Elliot’s California Maternity Session
Back in the fall when Brant was asked to officiate his cousin, Amanda’s wedding in California we had just found out I was pregnant. We were a little reluctant to commit to traveling at my 32nd week of pregnancy, but my doctors said it shouldn’t be a problem. We were excited to get to go and be part of the wedding day and have a little babymoon while we were there.We did get insurance on our flights, just in case.
We also thought it would be a great time to get our maternity photos taken on the beach. So I took to Instagram and searched for maternity photographers in LA. I reached out to a few different photographers, but really fell in love with Cheryl Groff Photography’s work and it turns out Cheryl’s family was from Dayton! So crazy! She was absolutely wonderful to work with and made me feel beautiful when it was easy to feel like a hot mess. Cheryl is also due just a few weeks before me! We couldn’t be happier with our photographs and with her quick turnaround. She was an absolute joy and I’m so happy we found her.
Two weeks before our trip we weren’t sure if it was going to happen. I suffered a terrible gallstone attack. It was so scary and the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I found myself on my hands and knees, dripping sweat with severe pain on my right side, up to the middle of my shoulder blades. I’ve read many women say it’s worse than childbirth… I’ll let you know in a few weeks.
One doctor diagnosed me with a disorder called ICP which would have caused me to be induced 3-4 weeks early and I would be considered a high risk pregnancy. This new doctor decided to leave me a voice message telling me all this after the office had already closed on a Friday! So when I called right back I was unable to talk to anyone. I was just told to take some meds she sent to the pharmacy and still go on my trip the following week. Ummmm, not okay!
After I debated with myself for a while, not wanting to be an overly dramatic first time mom, I decided to go ahead and contact the doctor on call. Dr. Wood, who is Brant and I’s favorite doctor at the practice, called me back within a few minutes. I told him what the other doctor had said in the voicemail. He immediately looked up my blood work numbers and he said they were very high. I knew from a quick google search before the call, that they like the numbers to be around 8. I asked “How high are they?” but I could tell by his tone that it wasn’t good, then he said “…I don’t think you want to know.” I told him I did. He said they were 302! The highest he had ever seen. He said he wanted me to go get my blood drawn again when I got off the phone with him. He also scheduled me to come in Monday for a nonstress test. I told him about our trip to California the following Friday, he said lets see how these results come back. He said, he thought that I didn’t have ICP and these numbers were so high because of my gallstone attack and told me not to take the medicine the other doctor had ordered.
That Monday, Brant and I both came in for the nonstress test and the nurse had a really tough time finding Elliot’s heartbeat, which wasn’t anything too different for him, because he moves so much. Luckily I could feel him moving, so we knew he was just being wild. The poor nurse had to stay on her knees for about 20 minutes out of the 30 minute test, to keep the monitor on him. Everything was great with the test. Dr. Wood came to talk to us saying he was really happy with the test results, but my blood work wan’t in yet. He gave us his personal phone number and said to call him Wed. if he hadn’t called me yet with the blood results. He said he was very confident by looking at me that the bile numbers would be way down and that we could still go to California. He also told me that he was very glad I took initiative and called him the Friday before.
The next few days I talked to Dr. Wood several times and he never once was put out when I called his personal number with “just one more question.” He ended up texting me at 6am the morning he received my blood work back, because he knew we were anxious about seeing those numbers down before our trip. He text that my numbers were down to 12 from 302! And to enjoy our trip. Never have I had a doctor put forth so much concern and thoughtfulness into my care. I am so grateful for him and that he went above and beyond for us.
After all this I went to a gallbladder surgeon and he of course said I need my gallbladder taken out after Elliot comes. When I asked to see my ultrasound of the gallstones he wouldn’t show them to me and made me feel dumb for even asking. This is not okay! It is my right to see my test results. If I do end up having to get my gallbladder out I will be getting a second opinion and going to someone who will take a couple of minutes to show me my results. At my next OBGYN appointment with Dr. Wood I told him this and he literally turned to the computer and double clicked on the ultrasound of my gallbladder and went over it with me as best he could. It took him 2 seconds to bring up.
I wanted to share my story, because I want to tell others the importance of advocating for yourself. The medical field can be a very overwhelming and intimidating place to try and stand up for yourself. Do your research as much as you can and ask questions! Even if you are afraid of being annoying or talked down to. You have more rights than most practitioners want you to think you do. It’s also important to find a doctor who really cares and who will take the time to answer all your questions.
I am currently taking a natural approach to healing my gallbladder with diet, and supplements to thin my bile and reduce the gallstones. I’ve heard great things about these supplements from my chiropractor and from reviews. I’m hopeful I will be able to heal without surgery, but if it comes down to it I will talk to other surgeons. I’ve had great recommendations given to me from friends and I am so appreciative for this.
At 34 weeks I’m feeling great and we are anxiously waiting to meet baby Elliot!