Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Treatment Planning During Lyme Pregnancy

Pregnancy is full of surprises. Many of them are amazing and somewhat miraculous, for example, the strong bond that develops when a mother feels her baby kick for the first time. I cannot explain how exciting it is for me when I'm able to feel my little one swim around in there.

Unfortunately, pregnancy can dish out a few unappreciated surprises, as well. Lymie moms, listen up: your baby does weird things to your body in terms of changing its chemistry. Normally, changes in hormones affect moods, food preferences and aversions, complexion, you know the drill... but I didn't even think about how a pregnancy could affect how I'd tolerate medication for Lyme treatment.

When I found out I was allergic to I.V. Rocephin, I was disappointed but didn't think much of it. When I had a pretty severe reaction to I.V. Zithromax a week later, I was heartbroken, as that was the last drug I could try in I.V. form due to the pregnancy. I tolerated I.V. Zithromax very well during my first round of treatment last year. I was even on oral Zithromax until I recently got my PICC line inserted at the beginning of the month. So what happened?! Why am I reacting to everything right now?

According to my infectious disease doctor, I have my little one to thank. He doesn't believe it's a full on "allergy," but more of an immune response. Even though I got hives and had trouble breathing with both antibiotics, he feels like my body is rejecting everything foreign right now (which might explain why my symptoms have been so bad throughout this pregnancy--baby is foreign and my immune system is set to overdrive.)

In addition, if I cheat on my diet and eat bread, my tongue swells and gets itchy. Same happens with some fruits, and oddly enough, a few supplements I've never had problems with in the past.

I'm not saying all of this to scare anyone. My doctor cared for 8 pregnant Lymies last year, and all of them tolerated their meds (IV and orals) perfectly fine. All of the babies are healthy with no signs of Lyme or Autism. It just helps to know that some things that work for you pre-pregnancy may not be as beneficial to you once you're pregnant.

I'm sure the body balances itself out once the pregnancy is over, but that didn't make me feel any better as the doctor apologized and pulled my PICC line out. Months of fighting, pain, and heartache to get this thing in my arm, and it was over in a 30 second flash!

As much as I hate PICC lines, I'm actually mourning the loss of it right now, as it made me feel secure in terms of proper treatment. But I don't blame my doctor's quick decision to pull the line. In his words, it was best for both parties. I'm not putting myself or the baby in danger, and he can sleep soundly at night knowing he won't wake up to a morning newspaper article about how the hospital's head I.D. doctor killed a pregnant woman with an antibiotic overload.

Ultimately, this is all just preparation for parenthood, right? From what I hear, plans and schedules get sucked down the drain once a baby arrives anyway. From here on, I'm just going to improvise, and at this point, I'll focus on the happy surprises.


  1. you know its interesting, cause from a buddhist perspective they would say that all that fight was signs that it wasnt the right path! it never would have occurred to me before but reading this... !

    nonetheless sorry for the upset. :) xoxox!

  2. I felt the same way when I first started having trouble with the bad doctor and then even more when I had trouble getting the whole procedure approved--"Maybe this is the Universe telling me I'm not on the right path." Then the terrible physical pain sets in, and I say, "Screw you, Universe! I can't take this anymore and I just want to get better!" Hard to live in the moment and make peace with it all when you're curled up twitching on a couch all day, but dammit I'm trying and I will succeed! Thanks for the love, love. ;)

  3. Hi, Sara! Pregnancy is one of the greatest experiences a woman can have and a baby is a wonderful blessing. I adore your deep love and sense of protection for your baby.

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