Sunday, June 24, 2018

My Bliss

I had babies early in life.  And they were no surprise...

I made the decision to have babies young, knowing family life was the life I wanted to pursue.  I tried to get pregnant with Andy for only 3-4 months before he was conceived.  I found out I was pregnant about a week before the 9/11/01 attacks, and on that day I sat and cried, wondering why I would want to bring a child into this world.  I was just a couple weeks away from turning 21 years old.  He was born in May 2002.

Andy's birth photo - May 6, 2002
Once Andy was a little over a year old, his dad and I decided to give him a sibling.  I grew up an only child and never wanted my kids to know that boredom.  I was always sad that I didn't have a brother or sister (or more) to at least talk to while I was growing up.  I conceived Evan almost immediately upon the decision to get pregnant again.  He was born in July 2004, making my boys just over 2 years apart.

Evan's birth photo - July 1, 2004
Then came Cory, who was a surprise.  I did want a 3rd child, but his timing was not planned.  And I was hopeful and convinced that I would have a girl.  When I found out during my 20 week ultrasound that he was a boy, I cried.  But he was a blessing anyway, because I am very happy to have three boys.  Cory was born in August 2005, making him only 13 months younger than Evan.  I made sure to enjoy every moment of his pregnancy, knowing he would be my last.

Cory's birth photo - August 8, 2005
At the time of Cory's birth I opted for a tubal ligation.  I decided at that point, with all the unpredictability in my life, and unstable relationships and finances, three babies was more than enough to take care of on my own.  I was only 24, but I knew I could handle no more.  I regretted the decision immediately, wishing I had gotten some sort of birth control like an IUD instead.

Years passed, and a few relationships came and went where a tubal ligation reversal was considered and discussed.  It never happened because none of those relationships were the right ones.  None of those guys were worth having a baby with, and I knew it.  Today, I am very thankful for those decisions - the tubal ligation, and the decision to never have a reversal with anyone else.

I always had regret though.  My body was a perfect creator of babies, my pregnancies were always uneventful and my babies were all born big and healthy.  I felt like I was wasting my potential.  I considered being a surrogate mom a few times, but as I was unemployed and on government assistance, agencies and potential parents would have seen it as a money making scheme and my demographics as such disqualified me.  When all I really wanted was just to be pregnant and give families the babies they always wanted.  But eventually, after years, I accepted the fact that I would never be pregnant again.  I have always loved being a mom, and at this point I just became even more focused on my boys.

Cory, Andy, Evan - April 2007
Then Jarrod walked into my life.  He had had some of the same experiences - being the solely responsible parent the majority of the time with his kids, then dating and not wanting babies with other people.  He had a vasectomy and had accepted he would not have any more kids.  We both were settled into raising our kids and looking forward to our freedom as younger empty-nesters.  But after finding one another, and feeling that strong, otherworldly connection, we knew we were starting over with each other...

The 8 of us - Thanksgiving 2017
We got married quickly, we moved in together immediately, our combined six kids had a lot of adjusting to do suddenly, as did we.  Discussion for having reversal surgeries came to us rather quickly as well.  We just felt it was a NEED we had, to have babies together, to know what they look like when our genetics mix, and to create additions to our family together.  It felt meant to be, like he and I should have done this together from the beginning.  So we got our reversal surgeries and got pregnant immediately.  Unbelievably quick, so much so that health care professionals were stunned.  Which to us, just reinforced the idea that it was meant to be.

Positive pregnancy test and 6 week ultrasound - June 18, 2018
So now I am just about 7 weeks pregnant.  It's something I had accepted would never happen again, and I couldn't be more thrilled that it has!  Knowing I have another life growing inside me, and knowing this new life is the creation of the true love I share with my soulmate is absolute perfection - the best feeling I've ever known.  I am so excited to be carrying our child, to be pregnant, to know I'll be able to feel him/her kicking and playing.... to be able to give birth and share this amazing new chapter of our family together.  This is my bliss!  It's absolute Heaven.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Surprise! I'm Pregnant!

I may have tested negative on Wednesday, May 30th when I needed to start those heavy meds for my infection..... but on Sunday, June 3rd, when my period was due, I tested positive!  WE'RE PREGNANT!!


The morning that I tested, I didn't really have any reason to do so.  I just woke up, thought it was weird that my boobs were more sore than normal, noticed I wasn't bleeding yet, and figured why not, since we had purchased a 3-pack of tests.  So I went into the bathroom and tested.  The positive line came up as quickly as the test line and immediately I was a little freaked out.  Not because I was pregnant - that was EXCITING!!!  But because I had started those antibiotics that I was not supposed to take during pregnancy.  Jarrod had already gone to work that morning, so I texted him and told him to come to get me a little early so we could chat first.  He showed up about half an hour later (but it seemed like I waited for HOURS).  I told him some other random stuff that had been going on around the house, and then handed him the pregnancy test from my pocket.  He was so happy, but also a little hesitant to be happy because of my infection issues and medications.  He couldn't stop looking at the test in awe as we continued to discuss everything on our minds.

It was entirely unexpected, unpredicted, and highly unlikely to happen so soon.  I mean really, I ovulated only FIVE days after Jarrod's vasectomy reversal.  And to quote Jarrod, "The recommended healing time before attempting “relations” was two weeks, and I don’t mind telling you that we have stuck unyieldingly to that medical advice, being the responsible adults that we are and whatnot."  So I don't know how that could have possibly happened.  Hahaha!

Like the doctor said, those sperm must've been waiting at the gates like racehorses, just waiting for the reversal to be done.  And BAM, pregnant!  But we've waited to tell anyone because first of all, the test was positive on the actual day of my period being due.  Which would have made me only 1 day short of being 4 weeks along.  That is very early to know for certain there will be a future for this tiny life.  Also, with my tubal reversal, there is a higher chance of ectopic pregnancy, and we wanted to wait until we had all our early testing and viability ultrasound done before we even told our kids and the rest of our family, let alone going public with it all.


Well, today I am officially 6 weeks and 5 days along, and we got our ultrasound to make sure baby is where he/she is supposed to be, and all is well!  And with that information we were able to tell the kids and other family members.... and now share it with the world!  We are so excited that this happened, especially so quickly!  Baby is due February 11, 2019. There will be plenty of updates along the way!  So stay tuned...

Published 5 days ago on HesseLane.life.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Not The Boobies!

Part 1 - 5 June 2018

As most everyone knows by now, I had a breast reduction on September 1, 2017.  It was a pretty drastic reduction, but was deemed medically necessary because of the pain it was causing my back, shoulders, neck, skin, etc.  I was excited to get it done!  The surgeon, Dr. Coster, assured me he wouldn’t go too small, since I felt it was a part of my identity.  However, immediately after the surgery I was extremely unhappy with the results.  The pain from having large breasts was gone right away, but I felt he went WAY too small.  He again assured me that with healing, they would settle and be exactly what I wanted.  I had no choice but to take his word for it.  As the settling of my breast tissue progressed, it felt lumpy and bumpy and sometimes painful.  But overall, it wasn’t a terrible process.  I must say though, still not too thrilled with how small he went, I would have been happy with about another cup size larger.  But there’s really nothing to be done about that now but accept it and move on.

Fast forward to 6 months later, in March of this year.  There was a painful lump about maybe the size of a large marble that was not going away in the top part of my right breast.  I made an appointment and talked to Dr. Coster about it, and he told me it was still settling breast tissue, and not to worry too much about it.  But it didn’t go away.  And it continued to be painful.

In April I had an unrelated illness, a tonsil infection, for which I was given 3 weeks of antibiotics and steroids for the inflammation.  To my surprise, the lump in my breast went away as the tonsil infection went away.  I really didn’t think much of it until the steroids and antibiotics were done.  About a week later, the lump in my breast came back.  I made an appointment, and in the 4-5 days it took until that appointment date, the lump quadrupled in size and became much more painful.

Still, when I saw the Dr. Coster toward the beginning of May, he told me it was just settling breast tissue, and I explained what happened with the course of treatment I had for my tonsil and stressed the pain and concern I had.  So he gave me some stronger antibiotics.  They did no good, so after a week I was prescribed the same antibiotics I had been on for my tonsil.  So another week later, the antibiotics had not worked, and he did an ultrasound.  He found a pocket of fluid, and aspirated some of it with a needle (NO fun at all, I say!!).  He sent me home with more of the same antibiotic and low-dose steroids.  It started to do a little better with the steroids, but as the dose decreased, the swelling increased again.  No relief.

1 day before my next appointment I got a call from the nurse saying the fluid they aspirated had been sent to the lab and cultured.  The nurse said the result was a super-rare bacteria in the same family as Tuberculosis.  She said to keep my appointment and the surgeon would explain in more detail and discuss treatments during that appointment.  So yeah, if you know me, you know I want as much information as possible for whatever new thing happens to me or a loved one, medically.  Science and medicine fascinate me.  So I scoured the internet for information about TB-type infections of adipose tissue (fat tissue).  I found a large number of options of what the infection could be, looked up case studies, and went to bed that night knowing this would be a very long process.

The next day at my appointment, Dr. Coster told me this was a non-tuberculosis atypical mycobacterial infection.  That is basically a long way of saying this is a very, very stubborn and medicine-resistant infection that will take anywhere from 3 to 12 months or more to heal with the proper antibiotics and the potential for surgery to remove infected tissue.  Seems it has a slightly rising occurrence in post-surgical patients, but usually with breast augmentation rather than reduction.  No known cause other than just environmental exposure.  He had only ever seen one other case in his entire career, and he’s a pretty experienced surgeon.  He also said NO PREGNANCIES because nothing about the treatment is pregnancy-safe.  He gave me two antibiotics which have some pretty severe possible side effects – Ciprofloxacin and Clarithromycin, and this note.

It says: Go ahead with Clarithromycin, Stop trying to get pregnant, Once you have a negative pregnancy test, add in the Cipro.

This was on Wednesday, May 30th.  Jarrod and I had been actively trying to get pregnant, so there was a very small chance that I could have conceived during the 2 weeks since his vasectomy reversal.  I took an early-detection pregnancy test that day, being only a couple days from my expected period, and it was very clearly and plainly negative.  So I started taking both medications immediately.

As of today, 6 days later, there has been no improvement.  The lump is a little bigger, and now takes up about 1/3 of my entire breast.  It is painful, and I can no longer go without wearing a bra to bed, which is miserable for me.  My skin is discolored where the lump is, and without the medical knowledge of this possibility, I am concerned this infection will come through the skin.

I have an appointment with a specialist at the Center for Infectious Disease tomorrow (Wednesday), and hopefully he will have answers as to what medications will certainly work.  Hopefully the lab culture results have come back to show what medications this bacteria is sensitive to, and we can hit it hard and kill it!  At this point I am open to anything, even surgical, to get this gone as fast as possible.  Neither Jarrod nor I want to wait an entire year or longer to get pregnant, considering our ages and the financial and emotional investments we’ve made in our reversal surgeries.  But I know being healthy first should be my first priority.  I just want this bacteria out of my body!!!  It’s not welcome here, dammit!

It is also very important to mention here that Jarrod has been amazing through this all.  In our 9 months together, he has been there for me through my tummy tuck and breast reduction, a couple nasty tonsil infections, of course my tubal reversal surgery, and now this.  Seems I just can’t stay healthy these days.  But he is absolutely amazing, supportive, helpful, and always listens to my rants and anxieties, and puts up with my ridiculous amount of intensive research that is admittedly entirely excessive.  He’s the absolute best husband and best friend, and I don’t know what I would do without him by my side.

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Part 2 - 14 June 2018

….to continue this infection “adventure”…

I went to the Infectious Disease specialist, Dr. Kumar, and he noticed right away how knowledgeable I was, and how much research I had done on my own.  In a way, I think that helped him communicate with me.  He was showing me scholarly articles that I had already read on my own to better explain my situation.  Jarrod and I both agreed it would have been a bit more encouraging if he had just been able to tell us the information rather than site articles, though.

Between Dr. Kumar, Dr. Coster, and another doctor, we worked up a plan to get rid of the infection the safest, hopefully fastest way.  But it won’t be pretty:  After showing improvement with the 2 antibiotics, it was decided to bring it down to one for safety, removing the Cipro.  I continue to see gradual improvement with just the one, and it has been a week since it was changed.  Next Thursday (a week from today), Dr. Coster will surgically open and debride the infection, removing all fluids and infected tissue, and then leaving the wound open to heal from the inside out.  This is to eliminate the environment where the bacteria are thriving, and make the single antibiotic as effective as possible.  (Don’t worry, I won’t post photos.)  Once the open wound has healed entirely, and the infection is 100% healed as well, Dr. Coster will then surgically remove the scar tissue and make my breast cosmetically correct again.

My estimated treatment will be approximately 6 months long.  I’m hoping though, with the slight improvement I’ve already gotten, that I won’t have to be on meds that long.  I hope it heals faster than that.

Another piece of this puzzle won’t be figured out for a few weeks yet either.  We know I have the rare atypical mycobacteria infection, but we don’t know which strain or which medication it is most sensitive to.  Those tests take about 6 weeks to get results back.  Once those results are back, perhaps I can be on the one antibiotic that will knock this out the fastest… still hoping for a quicker recovery.

But I know these things take time.  I’m trying to keep myself out of the intensive research and anxiety, keep my eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel and the wonderful man supporting me, and remember this too shall pass.  I have a great team I’m working with, and this will get better.

Also posted on HesseLane.life.