Anyone who knows me, knows I am a VERY private person when it comes to my online presence. I have my personal Facebook page locked down like it's Fort Knox and I'm extremely cautious about posting pictures of my children anywhere on the interwebs.
However, this blog is much different than any of the blogs I have written.
Because it's personal.
It's real, it's raw, and I will give a fair *TRIGGER WARNING* to my readers because this is going to be a post that could hit a raw spot for anyone that may have been in my situation before.
Why am I writing this, if I am so private? Because this is a story about hope, faith, and the most positive outcome and if this can help even one person out there, then my work here is done.
And so, our story with our second child goes a little something like this --
We started trying to conceive our second baby as soon as our older son turned 11 months old. We wanted our children super close in age and we had no issues conceiving our first; however, 7 months of actively trying and nothing happening left us confused, frustrated, sad, and wondering what the heck was going on. Around this time, we made the decision for me to quit my full-time job, become a SAHM, and pursue my photography business full-time. At the time, I had AMAZING insurance through my old job and prior to us switching to my husband's insurance, we underwent fertility testing. We wanted answers and after all was said and done, we found out that there were ZERO issues for both of us. My OB discussed next steps and said that if by January (it was currently August) I was still not pregnant, we would start to look into starting Clomid.
So, January rolled around, and I still wasn't pregnant. I called and scheduled my appointment with my OB for the end of the month.
A few days after I made the call, I took my toddler on a walk and we met a neighbor at the park, so our kids could play for a little while. I didn't have a chance to eat anything (such is the mom life) and started to feel 'off.' I couldn't put my finger on it, but as I stood there talking with my neighbor, I just didn't feel 'right.' I took a sip of my water, and some spilled from my mouth. Nothing unusual, I'm clumsy as heck, and I brushed it off. As we walked back to our homes, and we stood in front in my house, I realized my lip felt weird. There was this tingling sensation that I was feeling.
Again, I brushed it off.
When I finally got inside, I sat my son in his highchair, made him lunch, and ate a banana (I just thought I needed food in my system). My mouth still didn't feel right. So, I went into the bathroom because it felt like it was 'fat' and I thought maybe I got bit by something or was having some sort of reaction... I looked in the mirror and that's when I noticed, I had no movement on the right side of my face. Half of my mouth was paralyzed and my right eye couldn't be closed (even when I blinked). I tried not to freak and stayed relatively calm, for the most part...until my parents got to my house (they were already on their way over just to hang with me and my son and had NO idea what was going on with me). I made an appointment with my primary dr for the next day (which was a Wednesday); however, when my parents got to my house, they were super concerned. So concerned, that they called my husband to tell him he needed to come home from work and take me to the hospital. Me, being me, I told them that wasn't necessary and that I was planning on going to the dr the next day. No big deal. Well, they weren't taking 'no' for an answer and before I knew it, both my husband and my brother were at my house and they both took me to the ER.
It was a long night for all of us. I had all kinds of tests and blood work ran... All for them to diagnose me with Bell's Palsy.
As we waited to be discharged, my brother told me that when I went to see my primary the next day to request to be tested for Lyme Disease. I sat there, dumbfounded. Wondering how in the world I got here and just wanted answers and for my face to go back to normal.
So, the next day, I requested the Lyme Disease test and my primary looked at me and said, "I have no issue in running the blood work for you but usually when I test for that, it never comes back positive." This was a Wednesday afternoon and I was certain that I wouldn't have any answers until some time the following week.
I was wrong...
On Friday night, around 7p, my primary dr called me herself.
"I can't believe this... You are positive for Lyme Disease."
Her words echoed in my mind. I was shocked and relieved. Then came her next question -- "Are you pregnant?"
I told her I wasn't but that we were actively trying and she told me stop immediately. I needed to seek treatment for the Lyme Disease and the antibiotics she was going to prescribe to me wouldn't be safe for pregnancy.
The next day, I called my OB and canceled my appointment.
After a week of being on super strong antibiotics, I noticed my period was late.
There's NO way I am pregnant now... NO WAY...
My husband had left to go get his haircut and that's when I decided to take a pregnancy test.
The line appeared almost immediately.
I wanted to vomit.
This couldn't be possible... Not now... Why now... This is the worse timing ever...
I called my primary dr immediately and she congratulated me, switched me to antibiotics that were safe during pregnancy and then told me she would research over the weekend about Lyme Disease in the first trimester. I also did my own research... That's all I did... For 3 days, I ate, slept, and breathed 'the effects of Lyme Disease in the first trimester.'
EVERYTHING that I read was conflicting -- some articles said some babies were born still born and that it could or could not have been because of the mother's Lyme Disease infection... Some articles said baby's were born with severe defects, again, stating could have been or could not have been due to the Lyme Disease infection.
It was as if the whole world stopped. I felt like I couldn't breathe. My dr called me a couple days later and gave me her medical advice.
"I spent many hours at USF researching because this all new for me. Everything I read, said baby doesn't have a good chance of survival. My suggestion is to terminate this pregnancy. You're so early, that it would be simple."
I wanted to die. Literally. My heart felt like it stopped. How could this be? How would I get through this? How would my husband and the rest of my family deal with this?
So many questions danced in my head.
She gave me the number of the abortion clinic, explained to me they would do a sonogram to confirm just how far along I was and we would go from there. I hung up with my dr and I broke down (luckily, I was at my parent's house). It's the first time in my entire life that I wanted my parents to tell me what to do but all they said to me was "We support whatever decision you and Ryan choose. This is something you two have to discuss."
That night, after Ryan got home from work, we sat down...for what seemed like hours. I cried. A lot. He was afraid of the baby being born with medical issues far too complicated for us to deal with. He kept saying "Whatever you want, I will support." I had to keep telling him that this wasn't just MY decision... It was OURS. We went back and forth. And finally, I looked at him and said, "You know I'm not an overly religious person... Not in the slightest. But there is a reason I got pregnant now. The timing is super shitty and my health isn't the best right now but if after all the medications that have been put into my body hasn't made me miscarry, then to me, this pregnancy is meant to be."
I got in to see my OB sooner than the usual first prenatal appointment because I needed to pick her brain. She had no experience with Lyme Disease and pregnancy and so, I became a 'high-risk' pregnancy.
I was informed that there could be a very high probability that the Lyme Disease could severely affect the baby's organs and that if that was found during the anatomy scan, I would have to make a pretty tough decision at that point.
I spent a lot of time at doctors -- rheumatologist, infectious disease, and OB (both my regular and high-risk). They all supported me in my decision and all felt that the baby had a good chance of being 'okay.'
The first 18.5 weeks of my pregnancy, I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I wasn't excited about my pregnancy. I didn't tell anyone, except a few close friends and my family. I didn't really want to discuss what I was going through or what I could be potentially facing but yet, I pushed on...
My parents and sister accompanied us at the anatomy scan. I was scared. I was sad. I felt broken. Yet, I held it together pretty well. The deafening silence in the room, as the tech studied everything in great detail, was sickening. I watched this little baby dance around my womb, while she took pictures, measurements, etc. Then she asked if we wanted to know the gender and we said 'yes.' That's when she said "It's a boy and he's perfectly healthy." My mother literally gasped in relief. There were tears and for the first time since January, I felt like I could breathe. The weight had been lifted off my shoulders. All was okay in our world again.
And so, here we are, getting ready to celebrate our little miracle's 1st birthday.
October is an incredibly special month for us because it's my birthday, my husband's birthday, my SIL's birthday, my parent's anniversary, and now little 'G's' birthday.
We have been through so much. It was so incredibly scary and there was so much uncertainty but in my heart from the very beginning, I was determined to give this little ray of sunshine a fighting chance.
I'm sure you may be wondering where I stand in my fight with Lyme Disease.
The good news is I was treated early and was on heavy duty doses of antibiotics, which has led to me to having no further issues. There was talk of me needing a PICC line, after my first round of antibiotics but I got a second opinion from a different infectious disease dr and he felt that was overkill. PHEW! I was briefly freaking out because at the time my older son was still in a crib and I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to pick him up etc with that in my arm.
If you're wondering how I got Lyme Disease, the answer is simple -- the woods in my neighborhood. I was doing a family holiday session, I went off the trail, in tall grass (I wasn't wearing any bug spray or anything tick repellant (never even crossed my mind to be totally honest) and that's how it began.
I never had the classic 'bull's eye' rash, never had joint pain, etc.
My only symptom was Bell's Palsy.
So, clients -- when we go out to parks etc, please make sure that you and your children use bug spray. I can't stress this enough. Lyme Disease gets misdiagnosed so much because it mimics other diseases (Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis etc). If you get Lyme Disease, and it's not treated properly off the bat, you can develop chronic Lyme Disease and you will have to deal with this debilitating disease for the rest of your life.