Friday, January 15, 2010

Why I Am "Unique"

This is going to explain why a doctor walked into a room where I was receiving an ultrasound (after baby) and said, "Well, we'll call you 'Different'.  Or, more like, 'Unique'"

It's also going to explain why I had such a weird pregnancy.  Why my belly was always lopsided, why I was in so much pain so early on, why my little nugget was stuck under the right side of my rib cage, why I started cramping from day one of my pregnancy, why I got preeclampsia, why I had to have a C-Section and why I had to go in and have my baby at 37 weeks.

Today Naomi is 3 months old and I feel comfortable enough about this that I can share my story and hopefully help someone else with the same "Uniqueness".  It's a bit personal and I ask that you don't make fun because there are others out there with the same thing who have confided in me.  I believe it's a bit more common than you think.  Thank you :)

I knew my pregnancy wasn't normal from the moment I started cramping during my second trimester when I went on walks.  I had been running and walking 4 or 5 times a week up until this point, but once the cramping started I had to slow it to just a walk.  I tried to push through it but at 30 weeks it became unbearable and scared me.  I also had been experiencing PSD pain.  That is pain from the ligaments that hold your pubic bones together (pubic symphisis) stretching too much.  Some pregnant women experience this and some don't.  For me it became quite painful.  So much that I had to stop walking.  Every time I stood it hurt, I couldn't stand on one foot, I couldn't move in bed - rolling over took a good minute with a lot of painful grunting.  I felt like such a pansy because I knew there were other women experiencing this!  But at the same time I felt like it was something more.

At 32 weeks I went into the doctor to make sure everything was okay.  I was put on bed rest and then taken off around 4 days later.  I went about my business but was very careful and couldn't do much because it hurt too bad.

"The end" happened really fast.  I went in for my 36 week check up (on a Tuesday) only to find out I had Preeclampsia.  I was given a giant jug to pee in (I filled it up and had to get a second :), put on bed rest and was told that I was going to have to have a C-Section because she was breach AND I was Preeclamptic.  Because of the Preeclampsia they didn't want to try to turn her (a version) because they were worried about the stress it would put my body under.  And knowing what we know now it is a VERY good thing they didn't.

I went in for non stress tests 3 times before my C-Section.  On Saturday I found out I would be having my baby the next week, we just didn't know what day.  Monday was my last stress test and I wasn't showing any improvements.  When I went in to see my doctor he scheduled me for Wednesday afternoon.  I went home knowing what my baby's birthday was going to be.  It was a very surreal thing.  Everything was happening so fast.  It was so weird that all of these scary things were going on inside my body but I didn't really feel it.  Other than seeing stars.

It was Tuesday night that I started to have contractions.  Not regular, but very painful.

Wednesday I went in for my C-Section.  This was the conversation:

There I lie with a sheet in between me and the hole in my stomach.  Jaren to the left of me and the very very nice anesthesiologist above me with his hands on my shoulders explaining everything that was going on when I hear,
Dr. - "Woah, you only have half a uterus!"
Me - "I do?!?!" Panic went through me until I realized it's okay because I got pregnant. I was having a baby.  Even with half a uterus I worked.
Dr. - "Wait... no... here's another.  You have two uteruses."
Me - "WHAT?!" It was such a weird feeling I can't describe it.  The reality of it hadn't settled in at all.
Me - "So, could I get pregnant in both at the same time???  Would I make the news???"
Dr. - ".............. Might make the local news"

So on went a conversation between my Doctor and the nurses about my innards.  Jaren saw the whole thing.  He said that once my doctor took out the placenta my uterus shriveled up and looked like a long skinny deflated balloon.  (Nice mental image, huh).  In his words, "A long skinny thing".

So.  There it is.  I have one Uterus split in half.  Each one has one ovary and they share one cervix.  Unless I ovulate in both at the same time I can't get pregnant in both at once.  We don't know if the left one ovulates or not.  I might only be able to get pregnant in the right one.

I had a cornucopia of hormones surging through me for a few weeks after the delivery.  Once I saw Naomi and I saw the red marks on each side of her head and realized/was told they were from my ribs did I realize how scary the whole thing was.  Her head was super skinny and oblong because of being stuck between my ribs for so long (it's rounded out now).  I cried regularly because I felt horrible for what she had to have been put through.  She was breach because she had no room to flip.  She came out with one leg completely up against her body with her foot behind her head.  I have pictures to prove it.  I was told she might have Hip Displasia because of it all.  She had no room to move!  She had no room to grow.  That is also why she was so small (5 pounds 14 ounces).  She was even more scrunched than any other baby because she had half the room and I felt responsible.  I know I'm not.  I'm okay with it now.  At times I still feel sad about it.

I didn't really feel too different or like a weirdo until the night nurse came in and saw that I had a C-Section and asked why.  I told her that I had a breach baby and preeclamsia and she said, "Oh!  Your the one with two uteruses!"  Ok... so I'm being talked about.  Guess it is something different that doesn't come around every day (or ever in this hospital).  When the same thing happened with every nurse I had I knew I was quite the story being told.  That's when I felt like a weirdie.  I should have joined the Circus.  I can see it now, "Girl with 2 uteruses"

Apparently it's much more common than I realized.  Seemed like a lot of my family looked it up or talked to people who had heard of someone who had it.  I was the first case my Doctor had personally seen.  He was VERY excited about this.  He had me do an ultrasound at 6 weeks post partum to see if they could find if they were connected (they are connected very low) or if there was any blood flow to the other one (there is so I wont be having it removed) and if I had my right kidney.  THAT was something that bothered Jaren.  No, not the weirdie half uterus that grew his baby; it was that I might only have one kidney.  Turns out I have both.

It was during this ultrasound that a doctor from the hospital came in and called me "Unique/Different".  He also told me I was very lucky to have gotten pregnant.  Especially on our second try.

Knowing what I know now:

Everything makes so much sense.  All of my weirdie complications happened because I have a weirdie uterus.  I plan on having more children.  I used to want 5-6 and now I'm hoping I can have 4.  I'm hoping my uterus can carry that many children and I'm hoping my body can handle carrying that many children (not all at the same time, mind you).  I used to want twins, but now the risk of uterine rupture would be pretty great.  It already is a bit of a risk since I've had a C-Section and I only have half a uterus to grow a full baby in.  I will always have to have a C-Section and always deliver early.  The goal will be to get me to 37 weeks.  My doctor said that I'm not considered high risk and I'm grateful for that.  The Preeclampsia probably happened because my body was under so much stress with my uter (that's really what they are called.... weird, huh) being super stretched.  That's probably why I retained so much water (and why I looked like a blown up whale).

The other thing.... and I'm going to get a bit emotional and spiritual here; is how I see Heavenly Father's hand in all of it.  I always felt like things were a little different and that I wouldn't carry full term.  I didn't know why.  Every night when I knelt to pray I had a very strong impression to ask that my little girl be fully developed when it came time for her to come and that she would stay in until she was fully developed.  If they had tried to do a Version there could have been some serious and severe consequences to both Naomi and I.  Because I had preeclampsia they didn't do that and they decided to take me early.  Had they not taken me early there could have been uterine rupture or I could have gone into labor which would have been bad since she was breach and my body would have been under more stress than normal.  And if they hadn't done a C-Section we never would have known about this.  The kicker?  That Naomi was born 3 weeks early and didn't need one aid.  Not one.  No oxygen, her blood sugar was always fine.  She latched and ate so well that we didn't need any help there.  She was perfect.  Her hips have managed to work themselves out and the orthopedist says she has perfect beautiful symmetry.  There are no permanent side effects of her restricted growing space and abrupt stop to it.  She is perfect and I am eternally grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows me so well and takes care of us.

I only hope I don't have problems getting pregnant when I want to again.

Here are some pictures:
At 14 weeks - looks normal

 17 weeks - the first time I saw the lump on my right side
25 weeks - normal while standing
35 weeks - had to capture the right sided bump
The morning of October 14th, 2009
I was very very uncomfortable and very swollen
After 2 bags of fluid pumped into me by the IV (which hurt very badly (worse than the spinal), by the way).
Even more swollen (and yes, that is my giant belly you can see)
My beautiful miracle

She is so sweet.

And might I just mention that my little 3 month old nugget is 10 pounds 3 ounces!  Very excited about that.


Kristina P. said...

So, do you have a septate uterus? I have it too. When we are developing in he uterus, we all have this thin septum that divides the uterus, annd it's supposed to dissolve. Mine didn't.

So, I have this thin piece of cartilidge, I guess you can call it, that separates my uterus. It also came down all the way into my vagina. (More than you probably wanted to know!) I actually had the vaginal one removed, before I got married.

I've been told I'm at very high risk for misscarriage and complications.

My friend actually does have two uterusessesses. Uteri. So, so could potentially become pregnant in both.

Whitney R said...

Yay! First person has it, too! As far as I know it is completely split. If there is a septum it is very, very low and only on a small part. Because during the C-Section he found the other one and thought it was completely separate and during the ultrasound we found out they are connected near the cervix.

I don't know what I'd do if I got pregnant in both! I wonder if they'd do a reality TV show on me?

Ty and Jenny Robbins said...

Wow! That's incredibly interesting. I think I've heard of women having two Uteruses (that just sounds funny, there must be a better way to spell/say it), but never knew of anyone personally. I'm glad you were brave enough to share your story. You really never know who you might be able to affect/help by doing so. I hope you know you made me CRY! I love that we have a Heavenly Father who is always watching out for us and knows so much better than we do what we need and what needs to be done. I'm so grateful for him and the time in which He carries out His plan. Haha. Even if I can grow impatient, I know He loves me. : )

Whitney R said...

Well said, Jenny :) I'm glad that I was able to communicate my feelings. Because I cried while writing it.

Michelle said...

You know, when I first saw the picture of your lopsided belly I wrote out this whole comment about how I wondered if you had a bicornate uterus. But then I opted not to post it because I didn't want to freak you out. lol. How crazy.

Ashley said...

Interesting. Thanks for sharing, I'm glad the Lord watched over you and your little one and that everything worked out. She is beautiful!


Woah, I had never heard of that before, but even though I don't have it, thank you for sharing! You never know who you may come across who needs to hear what you have learned!
It all just goes to show that beautiful Naomi was meant to be...along with all the other kiddos you may have.
p.s. You're the coolest weidie I've ever met!

andrea. said...

that is quite the story...thank you for feeling comfortable enough for sharing it. every person's pregnancy is so different and helps to hear about their experiences.

i am happy you are okay and i am happy that naomi is okay! the body is an amazing thing. and heavenly father really does bless us in crazy ways.

naomi is beautiful...and perfect! enjoy your little miracle!

That Girl said...

This is by far the weirdest thing I've ever heard of. And yet cool.

Whitney R said...

Michelle - I probably would have been freaked out. Then thought it was funny you guessed it when I found out.

Ashley - thanks :)

Kirsten - I agree. With all of it :)

andrea - the human body is amazing. I especially think so with all of the schooling I've done.

That Girl - I might have cried had you not added that last sentence.

that raven chick said...

You sound quite blessed. Maybe this uniqueness also yields some special talent or ability that you haven't discovered yet

Whitney R said...

Raven - I was thinking that I'm super woman because I can grow a baby in half a uterus. :)

Wendyburd1 said...

I have never heard of this before, and no I would not make fun of you. I am actually very curious as to HOW they didn't find this out earlier? You get sonograms before you even have a baby so why did this escape their attention? Wouldn't they show "floating" separately?

So when you get pregnant again, and I totally think WHEN, will knowing this make it less painful on you and the baby? Do they know what they could have done differently to HELP you and Naomi? Like help position her/him early on so the baby will have more room and you will have less pain? And will you have pre-eclampsia every time?

I don't think it was at all professional for them to make you feel weird. You obviously were an interesting case to many employees, who may have only ever read about such a condition, but they could have said things that just made you feel special and unique in a good way. Like what a trooper you were to have that baby in only half of a uterus and you still dealt with the pain admirably! (HUGS)

*MARY* said...

I'm unique too, or maybe just stupid. When you first said you had two uteruses I thought, so what, don't all women have two? I guess I was thinking ovaries. Yeah, I'm clueless when it comes to the female reproductive system, I just push when they tell me to push.

Stephanie Kay Moore said...

Whitney I am so happy for you and your family... Our bodies are amazing, and we will only realize that the wiser and older we get. I have a friend with two uteruses. They have a little girl. I pray you both may be blessed with big families. : )

Anonymous said...

That is the craziest thing I have ever heard and I managed a maternity boutique! Wow! That really does explain everything!!

Jenna said...

Thanks for posting this Whitney, it was a really interesting read. I'm glad Naomi and you both are doing well, and I hope you get to fill your house with children like you desire.

Little Family Fun said...

Wow. I have never heard of this before. you are amazing! And what a miracle your baby is.
Thank you for sharing your testimony too.

Ben and Jamie Stott said...

I'm glad you've gotten to a place where you can talk about it! It took me 4 months to finally talk to people about mine, but we've had lots of conversations about that! Thanks for being someone I can talk/vent/cry to about this, who truly understands! Love ya Whit!!