeed my baby.

Concerns and changing routine

These concerns were the first to present themselves as we thought about our changing routines and new additions to our daily lives, but they certainly weren’t the only ones.

While I am currently in remission from my Crohn’s disease, my life still includes several regular health-related appointments. In addition to the baby’s newborn appointments and vaccines, I know that my doctors will also require regular postpartum appointments to monitor my health and the status of my IBD. I will need to visit my GI doctor, my Primary Care Physician, my Rheumatologist and my OB/GYN fairly regularly in the beginning to monitor my hormones, my gut activity, my joint response to labor and delivery, and the way my body is responding to motherhood physically. I still get Remicade infusions every 6 weeks, my powerport must be flushed every 3 weeks, and I get routine labs drawn once every 3 months. Now for all of these appointments, it won’t just be running out of my house or scheduling them when my husband can join me. It’ll be whether we have childcare, someone to watch our daughter, or if we need to bring her along. Obviously, recognizing that my baby will also have a somewhat weakened immune system, this challenge of bringing her to appointments, especially in doctors offices where germs are rampant, comes with its own batch of consequences and challenges as well.

Infusion considerations

What about during those Remicade infusions, when I am out of the house for 4-5 hours at a time, with an IV pumping medication through the port in my chest, and my baby needs to feed? Will she be able to use a bottle with my breastmilk at home, or will she need to be by my side to nurse?

And what about the “simple” notion of routines? With my IBD, especially in the last two years as I’ve worked towards and achieved a level of remission, I have had to become very routine oriented – with what, how much and when I eat, when and for how long I sleep, attending my regular appointments, remembering to take my daily medications, seeing my counselor to manage my emotional stress, and the way I plan activities and conserve my sometimes limited energy. All of these things will be significantly impacted when my daughter arrives because babies change everything, and while babies do find a routine of their own, it’s often several months into their arrival to earth. My husband and I need to be as proactive as possible and as ready as possible to adapt pieces of routine back into our life from the day she arrives, as a healthy mom is incredibly important in having and helping a healthy baby adjust to the world.

Accepting a new normal

As I write out these issues and list my questions, thinking about the things I know and all of the things I can’t yet guess, it feels like and looks like so much extra to consider. Before I allow myself to get overwhelmed, I also realize that in a lot of ways, now it just feels like what is going to quickly become our new normal, as new parents where the mother has Crohn’s disease.

For those of you that are already mama’s, I’d love to hear how you took care of yourselves in order to manage your disease, especially in the weeks and months after the arrival of your babes.

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