Dustin and I have been trying for about four months to get pregnant again and we've had no luck so far. Our plan was to officially start trying this month, and hopefully have an October baby (costume birthday parties, hello!), but four months ago we threw caution to the wind and said what the heck. (I'm not complaining, either.) Four month of no luck, folks. I've had a feeling that somethings been "off" with my body, so I set up appointments with my general practitioner and OB/GYN. At my first appointment with my GP, my doctor (who was new) brushed off most of my questions about my possible kidney function (I've seen a Nephrologist -- kidney doctor -- before) and he focused on the looming UTI that I could feel materializing. "Whatever. If he was fine with my results, I must be fine," I told myself.
My visit to to my OB/GYN proved to be a bit different. All was well regarding me having another baby until I mentioned my past kidney problems. He then ventured into my electronic files and poked around my lab results, past and present, and informed me that he'd have to send me to see a Perinatologist (High-risk OB), as he felt it was unsafe for me to consider having another baby. He used words like "kidney failure" and "poor maternal and fetal outcome" which is basically a medical way of telling me that he thought my future baby and I would die if I tried again. This was after telling me (before the kidney discussion) that since I had a c-section with Roman, I'd have to have one with all of our future children or I might "push my insides out," or my "uterus might burst and your baby would be delivered into your stomach and there is no air in your stomach, so..." It was kind of a fucked up conversation. I know that he was just trying to get across the seriousness of the situation, but many women have vaginal births after having a c-section and I've never heard of anyone who has pushed their insides out. Is that even possible, or was he pulling my leg?
With another visit to my GP after some weird heart palpitations and more questions about my kidneys, we were sent to have an EKG (which turned out perfectly normal) and a kidney sonogram. I later was notified that my kidney sonogram showed some kidney scarring and that an appointment with a Nephrologist was advised. (Observation: I am thoroughly impressed that the Radiologist could make anything out of my kidney sonogram. It all just looked like fuzzy mush on the screen to me. *slow clap*)
Fast forward to last week with my appointment with my Neph. She was awesome and explained everything really well to Dustin and I (and Roman who sat still for MOST of the appointment). She observed, via my blood-draw findings and sonogram, that my kidney function is impaired -- I'm running on a little under 50% of normal function (okay, about 46%, but I like to round up). Anything over 60% is considered "normal" and not of concern. She said that the scarring was most likely due to the chemo drugs, pain meds and CT scan intravenous contrast medium that they flushed through my body during every cancer scan I've ever had. Sadly, once your kidney function is impaired, it is not fixable. So, the kidneys that I have now will only get worse with age, like all kidneys. She told me that even though my function is impaired that it's on the better side of dysfunction and I don't have to do much as far as maintenance and care goes. I have to try and keep my protein and salt intake in check, keep myself hydrated and stay away from anti-inflammatory drugs. She addressed my pregnancy questions and told me that there were no guarantees that my kidneys would stay the same and that there was a possibility that they would get worse (permanently). No guarantees, either way. I don't have Kidney Disease, I have scarred kidneys. I may or may not need dialysis and/or a kidney transplant later in life. It's just a game of wait and take care of my self and see. Dustin left the room with Roman at one point and I quietly asked her that if she were in my shoes, would she be comfortable trying for a baby. She said yes. I got a piece of hope back, friends! This was a freaking expert! So, she gave me her blessing to get pregnant as long as both the Endocrinologist and Perinatologist give me the okay and as long as I'm okay with the risks that come along with it. *Possible* further damage to my kidneys, trouble getting pregnant, miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, premature birth, and so on. Possibilities. Not guarantees either way.
On Wednesday, Dustin and I met with the Endocrinologist who addressed my possible diabetes and my Hypothyroidism. I had had labs drawn prior to my visit, so the Endo doctor was able to view those results and based on what she found, I DO NOT HAVE DIABETES! Can I get an internet-wide happy dance? If I had had diabetes, not only would I have had diabetes for life (obvious thumbs down), but it would been one more road block to having another baby. My Hypothyroidism is in check and under control and poses no threat to anything as long as I take my medication everyday like normal. Pregnancy verdict from the Endocrinologist? It's a go as long as my Perinatologist approves and as long as I watch my blood sugar levels and keep any gestational diabetes under control.
I don't know why the focus with me is on having another child. I mean, the urge for a big family has always lived deep in my soul and I always pictured myself as being a mother to many, but the whole reason this post even came to be was because I was having issues with my body. Maybe the only way I would take my kidney issues seriously (or rather, the doctors take the issues seriously) was if I lit a fire fueled by the possibility of pregnancy. Maybe I am destined to have another baby and maybe this baby saved my life (and kidneys) before it was even conceived. I'm putting all but one of my eggs in that basket, the basket of hope.
A momentary wind and rainstorm had occurred while Dusitnand I were in the doctor's office. On the drive home though, the evening sky suddenly blossomed into a field of pink and periwinkle and melon. Deep, rich colors stretched as far as the eye could see and I felt this wave of hope and relief wash over me. Who knows what the doctor will say when we go on tuesday. I know what I WANT her to say. I want her to tell me that I can have three more kids and my body and the babies will be fine. That I won't lose another baby. That my kidneys will be peachy and stay at the level of dysfunction they they're currently in until the day that I turn old and grey and die in my warm bed. I know that the best case scenario will probably be one more child, one more pregnancy and I am thrilled that the possibility is even there.
Come on body, we can do this!
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child.
Listen to the don'ts.
Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...
Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be.”
- Shel Silverstein
(Please don't take this post as me complaining and not being thankful for what I've got. Thankful for the most amazing boy on the face of the earth, a Husband who holds my heart everyday and family who would do anything for us. I know that I live a blessed life already.)