I’ve mentioned before that I have Polycystic Kidney Disease. Earlier this week I saw my renal consultant to see how my kidneys are getting on. This is the first time I’ve seen him since Little M was born. I’d been feeling a bit anxious about this appointment as I’m conscious of the fact that I’m only a few years away from the age my mother was when her kidneys started their downward spiral into end stage renal failure.
I’m also aware that pregnancy can have an impact on kidney function in patients with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). While I was pregnant with Little M, my consultant told me that women with 40% renal function going into a pregnancy risk being in kidney failure by the end of it. Scary stuff.
However, I am fortunate that my kidney function was greater than 90% (i.e. completely normal) before my pregnancy. I had lots of extra monitoring during my pregnancy, and had to take aspirin throughout. This was because I was at higher risk of pre-eclampsia due to my PKD.
Fortunately, these fears were unfounded and the pregnancy went relatively smoothly; if Little M hadn’t been breech, I would have been able to try for a natural birth in the MLBU (Midwife Led Birthing Unit).
Because of all this, I was less worried than I could have been about my appointment. Even still, the ‘what ifs’ were there. Hubby and I would like Little M to have a sibling one day, but I wouldn’t want to go into another pregnancy if my kidneys weren’t up to it. I owe it to Little M to be as healthy and active with her as I can be, rather than risking her wellbeing over a hypothetical child.
So, I went into the consulting room and asked my consultant if I had come through my pregnancy unscathed. His response?
In a word, yes.
Phew! My kidney function is still at greater than 90%, and all of my blood and urine tests showed everything is back to normal. My consultant was happy with this and we joked that I’m ‘allowed’ to have another baby. Of course I’d be allowed to have another child regardless. But this means that I stand a better chance of my kidney function remaining good after a second pregnancy.
He did warn me not to wait too long, though. The older I get, the greater the chance that my kidney function will start to decline. So, we made an appointment for six months’ time to check the health of my kidneys as I think we’ll be ready to start trying again around then. I have been advised to wait a year after the caesarean anyway. This is to ensure my scar tissue is strong enough to withstand another pregnancy.
Then we’ll be ready to embark on baby number two, hopefully with no greater risk to my kidneys. What a relief.