So! Where do I start, first of all yayness, 10 weeks in and still feeling pretty much alright. Wednesday was our first visit to the Maternity Hospital, Holles Street in Dublin, it was a really family affair! The boys tagged along too to check it out. They’re now convinced this baby will be a “Dub Head” but I’m sure we’ll bring the Wexican out in them!
Scan showed a good strong heartbeat ticking away on the screen, and although all these positives are limiting our spirits we are still very much aware that any number of things could go wrong, but very hopeful that it won’t! We met with the fantastic Prof. Higgins on our visit where she went through my extensive medical history in detail, working out exact specifics for each medical event. The list went on so much she filled the page and was still looking for more space! Truth be told, my body is a bit of a mystery. One lung only ever really worked Only I wasn’t aware of this until I turned 23. I was treated for asthma my whole life, due to shortness of breath. The pulmonary artery to my right lung never developed while I was in the womb. A CT by Crumlin Childrens Hospital when I was 12 years showed up an abnormality in that my right lung was smaller than it should be. No further testing was done, I was told I had one and a half lungs and that it wouldn’t affect me in later life and that was that, back home and back on the inhaler. I went on to have two pregnancies and was breathless through both, was passing out on my second. But was told it was all in my head. Boy were they wrong!
At 23 after a mini marathon for charity a couple of days later I began coughing up blood, suddenly I couldn’t breath properly, my mother rushed me to Wexford Hospital where they diagnosed respiratory distress, put in a chest shunt to relieve the fluid building uo in my lung that was literally making me drown in my own fluids. A day later I was told I would require permanent oxygen from now on and was put on some pain relief to ease the difficulty of breathing. As I was sitting on the bed leaning over on the hospital bedside table with a pillow underneath me and my two legs bouncing up and down to take my mind off the pain of each breath I became terrified that this was now my life. I didn’t want it. And they couldn’t give me any answers. Many bouts of pneumonia and infections and respiratory distress later and chronic pain that left me incapacitated on most days. A palliative care script was then introduced where the level of meds and relief is what is giving to someone who is dying. I kept asking if I was dying and the same answer was “your illness is extremely rare and we just don’t know what we are dealing with or how to best proceed. Nearly 4 years of this excruciating experience. Days literally felt like years and I have lost count of the amount of times I wished myself dead to have it done.
Jigs and reels, I eventually had my right lung removed in 2014 and this improved for a while until I caught another bout of pneumonia and ended up back on oxygen. Everything changed in January when I decided to switch from pharma to cannabis oil and from conventional food to a plant based diet.
Then I discovered a few weeks back I was pregnant for the third time. I was baffled and the doctor was baffled. So here I am at 29 with one lung trying to navigate pregnancy as best I can. What can I tel you about it? The nausea is the hardest part, the constant feeling of needing to puke. But it’s also a reassuring sign in a way. I notice that breathing is getting a little more difficult on uphill and long distance but I know that will be something of a struggle over the next few months as my one lung even though it’s operating at 100% it can still only do 50% of the work. This is where good old oxygen comes in, but not necessary just yet, thankfully! My heart pounds quite a bit, especially if I sit up to fast or bend over to pick something up, although I’m assured this is normal as the level of blood increases in your body during pregnancy. As a result of having my lung removed I have post pnemectomy syndrome where my windpipe and heart have completely shifted over to fill the empty space. My heart is now located near my right armpit and it has turned itself back to front. But that’s fine, it won’t kill me! Just a little extra pressure.
I am so tired, I mean like a feel on the cusp of sleep the majority of the day, but for some reason I cannot sleep properly. My bump is starting to show a bit, I have been walking around with my jeans unbuttoned but with long enough tops to cover it… I can’t get away with that anymore so I’ve graduated to long dresses and I intend to invest in some maternity pants once I get the madness of back to school for my chappies out of the way! My boobs are sore all the time… the youngest gave me a hug the other evening and bumped his head off my right boob, my instinct was to kill, but instead I said my bloody boob! He was in stitches for ages. Since the lung removal my right breast is always sore due to nerve damage, coupled with the hormones causing pain there are days I want to rip it clean off my body. But then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror looking a bit buxom and I feel a little pleased that I now have boobs again after a long battle of not with my underweight issue. It’s not all bad….
My hormones are challenging, there’s days I’m angry but to myself, little things irritate me, not every day. I cry over anything touchy-feely, especially feel good things, although I fell apart when Mufasa died in the Lion King the other day… but it’s not all bad it balances out most of the time! I find myself happy a lot more which is a relief. I haven’t become an anxious mess like I thought I would, worrying about everything that could go wrong.
My bladder has resized itself and has decided now it needs to double and some days triple the amount of toilet visits per day… car journeys are tough, between nausea and seatbelt woes on boobs I try and avoid venturing too far. I have resigned myself to the fact of being a lazy moo for the next few months. I spend most of my time at home lying down, I was informed this is better for the baby, apparently it helps blood flow to the placenta bringing oxygen a little easier.
I can’t tolerate the smell of many things at the moment without gagging. If I cook, I most certainly won’t eat for a long time after. So I’m living on healthy enough throw together meals that don’t require much cooking effort. The kids have been awesome, I don’t give them enough credit but they are being so good and patient with all of this, I would be lost without them.
It was decided on Wednesday I have to inject myself every day with heparin it the stomach. This is to thin the blood to prevent a clot. I wasn’t sure about using this as I was concerned about how it would affect the fetus but I was assured it doesn’t pass through the placenta. A frank chat with the Prof and she ran through all the possibilities. So far it’s great I’ve gotten to ten weeks she said, the goal now is to get me to twenty, the pregnancy although high risk won’t kill me because they will be monitoring everything closely. She said ideally they will let me go as far as my body can handle it so if I can get past thirty five weeks they will look at induction then to prevent further strain on my body. But they don’t want to deliver any earlier than necessary. She said she cannot promise that it will all go smoothly and that we will have a baby by the end of it because this is rare and they are working off a very small group of women who have been in this position. I am the first one in Ireland they have dealt with. They promised the best possible care no matter what happens and that they will do everything they can along with the Mater Hospital and St Vincents. I’ve chosen to stop taking my cannabis oil during pregnancy to ensure that the baby has the best chance possible without having to work out any toxins, hence my trepadation even about the blood thinner…
I have had to start eating meat again for extra protein and iron but I don’t mind that so much, I will get back on track fingers crossed once peanut is born.
So… fingers crossed that it all goes well, although unplanned it was a happy blooper that we want very much. We are aware of the risks but also aware that it’s worth proceeding with. Whatever the outcome. We hope for a happy healthy baby by the end of it all, but no matter what, this little one is loved before it ever makes its entrance and has brought us all a new feeling of hope and positivity.
To my family, I’m sorry for being such a lazy cow, it’s only temporary I promise! Here’s to the next few months of trials and tribulations. Sorry for boring you but I will be posting regularly. Back up to Holles St and St Vincent’s in two weeks, in the meantime I’m just gonna keep grazing my way through… I’m craving cinnamon rolls…