This pregnancy continues to be my warm roll, repackaging what is broken and confusing into a neat assortment of symptoms that people are used to accommodating:
I’m exhausted. I can’t lift that. I need a restroom. I’m in pain.
I was given the indelicate gift of two chronic diseases. For the past twenty years, I’ve lived with Crohn’s Disease and for the last eight, I’ve struggled with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of autoimmune spinal arthritis (it’s about as cheerful as it sounds). In short: my immune system doesn’t know how to behave itself and aside from a limp that comes and goes, these illnesses are invisible. In pregnancy, my overactive immune system has quieted, most likely as a natural way of keeping this baby firmly intact. Minus a scary ER trip that led to some expensive testing and monthly visits to a slew of specialists, my seemingly broken body has done a very normal thing for once in its sordid life.
Years ago I participated in a drug study for Crohn’s that required me to use two methods of birth control and take monthly pregnancy tests. After yet another cycle of proving that I was not with child and thus and cleared for my regular infusion, a nurse wondered out loud why anyone with my assortment of health issues would ever want to have a baby. At 25, I didn’t think to report her. Now, at 33, I would set her on fire.