Thursday, July 19, 2012

J-tube and pregnancy

Starting with pregnancy week 7 "morning sickness" hit me pretty badly - not just in the morning but all day round (and during the night as well), I was very grateful for my j-tube then, although I noticed that I became very volume sensitive in my intestines as well, simply flushing my tube with 20 ml of water would make me gag (and that never used to be a problem before). By week 12, I was starting to feel better, my stomach actually seemed to wake up a bit and I was able to eat some semi-liquid foods orally.

Once my belly started to grow and push out more, I developed a very bad eczema around my stoma, hesitant on using a steroid cream, I started treating it with St. John's wort oil three times a day and after months of itching the eczema finally cleared.

In my 20iest week I had quite a scary experience when I noticed blood draining out of my j-tube, of course it was a Sunday, thankfully I can call my OB-Gyn anytime, he phoned the hospital for me and the surgeons were already waiting for us at the emergency room, no waiting at all - what a service! In the end it turned out to be minor irritation in my intestines. My stoma kept on bleeding every night (although there was no granulation tissue visible) for the next 7 weeks, until I finally figured out that I needed to keep my tube a lot longer than usual - meaning that I had to move the external bumper further away from my skin - the difference between sitting, lying and standing is a lot bigger now in terms of tube fit with my pregnant belly. For the past few weeks I have had next to no problems with my stoma.

Little one loves to kick against the internal bumper which sometimes can be quite painful, also sometimes he lies exactly beneath it and that hurts too, but I usually can get him to move away again by putting my hand on the right side of my belly. My midwife told me that babies usually lie more to the right, now I am really happy that my tube is on the left side of my body, I am sure it would be more painful otherwise.

For the past few weeks my gastroparesis has really been acting up, nights are especially difficult, as soon as I lie down at night everything just comes back up which makes sleeping next to impossible. Even water sometimes comes back up. It helps a little to sleep with my upper body raised, but that hurts my back again...
I am trying not to have anything by mouth (not even clear liquids) a few hours before going to sleep in order to be a little bit more comfortable.

I have had times during which I really freaked out about my feeding tube and the pregnancy, just because I got so worried that the growing uterus would somehow detach my intestines from the abdominal wall, but the further I get along the more comfortable I get.

Most of you know that I usually always wear waistpacks as tube feeding gear, starting with the 15th week I had to switch back to wearing a backpack. It took me some time to get used to it, but now it has become second nature again to run around with my backpack on. I do get comments now occasionally "Is that for the baby?" or someone who came to fix my balcony door on seeing me walk around with the backpack in my own appartment "did you just come home?" and then "or are you about the leave?"

The cats are very attentive, Aaliyah joins me in bed for a nap every single day :-).

Here is a photo of my pregnant tube feeding belly:


Rocci said...

So many issues that I never thought of, and never would have, being a male. My own daughter is a lovely twenty-two year old living at home and looking for work. I am very interested to see how your pregnancy and delivery develop.

Anonymous said...

Aww Julia you look so well and happy :)) fingers crossed this pregnancy all goes swimmingly, Lynda x

Katie Ballard said...

you look beautiful. I am also a gp person. I am 7 weeks pregnant and a little worried about my tube so it was nice to read this. I was worried about my gastric pacer but its higher up. We will see!