Juggling two under two while taking on Crohn’s disease

As the weeks go by and the days get closer for baby girl to arrive, I can’t help but feel anxious and nervous about what it’s going to be like having two kids under two, while managing my Crohn’s disease. Throughout this pregnancy, I’ve quickly come to realize how my needs and health oftentimes take a backseat as I take care of my little guy. IMG_3626While I feel incredibly blessed to be in this position, it comes with its own unique set of worries.

Prior to becoming a mom, my sole focus could be taking care of myself. While hospitalizations and flare ups were always dreadful, looking back, I had no idea how much “easier” it was to go through sickness, when all I had to worry about was me. I think many IBD women are hesitant to become moms because they are fearful of being able to juggle it all. That’s a valid concern, but personally motherhood has always been something I’ve dreamed of and wanted. I wasn’t about to allow my disease to hold me back from experiencing it.

That being said—you have to find patience within yourself and a trust in listening to your body’s symptoms to know when you’re doing too much and need to slow down. You need to be willing to wave the white flag at times and surrender to your illness. You have to be willing to ask for help. You need to be confident in the fact that your children will grow up differently than others. IMG_3802They will live within a home that talks about chronic illness and experiences it each day. Your little ones will learn compassion and perspective before they are even able to truly communicate. If you have a child and chronic illness, you know what I mean.

So far, I’ve been a mom for 19 months. I’m still a rookie. I’m still in the trenches of learning how to navigate this new life. But, I’m proud of how I’ve taken on the role of motherhood and balanced my illness along with it. I finally feel like I’m in sort of a cruise control with my son. In January, everything will start anew as we welcome our daughter into the world. Reid simply can’t wait for “sissy” …he constantly kisses my belly and tries to pull up my shirt, so he can “see” her.  While I can’t wait either, the fear of a postpartum flare once again weighs on my heart. There are so many what ifs as a chronic illness mom.

What if I’m hospitalized and have to leave TWO babies at home until I’m well? What if my disease spirals out of control and I’m home alone with nowhere to turn? What if the stress of taking care of two children with limited help sends me into a flare up? What if I’m not enough? I’m trying to be proactive now to prepare myself mentally for both the magical moments and the challenges that I’ll be presented with when we become a family of four. IMG_3723Whether it’s with motherhood or with living life with Crohn’s, it’s important to remind yourself that everything goes through stages. There are highs and lows, but each moment is fleeting.

One of the most amazing parts of pregnancy when you have chronic illness is witnessing your body create a miracle, right before your eyes, after years of letting you down. It’s a beautiful reminder that despite your illness and the parts of you internally that tend to malfunction, you are still able to carry a child and bring a life into this world. Pregnancy and motherhood have given me a renewed sense of self in my patient journey with Crohn’s. Motherhood has helped me love my body again, after years of damning it. It’s shown me that while IBD has shaken me to the core and blindsided me countless times, it hasn’t taken away one of the life’s most gracious gifts and experiences.

 

Taking on dehydration with the help of DripDrop

Making sure I don’t get dehydrated while taking on Crohn’s disease can feel like an uphill battle at times. Add in pregnancy to the mix and dehydration can be a real concern. Not just for me, but for my baby. I never thought I’d be so happy to reach the second trimester to arrive. For six weeks straight, I vomited 2-5 times a day, along with several bathroom trips (thanks to my Crohn’s). There were moments I was nervous. There were times I wondered if my baby was getting the nutrition and hydration it needed to thrive and develop. This is where DripDrop came in.

DripDrop is an oral rehydration solution (ORS) developed by a pediatrician. dripdropEvery stick of DripDrop is formulated for fast absorption, making dehydration recovery as effective as an IV—without having to take in the excess sugar found in sports drinks. It contains a precise ratio of sodium, sugars, and other electrolytes that absorb quickly and hydrate more effectively. For me, this was huge. There were times I called my OB after throwing up multiple times, wondering if IV fluids were necessary…but thanks to DripDrop, I was able to stay in the comfort of my home and boost my hydration in a matter of minutes.

As a pregnant mom of a 15-month-old, this was huge for me. No one likes getting IV’s and no one enjoys sitting in the hospital and being away from family. DripDrop is the solution, literally and figuratively to combat this. This pregnancy, just like my last, I consult with a regular OB, a high-risk OB and a gastroenterologist. All my doctors gave me their stamp of approval for using DripDrop. Before I started using it, I consulted with each of my healthcare providers. They looked at the ingredients and were impressed. My high-risk OB even said she was going to start telling other patients about it, so they too could try it out!

DripDrop has given me peace of mind, comfort and Flavor-graphic-squarehelped me get through the dehydration that comes along with pregnancy symptoms. It’s super easy—you just need water and then pick your favorite flavor to mix in. My favorite flavor is Berry. Along with helping me feel better through my pregnancy, I find it helps when I take my son out for walks on 90 degree hot and humid summer days in St. Louis and when I physically feel the need to boost my reserves.

You don’t need to be pregnant, you don’t need to combat a chronic illness. DripDrop is an amazing tool for all of us. Our military, athletes, firefighters…you name it, have experienced the benefit. Interested in trying it out? You can get a two-stick trial for $3.99 by clicking heredripdrop2

I’m excited to continue to use DripDrop throughout my pregnancy and to share my journey with you. As a chronic illness mom, who’s preparing for baby number two, I’m grateful to have DripDrop in my arsenal so I can be as strong and present as possible.