When I got married, my father told my husband that I could sometimes be a little “dramatic”.
An example of this might be the time that I was moving a stack of books while pregnant with my first son (so highly sensitive??!) and I dropped them on my foot, proceeded to call my husband in a panic while he was at the gym to tell him I was in so much pain I was thinking about jumping from our 23rd story window to my death!
So, am I occasionally a little dramatic? Maybe. But I tend to think of myself as a “high feeler”.
Anyway; Real talk, in no dramatic terms, I have been so extremely sick with some evil form of the flu/infection for the last 12+ days that I have been beside myself and 100% reliant on my friends, my man and my mom (I will never be too old to need my mama!) to keep Aspen and I (and baby brother) taken care of. Thank sweet heaven above I am coming out of this dreadful illness and can see a light at the end of the wellness tunnel, but I NEVER want to be sick like this again! I am so grateful and humbled in so many ways that I had to share not only my gratitude but what I have learned.
Viral vs Bacterial Infection
This has been a big topic in my house of late, and the biggest reason is because it dictates whether or not antibiotics will be effective. After about 3 days of being very sick, my dear friend took her toddler and 5 week old baby to her parents’ home so she could take me to the ER where they proceeded to inform me that I appeared to have a nasty viral & sinus infection. Viruses; cold, flu, sore throat, are not effectively treated by an antibiotic. Bacteria, however, is killed by antibiotics, so if an infection in bacterial, antibiotics will get you back on your feet. The problem is that many viral and bacterial symptoms can appear the same, and in my case, I appeared to have a viral sinus infection and suffered through this for over a week. This in itself can be an indicator that the infection in in fact not viral, as viral infections typically run their course in only a few days to a week.
Antibiotics in Pregnancy
On day 9 of what I am lovingly calling the ‘plague’ I visited another doctor at a walk-in clinic as I felt I was actually getting worse! He offered my antibiotics “if I wanted them”. Wait…. W H A T?! What do you mean ‘if I want them?’ I was in the ER six days prior and the doctor told me antibiotics wouldn’t help me because I appeared to have a viral sinus infection. But now this doctor is telling me antibiotics would work?! I was so confused (and kind of angry!) so I took the prescription and called my midwife.
Pregnant Women are Immunocompromised
After my dutiful Google searches and discussing the antibiotic (Amoxicillin) with my midwife I was ready to fill the prescription. Amoxicillin is considered to be safe in pregnancy and I was desperate. My body had spent the last 9 days taking every resource I had to feed and nurture my growing baby (thank you body!) but I truly didn’t feel like I had it in me to fight this and grow my tiny human. Pregnant women are immunocompromised meaning the immune system is suppressed. This is not so helpful in fighting infection.
Understanding Pre/Postnatal Depletion
As Dr. Serrallach explains:
“Nature’s design is that the developing fetus will take all that it requires from its mother. The go-between to ensure that this happens safely is the placenta. [...] Toward the end of the pregnancy, up to 7 grams of fat pass across the placenta each day to feed and build the baby (much higher than any other animal). [...] The placenta serves two masters: the growing baby AND the mother. During the pregnancy, the mother supplies everything that the growing baby needs, hence why so many mothers become low in iron, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B9, iodine, and selenium. They also have much lower reserves in important omega 3 fats like DHA and specific amino acids from proteins” (goop).
In short, it is nature’s beautiful design that baby thrive, even when mama is sick, unable to keep food down (I’m looking at you first trimester!), or when mama simply isn’t taking care of herself. It is an amazing testament to baby’s innate will to thrive. However, the effects of this depletion to the mother’s body can be long reaching – as in even a decade later! Proper supplementation is so key before but also after you’ve given birth!
The Road to Recovery
It has been a long miserable road, and thankfully my sweet mama came up from Portland to take care of Aspen, cook me homemade soups and keep us all alive - thank you Mom! Anyone who knows her knows that she is a saint, truly. I am simply humbled by her support and love as well as that of my friends and husband. I am certain I would have died without them!
In terms of meds, supplements and herbal remedies, I have a few for you to consider if you are battling a similar plague. And if so, I am so sorry! I know it's going around but hang in there and read the signs to know if you need to be on an antibiotic (namely, not getting better within 3-5 days).
Natural Factors Anti-Viral Herbal Tincture (you can find at local health food store such as Whole Foods)
Wishing you good health.