For the last 8 months or so I have not been a well woman. Three months after Joshua was born I found myself pregnant again, I was given antibiotics that interfered with the effectiveness of my birth control, I was unaware this could happen so I didn’t take any extra precautions. So, here we are. Unlike with Joshua I was sick from the very beginning of this pregnancy, excessive throwing up, serious abdominal pain and an inability to eat pretty much everything. Things got worse, I was prescribed anti-nausea meds after I was unable to eat anything for nearly two days and had begun throwing up after drinking water. Finally, after months of being sick I was told by an urgent care doctor I had gallstones. The doctor told me to eat a low fat diet, and things should get better, seemed simple enough. Things didn’t get better. I got worse, I started losing weight instead of gaining or even maintaining weight, I was in near constant pain. Finally, after being in OB Triage for the fourth time I got a referral to a surgeon. I was hopeful this meant I would be able to complete my pregnancy without being constantly sick. When I went to see the surgeon he told me flat out he wouldn’t perform surgery because I was too far along, it was too big of a risk. He could see I was upset, after being sick for so long I was being told once again there was nothing they could do. He offered me another option, a tube in my gallbladder to help keep it clear and prevent an infection. I agreed to the procedure.
On the morning of my procedure I got the full picture of what I was having done, it was actually a gallbladder drain tube which meant I’d have this tube about two feet long sticking out of my upper abdomen and draining into a small bag I’d have to carry around with me. Sounds pleasant right? I wasn’t really very happy with the idea, but I thought if it would help I’d do it. The procedure sounded simple enough, I’d be sedated but not put fully under, the doctor would insert a needle into my gallbladder to guide a wire in which he would use to guide the tube in and anchor the tube so it wouldn’t move. They said I’d be a little sore for a few days.
A little sore was the biggest understatement of the year.The pain during the procedure was so bad it brought me out of sedation, I was cried out and told the doctor to stop. He didn’t, he completed the procedure. I was in so much pain my entire body was shaking, they gave me a dose of Demerol before moving me to recovery, while in recovery I received two more doses of Demerol. I could barely stand up or walk, when I came home I laid down on the couch and didn’t move for close to 5 hours.
I spent the next week in horrible pain, ended up going back to OB Triage because the pain was so bad I couldn’t move. They gave me pain meds to take at home and told me there wasn’t much else they could do.
It’s going on week three of the tube, and I’m still in horrible pain, after going into OB Triage at one o’clock in the morning because 10 milligrams of oxycodone hadn’t even made a dent in the pain they had the tube re-stabilized and did an MRI to make sure it was properly placed. I have six weeks left before I can have the new baby and have my gallbladder taken out.
After being sick for so long I feel like this has taken over my life, it’s certainly taken over my thoughts. I go to sleep hoping the pain won’t wake me up, hoping I won’t have to get up to go to the bathroom and hoping when I wake up in the morning I won’t be in too much pain. When I wake up in the morning I hope I’ll be able to get Ben to work and take care of the baby while he’s at work. I spend the day counting every little movement the new baby makes, hoping he’s OK and hating myself every time I need to take something for the pain.
I can’t really see my friends, it’s too hard on me to go anywhere, I have to push myself to go to the store. I spend most days at home with Joshua trying my best to take care of him and make sure I’m still a good mommy to him. It’s tiring, and it’s lonely. There’s only so many times you can tell people how much pain you’re in before they just get tired of hearing it, so I do my best to put a happy face on, to try not to be The Sick Girl.
It wears on me. The anxiety I normally deal with has increased exponentially, which just makes me a nervous, cranky wreck no one really wants to deal with, which ultimately makes it worse. Tears come easily, hurt feelings happen in a flash and anger and frustration are always right below the surface. I feel like a failure as a mother, the one thing my body is supposedly built to do is the one thing it’s managed to screw up twice. I fear every cramp, every moment of abdominal pressure, I beg my body everyday just to work long enough to get this baby safely into the world. Let him be ok is the only thing I really think anymore.
It’s overwhelming, and most days I don’t even know where to start when someone asks me how I am, so I shut things out, and I shut myself down. I want this tube gone, I want my gallbladder gone, I want my new little baby to be born healthy and safe, and I want to be able to be myself again, if I can even find myself again.