Compiled by Susan and Helen.
Young Ostomates United saw somewhat of a baby boom in the mid 1990s. We asked some of our young mums how they survived pregnancy and childbirth with a stoma.
Our young mums are:
Anna with Joshua - has an ileostomy for Ulcerative Colitis
Helen with Ryan, Shae & Paige - has an ileostomy for Crohn's Disease
Susan with Dean - has an ileostomy for Ulcerative Colitis
Teddi with Ian and twins George & Natalie - has a colostomy
Fran with Victoria & Ben - has an ileostomy for Ulcerative Colitis.
Was it difficult to get pregnant? If so, what treatment ensued?
Anna: We'd been trying for about a year. I had hormonal problems but once that was sorted out, I fell pregnant.
Helen: Not really.
Susan: We had been trying for nearly 5 years. After initial investigation, which showed I had blocked tubes we were referred for IVF treatment. This was our 4th attempt at IVF and Dean was the result of a frozen embryo. We still have 3 frozen embryos.
Teddi: Yes, we'd been trying for about 3 years. We have unexplained infertility and we were told IVF would probably work for us. Our 2nd attempt resulted in a pregnancy.
Fran: Yes. Victoria was born before I had Ulcerative Colitis so it did take 4 years of trying after my surgery to get pregnant. Fertility investigations proved there was nothing wrong with me and we kept trying.
Were you under the care of a specialist?
Anna: Yes, an obstetrician.
Fran: I was a public patient seeing a Gynaecologist.
Did you have any difficulties or problems in your pregnancy /pregnancies?
Anna: Yes, foetal distress, because the placenta was not functioning properly.
Helen: With one pregnancy, my waters broke and I went into labour before I was due to have a caesarean. Between pregnancies I had 3 miscarriages.
Susan: At 17 weeks I had a threatened abortion due to placenta praevia, and had a two week stay in hospital to rest then I had to take it easy.
Teddi: Ruptured membranes at 28 weeks and I stayed in hospital until 35 weeks when I was induced.
Fran: I had no difficulties, if anything my second pregnancy was better than my first.
What sort of delivery did you have? Was it for any particular reason?
Anna: Because of foetal distress I had to have a caesarean. I didn't go into full labour.
Helen: Because of a small pelvis, all my births were elective caesareans.
Susan: My obstetrician didn't want me to go into labour because of scar tissue. I had a planned caesarean as a natural delivery wasn't possible.
Teddi: I was induced, but it didn't work so I had an emergency caesarean.
Fran: I was in labour for 8 hours and had a forceps delivery. Scar tissue near my perineum prevented it from stretching as much as it should have. Overall the birth was fairly easy although the labour was 4 hours longer than my first pregnancy.
If you had a caesarean, which way was the incision made and why?
Anna: Horizontal, because of scar tissue. The scar didn't heal straight away.
Helen: Vertical. The old scar was used and is now a bit wider. It won't stretch anymore, so I was advised not to have any more children.
Susan: Vertical. He used the old scar and it is now a bit wider.
Teddi: Horizontal, because of scar tissue.
Were you in good health during your pregnancy?
Anna: Yes, no morning sickness.
Helen: Yes, no morning sickness.
Susan: Not really, I had morning sickness (day & night) from about week 6 to week 14. Then I had the threatened abortion at 17 weeks. From weeks 20 to 30 I had weekly bowel obstructions, which occurred no matter what I ate.
Teddi: Yes, although I felt a bit nauseous but I had no vomiting.
Fran: I was very well.
Did your stoma change during pregnancy?
Anna: Yes, it got bigger.
Helen: Got bigger.
Susan: Got bigger.
Teddi: Got bigger.
Fran: No, my stoma stayed much the same.
Did you experience any problems with appliances due to abdomen size?
Anna: No problems.
Helen: No problems really. I had to use a mirror when I got bigger in the last months,
Susan: No, I went up a size or two.
Teddi: No, I had no trouble irrigating.
Fran: No problems.
Reprinted from the "Thoughts of YOU" membership folder. Compiled 1995 (updated 1997).
For more personal experiences related to pregnancy and childbirth see Helen and Jane's stories.