I am a few weeks past the first trimester now, but I wanted to go back to discuss some of what it was like for me those first 12 weeks (or 13 or 14 weeks, depending on who you ask) of pregnancy, some because of the ostomy, some just in general.
What I have experienced so far:
- I’m sure you all are very aware of my hydration issues and they have only gotten worse since getting pregnant. I have had the hardest time with drinking enough and even when I do, I still feel pretty parched. I know it’s only going to matter more going forward as my skin stretches and I have lots of things my body needs to produce for the little one.
- Thankfully, I have not had to deal with morning sickness! But I can only imagine that would make the hydration issue even more severe.
- I have, however, been eating lots (and lots) of food. I’m to the point now where I’m pretty much hungry all of the time… Kind of reminds me of being on prednisone, when the only thing I could think about was food. Because of this, I am also emptying my bag a lot more often than usual.
- It is difficult to find the right foods to eat. Fruits and veggies, fruits and veggies! That’s all you hear that you need to be eating more of and we all know how difficult that is for ostomates. I was eating a lot of apples for a while, but then I started getting very thick and firm (albeit fairly fragrant smelling) output that I was afraid of causing a bigger blockage.
- Oh my gosh, I’ve been so tired! For a few weeks there, I could hardly make it through a whole day without needing a nap. And I took quite a few. (Growing a human is hard work!) Now that I’m into the 2nd trimester I’ve gotten a bit of my energy back, but still not quite 100%.
- I’ve already had a few people feel the need to touch my belly (thankfully all family, so far) and make comments like, “I think I can see a little something.” Then I have to reply with, “Nope, that’s just my ostomy bag.” (Face in palm.)
- I’ve noticed in the last few weeks of the first trimester that my ostomy bag had not been sticking as well as it usually does. I don’t think it was from my belly growing, because there hadn’t been much change in that area at that point. And this may be something that is totally unrelated to pregnancy, but I have to wonder if my skin has changed or something like that.
- joy at getting to see the little peanut and hear his/her heart thumping away!
Things I am nervous about in the future:
- This is one of those, “only someone with an ostomy” things, but one of my biggest fears is how being pregnant is going to affect my stoma. My surgeon did an amazing job with mine and it’s right in the perfect place and the perfect size and everything, and I am concerned about it never being the same again.
- I am thankful that all of my doctors have told me that I should not have to worry about any challenges or differences because I have an ostomy, except for the fact that my intestine could get in the way at times, especially during the third trimester. I know this can also lead to blockages as my belly grows, so I’m not sure what to expect in the later months as the baby gets bigger.
- So far, the only unwelcome belly touching has come from my family, but I know that for someone reason, people just want to touch a pregnant woman’s belly, even one they don’t know. (I’m sorry, but when is it ever OK to touch another person’s stomach without their expressed permission??!) And having an ostomy adds in a whole other level of concern about people touching your belly.
- This is honestly not a major concern for me, at this point, but in the back of my mind I have thought about how this might affect my Crohn’s disease. I’ll continue praying that it stays as it has been… quiet.
Things I am excited about in the future:
- One thing I didn’t realize before getting pregnant is how rarely you actually get to see the baby. In the first trimester, I only had one chance to see the little one and he/she was teeny tiny and then we got to hear the heartbeat a few weeks later. So I’m super excited about getting to see the baby again and this time when they actually look more baby-like!
- I have felt lots of movement in my stomach in the past, but I know feeling a baby moving around in there is going to be completely different! I can’t wait until he/she is big enough to actually feel.
- I bought maternity pants and it’s like they were made for someone with an ostomy. They’ve got a stretchy belly band at the top, so I’m looking forward to getting to wear them. I may never wear normal pants again after this!
For anyone who has been through pregnancy with an ostomy before, what was your experience like? For those who have not, what are some of your concerns if you decide to do so?
Here’s a little more about my experience getting pregnant with an ostomy.