Friday, March 1, 2013

The Expected and Unexpected of a CF Pregnancy

It's so hard to believe that I am now 25 weeks. I only have 13 precious weeks left of being pregnant before my little girl finally arrives. I truly don't even know what to make of it, and to be honest it still doesn't feel quite real.

I wanted to write this post because I feel like there are many things I never expected with this pregnancy, and many of my original expectations were shattered. Now every pregnancy is different as is every case of cystic fibrosis, but hopefully this will be reassuring to someone else out there who is currently thinking of or trying to conceive.

Blown Expectation #1: Pregnancy with CF would be very hard.
This has been one of the biggest shockers to me as I've gone through the pregnancy. I had always heard general horror stories of how bad you feel in pregnancy. You know...miserable, exhausted, nauseous, sore all the time, etc. Obviously most of these people I have talked to do not have a chronic disease. I'm not saying there aren't days when I feel bad because I certainly do, but then again that's how I felt with my CF anyway. I'd have days (prior to pregnancy) when I felt miserable; I'd be in so much pain from CF tummy issues, I'd be exhausted and sore from coughing so much, and all I would want to do is sleep. I promise you that pregnancy has NOT been worse than those days. Personally, I believe that for many (normally healthy) people, pregnancy is an introduction to something many CFers know about: The Spoon Theory.

If you're unfamiliar with the spoon theory, please take time to read the linked article as it is quite accurate. Basically, for those with a chronic illness, you only have so many "spoons" that you can use a day. When those "spoons" are gone, then you can't do anything else. It's about reserving energy for what's important and some (most) days you have fewer "spoons" in your reserve than you'd like, but there's not much you can do about it. We CFers are used to this. We understand that we have to make important decisions based on how we will feel later or if we'll have time to get our treatments in. Pregnancy is similar because you have to prioritize since you are exhausted or too sore/big to do much.

Truthfully, after dealing with CF for my entire life, Pregnancy has not thrown anything at me so far that I can't handle. It's been a beautiful experience and when I'm hurting, exhausted, or nauseous, I just remind myself that I've felt much worse.

Unexpected #1: CFRD is hard in pregnancy
This was an expected but unexpected at the same time. I knew it wouldn't be easy to control my CFRD in pregnancy, but I didn't realize just how hard it would be. My sugars are crazy now that I'm pregnant, and when I hit a high number I immediately feel so guilty and worried that I'm hurting my little girl. The crazy thing is that I can eat the same meal two days in a row with the same amount of insulin and I'll have two completely different sugars two hours post dinner. It's so frustrating because I just never know what to expect fully. I am doing my best to keep my sugars lower, but sometimes I hit a really high number and I just have to work on getting it down as fast as possible. I then sit and pray that God will protect my little miracle girl because I certainly am not doing the best job of it. This has been the area where I have felt the most overwhelming guilt during this pregnancy, and it's so hard not to worry.

Unexpected #2: I wouldn't want more kids
Ok, I should start off by saying that if I was healthy, I'd want at least two more kids. Before getting pregnant with our little girl, I knew I wanted more than one. Both my husband and I felt this way. Then once I became pregnant, I realized I couldn't go through this again and risk my health when I already have a daughter at home who needs her mom. I've decided that (unless it happens naturally) our little girl will be our only child. It hurts to think about this, but I also know I can't jeopardize my health for my own selfishness.

I have more of these that I've thought of as the pregnancy has gone on, but this post is getting quite long already. I just know that I have been incredibly blessed to be able to carry this little girl, and I can't wait to meet her in three months! 


  1. Oh sweetie - your little girl will be just fine! From what I've heard about diabetes and pregnancy, the outlier sugars aren't the issue, it's how well it's controlled overall, which you are doing BEAUTIFULLY. I'm praying for you guys. I know that she is going to be perfect!

    I find it really interesting that you and I have sort of come to the opposite decision after your last point. Before I got pregnant, Mahon and I had always said there would be no more than one pregnancy, expecting that it would be very difficult and dangerous for my health and something I would either not recover from, or not recover easily from. However, pregnancy has gone so much better than I had ever expected that it really makes me think we could do it again! It would have to be once CK was old enough that she could be semi-independent and able to cope with me being on the couch for 9 months. I figure by the time she's 3 or 4 she should be able to be entertained by me laying down with her and playing blocks, coloring, watching movies, etc., and at that point I think I could do another pregnancy. I've had a lot of random pregnancy complications but overall it's been so much better than I'd ever anticipated! Mahon keeps reminding me that we will just have to cross that bridge when we come to it, though. ;) I think that the first year or two of CK's life will be much harder on me than pregnancy.

    Anyway, I'm so excited for you to be 25 weeks! How amazing. :) And don't worry. I've decided a biological switch turns in the last few weeks of pregnancy and you start really wanting that baby OUT OF THERE. My pregnancy was absolute bliss up until about 2 weeks ago. Now I'm still enjoying it, but on the whole, REALLY ready for this baby to just get here already! ;)

  2. Thank you so much for your comment, Cindy. I'm trying so hard to keep her safe and healthy. I appreciate the prayers.

    I'm so glad that you guys are deciding to have more children. You have handled the pregnancy so well, and I'm so glad it has gone so beautifully for you. :)


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