Friday, March 25, 2011

Another Boy!

It's official: We're having another boy!

We had our Level 2 scan with the high risk specialist, and all is great so far. Growth is right on track, and he's a very active baby. They did find a "freckle" on his heart, but I've been assured that this is normal and we should not be concerned. Sometimes heart freckles are a marker for Down Syndrome, but in our case, all of our tests came back negative for Down, and in most cases, the freckle will disappear before babies are even born. My gut tells me that this is a very healthy boy.

He's much different in personality and looks than his brother. On the ultrasound, Wyatt showed us his boy parts before he even showed his face. The tech put the wand on my belly, and BAM, there is was, hangin' out there for all to see. Good thing we didn't want it to be a surprise!

Wyatt's new brother is shy. He turned from the wand as it came at him. He crossed his legs for so long and kept his stuff hidden--the tech thought he was a girl at first-- mysterious little guy, I guess. Overall, he is much gentler on my body than Wyatt was--so far at least. I still have at least 16 weeks to go (we are all assuming I will have to deliver early again, as I'm ready to jump off a bridge due to Lyme pain in the third trimester.) My occasional cravings are frozen yogurt, regular yogurt, and fruit. Thank God. With Wyatt I wanted Cheetos, cheese, strawberry milk, and every other junk food you can imagine.

When people say that each pregnancy is different, they're not lying. If you had one terrible Lyme pregnancy in the past, it doesn't mean that it has to be that way again. Time is FLYING, and though my Lyme symptoms are still gaining momentum, I pretty much know what to expect. This time around, I'm able to just sit back and enjoy what is my last pregnancy, even when it's uncomfortable, because I will miss the indescribable feeling of carrying new life.

I feel a slight sense of sadness knowing I will never have a little girl--even as a kid, I'd always just assumed my babies would be female. At least one of them anyway. We are firm believers in not having more children than you can handle or afford. We're pushing our limit at two, though when I think of Wyatt having a little brother so close in age, I can't even dream of having it any other way. I will be surrounded by boys, and the more I envision it, the more I love it.
I feel lucky to have been able to get pregnant in the first place, and as hard as a Lyme pregnancy is for all involved, I will never regret my decision to have my children. As far as I'm concerned, they've made me feel like I'm the healthiest person alive.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vitamin Deficiencies

I just returned from what I consider to be a bad news Lyme doctor appointment. I'll preface this by saying that I'm really glad I found this new doctor--he is very thorough and ran a bunch of blood tests when I first met him last month. I wish I had done this much sooner, as my results were pretty sucky.

I was just over the line on being positive for an autoimmune disease (he mentioned Lupus), though the doctor assured me that these results are very common in Lyme, so I shouldn't jump to any conclusions.

I also tested positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis. It depends on what kind of doctor you talk to--a RA specialist would diagnose me as positive and that would be that. Lyme doctor says that this, too, is part of Lyme and also shows up in tests.

The one he was most concerned about at the moment is one I think we should all look out for: vitamin deficiencies.

Apparently, I have a severe Vitamin D deficiency. Normal level numbers fall between 30 and 100, with the average falling in the higher end of the scale. I scored a measly 12.

I insisted that I see the light of day, and I eat plenty of very healthy foods rich in Vitamin D. I also take a prenatal every day and I (ashamedly) eat cheese like it's my job. There's no reason I should be lacking. He told me that it's more common than you'd think in pregnancy, but it could also be from the amount of heavy metals in my body (specifically lead). Healthy people have the filtration systems to flush all of the metals and everyday toxins out. Lymies tend to shut down, which leads to toxicity, which leads to the body not being able to process the good things we take in either (?) I add the question mark, because I'm still processing this info, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

I never discussed metals and detoxing in detail with my previous LLMD. Now I realize that this is a crucial part of getting the body back in balance.

So here's the deal: ask your doctor to run some simple vitamin tests. I was under the impression that OBs did that anyway, and that might be the case, but this is the first I've even thought about this vitamin issue. It's super important for you, and even more for your baby.

As soon as I got in the door, I hit up my old friend Google and nearly had a panic attack when I read what can happen to a baby when the mother has a Vitamin D deficiency (Rickets, fractures, mental retardation, Autism, abnormal and delayed growth, Diabetes, just to name a few.) Here's more info if you'd like to read about it (this link doesn't talk about Lyme--it's pretty generic. I couldn't find articles on Lyme, Vitamin D, and pregnancy).

To treat this, my doctor put me on a Vitamin D supplement (5,000 IU a day of XYMOGEN's Liquid D3). A normal, healthy person dose is 1,000 IU, but he jacked it up, and I'm fine with that.* Apparently the liquid vitamin is suspended in sunflower oil because it helps the body absorb it better. Random, but I love that this stuff is manufactured in Orlando, Florida (my hometown).I like to think that they sucked up and bottled up some of the sunshine state's finest rays. Who wouldn't feel better knowing they were gulping down some liquid sunshine in a glass? I guess I don't care what it is as long as it works...

We have our big high risk doctor ultrasound tomorrow morning at nine. I'm interested in what he has to say about vitamin deficiencies. I imagine that if there is a growth problem it will show up as they examine the fetus. Fingers crossed for a healthy exam. Fingers crossed again that this baby isn't shy and will show us its parts. We're dying to find out what we're having!

*Note: Please talk to your doctor about your own supplements and doses. I'm just sharing my own experience, and I'm not qualified to tell anyone else what to take.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Whitney's Mommy's Positive Experience with Breastfeeding

For those of you interested in breastfeeding, here is a great example of a positive experience, compliments of my greatest Lymie friend:

Q: How long have you had Lyme, when were you diagnosed, and how long have you been in treatment?

I started feeing ill in July 2006 and was diagnosed and treated in November 2006. I am still on antibiotics. 

Q: Were you on antibiotics and/or supplements during pregnancy? If so, what were you taking?

Yes. First 6 months of the pregnancy, I took bicillin shots and oral Zithromax, then I stopped the bicillin and replaced it with oral Amoxicillin. I also took prenatal vitamins, Metamucil, vitamin c, and Womens 1 a Day.
Q: Are you on anything different now that you're breastfeeding?

No, everything stayed the same while breastfeeding.
Q: Have you been nervous about Lyme transmission? If so, what has 
helped you calm your fears?

Yes, very nervous. But I thought the benefits outweighed the risks and my husband agreed. I have a friend who has Lyme and breastfed. She did not take any antibiotics during her pregnancy or while breastfeeding and the baby is 2 years old now and doing well. I have another friend with Lyme who breast fed and the baby is a year and a half and also doing well.
Q: Did your LLMD advise you to breastfeed?

 I have 2 LLMDs. One encouraged breastfeeding. She said that if there were any bacteria in the milk, the baby's stomach acid would digest it. The other said he would not encourage it or discourage it. He said if this was a few years ago, he would have said no, but now, with the benefits of breastfeeding being so great, he would leave it up to me. In his experience, babies with Lyme have it because the mother was undiagnosed and not treated prior to or during her pregnancy. Dr. Burrascano's guidelines say that there has been evidence of the Lyme bacteria in breast milk and he advises against breast feeding. However, the guidelines are old and I'm not sure if his view has changed. This issue was addressed at the 2010 ILADS conference but I did not hear the presentations. I will try to get a copy and report back.

Q: Can you describe your experience with breastmilk testing?

My LLMD ordered testing of the breast milk, cord blood, placenta, and baby's urine through Igenex. I heard that you can also test the foreskin from a baby boy. I had a girl and decided not to test the urine because they would have had to catheterize her, which is uncomfortable and can cause infection. I pumped some breast milk, put it in the vile from Igenex and shipped it to them. It took several weeks to get the results, which were negative. The cord blood and placenta were negative as well. There are always false negatives, so we can never be sure about accuracy. If there was a positive I would have had to make a decision on how to move forward at that time. My LLMD said he had never seen a positive result for active infection, but has seen a positive antibody result.  Positive for antibodies are ok. Either way, he has always had healthy babies. 

Q: Is there anything especially important we should know about breastfeeding with Lyme, for instance, has it been easy for you to handle or are there difficult aspects you hadn't anticipated?

I think it depends on the mother and baby. If you are calm and your baby latches on well and is a good eater then it will be easier. I don't think there is any difference between someone with Lyme that is breast feeding or someone without Lyme that is breast feeding, except maybe the fatigue. It could be worse for us.  I hired a baby nurse, who gave the baby formula at night. If this is not an option, you can get the daddy to do it or another family member. So I just did not produce milk at night and I was ok with formula feeding in between if I was too exhausted or did not feel well. You can always pump as well, but I did not have the patience for that. :-)
Q: Is there any reason you would stop in the near future (due to Lyme) or are you managing well on your current protocol?

Yes, I have decided to stop breast feeding after 12 weeks so that I can resume more agressive treatment.

Q: Based on your experience, would you recommend breastfeeding to  other Lyme moms?

YES. It was great for bonding and I felt great about giving her something that no one else could. However, it is very demanding, which is why I used formula as well. That way, I could breast feed when I was up to it and if not, then someone else could give her a bottle and I could rest. The less you breastfeed, the less milk you will produce so if you do take a break, try to take it the same time every day so you don't lose your milk. I mentioned I did not feed in the middle of the night so I could rest and let someone else take over.