Has IC, Is 32 and Pregnant

Hi Baby
This blog will go into some medical details about interstitial cystitis and pregnancy.  If you don't like TMI or are a little squeamish I want to give you fair warning.   

Last time I got knocked up it took a whopping 2 and a half years.  We were actually one week from starting our adoption classes with the state of Kentucky when we got that lovely plus sign (or in our case with our Dollar Store pregnancy test two lines).  My husband and I knew that we were going to have another child at some point, however we did not realize how challenging our spirited little girl would be that we would want to wait so long before we tried for numero dos. When we finally got to a point where we could see a second little DoroJohn (that's our celebrity name) in our future we never thought in a million years that it would take a mere 2 months.  I had been prepared for the long haul.  You can imagine how surprised I was when I got that positive pregnancy test with the two little lines. Tears of joy and "oh my gosh what have we done" fell.  I couldn't wait to share the news with John Mark.  His response when I shared the news later that evening (with mini cup cakes and little fake bracelets that said "baby" on them) was, "Oh my." and later "Are you serious?"  I told him, "You do know how one becomes pregnant, right?"  The only complication was that I was 32 and I had a medical condition called interstitial cystitis (IC).   

Hooray, I'm Going to Be a BIG Sister!!

She Was VERY Excited About the Cupcakes
My symptoms were similar to when I was pregnant with our first kiddo:  cramping, intensified IC symptoms (burning, frequency of going to the bathroom and more cramping aka bladder spasms), spotting and nausea.  So, this time around as far as I knew everything was okay and normal.  (The spotting had me a little worried, but after talking to a labor and delivery nurse friend, my mind was at ease.)  I had done this before.  I could do it again.  However, I only knew these things because I had went through it before.  The first time around was not easy.  None of the doctors and nurses at the Ob/Gyn seemed to know anything about interstitial cystitis outside of it's textbook definition.  I couldn't find anything on-line about it with pregnancy and the urologist nurse practitioner that I used was willing to help, but was too afraid to treat someone who was pregnant without the OB's consent for medication.  Unfortunately the OB didn't make it very easy.

I felt alone. 

So, I did what I do best:  grin and bear it.  This is what life boils down to quite a bit when it comes to having a chronic medical condition.  I knew more about my condition than my doctors did and I had to figure out ways to adjust to it alone without the medical support that most pregnant women have. 

And I was in pain while doing it. 

This wasn't your normal pregnancy pain.  I had regular uterine cramping, but I also had bladder cramping on top of that.  I had the urgency that most women feel towards the end of their pregnancy the entire pregnancy and it intensified at 5 months and progressively got worse.  My child was breached so when she kicked it went straight into my bladder and it literally felt like she was jabbing 1,000 knives into it.  I didn't sleep well because I was in pain.  My bladder hurt and felt like it was on fire.  And there was nothing I could take to ease it.  I remember one night crying to my husband because I could not find any comfort.  I felt I was definitely feeling the whole of the pain that God proclaimed women during childbirth would face as a result of the fall. 

No one could tell me my cramping could be bladder spasms as an effect from the IC, so I was constantly freaked out that something was wrong.  It wasn't until after I had Alexandria that the cramping didn't go away that I realized them for what they were.  And they didn't go away.  In fact, they continually worsened over time.

One of my favorite horror stories from the time was when my husband so sweetly asked the doctor about the glucose test for gestational diabetes that almost every pregnant woman gets at 28 weeks of pregnancy.  He asked if she knew what the substance was made of and whether anyone she knew that had IC had experienced negative effects because of it.  Her response?  "Well, if you're already in pain I don't see how a little more could hurt."  Fortunately I did not have a flare up from the glucose, but I did almost pass out because of all of the sugar in it (how is this healthy for you?  I digress).

At this point I am about 14 1/2 weeks pregnant.  As I said previously I have experienced the same symptoms of my first pregnancy:  cramping, spotting, a constant IC flare, and nausea.  Fortunately the spotting has subsided and what I believe were partially uterine cramps have as well.  The bladder cramping, IC flare and nausea remain (I forgot to mention exhaustion). 

A few weeks ago I went to my first appointment.  I decided to go to a midwife for my second pregnancy because I had to have a Cesarian delivery for my first one and did not want to repeat that if at all possible.  This was not related to my IC, but other medical issues (another story for another day) and the midwives in this practice have a greater success rate for a VBAC than the OBGYNs.  And they will actually do all they can to perform one instead of just cutting you open (another soap box for another day, though I believe my doctors for my first delivery did everything they could to avoid a c-section even though many do not).  At my appointment I had an ultrasound due to the cramping and spotting and got to see my little guy/gal for the first time.  The heart sounded very strong.  The baby is healthy.  (Yay!)

This is the first of many blogs on my experience with interstitial cystitis and being pregnant.  This is a journey I want to share with you because:

1) Some of you have interstitial cystitis and are pregnant or want to get pregnant.  I want to make sure that you know what is completely normal for you to feel.  There isn't any on-line support that I could find from the IC community on this topic, so I want to provide that for you.  Some women with IC do go through remission when they are pregnant.  I can only hope for that for all of your pregnancies, but I want you to be aware that some women don't.  Either way, we need to share our stories so we can learn from and support each other.  

2) Others of you have a chronic medical condition that makes it difficult/painful for you to carry a child.  You have more pain than most moms and I want you to know that you are not alone. 

3)  Some of you were perfectly healthy before you were pregnant and for some reason or another have developed debilitating pains or just hate being pregnant because of the normal pregnancy discomfort.  This blog is for you too. 

This blog isn't to scare any pregnant moms or make them think their entire pregnancy is going to be unbearable.  I am by no means a medical professional (and don't play one on TV).  If there is one thing I have learned is that there are no identical pregnancies.  What may be true for me, may not be true for you.  Either way, I hope you will join me on my journey.  I for one can't wait to post a picture of my sweet newborn to show you it was all worth it.  I mean look at how awesome our first one turned out.


  1. Thanks for posting this and look forward to reading more!

  2. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I hope this pregnancy isn't nearly as difficult as the first one for you!


  3. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I'm sorry that your happiness has to be punctuated with additional pain.

  4. Thank you so much for posting this! I would love to get pregnant in the hopefully near future, but none of the doctors can tell me what it could be like with IC. It is definitely hard to find anything online, so it is wonderful that someone is willing to share! I hope that this pregnancy turns out to be less painful than the first for you!


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