Monday, October 04, 2010

Complications

Doesn't it seem ironic to start a post entitled, "Complications" with just a sweet and happy photo?
I had to deliver our Sweet Pea almost a month early due to a complication of my pregnancy called cholestasis.  It's a liver disorder where, simply put, the pregnant woman's liver is not functioning properly.  They think it's because hormones or the baby's positioning cut off the flow of bile between the gall bladder and the liver.  The effects on moms are fairly harmless; the biggest cause for concern is the discomfort of intense, deep itching that doesn't have a rash and doesn't resolve, although it can cause jaundice and hemorrhaging.  The bigger concern is for the infant because their livers don't function yet, and if mom's liver isn't doing all that it needs to for her, it's basically not doing anything for the baby, which can lead to stillbirth.

Yeah.  Pretty terrifying to learn all of this.

It did however, explain a lot about why my pregnancy was so rough.  It was probably the reasons for those freakish, unexplained urgent care visits and the intense nausea.  It explains why I was feeling pretty gross for the last two weeks of my pregnancy and why I started to lose rather than gain weight at the end.

Our precious baby was born perfectly healthy, in spite of quite a few tense times during the pregnancy.  I was told by my doctors that cholestasis resolves itself upon delivery of the baby.  I had a feeling something was wrong with my gall bladder because that is pretty common with patients with Celiac Disease, and besides, both my mom and grandma have had theirs removed, my grandma even right after her pregnancy with my mom.  I asked several doctors and nurses and all told me not to worry.

Well, last night I fell asleep at about 1:30, after cuddling and snuggling my baby, breathing her wonderful scent, kissing and kissing the top of her downy head, and smoothing the fuzz behind her ears with my fingertips for a good half-hour.  I slept for about an hour, then woke up out of deep sleep feeling really uncomfortable.  It was like I was sleeping wrong and something was making my back ache.  I rolled around a bit, but it just kept getting worse.  Finally, I sat up because I felt like my ribs were so tight all around that I couldn't breathe.  It kept getting worse and it made me feel panicky.  I woke up my husband and as we talked I started noticing a lot of shortness of breath.  The pain intensified so quickly and nothing helped, so within 30 minutes of waking up we were on our way to the emergency room. 

I threw up when we got there because the pain was so intense.  Triage was like torture.  Because of the baby, they decided to put me in the pediatric unit, for which I am intensely grateful.  Within 10 minutes I had talked to the doctor, they had pain and nausea medication in me and had pulled blood work.  The relief was nearly immediate, thank goodness, because I was in more pain than I had been for almost all of my labor.  They sent me for an ultrasound within 10 minutes after that, and in another 15 had confirmed that my gall bladder has a huge stone and is almost non-functioning.

So, what's next?  Surgery.  Within two weeks.  With a baby less than a month old. 

We had to give the baby formula for the first half of the day because of the medication I received, which made me a little teary at the hospital.  But I'm so thankful for our incredibly sweet nurse who loved on our baby and assured us that she would be just fine going back and forth between bottle and breast.  Which she was.  Does nothing phase this child?  In spite of everything, she has been so content and perfect, even sleeping a ton today, which was such a gift.



On top of everything, we are fighting insurance yet AGAIN.  It's a long story, but we are in contention with three different insurance companies right now all over things that were completely out of our control.  I'm frustrated.  Frustrated that my doctors didn't follow up.  Frustrated with how expensive all of this is going to be.  Frustrated that I will have a hard time caring for my baby after surgery.  Frustrated that my husband has no paid time off because of having a new job, plus having classes that he can't miss, plus needing to fulfill a certain number of internship hours a week.  Frustrated that I have a body that doesn't ever seem to want to cooperate.  This will be my tenth surgery in ten years.

And yet I know that we'll be ok. I'm reminded yet again of what a gift it is to live in community with so many people who care.  Our families are near.  Our friends are near.  Times are hard, but we will look back and marvel at how God provided (because He has and will continue to do so) and we will chuckle over our "uphill both ways" early days of raising a family.  It's a rite of passage, after all. 

And in the meantime, I am feeling significantly better today.  I haven't even needed the pain meds they gave me because the stone is currently dislodged.  We will continue to love our baby and marvel at her sweetness.  We will enjoy our friends and family.  We will enjoy fall.  And you know what?  Word on the street (aka, the internet) is that even though the chance of cholestasis recurring in future pregnancies is over 50%, having my gall bladder removed takes that down drastically.  Thank goodness, because I definitely want more of this.   


See?  There's always a rainbow.


2 comments:

  1. oh wow Taylor I'm sorry you had to go through that! I know EXACTLY what kind of pain you are experiencing, I had my gallbladder removed my last week of college (after a year of misdiagnoses, grrr frustrating long story!) Praying for you!!

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  2. I love you, dear friend, and as always, praying earnestly for you, for Lenny, for your healing, for Waverly, for all of this mess. Please call me if I can help with the insurance mess or if you just need an empathetic ear! XOXO.

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