Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lyme disease and pregnancy

* Disclaimer - This is not medical advice or a medically-based post, simply my experience.

Before I got pregnant, I was doing ok.  I'd probably say I was at about 80-90% most days.  I occasionally had some fatigue. My nerves sometimes freaked out and started acting like I was hooked up to a low voltage machine pulsating electric current through my fingers and sometimes my legs.  I still often felt like I was sitting on top of a washing machine, my insides vibrating to the point it often made it hard to sit still.  And the dizziness was better, though I still had days where I was really dizzy, in particular if it had been a long day.  I had been on the heavy metal chelation protocol, and even though it helped tremendously sometimes I was a little lazy about my meds.  Honestly after two years of daily meds, I was just tired of popping pills, even if they made me feel better.

Getting pregnant was not exactly our plan this summer.  While I definitely was talking about babies (baby fever and on my 30 before 30 list), we were looking more at next winter, not right now.  You'll also remember that I was afraid to get pregnant myself because we weren't sure how my body was going to handle the pregnancy.  I would be lying if I didn't say that it scared me (and still scares me) that my Bell's Palsy could come back.  And even if I wasn't any worse pregnant, I certainly knew that pregnancy itself has a tendency to kind of make you feel, at least for twelve weeks or so, that you've been mauled by a bear and yet are expected to feel so, so blessed when all you want to do is throw up on the shoes of the people who are talking about what a wonderful blessing this kid is.  I have been sick for long enough, and the thought of nine more months made me cautious about pregnancy, even if I truly did want another child.

I joked with my Lyme doc that since I couldn't make up my mind about how to complete our family I just threw my hands up and let the universe decide for me, which is ridiculous because I understand biology, and well it's far less complicated than whatever the divine plan is will happen.

And as it turns out, my fears about my Lyme symptoms so far have been mostly unfounded.  According to my doc, most women tend to have a reduction of symptoms when they are pregnant (and my totally unscientific theory about this is that chronic lyme can turn into an autoimmune issue and for me, I'm almost certain it's more autoimmune than active infection).  But I was still nervous.  I know where I tend to fall in the odds category, and it doesn't often seem to be with the majority.

I stopped my chelation meds once I found out I was pregnant.  The last thing I needed to do was load a tiny fetus up with some mercury and lead!  I was worried that my dizziness would return, but I've actually had far fewer days where I feel chronically dizzy.  I still have episodes, but after three (THREE!) years of nearly round the clock spinning, I will take mere episodes.

I have also had some neuropathy, especially at night in my hands, but I had that with Kellen and is likely more related to the pregnancy than the lyme.  B6 seemed to temporarily help that, but it does appear it's back, and I have returned to the oh-so-chic wearing of wrist guards at night.  They really freak Kellen out.

Honestly, the hardest thing for me so far has been the nausea.  With Kellen I got sick, but then I felt immediately better.  With this bundle of joy (;-)) I feel sick from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed, and even if I'm hungry, food makes me feel worse.  I finally got some meds for the nausea yesterday and have finally been able to eat, even though the meds give me a headache, so I'm also taking Tylenol.

Speaking of meds, I'm also taking a mild antibiotic in the event that I still have the Lyme bacteria.  One of the pitfalls of the current state of Lyme disease is that there is no way to ever be sure that the bacteria has been fully eradicated.  And it's just not a chance we're willing to take. So much for being tired of taking pills!

Overall, I honestly feel better than I have in a while, other than the not being able to eat or drink thing.  Even with the pregnancy fatigue, I still feel like I'm able to do more than I have in a while, and I'm hoping that a second trimester energy boost will help even more.

It's hard to predict how I'll feel the next six months and if the Lyme symptoms will stay at bay.  But for now, I feel really lucky, and I'm glad that we were forced into this situation, that I didn't have to make a choice about our family in terms of being finished or surrogacy or taking this risk.  More than that, I'm glad that I haven't felt worse than before, which would have made me feel guilty about this pregnancy.  I'm hoping that I am just as lucky post-partum.

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