Monday, March 25, 2013

Guest Blogger- Faye

I am excited to introduce my next CF Mommy blogger, Faye from CF Mudda. Her blog has a plethora of information on staying healthy with CF as well as insights on being a mother and dealing with Cystic Fibrosis. Faye's story is amazing and extremely unique to the CF community. More and more CF patients are becoming parents, but Faye has 4, yes 4, children! Her handsome boys are Charles (7), Marcel (5), Gabriel (3), and Sebastian (2). As a cyster with one baby I am in awe that she is able to manage CF and being a mommy of four children. Such an inspiration!
Sabastian's 2nd birthday. Faye had been on Kalydeco for 5 months at this point!!

Everyone that has CF seems to have a very different experience. Share a little bit about your CF story or how CF effects you.
First of all, let me say thank you for having me on your blog Inhaling Hope, it's an honor to be asked. 

My childhood was different to most people with CF. After the age of three, I didn't go to hospital for 13 years. Not because I had "mild CF", but because my mother did what was considered a fairly 'radical' choice at the time. When I was diagnosed she thought to herself,"There has to be a better way". She researched nutrition, then chose to completely change my diet and supplements from the typical CF diet to a very natural holistic approach to my CF. After applying these changes, my health turned around. I had no cough, huge appetite, normal weight until I was around 13 (after my first lung function test I developed my first chronic cough). During this period I did have some courses of oral antibiotics, but for the most part the hospital system did not play a big part in my life. I felt normal (I just thought my mum was SUPER strict about healthy eating for some reason?! *ha ha) I didn't know I had CF until this time. I remember asking my mom why this "stupid cough" wouldn't go? She said I had a condition. I asked what was it called. "Cystic Fibrosis". I asked if I will die young. "The average life expectancy is 21". I was 13. It shocked and confronted me with my mortality. Her attitude helped me cope, just to get on with it, no self pity was allowed. Privately I struggled with the reality for a few years after that. It's a very hard thing to understand as a child, quite daunting. I did however understand instantly why mum was so protective of me and what I ate/supplements. She was strict about it, but I was (and am) thankful that she taught me how to ignore how I feel and do whats required. Made me stronger and we remain very close to this day. She was incredibly brave to take a stand, it wasn't easy. It required a lot of educating, effort and dedication to make sure my health was looked after. 
I think there's a common misconception about alternative health that you're somehow a naive hippy in denial. The reality for me was the opposite!! I am very realistic (as are my parents) and everything we have done was researched and scientifically proven (but not by drug companies). Doing things naturally takes a huge amount of self discipline. A lifestyle change, but my mum is a sharply intelligent Scott and a science buff, she took to it like a duck to water. I am profoundly grateful for the life I have led, I feel I owe it to her initial choice to do it differently, my fathers constant support and respect of her knowledge, their dedication and love for me was palpable. At 15 I plugged in and took more responsibility. So 'yes', CF has impacted my life equally as much as everyone else with the disease, just differently at times.

Deciding to have a child when you have CF is a very difficult decision. Please share how you came to the decision to try to conceive for your first child. Was the decision any harder (or easier) with the following three children?
It was not a difficult choice for me or at least I didn't perceive it that way. I did full time natural therapies from the age of 16 to 19. After I found out I had CF I rebelled against my healthy diet and lifestyle. Ate junk foods and became sedentary. Became reckless. My immunity got low and I caught the worst flus of my life. One season I ended up in the Intensive-care care unit, flat-lined. I almost died. Contracted MRSA, Aspergillus and sustained significant lung damage (Bronchiectasis) I was told I needed a double lung, liver and heart transplant. The whole experience scared me straight!! Instead of signing up I chose to roll that dice and go to Mexico to reboot my body from the inside out at the hospitals there that offered alternative medicines. I returned 4 times to 3 different clinics over a 5 years period, also continued the therapies at home full time. To this day I still use many natural therapies to help support my health. It was a big sacrifice, but I had one goal: A family.
For me, the choice to have children was synonymous with getting married. I'm Catholic so one doesn't come without the other in our culture (usually). The big decision was can I get married? By the time I was 21 I felt I was. I met Benjamin when I was 23, got married within 8 months of meeting. We were expecting our first son a month later! That was 9 years ago in July. Made all the efforts worth while. I have no regrets about it at all!! Thank God it paid off.

Tell me a little bit about CF and your pregnancies. What were the biggest challenges (if any) caused by CF in your pregnancy?
During my pregnancies my health and well being was a priority. I managed it similar to when I was a child, naturally as possible. I deliberately chose to approach it this way. I didn't want CF it to overshadow such a wonderful and personal time. My pregnancies were managed by choice by a regular hospital, I did go for check ups at CF clinic a couple of times for my chest, but that was it. I refused lung function tests because I am not satisfied with their infection control standards. I had the best and most experienced gynaecologist around and he did a wonderful job with managing the whole event. I am very level headed by nature, so going it alone was not nerve wracking at all, I felt good. I needed no oxygen or wheelchairs. Walking around, shopping etc. The only thing that I did find awful to cope with as the babies got bigger when they would sit on my bladder it made coughing/physio difficult to say the least!! When sleeping I had two pillows at six months, but not for breathing, for acid reflux (a symptom very common for a lot of non CF ladies). The labours were totally natural, quick, 45 minutes hard labour, no breathing discomfort at all (no tearing!!). Out of hospital the next day, recovered very well. 

Our 4th baby was different. I had had an accident in 2009 that fractured a rib. Sebastian was due October 2010. So we chose to be cared for by the CF clinic and gynaecologist, which was a very good experience as well! I had IV's during this pregnancies for the first time and found out he was breech. They tried to turn him 3 times, but Sebastian wouldn't be moved! C-section was not advised due to the CF physio required after birth to clear ones chest. I was told to deliver him naturally?! I freaked out!! I requested an epidural, which was a safer option in case any problems we had to go to c-section. But to my relief, it was again 45 minutes hard labour, pain free!! I LOVE EPIDURALS! One 3 stitches, recovered very well and was the best birth ever... gotta love pain free!
To have as healthy pregnancies as possible I supplemented with a lot of raspberry leaf tea, vitamin E, Selenium (to prevent CF), B vitamins, Noni Juice, Aloe vera juice (bottled) and a LOT of juice and smoothies!!
All up having babies has not been difficult (my health at 16 was much harder to cope with) but I no doubt it was more difficult than healthy women for sure. I had to keep on top of my nutrition and not burn the candle at both ends so to speak. Plenty of rest and physio to keep my chest clear as possible, nebulized antibiotics, sometimes cipro, but I wasn't obsessed with CF stats and comparisons. My lung function was 55% when I started having children. I was hospital/admission/IV free again for 7 years in which I had 3 of our sons. It took a lot of effort on the lifestyle side. I couldn't run around like my friends, I had to rest, take time out to do treatments, eat and drink good things to take care of my health. It all paid off, I had very healthy babies, no CF and I lived to tell the tale!
Charles 8 weeks old. (2007)
What is your daily CF care schedule (treatments, pills, exercise) and how do you manage your CF care with being a mother of four?
Benjamin is a super hero husband!! From the time our sons were born he has taken night duty, passing them when I breastfed them (1 year for my first, then each time it got less due to feeling wiped out when I fed!) changing nappies. Just anything I needed support with he's there. I need sleep to stay well enough to look after them, I think this has been crucial for me to manage it all. Ben takes breakfast duty while I nebulize (ventolin, atrovent & an antibiotic when applicable) after that he goes to work and I takeover. It's much easier now that I have two sons in school. When I had 4 or 3 at home is was a lot to cope with, I leaned on my mum's support a lot. We took care of them together when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by myself. At nap time I fit in physio/pulmozyme. In the evenings after the boys are in bed I do the same: morning nebulizer routine, plus Zen Chi machine (you can read about that on my blog), and I take a lot of supplements! At the moment, Vitamin E, selenium, zinc, magnesium, Vit A (natural), NAC, curcumin just to name a few! I take these mostly around food. I follow the 80/20 principle in my diet: 80% healthy, 20% indulgent (by indulgent I mean gourmet, not junk food 'treats'). Exercise is my weak spot, I find it tricky to in summer and fitting it in. I do an hour a day on the weekend, but when I look after the boys by myself during the weekdays it generally falls by the wayside (although I am very active running after them!) I am slowly changing this and I'm sure it will be better once I do exercise more regularly. This is a goal at the top of my list!!

At what age did your children start to realize that you are a little different than other mommies in that you have CF?
I don't think they have compared me to others mummies, they haven't noticed, but they do realise I have a cough.

How did you initially explain CF to your boys? Has that explanation changed as they have gotten older?
Charles asked once if my cough will ever go away? I explained it's like a boy in one of my son's class who needs glasses. "He was born that way and it's fine, he just needs to wear glasses to see, I just need medicine for my cough that I was born with. Thank God your healthy and strong". They know some people are born with health problems and it's OK. I make sure I am positive around them, they don't know the words 'Cystic Fibrosis' and I don't want to worry their little hearts with that reality yet. If possible when they're young men, but it depends on how my health holds up. Obviously, if I'm in serious danger of death they will need to be told sooner. It will be difficult for them I am sure, but we will do everything to prepare them to be strong enough cope with this news. We have a strong Catholic faith, suffering and death are perceived slightly differently than with non religious beliefs. It helps to accept it all and put it into eternal perspective for me and I hope my family in the future.

What aspect of CF (physical, mental, emotional) seems to be the most challenging when it comes to mothering?
Before Kalydeco I found it hard no to be able to play physical games with them for a long time. Now I can play in the park, run, climb, trampoline etc. Just like you want to with your children. I was disappointed Ben got to do all that with them and I always had to watch because I was too puffed to participate for long. I suppose the guilt of not being able to do typical 'mother' things was difficult to accept at first, like getting up at night. But over time you realise there is good in all sorts of situations. Because of these limitations of mine they have been able to bond very closely to daddy, which I think is wonderful for boys, particularly if anything happens to me. It's always hard becoming a new mother, your own expectations plus society's standards, but after you reach a certain age and gain experience confidence helps to overcome your insecurity's.

October 2012

If you could give advice to a CF woman who is contemplating starting a family what would it be?
Build up your system, reboot your health.. Buy a juicer and get juicing!! Cut out unhealthy foods, eat as natural as possible. Selenium supplements helped me. Recently I have found a NAC supplement with added selenium which I think would be ideal!. Exercise. By doing all this I'd hope the need for excessive medications would be reduced. That was my goal, to be on as few meds as possible, for my own health but also the baby. Sometimes it's unavoidable, but if you can manage it, great! Find a good natural health practitioner to help you adjust or add natural things to your routine, strengthen your body naturally.

Is there any advice you would give a new mother, such as myself, that is just embarking on this journey of motherhood and CF?
Try relax more.
Your not a freak, it's possible for you to have children if take care of yourself.
Marry a good man!!!
Don't be afraid, get educated about nutrition and make a change (or two!)
Don't eat junk food.
Family support is vital (or just some support system) so you can keep up with your health care.
Don't ever let your treatments (nebulizer/chest clearance) slip.
Supplements help.
Prayer is powerful...
JUICE!! I juice everyday, vegetables & fruits. I do at least one litre a day. Carrot + Beet + apple I have found to be the most fundamental juice for my health. Be positive, happy and open minded about your health and how you approach it. Little things can make a huge difference to longevity and quality of life!!
Remember you are so strong, not weak, to have made it this far! ... xox

To read the stories of ten other women with CF and their journeys with CF and pregnancy/motherhood please click here.

If you are a CF mother (though adoption, step children, surrogacy, fostering) or are CF and pregnant and want to share your story e-mail me at inhalinghopecf(at)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Love and Honey

My husband and I try to have a family outing at least once a week. It is usually something free like going to the river or the park, but sometimes we will go out to eat or go to the zoo. We decided this Friday we would go on a picnic. When we woke up this morning it was really windy and with allergies in full force we decided to go to an early dinner in the city instead. After we finished eating and we were sitting back and talking a young attractive man came by and was cleaning the tables. My 9 month old daughter was transfixed. She stared at him wide eyed, watching his every move. She then started saying hi to him in her sweetest voice. He was too far away to hear her, but she kept at it. At one point she had to lean away from my husband and push him out of the way so she could keep her eyes glued to the young man cleaning tables. He was eventually close enough to hear her little, "hi". and he responded, but of course kept about his work. As he moved further away my smitten daughter decided to pull out the big guns to get his attention, blowing raspberries all while watching for his reaction. He traveled further away until he was out of site and my sweet daughter finally turned her attention back to us. At this point my husband and I were wiping tears from our eyes because we had never seen her respond to someone like that before and it was hilarious!

On our way home we stopped by a honeybee store to pick up local honey in hopes of reducing our reactions to spring allergies. The place was beyond adorable and despite the fact that it was only 5 blocks form our old apartment this was the first time I ever stepped foot in the store. The place was really busy and according to the owner it had been that way ever since allergy season hit. Here is to hoping that local honey along side my allergy pills this spring will be less allergy induced than last year. Anyone used local honey to reduce allergies?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mothering While Sick

Prior to having a child one of my big concerns was how to care for a baby or child while being sick and needing a tune up. After Kay was born this was even more of a concern as I realized how much work was involved in caring for a baby. After catching the flu and becoming sicker than I have ever been in my life I now know exactly what it is life to mother while CF sick. I thought I would share my experiences on mothering while ill.

When my sickness progressed from feeling bad to having fevers, shaking violently, feeling completely fatigued to the point that going down the hall (in our small home) was too much effort I was terrified that I would not be able to care for Kaylee. But I was her mother, that was my job and I was going to whatever I could to care for her. I popped asprin and did my best at being a somewhat happy engaging mother. I closed us in her baby-proofed nursery so that I could lay and watch her knowing she would be safe no matter what she got into. I put her in her jumperoo and watched from the couch clapping and pretending to be excited with each jump. This seemed to work well...for a little while.

I then found myself laying in bed with a baby crawling all over me. The baby did not have a diaper because I couldn't muster up the energy to go to the dryer and get her clean diapers. I called my mom sobbing. At that point I realized that mothering while ill is not always possible. For the next two weeks whenever my husband went to work either my mom, dad, or sister would come to my house. I slept mostly, but even when I had the energy to be in the room with them I found that I could only lay on the couch and watch. I distinctly remember the feeling of helplessness when my sister was over and Kaylee crawled out of the room down the hall. My sister jumped up and went to get her and I was laying on the couch realizing that if my sister wasn't here there was no way I would have been able to get Kaylee. My energy was non-existent.

The hardest part of trying to be a mother while sick was giving up my precious baby time. Knowing that Kaylee will likely be my only baby I have always been selfish with her (just ask my family). I want to spend every minute with her and hate sharing her with others for too long. Giving up an entire two weeks of my baby's life felt like torture. I found myself feeling cheated out of my daughters 8th month of life since I was sick to some degree for all of it. I felt like a bad mother in that besides nursing her and sleeping with her I was hardly present and when I was I was not myself. I have to say that during this week co-sleeping was what saved me. I was able to spend at least 13 hours a day snuggled to my baby, breathing her in, holding her close so even though I missed her with every fiber of my being during the day I was able to reconnect at night.

The emotional toll of mothering while ill far outweighs the physical toll, but I have now learned that sometimes it is okay to say, "I can't do it." CFers are strong people and we often try to power through since being sick is something we do well, but being sick and being in charge of another human being can be a herculean task and sometimes it is okay to let go and ask for help. I had family step in and care for Kaylee and friends delivered food. I have no idea how I would have survived the flu without them. And of course, my husband was a hero getting home from work at 2am only to wake with Kaylee at 6:30am. They say it takes a village and a village is exactly what a CF mama needs at times!

Sunday, March 17, 2013


The sun has been shining in our little slice of this big world and so my blogging has slowed. It has been sunny and 80 degrees which means I am spending less time on the computer and more time outdoors. We have been spending our days prepping our soil for our vegetable garden, taking walks, playing in the park, going to the zoo, eating watermelon, eating grass (okay, that one is just Kaylee), swinging in the glider on our front porch, blowing bubbles while sitting in the grass, and playing at the river.

I am sure blogging will pick back up when the newness of spring wears off.

Friday, March 15, 2013

9 Months

Dear Kaylee,
You are nine months old today. You have been outside of my body s long as you were inside my body. It seems strange to only have known you for nine months. It feels as if we have been together, mother and daughter, forever.

You follow simple directions now which is so amazing! You will throw the ball, put pieces in a puzzle when we point to the correct spot, you will put objects inside each other, when I say, "Kaylee, look at me" or "no no" you follow directions. It is amazing to see how much you understand about what we say already!

You are a dancing machine! You dance when you hear any type of music. You can be in the middle of crying, hear music, stop crying and dance away. Your love for dancing is shared by both Mommy and Papi so we love dancing right along with you.

Things You Dislike: You are much too busy exploring your world to take a break for a diaper change. The second I lay you on your back you flip over and crawl away. I have now mastered changing a diaper while you stand because it is the only way to keep you happy!

What I like About This Age: You love to mimic everything we do. You are such a little monkey and it entertains your Papi and I all day long. We have to be careful though because Papi said, "darn" the other day (although both mommy and Papi have been known to say words that are much less appropriate) and you repeated him perfectly.  

One thing that is challenging about this age is that you are alllll over the house. Treatment time has become very interesting as you repeatedly fly down the hall in a super speed crawl. When I retreive you it is only moments before you take off again. I love your independence (ha! to all the people that say "natural parenting" creates needy babies and you need to teach independence to your baby), but sometimes I wish you would independently play in the living room during treatment time!

New Words: You are finding your voice in the world and are learning to say some words. This month you have been saying, "num num" (food you like), "baby" (which you say about babies, but about adults sometimes too), "mom" (so weird to hear you call me mom at such a young age), and you have said, "bye" on occasion while waving. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Baby Games

I remember holding Kaylee as a newborn, snuggling into her soft skin, breathing in the gentle baby smell and thinking, I don't want this to change; I want this forever. Now almost nine months later I think back to those precious newborn days and I look at the curious, silly, loving daughter I have today and I realize that this journey gets more fun the longer you are on it. Just this morning as I was trying to write this post Kaylee kept crawling behind the couch so I couldn't see her. I would call to her, "Donde esta Kaylee?" She would then come crawling out from behind the couch full speed with the biggest smile on her face only to stop, turn around,and do it again. Seriously, this mommy gig is way too fun!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tree Bark

I love my husband for many reasons, but yesterday I added one more reason to my list. We were drinking our coffee and muffins, a tradition that started when my husband started working evenings. When he wakes up around 11:30 we have our morning coffee (mmmmm) and muffins as his breakfast and my morning snack. Kaylee joins us with her own little snack. While my husband was taking a bite of his muffin I noticed him studying my arm. He was looking at my arm quiet intensly and after another rather large bite he says casually, "You know your arm looks just like tree bark." I look down at my own arm and realize the layer upon layer of yellowy scabs resemble a tree truck with thick layers of bark. How he could look at the grotesqueness that I call an arm while enjoying breakfast is beyond me. If his arm was so covered in thick layers of scabs (made not of blood, but of the salt/water/protein mixture my arm is covered in) it looked like tree bark I would ask him to keep in covered until it healed to keep me from barking on a daily basis. Oh dear husband,  only you would not be disgusted by me in this hideous state!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Guest Blogger - Jennifer

I am excited to introduce my next CF mommy blogger, Jennifer, who is 39 years old and mother of two children. She has a daughter who is five and a son who is 10 months old. You  have to check out her wonderful blog, Montessori Beginnings especially if you have children. She does great educational and fun projects with her daughter that you will absolutely want to try with your own kids. Since Kaylee is just a little younger than her son I love getting inspiration from her and the activities she does with him (he even cleans his own tray after eating- how amazing is that!!! Talk about inspiring).

Everyone that has CF seems to have a very different experience. Share a little bit about your CF story or how CF effects you.

I was diagnosed with CF sometime around 11 years old.  I was a super healthy kid but kept getting really bad sinus infections.  I was eventually sent for allergy tests and the technician suggested I get tested for CF.  My parents were shocked because back then the only images you would get of kids with CF (there were no adults!) were pretty dire.  Turns out that I did have CF but am pancreatic sufficient.  I think the diagnosis was mild CF.  My sister was later tested and she also has mild CF.  I suffered from bad sinuses and polyps and around 13 and had an operation to have them out as well as my adenoids.  The doctor ended up also taking out a whole sinus wall which was pretty traumatic at the time but since that day I have seriously never had another problem with my sinuses and the polyps never grew back.  Over the years I would have an average of about three chest infections a year which would be treated with oral antibiotics.  When first diagnosed I was doing physio every day but I found it didn’t make much difference so we stopped it.  Back then it was old school me lying on a stack of pillows and my mom pounding on me.

Jump ahead 20 years and CF had really just been a small annoyance in my life.  I would be going along like a normal person and then something would happen to remind me oh ya I do have CF.  I was a professional flute player for 11 years with a Symphony Orchestra and that did wonders to my lung function.  I was at 98% for all of that time.  Then I moved to England stopped playing the flute, got married and decided to have a baby.  That’s when things really changed with my CF.

Tell me a little bit about CF and your pregnancy. Was the pregnancy with your daughter similar to your pregnancy with your son?

I have to admit that with my first pregnancy I didn’t even really factor in my CF that much (young and stupid! Well not that young just stupid I guess!).  I knew that at some point I would have to take antibiotics but I thought I’ll just deal with that when it happens.  For both of my pregnancies I was super lucky in that I conceived on the first try.  Obviously I don’t have any issues with fertility.
With the first pregnancy I had been so healthy that I didn’t even have a CF clinic in England.  I ended up getting a chest infection really early on and the doctor gave me a super mild antibiotic.  Of course it did nothing and from then on I had really bad care.  I went from one doctor to another getting seriously no help.  One doctor actually told me to just breathe steam!! Another didn’t even believe I had CF!!! Finally after almost six months of feeling completely rotten I was able to connect with the CF clinic in London.  At my appointment I found out my lung function was at 63%!! I was shocked to say the least.  They called me a few days later with my lab results and I was growing not only my usual staph but also pseudomonas.  The doctor had booked me for admission the next day.  I stayed for two weeks and went on IV Ceftafatim.  They also convinced me to start pulmozyme.  After two weeks I was released but about three weeks later I was back.  The rest of my pregnancy was the same.  I could only stay healthy for about two to three weeks after the IVs. 
After the birth I decided to breast feed and continued to have chest issues.  When my daughter was four months old I was exhausted and decided to call it quits on the nursing and went on some super strong IVs.  That did the trick and I was back to my normal self until the next pregnancy.
 Although I tried to get super healthy before I got pregnant second time around I had about the exact same pregnancy troubles except for far better care.  I ended up being on oral antibiotics every month.  I could only go for two weeks before the infection would start to get out of control.  I guess my body just can’t handle pregnancy and fight off infection at the same time.  I was hell bent on breast feeding longer with my son and managed 7 months before I had to go on IV’s and I decided enough was enough.  My body needs a break now. 

 Tell us a little bit about the birth of both you daughter and son. Did CF play a role in the delivery? How was recovery in terms of pain management when coughing and doing treatments?

For my first pregnancy I was scheduled for an induction 10 days before my due date because the doctors were concerned about the stress on my lungs. I ended up going into labour the day before which was really great.  The labour lasted 36 hours and I ended up having a recommended early epidural.  The doctors weren’t sure I would have enough energy to push when the time came if I had to go through all of the contractions.  When the time came to push I had a really difficult time and was passing out.  It ended up that my daughters shoulder was stuck so I had to have an episiotomy and they had to use the vacuum to pull her out.  She was fine but it was very traumatic for me and I ended up having to go to the ER to get stitches and fixed up.  I was on IVs all throughout the labour.  The recovery was long and painful as I had absolutely no bladder control and every time I coughed it was excruciating and I couldn’t hold anything in.  The coughing exacerbated things and it took much longer for me to heal. 

For my second pregnancy the doctors recommended another vaginal delivery as a C-section cuts through all the muscles you need to cough which would be much harder to recover from.  I was once again scheduled for induction 10 days early and was admitted a week before for IV’s to get into the best shape possible for the delivery.  My little guy once again decided to come two days before the induction but much, much faster.  Although I’d planned on having another epidural he came much too fast and they didn’t make it in time.  I had him naturally with no pain meds and boy was that insane!!  The pushing was super easy and he came out in two pushes.  I was so happy to know that I was able to give birth naturally and CF played no part at all in the delivery.  As there were no complications my recovery was so much easier and faster.  I continued my IV’s for the last few days as well as my treatments and then went home.  At that point my lungs were in great shape so coughing was not much of an issue.

Now that your daughter is a little older do you find that she asks questions about your CF and health? If so how do you explain your CF to your daughter?

Before I got pregnant with my son my daughter had absolutely no awareness of my CF.  She was four when I got pregnant and pretty soon it was obvious I was not my normal healthy self.  She was very aware of the coughing and I told her it was because of being pregnant. 
 Recently I was in the hospital for a week and she was very confused.  She asked me why I was in the hospital if I wasn’t having a baby.  I explained to her that I just got too sick and didn’t have enough energy to look after everyone so I needed to go to the hospital to take very strong medicine.  She knows that I do physio (my pipe) and that I take lots of pills but I really haven’t explained that I have CF yet and all that it entails.  I think it will be on a need to know basis at time goes on because the last thing a child needs is to have to worry about their mother.

If you could give advice to a CF women who is ttc or is pregnant what would you tell them?

I have found that every single person with CF has a different experience and this is no different in pregnancy.  I was very healthy before my pregnancies and had a terrible time during them yet other people who are more greatly affected by CF in general have great pregnancies.  So the only advice I would give would be to go with what is in your heart.  Being a mother is A LOT of work but I couldn’t imagine living my life without my children!  They are my heart.

To read the stories of ten other women with CF and their journeys with CF and pregnancy/motherhood please click here.

If you are a CF mother (though adoption, step children, surrogacy, fostering) or are CF and pregnant and want to share your story e-mail me at inhalinghopecf(at)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Clinic And Arm Update

Today was supposed to be the day I got my PICC pulled or was given a new set of meds, but of course with the PICC pulling itself out and my skin falling off I went in PICC free and extremely nervous. My arm is looking worse, I didn't get to finish my IVs and I had no idea how my lungs were doing. I also had to go with my zombiesque arm out on the open. I tried to cover it last night for family dinner at my parents house since I didn't think people would want to look at it while eating. I will spare you the gory details, but it was so not a good idea.

Within five minutes my appointment was already looking grim. Somehow I lost 4lbs between last Monday and today. How is it even possible to lose 4lbs in 7 days? I don't usually have an issue gaining or maintaining weight so this baffled my mind. I was eating a lot all week as I was trying to gain weight which makes it so much more frustrating. I am down to a skeletal 114lbs from 125. I knew my doctor would try to convince me to stop nursing, but I really believe that in a few weeks I can gain most of the weight back. Nursing is too important for me not to succeed!

My PFTs were making me the most nervous since I had to stop my IV course five days early. With my left arm covered in open sores and my right arm too much scarred to access I knew a PICC was out and I just didn't know what we would do if my PFTs hadn't improved. Luckily, my PFTs were just 2% under my baseline. Once I can swim again (when my arm heals) I think I can get back to baseline.

Pretty much everyone that saw my arm made the most horrendous face and said something along the lines of, "Oh, that looks horrible!" One of the nurses said, "I can't even look at it!!", but then kept sneaking peeks at it. Thank goodness the doctor knew exactly what it was. He even had another CF doc come in to get a second opinion and they both said the same thing. I was given a prescription for topical and oral steroids. I am already on Bactrim so that will take care of any infection that may be brewing. I go back in two weeks and if it isn't better they are sending me to a wound specialist. How scary is that!? I seriously hope that it improves with the steroids because nursing, sleeping, even carrying my baby is so much more difficult when I can't use my left arm.

So it looks like I am over the worst of my sickness. I now have the aftermath to clean up (get my weight back and heal my arm), but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Life with Kbug

I have been feeling sick, frustrated, and defeated lately, but I have a constant source of joy and light in my life: my family. So to give you a break from disgusting pictures of my dying arm and depressing blog entries I am bringing you a little glimpse of life with my Kbug!

  • K can dance!! She just started dancing this week. Whenever she hears music of any kind she bounces up and down as fast as she can. It doesn't matter if it is a slow song she goes wild bouncing out of control. She is a dancing machine!
  • Kay's new favorite word is "baby". She says it absolutely perfectly, but she isn't perfect on understanding what it means. We are working on it. She is also trying to say "mas" ("more" in Spanish), but it comes out more like Mo....m. She has never made the s sound and I think she just doesn't know what to do after the initial mo so it ends up sounding like a drawn out mom. She says it often at mealtime. That girl can eat!!
  • Yesterday morning my husband, K, and I all woke up, but none of us felt like getting out of bed. Little Kaylee was sandwiched in the middle of us. She crawled over to my husband and layed her head on him (her version of a hug) then crawled to me and layed her head on me. Then back to my husband, then me, then my husband. She did this back and forth for several minutes. It was as if she didn't want to leave either one of us out. Love her!
  • My mom came over yesterday and was asking her about what she ate for breakfast. She started listing foods that she may have had: bananas, oatmeal, blueberries. Kay listened to her list and then said "num nums" which is what she says when she is eating. It is amazing how much they understand even at such a young age.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Wreckage

**Graphic Picture! Scroll down at your own risk***
***I promise I won't post too many more gross pics***

Yesterday morning I wasn't sure how much more my arm could take. My blisters were oozing through my bandages and I was sleeping with towels under my arm. Barf, I know! So when I went to get a dressing change and the nurse said my arm looked worse than before I thought I was going to cry. Then came even more bad news. She noticed it looked like the external part of the PICC was longer than it was supposed to be. Sure enough, it was supposed to be 8" and it was 16". I knew at that moment my PICC was coming out. She called my Dr and of course he told her to pull the PICC. Part of me was so relieved that my arm would finally get a chance to heal. Part of me was terrified for my lungs. When I got home and assessed the damage of my arm I realized that I am so grateful for the fact that my line came out because my arm looked horrendous.

Obviously, I feel super attractive at the moment!

Later in the evening I started to notice my forearm was starting to swell. I pulled out my PICC packet of potential problems and the symptoms seemed to point to a blood clot. At this point I was pretty freaked out. After all the pain and trouble with my skin I couldn't imagine a blood clot. And of course my skin was almost non-existent so I couldn't even imagine how they would do an ultrasound over the open sores. I called the on-call pulmonolgist who told me to try warm compresses and to call the doc in the morning. By 2am I woke up (because I was hungry actually- good sign that I am feeling better) and noticed my swelling was pretty much gone. I think the swelling in my upper arm was draining (because of gravity) to my lower arm which was causing the swelling. My arm was a little red, but it is also itchy and irritated. So for now I think my PICC troubles are over and I just have to hope my lungs received enough antibiotics to be okay and that my arm will heal...eventually.