Suzie’s Successful Pregnancy
Suzie Edward May
Member, Arthritis Australia National Consumer Reference Group (rheumatoid arthritis)
Author of ‘Arthritis, pregnancy and the path to parenthood’
So having children was always something that I wanted to do. I was always going to be a mother. That was unquestionable. And when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis I made a decision there and then that RA was not going to stop me from being a mother.
About five years into my process of living with arthritis, my husband and I decided that we wanted to start a family and I looked around for information to guide me as to how to do this. I looked within Australia. I looked internationally and I couldn’t find any information. All the information I could find said: come off drugs, get pregnant and that seemed far too simple for me. I had been on this medication which allowed me to function. Without this medication I couldn’t dress myself. I couldn’t roll over in bed. I couldn’t hold a cup of water and I wondered how on earth do you take that rug from under you, take that safety net from under you and have a child. It just didn’t add up to me. So I went looking and I couldn’t find the information so during my process of having children I decided to connect with other women around the world who’d been through this process and I started conducting some research and decided to write a book about arthritis and pregnancy.
I connected with women across five countries and they shared their stories with me and over about three years I learned their stories, I included my story, and I wrote a book on arthritis and pregnancy and parenting. I did that while I was going through the process of having children. I had to come off my medication; I was on three medications prior to falling pregnant. I had to come off that medication and it was really, really difficult. My pain went up. My fatigue went up. It was a really challenging time physically but emotionally more than anything it was very, very frightening because I could not remember what life was like without medication. I couldn’t remember what life was like without that safety net. Thankfully I fell pregnant relatively quickly after I’d been off my medication for the prescribed period of time. I had quite an uncomplicated, straightforward pregnancy with a couple of flares during the nine months where I needed cortisone injections into my shoulders. And I gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby boy.