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“You may never have children.”

How would you feel if a doctor said that to you?? Growing up, all I ever wanted to be was a Mom. I wanted to get married and have a family. When I was younger, one of my GI docs told me that people with Crohn’s Disease have a really hard time getting pregnant and that I may never have children. To be honest, I’m not sure how true that statement is. Perhaps it is the years of prescribed drugs that can cause women to have a difficult time conceiving? Defiantly something to think about.  I do know doctors tell you to make sure you’re in remission before trying to get pregnant. It makes sense, if your body is healthy, you’ll have an easier time getting pregnant. If ones body is in a flair it could be harder to conceive. Thanks docs for clearing that up! 😉

Well the years passed and I met my wonderful husband. My Crohn’s Disease, at that time, was being controlled by diet. I had no health insurance and was not on any medication. I was sick right before I got married due to nerves. But once I got married, I felt great and was free from stress.  We got pregnant three months later. Pregnancy was my cure!! I felt WONDERFUL Crohn’s wise. I had no stomachaches, diarrhea, or any other crohn’s related symptoms. I could eat dairy for the first time ever and not have to be a slave to the bathroom. I feasted during my entire pregnancy! It was defiantly not a wise choice but its one that I made at the time. 

 

In April 2007, I gave birth to my beautiful son Landon. My Crohn’s Disease immediately came back with vengeance. It was horrible. I had diarrhea, stomachaches, and weight loss. I remember still being in the hospital after giving birth and knowing my body was about to dive into a major flair. Weeks and months passed and I was getting worse and worse. I was rapidly loosing weight, having diarrhea 10 times a day, and was in major pain. I could hardly leave the apartment. I had groceries delivered to the apartment because I couldn’t afford to leave. All the while, I was nursing. It was a bad experience because every time I nursed, it would trigger stomachaches and then I would have to rush to the b-room, leaving one very unhappy baby screaming in the other room. After three months of nursing, I had to stop. My body stopped producing milk and poor Landon was not getting enough nutrients. I ended up giving in and going to the doctors. I was hospitalized a week later and stayed in the hospital for three weeks. They put me on bowel rest and gave me high doses of prednisone. The prednisone did do the trick and started to help. I then was introduced to the drug remicade (I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about that drug right now. I’m hoping to do a blog post on that subject in the near future). It was at this time that I knew my life needed to change. I needed to get off of drugs and improve my health for good. Through the help of my sister in-law and my “other” parents, I have been able to be drug free and maintain/improve my health.

Look how cute my baby was…still is even at 5!! He makes everything all worth it!! I realize now how important it is to eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle not only when your pregnant but for life after baby is born. It is unbelievably hard to properly take care of a baby while in a major flair. I had to be separated from my 4 month baby for three weeks. That is not something to take lightly and if it weren’t for family, I have no idea what I would have done. Glad I got to change things up for the second one….more on that in posts to come. As I said before, I really want to focus an entire blog post of how I weaned myself off of Remicade. My father in-law keeps telling me to write an ebook on the subject. I suppose I could but lets see if I can just write a blog post.

12 thoughts on ““You may never have children.”

  1. Hi Erika,
    Thank you for sharing your experience and congratulations on all your hard work. I am glad to see you happy and healthy –it’s amazing that you have been able to control Crohns with your diet. You should write a book! I love your blog.
    Becky

    1. Thanks Becky!! I’m just getting going on this whole blog thing. Its a work in progress!!! Hopefully my experiences could help someone going through the same thing.

  2. I’m 18 years old and had Ulcerative Colitis when I was 14 up until I was 16. It’s a very similar illsens.I was on all kinds of medication, including steroids which caused me to gain over 60 pounds. At one point, I was taking over 40 pills per day.The doctors wanted me to either try Remicade or have surgery. Needless to say, we ended up going with the surgery.Remicade had just been approved for Ulcerative Colitis, and we didn’t want to take the risk. Remicade has caused lymphoma in children and other people, and those people eventually died. It isn’t like you are definitely gonna die if you have to do it, but if there is another option, go that route instead of Remicade.I had 2 surgeries and had pretty much my entire colon removed. I had to have a colostomy bag for 3 months, and then went back to have the surgery reversed. They made a new’ colon out of my small intestine and now I go to the bathroom normally, but a lot more frequently. It was still worth it, in my opinion. I feel so much better now that I’m off all of those medications, and don’t have to take any.Plus, who knows what would have happened to me if I were to have taken the Remicade.I hope everything works out for the best for you. E-mail me at if you wanna talk about it, because I’d be glad to let you know more and talk to you.

    1. Thank you for your comment! It sounds like you’ve been through a lot!! Glad you are feeling better and you didn’t have to go on remicade. I was very happy to wean myself off that medicine. It has a lot of terrible side effects. At the age of 16, I had a resection surgery. I do think that surgery needs to be a last resort and I would try diet and supplement methods at this point in time. Now I do agree, that surgery can be necessary for certain people. The doctors said I would have died if I didn’t have part of my intestines removed, thats how badly they were ulcerated. Do I think doctors use surgery as a way of “curing” colitis/crohns? Yes I do. It sounds like surgery was your last option and I am happy you are feeling much butter. If you have any questions for me…feel free to email or comment! Glad you found my blog and I hope it helps you. Look back for further posts.
      Thanks,
      Erika

  3. I was diagnosed at 13 but had symptoms since age 9 of Crohn’s Disease. I too was told that biological children would not be part of my future. At 36, I was blessed with a very healthy, baby boy. I however wasn’t blessed with a Crohn’s free pregnancy. Just the opposite, I had one of my worse flares along with hyperemesis gravidarum. It was 9 months of P&P (puke and poo.) I had a IV splint and bed rest for entire pregnancy delivering 6 weeks early as condition roared into pre-eclampsia. I remember thinking – maybe this is why I was told no children. But I survived (by sheer meaness – LOL) and my boy is 5 now. I’m still battling Crohn’s or “Angry Tummy” as he calls it. And I swear he potty-trained by 2 because he was so used to hanging out in the bathroom with me that it was second nature to him.

    1. Thanks Kat for the comment. It sounds like you had a not so fun pregnancy. But in the end it makes it all worth it. Are you on medication for your Crohn”s? I’m working on a post currently of how I weaned myself off of all medication and currently keep my Crohn’s under control with supplements and diet. Well I hope you check back for future posts and can get some information about alternative methods for treating your Crohn’s. Take care and stay healthy! 🙂

  4. Hey!
    I was wondering if you care to go into a little more detail about what you did after your first pregnancy as far as dealing with your crohn’s went? I ask because my husband and I have a beautiful, healthy 18 month old and I had almost the exact experience you did with my pregnancy–virtually symptom-free during the pregnancy and then rebounded like crazy after she was born. Anyway, I ask because we really want to have another child, and my current GI tells me we shouldn’t. He won’t give me any explanation, mind you, just tells me that I shouldn’t have more children. Anyway, just looking for any tips you might have concerning diet therapies, I was on Humira before and developed a new stomach ulcer anyway so I’m not very keen on continuing drug therapies that don’t appear to work :/ Thanks!
    Cait

    1. Caitlin,
      Thank you for the comment!!! After my first was born, I went into a terrible flair. My GI put me on prednisone and I was eventually put on Remicade. I was on Remicade for around a year. My husband and I decided we wanted to try for another child and I knew I needed/wanted to come off of the drugs. I weaned myself off of Remicade following a diet regimne that is outlined in the book The Swiss Secret to Optimal Health. I really suggest you read it. Its full of great information and recipes. In the book they have a three week intensive cure to help heal the gut. I did that every time my Remicade dose was lowered and then did it one final time once I decided to stop the Remicade. I felt good but did have some bad days. The good days outweighed the bad ones though. This had been the first time ever I was drug free. I really watched what I ate and stayed away from processed food, dairy, gluten, and ate meat only a couple times a week. I was also running regularly every week. I continued to do this for a couple months. I wanted to be sure the Remicade was out of my system. My husband and I got pregnant within two months of trying. I actually wrote a post about how I weaned myself off of Remicade. During my second pregnancy, I felt great. After my second boy was born, I barley flared. I went on a two week prednisone taper just to help with minor crohn’s symptoms but that is all I did. Oh and along with being really strict with my eating (again staying away from processed food, dairy, and gluten). I’m not sure why your GI is advising you to not get pregnant again. Are you currently on medication that would harm the baby? Are you currently flaring? I know that if your currently flaring that you shouldn’t get pregnant but that is what doctors say and I tend to not listen to them anymore. But thats me being rebellious. 😉 What are your current eating habits like? I also wanted to say that this is what worked for my body and this was a couple years ago. I tend to eat differently more now. I currently have found other alternative diets that seem to be working for me. Right now, I tend to eat more of a paleo diet. Which focuses on eating whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, meats, nuts, and healthy fats. The diet suggests that you stay away from potatoes, sugars, legumes, grains, and dairy. I hope this answered your questions. I also hope that you and your husband can head down the path of trying for another baby! Please feel free to email me at erika@erikamcelroy.com or comment if you have any more questions! 🙂

  5. Our stories sound almost identical. However my Crohns flared badly once my daughter stopped breastfeeding at 2yrs old and I had to have a major resection of my small intestine. That is when I changed my diet and lifestyle drastically. It has been 3 yrs since that resection. I have been, since getting out of the hospital – dairy, gluten, processed sugar (as much as possible), processed foods free. I only eat organic red meats and pork occasionally, but do eat a lot of organic chicken and wild caught seafood. I am now the proud mama of baby girl number 2, who just turned one. My health is fabulous! I have also added probioitics, digestive enzymes, cultured foods and essential oils to my diet with great success. I’m SOO happy that you found your health and was able to have healthy babies! 😀 Its so wonderful to hear success stories! I am rebellious with my dr’s too. I laugh when my GI doc says, “Oh diet has nothing to do with healing”. they dont teach you everything in med school 😉

    1. Thanks Keturah!!! Loved hearing about your success story. A healthy diet is so important to achieve healing. I hope your still feeling fabulous and enjoying your two beautiful girls!

  6. Erika
    . i have Crohn’s Disease i am married and i want to have Children really very badly.
    you give me hope.
    thank you.

    1. Hello Heather,
      Thank you for the comment. DO NOT let anyone tell you any differently. The body CAN heal itself with proper nutrition and supplements! 🙂

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