Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Story: Pregnancy at 46-- Part 3

Couldn't resist this picture. I am holding my grandson
Leo about an hour after he was born.
December 23, 2015
So I ended with the visit to my naturopath in the last part...

The words of my naturopath that January day left me stunned.  I am still in a stun. As she was dealing with me, she dealt with a boatload of spiritual dynamics that I only half way remember, but one thing I do clearly remember are the steps she suggested and I followed. The chaplet she suggested I do daily for at least the next  4 weeks at least  (I ended doing it for 6 weeks then switched over to 2 different novenas). Also I needed to spend time in church dealing with things I had held on to that needed to be let go of and cleansed out. Finally I needed holy water to protect the two babies that were still there from any darkness-- especially the darkness trying to convince me they weren't there.

I stopped to get gas after leaving her office, but instead pulled into a parking lot and cried. In the office we had talked about what Jo had believed... Joseph is my brother who died when my biological mother was pregnant with both of us. We were twins and he passed when my bio mother was about 16 weeks pregnant with both of us. All my life I've had visions of heaven and my brother... It doesn't make sense to most people, but it is a fact of life for me. When we do NET I will go back to emotions or beliefs that come from my brother. This time we talked about Jo. My brother is never referred to as Jo, but as Joseph. But we talked about Jo being afraid of being forgotten. As I cried I had a vision of a little girl holding hands with my brother and grandmother (I lost my grandmother when I was 13). These are the two people that really define my life. I cried because I knew this was the child I had lost. And suddenly I knew that the 'Jo' who was afraid of being forgotten was my little daughter. I suddenly had another glimpse of her praying for the protection that God had put around my womb, and being there with her two siblings-- fighting for them, and somehow understood what had been happening for the last several months. In that moment I knew her name-- Jo-- Josephine Dorothy-- after my grandmother and brother who seemed to be guiding her actions and helping her know what to do, and the two people I love so dearly, but no longer can touch. For a long while I cried. “Oh Jo, I will never never forget you... Just like I will never forget my brother. You gave your life to protect them, just like Joseph did so I could live...” It hit me so hard and for days afterward. Everything I had experienced made sense. My body kept anything that might harm away. Everything inside of me was protecting these two little spiritual beings. My two little miracles that God kept referring to, telling me to “Believe His miracle.” Right then the thought of not believing would have seemed more like forgetting Jo than anything. How could I not believe? I wanted all three of them, but Jo was already beyond where I could hold her.  I would be damned if I let anything happen to the two that were still there!

So Meg had researched a healthy diet for twin pregnancy and had printed a daily check-off sheet so that I could be sure I was eating right for their growth. I began on that. I was taking iron here and there, but I was having extreme exhaustion. So she convinced me to take iron daily. As I did, I began feeling so much better. Each time there was a problem we tweaked something, and it was amazing the difference it made along with daily prayer, and faith that God had this in his hands.

The next Monday I had an appointment with my chiropractor and again she did a doppler, and again she got two heartbeats. This time she told me. “That was two distinct heartbeats in two different locations, and last time the same thing happened.” She didn't say it until I did...
“Twins?” I asked, and she nodded quietly. I don't think she wanted to diagnose, but at the same time I had realized as I watched her getting the heartbeats there were two. It just confirmed what I had heard over a year plus ago from the prophecy and what my nautropath had said when I was there, and also the kicking pattern I was feeling, and the visions I had had once I found out about Jo. Also made sense why the diet was working to make me feel really good.

My chiropractor had a friend who was a sonographer. She had agreed to do a ultrasound if I was interested. I agreed. We scheduled the ultrasound on Monday when I was almost 22 weeks. I was excited and scared. I really wasn't sure how it would go. The more I found out the more that I doubted an ultrasound would be able to see a pregnancy in me.

I do not have a large intestine and so my uterus does not stay in the normal place. I, because of surgery 8 and half years ago (48 stitches right down my middle front from about 2 inches above my belly button to close to my pubic bone.), have massive scar tissue. I am a big girl. I am 5 foot 10 or 11 inches and when they did surgery they had to cut through a 7 inch layer over my organs. Then I was about the same size I was before this pregnancy. I had at one point been 60 pounds heavier, but my change in diet and everything had changed that. So with that seven inch layer still there more than likely and also the scar tissue and the fact that when I laid back so did my uterus, the likelihood of seeing anything wasn't good, and after doing an immense amount of research and talking to people that knew a lot more about this than I do I knew it probably wasn't going to go well. I was hopeful though. So we went in for the ultrasound.

My kidneys looked great. My ovaries and spleen looked great. She checked all my organs. They were perfect. She found my uterus... At least part of it. The top didn't show. But she found the bottom and measured it at 10 cm. She didn't see anything else as far as babies. Disappointment was immense. Everyone left the room except Megan. I asked Megan to have her come back while I was sitting up and try some of the places I was feeling movement. She was very thorough, and she saw my small intestines and how they were very high up. She found a small hernia right below my stoma. She could not ultrasound the area where the scar tissue was. She told me there was no way with ultrasound she would be able to see anything, but that was where I was feeling movement. She tried, and found what she said was my transverse colon with air in it. I spoke up. “I don't have a transverse colon.” She stopped and looked at me for a moment. “Then I don't know... It looks like air in... So they took all your colon?”
“Yes, I don't even have a rectum.”
This is a transverse colon with air in it that I googled.
 What did the sonographer see?
“Oh.” She looked at a few more things, then went back to the 'transverse colon with air in it' and stopped there.
“I don't know what to tell you... You are a puzzle.” For days I thought about that ultrasound. There were no fibroids, no tumors, no problems. My organs were in good shape. But she found a transverse colon that I do not have, and a uterus that was enlarged but with uterine walls that were smooth. And she had disproved that I was in menopause by looking at my ovaries and finding they were normal. In menopause the ovaries shrink up to nothing or close to that. She was impressed by my ovaries and how perfect they were. But she could not prove I was pregnant, and in the end, did not prove that I wasn't either. The thoughts I was left with was the enlarged uterus and the phantom transverse colon. For weeks that puzzled me.

A week later I was feeling movement and had Meg put her hand on my stomach and she felt it too, right where my scar tissue was. A couple weeks after that I went to my masseuse and while she was doing a massage, she also felt movement.

Around this time I had a new symptom I could not make happen... My stoma had been changing shape, which I had read about happening in pregnancy, but in some pregnancies the stoma has so much pressure that more of the small intestine poked through. As I was changing my appliance that covered my stoma I noticed a small tear in the skin and a little bit of intestine poking out near my stoma. This had never happened to me in the 8 ½ years that I had a stoma even as I gained weight and then lost it. But at this point as my stomach expanded my stoma was under pressure. I talked to an ostomy nurse who referred me to talk to a physicians assistant who basically told me that as long as it was not causing me trouble, it was quite normal in the later half of pregnancy. Except for figuring out appliance stuff, it wasn't too much of a worry unless it was causing me trouble. It hadn't caused too much problem, except for having to change my appliance sooner than I was used to. So I decided not to pursue it any further. Honestly, by that point I was pretty much feeling done with most of the medical system.
This is me not pregnant.

At 25 weeks I went into my masseuse again, and she had bought a doppler fetal monitor, and she took a heartbeat. It was in the 130s. As she was doing it, my stomach was moving and once more she was amazed by movement. My stomach was very stretched. I really didn't feel the movement, but she did.

The next week I saw my naturopath again, and she just stared at how much my body changed. She has seen me for 5 ½ years, and worked with me at my highest weight. This day she just stared at me and my very rounded stomach.
“I have never seen you like this!” I laughed and shrugged at her comment. She has never seen me pregnant. I looked very similar to how I looked when I was pregnant with Hope.
“Are you at your highest weight?” I wasn't and still am not. In fact, I am about ten pounds from that weight, and my legs and arms are losing weight while my middle keeps looking more and more like a butterball. She continued not to know what to think as she NET'd two little people inside of me and their fear of not surviving. She dealt with some bacteria issues and helped me figure out what to do to heal that without it impacting my twins.

I saw her again in April and she laughed at how the impossible sure seems possible with me. From doing NET again all seemed fine.

Right now, my body is doing great. We check my blood pressure and doppler the heart rate of the babies weekly. We also do urine checks for protein and about ten other things. My liver started having a little extra throw off of bilirubin so I added some Milk Thistle and a homeopathic and that seemed to clear it up for the most part. I am on a very detailed diet to keep me and the babies healthy. As long as I follow it I feel pretty good. Each day I get exercise, but walking is a little slower because I get short of breath pretty easy. Heartburn is my new friend lately, so little meals almost constantly are the order of the day. Each time I go to my chiropractor I weigh myself. Even though this diet has me consuming between 3 & 4 thousand calories a day my weight has been steady these last weeks. Before September if I had consumed ¼ of what I eat now I would have been a hell of a lot bigger than I am now in all my body parts! Instead my belly is expanding but the rest of me is not. Before this I pretty much did not eat grains. I stuck to a careful vegetarian diet and if I veered even to eating a small amount of rice I swelled up horribly. Now I have between 4-6 servings of some kind of bread/grain a day, and if I do not eat everything I have issues with low blood sugar. My protein is beyond belief! And I still eat a ton of veggies, but now have to make sure I eat 3-4 servings of fruit-- Do not like fruit for the most part. I would eat strawberries and that was about it. Now I even drink orange juice and eat mangoes sometimes. Meg has me eating a banana a day to keep away the leg cramps I started having a month or so ago. As much as I hate bananas I do it because it has worked. When I forget I get the leg cramps back along with restless leg type stuff. Also if I forget my iron I am fatigued beyond belief. So I stick with it, and it has been good.

Made an error earlier.  This was me
at 21 weeks at the end of January.
The reality is that no doctor will see me. No midwife will take me. So Meg and I are working on our game plan. Officially I am not pregnant, but my massage person, Megan, my chiropractor, my naturopath, and my family all firmly believe I am pregnant with twins. My expanding belly points to that, the movement points to that, my ever shortening belly button points to that, the weekly sets of doppler heartbeats taken by three different practitioners point to that. So I am going with it. My belly sure has never moved this much on its own without a baby being involved! And all the symptoms are really weird even if this was a phantom pregnancy... Besides do you get heart beats with a phantom pregnancy? That would be strange-- down right spooky.

I have three more weeks today. My goal is to go for at least 10 more days because I want my kiddos to have the best chance possible. I think they probably had a pretty hard start, but I am trying to make up for that, so I am working hard to do the best I can, but this has been a prayer and research thing, because I do not have a medical team. I have said that God is my physician and Meg is his assistant.

How will birth go? I don't know.
Where will it happen? That is a good question. At this point we are planning on birthing at home. If something doesn't go right we will go to the emergency room. But going there without a doctor is a little frightening. So I have a birth plan for that. I am hopeful that nothing will go wrong. That is in God's hands though. Meg in a few days is taking a class about emergency birth situation in a home birth setting. This is one of the many ways we have been preparing. My last birth class is this Sunday.  Each day I take time to relax and pray.  And of course there is the physical preparing (nesting) and oh boy has there been preparation there!

This is me at 29 weeks.
Some have warned me that I need to protect my family because CPS will accuse me of neglect because of not having prenatal care. But how can I do that when a doctor won't even see me? And I am working to make sure I am caring for these two and me too. I am doing everything possible in the circumstances I am in. How can that be construed as neglect? I have chiropractic care. I have a massage person that is keeping all my muscles in good order. I am taking birth classes. Daily I am overcautious of my diet and exercise. We are keeping close tabs on my blood pressure (which has been normal except when I got bronchitis). I watch carefully for any swelling that would say there is a problem. We are doing weekly dopplers ourselves to keep tabs on how things are going for the twins. I don't always feel the movements because my belly is very stretched, but sometimes I can watch them even if I can't feel them, and I still do feel the smaller movements several times a day. So we will see if anything can be said against me. I am just walking this one day at a time and praying my way through.

This is me today at 37 weeks.
Not my best I admit, but with feeling
so much lower pressure this was the best
I could do today.
I will tell you, though, with the lack of doctor intervention this last several weeks has been peaceful-- More peaceful than any other pregnancy. So there is something. I've talked with two nurses in the last couple weeks. Both told me if I had been with a doctor they would have insisted at inducing me a 36 weeks because of my age and twins. So maybe going about things as we have had to is a good thing. I know even now my babies are not quite ready to come. Now I'm counting down days instead of weeks though! With my diet I feel better than I ever have before while I have been pregnant. Since I have never had a problem giving birth naturally I am not really scared even if this happens at home. I have a history of fast births, so that could be what happens, but we will see. I am really looking forward to holding my twins. That is my biggest thought... Twins. This is what I look forward to, just holding my two miracles.

After their birth I will post about their coming and more pictures. For right now I am trying to get ready for them!  For right now this is Cat out hoping for another 10 days, but realizing that is in God's hands too.