MS, Pregnancy, and an Update

I am not like other pregnant women. I have MS, and I am recovering from a few relapses that swiped me down.  So, I have decisions to make. Always, planning ahead further than I used to, for sure. Where am I going today? Will I be by myself? Will there be any person or device to help me out if I need it? How much walking will I have to do? How exhausted will I be when I return? Will there still be things I need to do right away, like bring in the groceries? Being pregnant, I have realized how much like other pregnant women I am not. Will I be able to breastfeed? I have no idea. It depends on how my MS will treat me the rest of my pregnancy, and how it will treat me during and after delivery. When I go back on my MS medicine, I will not be able to breastfeed. After my little girl is born, how much energy will I have left to do things with her? Better make sure a Pak-n-Play is on the registry for when she gets big enough to move around. How will I be able to keep up with her, if I have troubles moving myself?

The unknowns shower upon me daily, but I don’t want to worry. Yes, I want more kids. But going off and on my MS medicine isn’t good, either. There are so many things that I am unable to do currently, that I may or may not be able to do after baby is born. I just won’t know until the time comes. Oh, I did as much research as I could about pregnancy before my husband and I even considered it. That super-far-ahead, planning in advance? That’s just part of life. But no two women are the same. Actually, most of my research suggested that by this time, my body would have overridden the MS and I shouldn’t be having so many problems. Women I’d talked to who had MS and had been pregnant told me they had never felt better than when they were carrying their child.

But I will sacrifice for my children, always. I treasure carrying this baby girl for all the same reasons other women treasure pregnancy. I am so excited to start feeling movement and to finally meet her! Yes, we are in med school. That is why I wanted to start a family now—in residency, I won’t see Doug much, and I know that right now is the time he can be around when I need him.  When he starts his actual job after residency is over, I may not see much of him then, either. So I treasure this time. Us both being awake at the same time of the day so we can talk together or cook together.

In January, after my really bad relapse, I went up north to live with my parents. It killed me, being away from Doug and my friends. But I had a goal: get strong enough to come back to KY, because I AM going to have the baby there so I can be with Doug. My parents let me come back after I could take care of myself again and I was doing better. About a week after I’d been home, I had another relapse, set off by a UTI. And I caught it super early, especially compared to my relapse in January. I can still take care of myself, and it feels oh-so-good to be home! As I set up doctors’ appointments to help me get better now and for baby in the future, I keep taking little steps to get where I need to be. I am not very mobile on my own, but that will quickly change!

Matthew 6:25-34 has become a theme verse of mine over the years:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 

No, this does not take away my worry. I haven’t felt baby move yet—how well can I feel down there? Will I be able to feel her move before she really starts kicking? I’ve been told that even women who are paralyzed are able to deliver naturally, and that put some fears at rest. Also, probably like other new moms, I have no idea what I’ll need for baby. I’ve started a baby registry and all that, but in reality, I have no stinkin’ clue, nor do I have brand preferences (there’s a diaper pail? Different from a garbage? And HOW many different brands am I supposed to choose from?)

What is worry, anyway? Is it simply fear? Because yes, I’m terrified. But I’m also excited for this new chapter in life. My med-student husband (read: is learning the worst case scenario for everything possible) says he’ll be glad when I’m not pregnant. But I’m going to miss it. I’m only 21 weeks, so still 4 months to go. I say, on with the adventure! God will take care of me. He has proven it true over and over again.

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