So, I revealed in an earlier post that I have ulcerative colitis and IBS. For the most part, I have them under control. Really, this just means that I am not getting sick every single day from them. However, going off birth control has had an effect on my overall health. I have had at least 6 “episodes” since April and that is a lot considering I have been without a real “episode” since July of last year. Occasionally I will have a small reaction to something I’ve eaten or my stomach will be a little upset, but these episodes are far different. The pain is debilitating. I can’t move or speak without it hurting and the worst part is that there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. I literally have to ride out the pain and hope that I don’t pass out. (This has happened MANY times over the years. I’ve been really careful about having my phone near me and removing things in the bathroom and bedroom that I could knock my head on and cause an injury.)
Last night I had an especially long and uncomfortable episode and it lasted from about 10:00 in the evening until 2:00 in the afternoon today. This is unusual for these bouts; they usually last about an hour or two and then dissipate enough for me to at least get to sleep. But last night was different. It was incredibly painful and it exhausted me. Enough to where I had to miss work today. I hate having my illnesses affect my life, especially my work. These little bouts lately have me thinking very seriously about what it is going to be like when I am pregnant. And the actual continuous pain has me making comparisons to natural child-birth. I have every intention of having a natural birth, but there are times during these episodes that I question my physical ability to survive it. About two years ago, I had to have surgery as a result of my illness. On the day of the surgery a nurse came into my prep room and asked me to note my pain level on a 1-10 scale. I told her I was at about a 2 or 3. She asked me if that was standard for everyday, and I responded with a yes. She proceeded to tell me that people with chronic pain tend to note their pain level much lower than what a “normal healthy” person would do. I’ve held onto her words since then and it motivates me to believe in myself and my ability to survive child-birth. My worry is that pregnancy itself will exacerbate my condition and I will be too exhausted physically after 9 months to be able to withstand a natural birth.
These random worries that I’m sure other people have are so hard for me to deal with sometimes. I hate feeling sick. And I hate planning my life around something so frustrating. But mostly, I hate the fact that it could affect my ability to get pregnant, and to stay pregnant, and to withstand pregnancy in general. I feel so strongly about looking at pregnancy as a wondrous and normal process of life and the last thing I want to do is look at birth and pregnancy as a medical condition. I fear that because of my illnesses, my pregnancy experience will not be what I would like it to be. And on the other hand, I have to recognize that I am not going to get the exact experience I want, because it isn’t something I can control.