Tubal Removal

Why I made the hard decision to get my tubes removed, what a salpingectomy is, and why it was crucial for me to consider not having anymore kids.

Hello everyone, once again. I’ve decided to go over a sort of touchy subject, as it’s hard to acknowledge the fact that I will never be able to become pregnant again. At first, I was 100% excited to never be pregnant again (I hate being pregnant for an abundance of reasons, one being the morning sickness I got both times and another is the low confidence I get as I become bigger.) but once it actually happens, and you really cannot, it kind of sucks. Especially only being 21 (and I always dreamed of having tons of children). So why did I make this decision?

Well, for starters, I’ll give you a little backstory of my pregnancies. My first son, Caspian, was born when I was just 18. It was a week before I turned 17 that I found out I was in fact, pregnant. At first, I was TERRIFIED. But the idea of a child grew on me and I was overcome with love and happiness and excitement. My pregnancy was healthy for a while. Despite the morning sickness all day and night up until the day I gave birth at 37 weeks pregnant. Around 35 weeks, I fell out of bed one night, and hit the dresser. It wasn’t that hard, honestly and I mostly just cried because I was startled and it scared me. The day after my mom and I went out and did a maternity photo shoot in my Star Wars Padme cosplay. But when we were there, I was experiencing cramps in which I just assumed was braxton hicks contractions. But as they progressed, I finally decided it’d be best to go to the ER just to see what’s up. So we go, and there they see that I am in fact having real contractions, which were causing Caspian’s heart rate and oxygen to dip pretty drastically every time. They monitored me in the hospital for a week, before deciding to let me go home and informed me I was to come to the triage every 2 days to get monitored for an hour. My first time going back, they admitted me once more, and also did a scan, noticing that there was a placental abruption. I was freaked out. But they wanted me to wait until I was exactly 37 weeks, so there I waited yet another week until they finally induced me at midnight and I gave birth around 7:40 am to my little bean. They proceeded to show me the abruption, while announcing how much larger it was than they had thought, so it was good he came out. But other than that, we had no other issues and Caspian is about to be 3 with still no health problems.

Now, my second pregnancy, as many of you know, took a completely different and drastic turn. Those months of being pregnant were the most terrifying time in my entire life. So let’s start from the beginning. I found out I was pregnant with my second son, Fox, in August of 2019, at 20 years old. And honestly, my fiancé (husband now) and I were actually pretty excited. Him being a first time dad, especially added to the thrill. But toward the end of August, a scary situation happened that I will never forget. One morning, I woke up, and went to the bathroom, only to notice blood. And I mean a SHIT TON of blood. Dark red blood. And I immediately began sobbing, thinking I was having a miscarriage. Now one thing many people do not know, is I had had a miscarriage prior to this very early on that really messed me up emotionally. So right away, Chris and I drove to the ER, frantically but trying to keep positive. We arrived, and at the time I was I think maybe 3 or so weeks pregnant? I can’t totally recall. So they get me into a room and take me to go get an ultrasound. After, I’m escorted back to the room where my then fiancé was and we waited. And waited. And waited. Until finally a doctor came in and informed me that there seemed to be a sack of something in there (I’m so sorry, I forgot what it was called but it was a ball of blood) and couldn’t detect any sign of a baby. So they called it a “threatened miscarriage”, and our hearts just broke. They had given me a number to an OB who wanted to see me in the office in exactly one week and wanted me to get bloodwork done in 3 days because the bloodwork could determine if my pregnancy was progressing. So after three terrible, nerve wrecking, heartbreaking days, I went to get my blood drawn and then 4 more days passed and I went to the OB’s office. I was immediately taken into the ultrasound room after meeting him, and as they scanned around for a little while, there it was. A little baby bean just chilling next to that gross weird sack of blood. It was the biggest weight lifted off my chest to see I was in fact not having a miscarriage. So from then, I continued to have routine checkups.

Now, fast forward to about a week into November. I was 21 weeks pregnant having my mid pregnancy scan, when the room was complete silence. I was alone, as Chris had to work, and I had been used to going to appointments by myself from my first pregnancy. After an hour of the ultrasound, the tech left the room, and came back insisting I go wait in my OB’s office so he can speak with me. And that’s when I knew there was something wrong. I never did that with Caspian and the vibe just felt- off. So I wait. And wait. And wait. For about 45 minutes as my OB had actually been performing a surgery. Once he was done, he came in and sat down. (My OB just an fyi is the most amazing man and I still to this day text him with questions I have and every time I see him, he always asks for pictures of Fox).he looked at me and informed me that my son had multiple anomalies, one including fluid on his brain (hydrocephalus), and what seemed to be some problems with his abdomen. He informed me as much as he could about Hydrocephalus, but this was now a more specialty doctors area, so he referred me to an MFM (maternal fetal medicine doctor). I had to wait until after Thanksgiving so for a few weeks I wondered so many things that just stressed me out majorly. I socially distanced myself (which we all seem to have to do now lol) from pretty much everyone except Chris. I was going through a lot of depression, more than I had before pregnancy, and I just felt lost and scared. So I go to my MFM doctor and they do a like, 2 or something hour ultrasound, where they find and confirm hydrocephalus, but also duodenal atresia (his intestines weren’t connected) and some tiny holes in his heart (you may read about these things and what they mean on my other blog posts). So from then on I had bi-weekly appointments with my MFM to do ultrasounds and such. Eventually, they find that Fox’s thumbs are adducted (meaning they go in toward his palms, which is something he still struggles with and will probably need splints down the road). Now adducted thumbs is an indication of X-Linked hydrocephalus (L1cam). This meaning, he got this from ME. Basically, x-linked is only in boys, and mothers/girls can be carriers of it. They asked if Cas had any disabilities and were shocked to find out no. But in short, it’s a 50/50 chance of any future sons I may have to have hydrocephalus as well. All the other issues this poor kids suffered from, well, we have NO IDEA where they came from!

Well, then a month after Chris and I’s wedding in December, Fox was born on January 27, 2020. But NOT because of him. Sadly, because my body was failing. I had to go in for Non-stress tests every week, and the first one I went to they noticed my blood pressure was SKYROCKETING. This was on Friday January 24, and I was only 28 and like 5 or 6 days pregnant. My ankles were swollen to shit, and they grew concerned that I may have developed preeclampsia. So here I was, being admitted where they planned to keep me until 34 weeks where they would take him out then (because oh, forgot to mention, two weeks prior they saw that my umbilical cord wasn’t transferring nutrients to him anymore and his abdomen wasn’t growing but his head still was and I had a LARGE amount of amniotic fluid build up in my body, hence why my 4’10, average of 115 lb ass was now weighing 157). So I’m admitted into the special care unit and then move to labor and delivery, as they gave me high blood pressure meds that calmed my body down. Well then, Sunday comes around and I wake up around 1 am Monday to my nurse holding the monitor me and looking scared. I asked what’s happening, and my throat is rattling like crazy. Other nurses begin to rush in where they inform me that Fox’s levels are dipping because my body wasn’t doing well. Remind you, I was on percocets and loads of other medicines so I have a very hazy memory of most of this. But then they also discover fluid had developed on my lungs. And my preeclampsia basically could have killed me. So I call Chris, who’s at home with out animals and he rushes to the hospital, where they take me back into OR and put me completely to sleep, taking Fox out at 2 lbs & 3 oz at 29 weeks pregnant via emergency c-section, and then he ended up staying in NICU for 87 days, finally coming home April 23, 2020. They informed me that the only reason he had to come out because of me and my safety as they feared for my life. (Another side note, we found out in March that fox also has two kidneys infused together on one side, causing some issues as well).

After this, I was told that my chances of getting preeclampsia are high if I were to get pregnant again, and that could be life threatening to not only me, but the future baby’s life as well. But then the fear of me getting pregnant with yet another boy, and him having a very high chance of having hydrocephalus or other issues, it all just became clear to me. My body is not meant to have more kids again. On top of my Crohn’s Disease that hit me like a brick fucking wall after having Fox and being practically in remission my whole pregnancy, I knew I just couldn’t put myself through it again. But I also knew, there was no way I could handle life if something were to happen to a future baby of mine. If I had lost a child, I dont know if I could function. The thought alone causes me to tear up. After doctors advising me of my safety and my baby’s safety, and of constant discussions with my family, I knew the best choice would be to just be done with it. Because I know one day, when I want a child again, I will 100% adopt, as there are so many babies in this world who need homes and I have one to give.

Now, you’ve made it this far, don’t back out just yet! I’ve got some information for you.

Salpingectomy- what?!

So what the hell is that big word I just said? It’s a tubal removal, baby! If you only have a partial tubal removal, you have a slight chance of still getting pregnant, as 7.5 women out of 1,000 have still gotten pregnant. But if you have both tubes removed, you can get pregnant through IVF. Even though there is a rare case of a woman getting pregnant without any tubes, which is crazy. But anyways, Salpingectomy is the surgical removal of one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) fallopian tubes. Fallopian tubes allow eggs to travel from the ovaries to the uterus. A partial salpingectomy is when you have only part of a fallopian tube removed. http://healthline.com

I found out about this procedure, which is an alternative to getting your tubes tied, by my OB who prefers this method compared to getting your tubes tied. So instead of going in and burning the tubes (or whatever they do these days) he goes in, for me laparoscopically, and completely cuts your tubes out, and removing both of them entirely. There were three small incisions made in my abdomen. Two on the lower right and left side, and one on the upper left side. The purpose of this compared to just getting them tied, is to reduce your chances of ovarian cancer. The procedure in total took about an hour to an hour and a half, while I was out completely under, and it took me another hour to just wake up, and boy did I wake up. I absolutely hate surgery and anesthesia. I’ve had a total of seven in my lifetime, starting with getting tubes in my ears at 2 years old, and my past five ones being in the span of 2 years. So waking up, is never a fun experience. In recovery, I was given three doses of fentanyl, and some norco, which norco does NOT work on me, so they prescribed me percocet instead. I waited in recovery with my husband for about an hour or so until I finally felt ready to go home. So it’s just an outpatient procedure, which is awesome because I’ll pass on the overnight stay in the hospital. The recovery time is up to six weeks and I was told that it will be difficult to walk for the next three days. Being as I just had this surgery TODAY, I can tell ya, this shit is PAINFUL. I also have a really low pain tolerance, and the air from them inflating my stomach, that went up into my shoulders, hurts like HELL and the only way to get it out is to walk around which will cause you to burp. But um, hello, how the hell do I walk around when I’m in this much pain? Because seriously, It’s almost 3 am and I’m still up, in pain, trying to keep my mind off of it by writing this post.

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So here’s some info on getting your tubes tied . When getting tubes tied (tubal ligation), there are a few ways this can be done. And only 1 in 200 women get pregnant after this procedure. Tubal ligation — also known as having your tubes tied or tubal sterilization — is a type of permanent birth control. During tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are cut, tied or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy Tubal ligation prevents an egg from traveling from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes and blocks sperm from traveling up the fallopian tubes to the egg. The procedure doesn’t affect your menstrual cycle. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/tubal-ligation/about/pac-20388360

The hardest part of all this, is truly knowing I will not have any more kids. And it’s harder knowing the reason I can’t is because of my body for the most part. But everything happens for a reason, and as I said before, there are so many children and babies in foster care and available for adoption, that they deserve a chance. They deserve a life or some sort of normalcy. So here’s to a future of adopting!

On another note, Crohn’s related, I have started my first dose of Humira! So stay tuned for some information on biologics, immunosupressants and how living in a global pandemic while being on meds that take out your entire immune system works!

A List of Worry

I’m actually disappointed at the fact that I need to make another post for the baby so soon. I’ve received some alarming, confusing and concerning news today, that has triggered all red flags in my head, and feel I must make this post before something happens and I can’t bring myself to. Now, please bare with me, as I have no idea what the hell I am talking about. This is all based of research and from what I can recall from my appointment today.

I have a list of everything happening with baby. We found yet another thing wrong and this last thing has us the most concerned. I am 29 weeks pregnant. Women usually give birth between 38-40 weeks. I’m almost there, but sadly, I probably will not make it. I had an ultrasound doppler, which is where they do an ultrasound but instead of really looking at baby, they focus on the umbilical cord to make sure fluid and nutrients are being passed to baby properly. We figured it’d be fine and well, as we have been most of this pregnancy, we were once again wrong. It seems that baby Fox has decided to stop growing at two pounds and now my blood that is going to him, is seeming to come back to me. This should not be happening. Blood should be coming from me and going to him and staying there. This is an urgent issue, as we don’t want anything to happen to him. If a baby stops growing in utero, that baby will most likely not make it and be stillborn if we were to wait until my due date of April 8, 2020. It is the end of January. I am almost seven months pregnant, but still not quite there yet. My blood pressure was also reading 140 over 80, which is high and as the nurse informed me, pretty high compared to my previous BP amounts.

Well, the high risk OB informed me that most women he has told this information to, on average, wound up needing an emergency C-Section within 2-3 weeks from that time he tells them of this. That means in 2 to 3 weeks, baby could be here. But, that means even if he will be able to get the actual care he needs, he will be premature, which is always scary. In 2 weeks, I will only be 31 weeks pregnant. That’s still 9 weeks away from delivery. I now have received information that every week, I need to go to the hospital two times a week and get this doppler done, along with a Non- Stress Test (NST), to monitor him. My doctor informed that even the slightest decrease of health, he will be admitting me right then and there, taking me upstairs, and preparing for C-section. He also said that if baby starts to move less, to immediately go to the hospital, as they’ll need to get him out asap. I had informed him that within the past few weeks, he has moved less. Well, this is why, amongst all other issues.

Now, the list we have been given is as follows:

  1. Severe Bilateral Ventriculomegaly
  2. 3rd Ventricle Dilation
  3. Left Persistent Superior Vena Cava
  4. Suspected Cardiac Defect
  5. Double Bubble
  6. Right Persistent Umbilical Vein
  7. Adducted Thumbs
  8. (We couldn’t read the doctors hand writing so we can’t confirm what exactly this is)
  9. Polyhydramnios
  10. Intermittent absent end-diastolic flow

Now, you’re probably looking at that list like “What the hell does any of this mean?” That was my exact thoughts. Especially when you receive so much information at once, it’s hard to remember what is what. So I am going to do my absolute best, with the help of google, to explain each of these to you.

1&2. Severe Bilateral Ventriculomegaly (SBV) and 3rd Ventricle Dilation (3VD): These are all about the brain/spine. Both are basically what Hydrocephalus is. SBV basically happens one of two ways. Either the brain tissue around the ventricles is less than it should be because of failed brain growth or due to brain injury OR Cerebrospinal fluid which is usually produced within the brains ventricles, abnormally accumulates in ventricles. Aka, too much fluid within the brain i.e. Hydrocephalus. The 3VD is hydrocephalus as well, and the third ventricle in his brain is dilated. When the measurement of the ventricle is greater than 15mm, it’s considered severe.

3&4. Left Persistent Superior Vena Cava and Suspected Cardiac Defect: This is that second vena cava in his heart in which I explained in the last blog post. Instead of having one, like normal, he has two, which wont effect him in any way. The suspected cardiac defect is just the five tiny holes in his heart which will not, as we know of now, require surgery and is not major at all.

5. Double Bubble: Another thing in which I explained prior to this post. This is the obstruction in his belly/intestines which will require surgery after birth and he will most likely have the temporary ileostomy bag. This is one of the more major problems he has.

6. Right Persistent Umbilical Vein: This is said to be uncommon (with only a dozen cases reported since 1826; woah??? I don’t know if I have read this correctly, but alright?). The left umbilical vein becomes occluded and the right persists and remains open. From what I have read, the right umbilical vein is supposed to be gone by seventh week of gestation, but it seems it has remained. Look, I don’t fully understand this one all too much, so look it up if you’d like.

7. Adducted Thumbs: This is what informed us that he was L1 Syndrome. His thumbs go inward toward his palm, rather than outward like normal.

8: We couldn’t read his hand writing for this, so until I know more, this is a ???

9. Polyhydramnios: This is basically just an excess amount of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac. I have read that this is only seen in about 1% of pregnancies. We’ve known for a while there was a lot of fluid within my belly, but I never realized it had a whole name and condition and was so rare. Another reason I feel him move less is because there’s so much fluid, instead of hitting me, hes just hitting through the fluid. It is typically diagnosed when the amniotic fluid index is greater than 24 cm.

10. Intermittent Absent End-Diastolic Flow: So this is where it gets more serious as well. My blood is flowing to baby, but coming back to me. It should not be doing this. It should only be going one way and it’s coming back, meaning that basically, baby isn’t going to grow much more. If this gets worse, he will need to come out asap. Hence why I will be going to the hospital twice a week, along with all my other appointments.

Another note made, was that he is in the third percentile for AC, or in simpler terms, his belly isn’t growing anymore and is very small. One of the doctors said that 10th percentile is low, but 3rd, is really really low. So that’s really nerve wrecking.

So, if you can tell, I don’t exactly comprehend all of this to my full capacity. And it is a bit stressful. It’s terrifying to think I could be having this baby in just two weeks time. I mean, we JUST started buying necessities. But I thought we would have more time! I get so nervous that next appointment, I’m going to go in there and BAM, admitted. I hate getting admitted. Especially when you aren’t expecting it. It’s insane that I’m packing a hospital bag for the potential, because I didn’t think I would need to until at least mid/late March. The only upside to this is that he will be able to grow properly if taken out early. I just don’t know how I’m going to sleep at night with him at the hospital in NICU and me at home in bed. If I could, I’d take all this pain from him and double it on to myself. This baby has been given to me in a time where I feel it has given me a purpose, and the thought of the potential that he may not make it? You really never expect that to happen to you. You hear stories and think “No, that wouldn’t happen to me.” And yet here you are. Wondering every minute if your child will make it. Worrying if he doesn’t move in your belly after 30 minutes or longer. Just waiting, and not being able to do a damn thing. That’s the hardest part. There’s nothing I can do and nothing I could have done to prevent this. Only the fact that it’s happening and you have to accept it.

I asked my OB why they didn’t just admit me now, and in short, he said there would be no point as there would be nothing they can do, except put me on blood thinners for bed rest. He says I have a much better chance of just going about my day, and coming in and out of doctor appointments to check in on everything, to be of more comfort for me. I understand, but it’s terrifying not being monitored 24/7. I feel scared not knowing what is going on with him all the time. I’ve found people who have similar stories and their babies have grown into children, surviving the odds. I can only hope for the same. My OB said he does not think I will make it past 35 weeks, if I’m not admitted sooner. While we plan for normal delivery, there’s a really increased chance of C-Section, which I’m honestly more okay with just due to it being a safer alternative for baby. Let’s just add another scar to my abdomen while we’re at it! (Ileostomy scar it the first). My OB has already started me on the antidepressants I will need. With Caspian, I had postpartum depression really bad, and have struggled with depression and mental health issues since I was 12 years old. I was originally supposed to begin these anti-depressants until 36 weeks pregnant. But since circumstances have changed, I’ll be starting them as of now, to help prevent severe postpartum which could even lead to psychosis. So, it’s better to start now, to give it time to settle in with me. I also have been prescribed infant aspirin, because apparently that helps the blood get moving and could help my blood transfer to baby.

I’m cherishing as many of the little moments as I can now. He likes to move his butt up against my rib cage and stick it out, allowing me to rub it. My mom said I used to love my butt rubbed in the womb. He always does this now. He also likes to hide when getting ultrasound pictures done now. He kicks me if I lay directly on my back usually, almost as if to let me know he’s there. And sometimes if I push on my stomach, he pushes back. I just hope that he can be a fighter, and push through all of this. It’s insane to me and almost surreal that all of this is happening, but all we can do is hope for the best outcome. But, as I always say, everything happens for a reason. I just need to learn to accept it all, and move forward and stay positive.

I will be updating if we find out anything more, as it seems every week there is something new. But, if there happens to not be, I’m hoping my next post about him isn’t until I’m in the hospital or baby is here. I appreciate everyone’s kind words and my best way possible is by updating you all through my blog here or Instagram. Stay tuned.

Resting Moon Face

Yes, It’s a thing.

I’ve probably talked about my moon face to every one of my friends and none of them really knew what I was talking about until I explained it.

Prednisone is a steroid that of which will help with the pain and inflammation temporarily while a different treatment plan is underway, usually.

Well, I’ve been on Prednisone since late November, and let me tell you, it’s nice to have some help with the inflammation in my gut, but the constant eating, and changes in my body are driving me nuts.

For starters, I’ve been getting these bumps on my forehead and my shoulders. They aren’t even pimples, just little annoying bumps. Also, I’m almost always hungry, and everything tastes good. I can’t think of a single food I wont eat. And lastly, moon face. While, I haven’t experienced much weight gain except maybe a few pounds, my face has turned into a literal circle. I see myself and think ‘Human or hamster?’ because I look like a little rodent that kids keep as pets whenever I smile. It’s kind of insane and I absolutely hate it. I have an ileostomy bag at the moment, and I’m more insecure and concerned for the roundness of my face and my puffed out cheeks, rather than the bag full of poop on my stomach.

Now, you may think I’m overreacting, but people have actually noticed this change. So figured I’d provide some photos from when I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s in August of 2018 to just a few days ago in January of 2019, for reference.

Now, it may not look like a lot, because it really is just my face that’s gaining the weight, but I mean, COME ON, I totally look like a little hamster or something. And it’s fine, because I know once I’m off Prednisone in a few weeks, it’ll go back to normal, but wowza, gotta love modern day medicine and the lovely side effects!

So when you hear someone refer to moon face, this is what they mean. Medicine can have lots of negative side effects, and it sucks when the thing that’s helping your pain is also the thing making you look a way you don’t necessarily like. It’s hard to be positive or feel good about yourself when you can literally see this change happening right in front of you. There are days I just feel so insecure, whether it’s because of moon face, or the little bumps on my forehead, or the bag, I just miss the confidence I used to have and I’m trying so hard to get it back, but it’s hard when medicine is contradicting you. I just remind myself that moments are temporary. I can and I will get my groove back, I just need to keep patience in mind. Nothing happens overnight and right now my health is the main concern.

But damn, I am SO ready to start feeling AND looking good at the same time. So let’s hope when I get my reversal surgery in March, I will be.

Also, remember, if you have a bag, or moon face, or just anything you feel insecure about, try not to stress too much over the little things. We all are trying our hardest and I know sometimes things like this can be very discouraging and frustrating, but honestly, we all are beautiful no matter what. We all have things about ourselves that we consider flaws, but try to focus on it as a unique part of you. It’s what makes you, you. And we need to learn to just embrace ourselves and love every part of ourselves, because that’s the key to being not only happy, but healthy.

So ladies and gents, embrace that moon face, because it’s the only face you got and there’s no point in dwelling on it!