My Life as a Switchfoot Song/Problems in Paradise

When I first started treatment and was in the pits of herxing hell “Love Alone is Worth the Fight” was my mantra. If you’ve seen my hashtags of my photos with this now you know why. We have one life God graces us with and I want to to well…live it well. If I have just a moment of feeling good I want to go out explore His world, see/make art, play with my children, eat great food. Even if I don’t feel great I still want to make good use of these minutes. When you have a chronic illness you don’t know what or when your sbility to live it well is going to be diminished. So anyway how have I been feeling? Let’s break it up in segments. I’m about 2 years into treatment.. 

 Immediately post pardom:

I felt great, like for real like old me. My head was clear. I had my rainbow baby, my vbac…amazeballs for lack of a better word. I probably overdid it. I had a little BP issue at first. That was strictly post pardom issue and my OBs told me to rein it in and did. So I continued to feel like old pre-Lyme me. My Lyme doc had mentioned at my last appointment sometimes delivery resets the immune system and I was hoping that’s what happened. 

4 weeks in and when it went bad…

On about a Wednesday we found out my In-laws would be there that same weekend. They stayed Locally in a hotel which helped the last minute visit. Having someone to run around with R was great..the ramification of the visit was that when they left immediately my husband had to work on a paper that was due on Monday. So I was full on duty with the kids and house 4 weeks post pardom. Well at least the next day me and the kids could blast the AC watch movies and have a jamma day???? Wrong. My son woke up with an epic stomach bug. So I had him on the other side of the room trying to not get my little little baby sick. Up and down the stairs I went laundry, cleaning floor, mask on, scrub hands, nurse baby, eat a protein bar, play nurse rinse repeat… I think one day I earned the sky scraper badge on Fitbit. Two days later hubby came down with it. So they went downstairs and I was fully in charge of everything for two weeks. (Hubby was better in a couple days but R took two weeks and we didn’t want baby to be sick so we were overly cautious. ) it worked she never got sick. 

Move Prep

Right after that we rolled right into move prep. At the time I was still reintroducing Meds back in. I was cheating on my diet here and there . I cleaned that up and made sure to rest when I could. So I was “moderately functional but not fully present” if that makes sense. I had one of my best friends visit and that was just wonderful, gave me a little pep in my step. I had family come visit to help and visit when my husband went out of town for work. I did what I could and had help but it still was probably more than ideal for a Lymie post pardom. 

Trip back home

Seeing we were about to be moving a an ocean rock so far from family and friends we planned a trip back home to visit. We also were planning a baptism. There was some drama that was out of our control that ended up adding major stress. (Remember stress being a major flare inducing trigger for me?). Thankfully the joy of seeing my family took away from that once we made it.  My son did end up picking up a nasty virus while there unfortunately..

  
 
Part one of the move 

That was uber stressful. My husband last minute changes plans and dropped the dogs off at the pre-flight airport hotel. So I was stuck at the hotel with a sick four year old, baby and two dogs for more of less two days. Stresssss

Hotel living

Aside from the delayed flights that made our awake time over 26 hours we made to and the kids were great on the flight. Of course it wasn’t all fun we did have basement laundry time and had to deal with limited space but overall it was nice. I ate well, had some good vitamin D time, exercised when I could, listened to music. I felt pretty good. Some highlights:   

    
 
And then….

Hawaii is expensive right..well duh. Our rental car needs to come out of pocket, our car was still on a boat…We find out then that if we don’t sign a lease asap in town we are going to be offered base housing on a different base than my husband works and we decline we will lose than money we have to live on during travel. So we did non stop house hunting. Prospects weren’t good…small (like our furniture wouldn’t for small) no AC (remember Lymies often have heat intolerance). Finally we found a house in our desires area. No AC but they would allow window units, nice breeze , fruit trees. Another family put in an application much like last year in VA but we got it this time.  

 
But then…

What’s a lymie’s biggest fear moving to a humid environment???? Yup you guessed it. MOLD. Mold illness in itself is a big deal, when you have a chronic illness it creates a myriad of problems. Upon moving in I would break out into hives, my heart rate would drop dangerously low at night, the following day I would be dizzy and out of breath. Sure enough I discover a couple areas of mold/water damage. 

   
Our landlords are wonderful and took care of things right away. I wasn’t surprised. This home is gorgeous and you could see the care they took in it. The fridge was an easy fix. The bedroom however was not. Their builder flew out from the mainland and had to fix the shower that was leaking into the master. After that he had to clean the mold. The antimicrobial stinks to high heaven. Even my hubby who doesn’t have a great nose is bothered by it. To the point we are waiting on a shipment of an another air purifier before we can sleep in there, or attempt it at least. (Ps the Germ guardian air purifier is awesome. No hives since then).

Some more low lights: 

  1. Broken washer. The delicate cycle is broken, even worse is that it Russian roulettes bleaching loads of clothes (we don’t use bleach) who can afford to replace entire wardrobes? New one thankfully coming end of month. 
  2. Being a one car family for long while. I’ve used my car three times total while living on island. The lack of independence and feeling trapped is tough. Thankfully my husband got a new to him car recently.
  3. My son’s pre-k was full…and then week before opened a spot up. Great but stressful seeing opened up just days before day 1.
  4. Dogs are being eaten alive by something. They have spots gone on their fur. They are on preventatives, had extensive check ups before we left and are bathed regularly so who knows
  5. Holter monitor while nursing in the heat is rough…
  6. It’s HOT so very hot. No AC is tough with a chronic illness. My neighbor who has been here for ten years says its abnormally not this bad. 
  7. Thanks to the folks no disconnecting my car battery it corroded and died last week right before I was to pick son up at school. So back to not driving 
  8. Just being unsettled for this long. It seems like Lyme treatment where one problem is solved ten more Pop 

Highlights:   I am grateful for a lot. Every morning that I wake up, my daughter is healthy and thriving, my son is loving school and my husband is “home”. The place is gorgeous, people are so friendly and someday I’m sure we’ll laugh at the time we weren’t really feeling the aloha but no is tough. My health is really compounding that.

Symptoms now:   My left leg is covered in KT tape/tons of pain, on/off dizziness that occurs mostly at night, some headaches, anxiety, brain fog, brachardia at night, fatigue, some depersonalization, had one day of fever. I need to amp up my treatment soon.

I’ll hopefully update this more frequently. I keep my Instagram very up to date if you want to follow my progress or regression… Here are some highlights in picture form:  

    
   

    Faith over Fear

    Somewhere in my third trimester I came across this phrase printed on a necklace by Natalie Grant. I didn’t buy it (I know suprise suprise..perhaps I will later ) but it became sort of my mantra for the remainder of my pregnancy. I didn’t always succeed at it but it was a good reminder to go back to..sort of like when your mind may wander during Savasana…acknowledge the particular fear and then move on, have faith in God that this time a healthy baby would appear and all would be well. The following is my birth story. I wrote it the day after giving birth so there’s even more typos and grammatical errors than usual but I wanted to keep the freshness as is…

      

    Tuesday I went to my MFM appt (I had been followed due to lyme, multiple losses and being AMA). During a monthly appt last month she had been measuring small so we went to weekly appoints for BPP’s she has been passing all of those but during Tuesday’s appt doc said she hadn’t really grown in the month so we needed to have the baby “today”. So I contact hubby, baby sitter, mom and went home to finalize packing.

     I had feared this meant a repeat c-section because the OB’s office had said they really wouldn’t do much in way of induction because of uterine rupture chances. Thanks to reading vbac success stories and research I knew of the foley bulb and low dose pitocen

    So I called the Ob coordinator and asked about what “having the baby today meant” could we have the membrane stripping, foley bulb, or low dose pitocen. She was going to call and talk to doc. Hours later she called back and said doc talked to OB and he talked to MFM who hadn’t realize I was a vbac so they thought let’s just schedule the csection tomorrow morning. (I had my mom and brother already driving up from MA, sitter had been there for a couple hour, I was in go mode). So i say again can we atleast try those things first since I was going to have my membranes stripped this week anyway? So she had the doctor call me and we talked about it and he was very open to me trying to get those things going before doing the section.

    I had an awesome team of my doula and hubby. We got the foley bub in first, I started having contractions with that and those intensified. Massage, counter pressure, walking, yuji breath, (Stafford has a portable monitor there trying out so my nurse got dibs on it after reading my birth plan). When that finally came out hours later I was about about a four. One of my nurses took IV out early on after giving just one bag of fluid after reading my preferences. (I had been told by office that probably wouldn’t be allowed during one of my appointments). I covered about a 5k walking the halls during the hours of midnight -6. I had lots of runners fuel helping me since I wasn’t supposed to eat (I had gu, NUUN, coconut protein water, I did sneak a runners waffle bar and those things helped so much). By the end of the night somehow I hadn’t progressed much. 

    Early next the other OB on call had come in

    to check, not much progression still. We had agreed on a couple house before starting pitocen. Hubby, doula and I took a nap. For some reason that doc came a less than our later…I was half asleep when he said he wanted to start the pitocin. So I had agreed because I wasn’t awake. Nurse seemed disappointed as I was because she knew I wanted to keep it as natural as possible and contractions probably spaced out because I was sleeping.

    So later that day change of shifts. We pumped pitocen up to a 2. Things intensified further but I was able to breath through everything. Got checked, nothing much changed maybe getting closer to a 5 but that’s it. Bumped up pitocen up to 3. Even stronger contractions but things still weren’t moving as fast or as consistently as they had wanted. Original doc (the one that agreed to me trying for this vbac on Tuesday;) broke my water.

    Between the increased pitocin and that the contractions were too much to handle. Couldn’t breath through them because they came on so fast and furious there was no time find a method to help. Agony. The nurse gave me phentenol (sp)? We had hoped that would be enough because she was so encouraging for me sticking to my birth plan. It didn’t help, at all. Too much. Eventually I pretty much demanded the epi. 

    So they came in and did that. She could see how disappointed I was and reminded me that number one I didn’t want the csection. She had wanted a vbac and never got one. I could do this.

    She went to check and and said “it’s time to push”. I had expected it to be hours. I went from like a 4 and some change to ready in like 20 minutes. I ended up having my favorite OB arrive for delivery, she was great. A very relaxed situation. I got to have touch crowing, she was immediately on my chest (prior to bathing for a half hour or so) . She’s rooming in… While it was exactly how I envisioned I got my vbac, my rainbow baby and great support.      


      


       

    Some thoughts after the fact:  At first I was very disappointed it wasn’t a “natural birth” but as i reflected on previous research I realized how lucky I was to have the birth I got . When you have to have all of these medical interventions (and it was necessary Evelyn was born at 5lbs 12oz at 39w2 and had already surpassed her birth weight at first docs visit/yay breast feeding) your chance of a vafibal birth period goes down. It was either induction or repeat c-csection. And when I stalled on progress with just the foley bulb and stripping alone I could of very easily been encouraged for a section by the doc that started the pitocen. And as my doula had mentioned the epidural did exactly what we needed it to:  I went from a 4.something to a 10 in about a half hour…so I’m at peace. It was a night and day experience from my first birth, I went close to 20 something hours in labor without so much as a Tylenol, I got to hold my baby right away even before cord was cut and she never left my side. 

    Thank you to my team:  

    It would not have been possible without my team medical and other wise:

    1.  My lyme doctor:  She kept me on the right Meds to keep me healthy enough to stay pregnant and keep the lyme at bay.
    2. My Ob team:  (Women’s Health and Surgery)they never once blanched at the Meds I needed to take, didn’t deny my lyme, got me my vbac with a healthy baby girl. 
    3. My Maternal Fetal medicine doctor: (Dr.Dhillion). The extra monitoring was huge both for my sanity but for keeping tabs on baby E. She’s here and healthy.
    4. My doula :https://www.facebook.com/DivineDesignDoula/ . I seriously can’t say enough. She pointed me to the right research, helped me get the birth I so needed and was an immense support.
    5. My prenatal yoga http://dragonflyyogafred.com/ Not only did she help me find a positive place in pregnancy which was huge for a pregnancy after loss mama but also physically prepared my body for labor, so many less aches and pains than with my son. I felt good and for someone with lyme that’s huge. 
    6. My maternity/newborn photographer , Chasing Dragonflys http://kmphotography2538.zenfolio.com/. Another component in finding positivity in this pregnancy. I found the celebration elemend in her work.
    7. And the L&D nurses at Stafford:  I leaned when my son was in the NICU nurses are basically my heroes. I couldn’t of had such a positive experience without these ladies. 
    8. And lastly my family, friends hubby and God. This pregnancy was daunting but people who leant a supportive ear during helped so so much.