When I started this blog, I planned on using it to write about my journey to pregnancy, pregnancy itself, parenting, health issues, mental illness, natural living, homemaking, the part time work I do from home, etc. But of course, I ended up also blogging about a million other topics because I love writing and haven’t really written anything in regards to TTC, pregnancy or my gynecological problems.
But I would like to get back to the topic of pregnancy. I am a planner, my husband is not. Part of my need to plan everything stems from my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. With that said, here is our current plan in regards to starting a family. We are planning on actually going through all the mortgage per-qualification stuff in April or early May and then we will seriously start looking for a house. We have been looking, just to get an idea of what is available in our price range and in our preferred neighborhoods in our city. Hopefully we will find something quickly and be able to move in by July or August. Then I think I would like to spend like a few months just being married and finally in a house alone with my husband. So I estimate we will begin actively trying to conceive around November-January. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I would really like to have 2 children and would like to have them pretty close together and before I am 35. I am going to be 32 in June, so we kind of have to get this show on the road. However, I of course believe that you should wait until you are ready before trying to conceive, hence the timeline.
So now that we have figured out a plan, I realized I actually have to get into my OB/GYN to discuss a few things I have been avoiding. I am currently in the process of switching practices because in our city, there are two large hospitals, but only one has an dedicated L&D floor, NICU, Children’s Hospital, etc. And of course my previous OB/GYN was in a group that was affiliated with the the other hospital. If you have followed my blog at all, you will know that I have a fairly lengthy history of gynecological issues, so here’s the short version. In 2008 & again in 2012, I was found to have Stage 0 Cervical Cancer or CIN3 (the cancer cells were only in the cells on the surface of my cervix, it is also referred to as carcinoma in situ or CIS) and had 2 LEEP procedures to remove the cancerous cells. It occurred in different areas of my cervix each time and overall I’ve had more than 1/4 of my cervix removed. Over the years it grew back, but it is thinner and may contain scar tissue that differs from a normal, healthy cervix. My surgeon at the time told me that I may or may not have to have my cervix sewn shut when I become pregnant. I just started reading about this because I didn’t know much about it and was surprised to find out that they usually can’t tell if the cervix is incomplete until around 12 weeks. I do have a small area of Endometriosis on my right lateral ligament that thankfully hasn’t spread anywhere else, Pelvis Congestion Syndrome and Pelvic Dysfunction Syndrome (see previous post about pelvic PT) which causes all of he muscles in my pelvis to be constantly way too tight and causes muscle spasms. I also had an exploratory laparoscopic abdominal surgery in 2014 to confirm the Endometriosis and Pelvic Congestion Syndrome. I have been with the same 2 surgeons/doctors since I was 18. so switching offices was a bit of a scary idea for me. However, my sister has two children and is a patient at my new office, so she had recommendations on doctors and midwives which was very helpful.
So once I get all my records and imaging transferred, I will have an appointment in March when I am due for my annual exam and PAP smear. I need to have a full panel of blood work done again to check all of my vitamin and hormone levels, since certain things have been low in the past. And then of course I have about 20 questions in regards to my cervix, getting pregnant, being pregnant, etc. My anxiety causes me to want to know everything I possibly can about basically everything. I have been reading a lot of books, medical articles, blogs and talking to friends who have children, but you would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) that there is a very small amount of information for women who have been suffering from mental illnesses prior to becoming pregnant. There is very, very little information and I have not been able to find any books on the topic. I recently spoke to a friend who has a 4 month old and also suffered from moderate to severe anxiety prior to becoming pregnant, which I found to be really helpful. Not only does she truly understand anxiety, but she gave me a bit more confidence about the entire process. I am a bit nervous about finding out how intact and functional my cervix is, but that seems to be the first step in this process, so that is what I will do.
Otherwise, I have shifted my diet a bit more and adjusted some vitamins. I have been a vegetarian again for about a year (prior to that I did eat meat, but only about 1-2 servings a week, mostly fish or turkey and prior to that I was a vegetarian for about 7 years) and cut out eggs about 1 month ago. I would love to be completely vegan but I just still really enjoy a little bit of dairy. I only eat a small amount of cheese and sometimes sour cream; I haven’t had actual milk in about 15 years. I am hoping to find an dairy-free cheese alternative, however I don’t eat soy because of my hormones, so I have yet to find a dairy and soy free “cheese” product that actually tastes good. We eat mostly organic and don’t eat many processed foods so I have already cut out all the chemicals and preservatives. I am back up to 4,400 IUs of vitamin D a day; if I drop below this dose I can’t maintain my levels and this was the case even when I was eating more dairy. Low vitamin D is fairly common in Michigan and other states where we have long, cold, cloudy winters. I am still in physical therapy for my cervicogenic vertigo, which is basically holding steady, hasn’t gotten better or worse for several months and there may come a time when I have to accept that it’s permanent or have to make the decision to go to someplace like Mayo Clinic or the University of Michigan to be re-evaluated, which I don’t really care to do. But at the current time, my physical therapy, who I trust, doesn’t think that is the case yet. I work out 3-4 times a week and finally started going to the actual gym and doing a slightly more longer work out with a bit more cardio when I am able to. And I have already switched all of my cosmetic and makeup products to organic or natural products, so I feel like I am a pretty good path preparing to get pregnant later this year.
I would LOVE to hear from anyone who suffered from pre-exsisting mental illnesses and what your hopefully positive experience were with pregnancy and childbirth! Or how you prepared your body before you got pregnant or your experience with having multiple LEEP surgeries and how that effected your cervix when you became pregnant!