With my stupid gallbladder! So, many of you will remember my unfortunate Clare pregnancy. Here's a little reminder. She was born 5 weeks early because of my high blood pressure and thyroid problems. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital being poked and prodded. During that time they were doing ultrasounds of my liver because my liver enzymes were out of control and found that I had a bunch of gall stones. Well after Clare was all safe and sound outside in the world the doctors told me I should have surgery and get my gallbladder removed.
It is, by the way, very common for women who have just given birth to have their gallbladders removed. Well I was really tired of doctors doing things to me by that time and wanted nothing to do with surgery. So, I found some alternative treatments and was doing very well without surgery. However, enter pregnancy #5 unexpectedly, the gallbladder kicks into high gear and I acquire more stones than my body knows what to do with.
So, I start passing ALOT of stones and we head to the emergency for the 1st time. They send me home after the stones have passed and 3 or 4 days later I'm back after having passed more stones. During that time the pain intensified enough that I passed out three times at home. Once in the bathroom, once in the kitchen (where I sprained my tail bone and hit my head pretty hard), and a third time on the bed and luckily David caught me before I rolled off. I was also throwing up uncontrollably and totally dehydrated. Thankfully, I have super awesome friends that took my kids and allowed us to go back to the hospital really early in the morning.
By the time we got to the hospital I was pretty out of it and so they gave me alot of drugs both to stop the pain and throwing up and did alot of tests on me. What they found was that one of the gallstones had jumped into my pancreas and given me pancreatitus. They also hooked me up to a bunch of heart monitors to see why I was passing out all the time.
During that first hospital stay they kept me off of any food and I was only IV liquids and alot of pain and nausea medicine. The stone eventually made its way out of my pancreas and they decided it would be safe to remove my gallbladder during pregnancy. The hang up a the time was that I wasn't far enough along. Going under anesthesia isn't safe for the baby in the first trimester and they wanted me to wait until I was 16 weeks along to do the surgery. At the time I was only 10 weeks and waiting 6 weeks seemed like a daunting amount of time.
They also found that my heart does something called a Vagal response. Which means that when I am in extreme pain or having severe nausea my heart slows down enough that I pass out or my heart kind of stops for a second. Apparently it scared the nurses a couple times in the hospital and I had now idea why they were suddenly checking on me immediately after I had thrown up. I never actually passed out in the hospital, but every time I threw up there my heart monitor freaked out. So the doctor was joking about it the next day.
After the first 5 day stay I was sent home and my wonderful cousin Melissa Thorne came to stay with me and help take care of the kids. That was wonderful because I was not doing that great. That was the first time in my life I realize I could not function on my own and take care of my family. Very hard for me. I was on a very low fat or no fat diet and really I could barely eat anyway because my digestive track was all messed up from these stones. But I was hungry all the time because I was pregnant.
I went back into the hospital a week after I was released from the hospital for my 2nd stay. My pancreas still wasn't super happy and I was passing more stones all the time. They had to rehydrate me and remove me from food again. There were two great things about that stay. First I got the same room and nurses I had the first time I was there and second I got a new surgeon. The new surgeon said she would do the surgery on me when I hit 12 weeks of pregnancy. It was a full month before the other surgeon would perform the surgery and that was fantastic. They also sent me home after 3 days with pain medication, so I could pass stones at home and take care of the pain myself.
I saw the surgeon the next week and we scheduled the surgery for the following week. In the meantime my husband, ward and friends took care of my kids daily because I was totally incapable. I was very week and couldn’t eat much, plus my pancreas and gallbladder were still painful. I passed more stones and just tried to hold out for surgery.
Surgery finally came and I was ready! I had never had surgery, but the surgeon was great and my surgery was laparoscopic and since I was 14 weeks along the baby wasn’t large enough to be in the way of my gallbladder. My surgeon had actually performed the surgery on several other pregnant women and I was just thrilled that this was coming to an end. My mom arrived the day before the surgery and we were ready to go! It took an hour to take that stinking gallbladder out and an hour and half later I woke up in recovery gallbladder-less. Yay!
It took about a week for all of the residual nerve pain to go away and a couple extra days to wean myself off of the pain meds. My mom stayed for two weeks and by the time she left I was on my feet and doing really well. My pain was totally gone, I was sleeping well and miracle of miracles, I could eat! I bounced back pretty quickly from there. I was still having some morning sickness, but I had all kinds of nausea medicine which kept me doing well.
By the time 4 weeks, post surgery, had passed I was back in the saddle again. The only worry we had was the baby. My OB wanted to make sure that nothing had injured the baby during all the drugs and surgery. I was definitely concerned about that. I received a super fancy ultrasound and they found that everything was great! What a relief after everything that happened. The baby is still growing strong and I’m doing really well and I feel great.
So here are some pictures from my fancy ultra sound! I did not include the one of the boy parts, but yes we are having a 3rd boy. Enjoy!
This is the sweet thumbs up I got from our boy. It was actually two thumbs up!
I took it as a sign!
This is the front facial view. Notice the Jake size head!
Here is the first footprint. That is one long foot!