I started this blog a little over a year ago when I started working to improve my kidney health. My kidneys were damaged by an E. coli infection when I was five years old. I had what the doctors called a “miraculous” recovery–I regained nearly full kidney function. I was spilling protein at the rate of one gram per day (normal is zero or trace, ten is really bad), which apparently was not concerning enough for them to continue monitoring me. When I became pregnant with my son, however, the reality of my kidney health set in–my kidneys gradually began to spill more and more protein and I was considered to be at high risk of preeclampsia and/or premature delivery.
This was such bad news to me that I refused to accept it. I tried my best to stay in a bubble of relaxation and to think positively through the remainder of my pregnancy. I refused to give up on my hope for a natural birth. My protein spillage continued to rise, but never getting as bad as my doctor
hoped expected. At 39 weeks I was still in good condition–didn’t even has so much as swollen ankles–and I had started having contractions. Instead of allowing me to go into labor on my own, my doctor insisted that an inducement would be better for both me and the baby. I felt trapped between my desire to go home and go into labor on my own and listening to my doctor. I’m afraid I wasn’t in tune with my intuition at this point. I felt I had no choice but to follow my doctor’s directions. I was induced, and it was absolutely the most horrible experience of my life, not to mention dangerous.
Fast forward two and a half years, and I am seeing my new kidney doctor for the first time, to see if I am healthy enough to get pregnant again. Three months postpartum, my protein spillage had tested at 2.5 grams per day. This really scared me because it meant that my kidneys were worse than they had been before pregnancy–what would another pregnancy do to my kidneys?? Kidney failure in pregnancy was a very real risk for me. So when at 2.5 years postpartum my results came back at 1.8 grams I was both relieved and disappointed. I was relieved that they had gotten better, but disappointed that I wasn’t back at my pre-pregnancy level, even after 2.5 years.
It wasn’t just my desire to have another baby that motivated me to get serious about my kidney health, but my desire for a natural birth. I was on a mission to heal my kidneys fully! However, after several months of treatments with a naturopath and working on my diet, last October my level was at 1.47–not nearly as much healing as I had hoped. I kicked things into high gear with a strict healing diet (GAPS), and more supplements, and going as far as consuming kidney (like heals like). At the very least, I wanted to get back to my prepregnancy level before attempting to get pregnant again.
I was feeling so much healthier that I felt my kidneys had to be healing. But there was no way to test that without going to the doctor. I delayed my usual six month appointment, wanting to give my healing regime a bit more time to work before getting tested. I finally went this last Monday. Yesterday I got my results online. I was afraid to look. Afraid the results wouldn’t be good enough. What if all the effort I put into my health didn’t help my kidneys heal?
Well, I looked. And I was relieved at first, then happy. My protein spillage is at 1.1 grams. That is pretty close to pre-pregnancy, so I feel getting pregnant now would be about as safe as it was last time, although it is still not ideal and I would still be labeled high risk. But the best part is in doing a little math, I can see that my efforts really did make a difference. In the first 2.5 years postpartum my protein spillage went down .7 grams, without my doing anything to heal my kidneys. In the last year and a bit, it went down another .7 grams, which means I’ve doubled my rate of healing. Maybe in another couple of years I’d be in really good shape. Too bad I plan to get pregnant again and ruin all my progress, lol. But at least I know I can support my kidneys during pregnancy much better this time around, and I know what to do postpartum to speed the healing process.
There is also the possibility that the mercury in my body from my amalgam fillings is hindering the healing process, and that by removing the fillings and detoxing, I might have a better chance for my kidneys. I have been planning to do this, but have been dragging my feet because I’m actually scared to have them removed. I don’t know how my body would react to different fillings. How do I know the dentist will install them correctly? But I figure nothing can be as bad as having mercury vapors pouring into my body every day. So I’ve got to just do it. Would be interesting to see how my kidneys tested after that.