Preparing For IVF With A Stoma

Jen March 1

Hello again SecuriCare blog readers!

This month I want to talk about a subject really close to my heart, getting pregnant and having a baby. I’ve written a few blogs about my experiences being diagnosed as infertile and going through the fertility preservation process, but this last year has put all of my hopes for a family on hold. I was diagnosed with short bowel syndrome a year ago due to having emergency surgery that meant I lost more than half of my small intestine, I also have no large intestine due to my colectomy. That makes it’s much harder for me to absorb the correct nutrition and I also have lots of problems staying hydrated. I get admitted to hospital a lot and never really get a chance to recover fully. Due to this, I have been told I’m not currently well enough to be allowed to consider starting a family.

Due to my current living situation and my Master’s degree, we were hoping to start the IVF process next year after I graduate and when we move to our new home, but that means I need to try to improve my health over the next year. I know that there’s a chance that I may never be well enough to carry my own children, but I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t give myself the best chance.

My consultation team and I have formulated a plan to get my health on track in the hope that I can have a baby.

Diet

I struggle with blockages behind my stoma so I have got lazy and have lived mainly on convenience food and I have put on weight. My cardiologist and gastroenterologist have recommended that I start making meals with nutrient dense foods. I’ve started planning my meals and prepping where possible. This way I can incorporate more fruits and vegetables and can prepare them in a way to avoid blockages (blending vegetables for a pasta sauce or steaming them very well helps). This one is going to be harder for me to do myself as I struggle with weakness and sometimes need help with cooking.

Avoiding sugary fizzy juice

My guilty pleasure! I often talk about how I drink most of my daily calories because eating is quite painful. I’ve developed a particularly unhelpful habit of drinking fizzy juice all day long and not really drinking much water. This sometimes makes me feel bloated and sluggish but it has been how I’ve coped with low blood sugar, or times when I feel sick, over the last couple of years. I’m making the switch to flavoured water and sugar free fizzy juice as a treat. To avoid low blood sugar I’ll be drinking orange or apple juice when I feel myself becoming weak.

Drinking more water

My short bowel syndrome means I get incredibly dehydrated which lands me in hospital once a month. I’m ensuring that every day I’m drinking water consistently, especially when out and about, so I’m bringing a refillable water bottle in my bag everywhere.

Working on my mental health

Infertility is something that has really affected my depression and means I am reliant on antidepressants. I also take anxiety medication due to my problematic ostomy. Both are not recommended for people who are trying to get pregnant so I will be making a change to different medications that I can continue to take in the long term and won’t interfere with my future IVF goal.

Seeing my Stoma Care Nurse

I have suffered from allergic reactions to adhesives with my ostomy supplies and I have got in the habit of just dealing with it, but it’s affecting my sleep due to constant bag leaks, my confidence and my mental health. There are so many different options available so I really want to find the ostomy routine that suits me best over this next year!

Dealing with infections

For some reason I’m someone who gets infections time and time again. I don’t get them seen to quickly and wait until they’re really causing issues to speak to a healthcare professional. I know this is very unsafe and I’ve ended up in hospital because of it, it’s especially worrying when I’m trying to conceive. I will be visiting my GP when needed and going to out of hours clinics if problems develop over the evenings/weekends to get help right away.

I’m planning on using this blog as a way of holding myself accountable to get better. I’ll give you an update in 6 months to share my progress and if/when I get the go ahead to start IVF!

Speak to you soon!

Jen

“I want to talk about a subject really close to my heart, getting pregnant and having a baby.” - @crohnieclothing

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by Jen McGregor

Jen McGregor

About the author

I'm Jen, I've had Crohn's Disease for more than 10 years and have a permanent ileostomy. I love all things fashion, animals and travelling. I'm also a student, a vlogger, and I have a dream to bring my adaptable clothing line CrohnieClothing to the masses.

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