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June 2, 2021 at 11:10 am #16975Jenny LivingstonKeymaster
Several times throughout CF Awareness Month, I put an open question box in my Instagram stories and the question I was asked most frequently — the question I’m always asked most frequently — was about my pregnancy and CF. I thought I’d share my response here in case it’s helpful or interesting to anyone.
My pregnancy was, in a word, wonderful. I truly loved it. My now ex-husband and I had spent 3 years trying to conceive and once it finally happened, I was ecstatic! From the get-go, I was considered high-risk and began having some complications (not necessarily CF related) in my first trimester that persisted through my third trimester.
Near the end of my pregnancy, I wasn’t feeling well and can now look back and realize I was having a CF exacerbation. But at the time, I truly didn’t know that. I’d been so healthy, had never experienced and adult exacerbation, and naively thought all my symptoms were pregnancy related.
I delivered a strong, healthy baby girl at 41 weeks. It was one of the most powerful and defining moments of my entire life. But as magical as that day was, that’s when things got hard.
I wasn’t prepared for the toll motherhood would take on my health and body. I was suddenly spending all my time taking care of a newborn. There weren’t enough hours in the day to care for her and myself the way I needed to be. I was also working full-time prior to her birth and returned to work when she was just 6 weeks old. It was all too much for my body. I became incredibly sick when she was 3 months old.
For the next several years, I was in and out of the hospital a LOT! It was a vicious cycle of getting sick, going to the hospital, immediately returning to work, getting sick again, and so on. It truly took 4 or more years for me to finally get back on my feet after my daughter was born. Again, pregnancy wasn’t the hard part; the demands of motherhood were so much more than I’d imagined.
Two things helped:
1) Being able to stop working and dedicate that time to my health instead.
2) Orkambi – I was in the clinical trial and during this time, my health finally started to stabilize.
Being a mom is my absolute favorite thing in this world! The trials and challenges have been 100% worth it! But I’d spent so much time worrying about CF and pregnancy, I hadn’t made sure my life circumstances after having a child would be conducive to maintaining my health. A strong support network, a solid routine at home, and time to dedicate to my health are all things I wish I’d had at the time.
If you are a mother with CF, what has your experience been? How was your health affected by pregnancy or motherhood? What piece of advice do you have for those considering having children?
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