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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Mother With Crohn's Disease

I am not a medical doctor nor am I in any way qualified to give medical advice to anyone. I am just a mom who has Crohn’s Disease. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2004 well into my 20’s. By the time I went to a gastroenterologist my symptoms and the correlating disease were quite unruly at best. To get to the point it took the better part of two years and several infusions of the miracle drug Remicade to bring my disease into remission. This was a very emotional time in my life. I was then put on Imuran at the 75mg dose to maintain my remission. During all of this I started to really want to have children. Now, I was fast approaching 30 so my husband and I decided to run with the idea of starting a family of our own.

We did not consult anyone about our decision because to consult would be to inadvertently solicit opinions and our decision had been made. I was finally in remission and we did not want to waste any time. Upon our speedy conception I went in search of advice from other mothers with the same disease or studies showing how these women remained in remission and/or breastfed. I did not find anything of value. I wound up taking the drug Imuran for maintennance of my remission at the 75mg dose daily through my entire first pregnancy. I kept taking it postpartum as well and this was the reason I did not breastfeed my first daughter. The pregnancy could not have gone smoother and 9 months later I had the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She is almost 4 now and is like a present that I get to open every day.

I stayed on Imuran and got pregnant with my second daughter a little unexpectedly so I had not fully evaluated my health. My gastroenterologist and I had been talking about perhaps trying to wean me off of the drug Imuran to see how my body would react but once we found out I was pregnant we decided to wait until Inara arrived before we did anything that could potentially jeopardize my health. I went to Washington, DC to visit my brothers in November before Inara was born in December and for some reason I decided to stop taking my medication. I had decided that I was going to breastfeed and that was it. I did not take any more medication.

Inara was born in December of 2007 and I once again was blessed with a healthy baby. I breastfed her and she did wonderfully. Today she is 2 and as her name suggests she is a “ray of light” in our lives. We had now been blessed with two healthy girls.

What I do aim to do here is to let you know that you are not alone. If you have to take drugs to control your disease while you are pregnant that I did too and we came out OK. That there is another woman out there who has done it and has two healthy children to show for it. With some faith you can too. What I do not want to do though is encourage you to stop taking your medicine. Crohn’s disease is serious and taking your medicine is not something you should take lightly. That would probably be stupid (for lack of a better word) for most women who are pregnant and have Crohn’s as doing so could jeopardize your health and the health of your unborn child.

I wanted to put something out there that may find its way to a mother who is now in the same position that I was in almost four years ago when I was in search of solace. While you will not find a clinical trial to make you feel better or a doctor to give you a definitive “OK, go for it” you have now found a mother who did it and has no regrets.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this. I actually posted to the babycenter asking for positive notes about being pregnant and Crohn's (since I am 2 months and having a bit of flare) and no one seems to want to comment about the good stuff-just the "what if's", etc. So this was so helpful. Thank you so much!!

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