Introducing Christy’s J-Pouch Pregnancy Story…
by Christy Stone
I was a 26-year-old married person who decided with her husband it was perfect time to start a family. I had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis as a child, had been placed with a j-pouch as a teen, and was under the impression that everything was fixed.
I had frequent bouts of pouchitis that had become normal. A not uncommon call to the doctor would be a request for visit to refill Flagyl or Cipro. At that point my health was as good as it was going to get.
My husband and I tried to get pregnant for a year on our own with no success. I brought the subject up with my primary care doctor who suggested an infertility specialist. The fact that I was underweight was the only health concern that was addressed. IBD was mentioned as a resolved thing in the past. Both my husband and I were tested to see where the issues may lie. My husband was perfectly healthy. We couldn’t get pregnant because of me.
I took all the medications, temperature checked, charted all sorts of bodily functions, ate, rested and treated my body as healthfully as possible to make myself welcoming to this life we were trying to create.
Stick to the Plan
Having a baby became a job that I told no one about. I was stubbornly sticking to the plan to make this happen. After all, I was the issue, I would resolve this. At a year of failing with a specialist we tried looking at things from a different angle–literally. Ultrasounds, endometrial biopsy, scans and a hysterosalpingogram showed scar tissue build up from previous IBD surgery could be a culprit.
At 18 months of failing I was scheduled for an exploratory surgery where scar tissue would be removed along with attempts at fixing any other physical barriers. I woke groggy and hopeful.
Post op check up was also a slow no from the specialist. We were not willing to use IVF to become pregnant. There was nothing more he could do for us. I remember sitting in the chair, light headed, tunnel vision on his hands, as he rattled off statistics and percentages that meant nothing. Hands impeccably clean and a voice that was so, so sad.
And then months later we became pregnant. Wow! I know, right?
1st trimester I was tired, nauseated and slept as much as possible.
2nd trimester I gained energy, and appetite and began to look pregnant.
3rd trimester I went back to needing naps, got a nursery ready, felt pretty good…
But for a few things that were reported and entirely over looked. I had anal skin tags which were passed off as hemorrhoids, inability to poo which was called constipation and a pressure, burning sensation which I was told was normal. Anal skin tags, inability to poo in a j-poucher who’s output is normally liquid and pressure burning were red flags for CD.
After an exciting, yet successful non pain medicated vaginal birth I began to have issues. I had a rectovaginal fistula and a lot of pain. During post baby care apts I brought this up. I have poo coming out my vagina any time it wants! I was dismissed; told ‘women don’t work that way’ and was actually prescribed diaper cream.
After three months balancing my own needs, caring for my newborn, managing family holiday obligations and not telling anyone what I was struggling with because ‘it was all in my mind,’ I finally got into my surgeons office. She saw me on a Tuesday and I was in for temporary ostomy surgery that Friday. Quickly there after came my official Crohn’s Disease diagnosis and some treatment options to consider.
Looking back I wish IBD knowledge played a bigger role in my care. I would have liked to have had a proper diagnosis and treatment plan in play before becoming pregnant. I would have liked for my gestational complaints heard through a broader scope. IBD issues never registered. I would have liked for my post pregnancy issues to have been taken seriously. I would have liked to have not suffered for as long as I did.
That being said, it was a good pregnancy. It was the healthiest I had felt in years. If I had the option of going back and doing it again with correct care from the start, I would. In the end I have a healthy, happy child. She is worth it all. We went on to adopt our second child to complete our family.
FIND CROHNIE BOLOGNA ONLINE!!!
Please remember that every birth experience is unique and special. Just like every human being is unique and special. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to have a baby. What works for you may not work for someone else. It is Colitis Ninja’s belief that every woman has a right to have the type of pregnancy/childbirth that she feels is best for her and the baby. If you want a medicated childbirth, by all means, have a medicated childbirth. If you want to have an unmedicated childbirth, that’s great, too! If you want to have a water birth–go for it! Fight for what you want, do your research, find the type of medical professional you want to deliver your baby and someone you feel lines up with your desires. You can have an amazing childbirth… and you should. Because childbirth is a wonderful and miraculous experience that results in the blessing of a baby.