Summer of 2016 should’ve been an exciting one. My husband, almost three-year-old son, and I were expecting our second child in early November. It started out just perfectly, our summer did. We were spending lots of quality time with our son, talking to him about his little brother. My mother-in-law had been sick for a long time—she never would go to the doctor though. So we came around her quite often. After months of being sick, she finally found out she had C. diff. Okay, I didn’t think much about it. Of course I knew what it was to some degree because of my microbiology courses. I knew it was stubborn, but that’s it! I didn’t even learn too much about it when I was going to school for nursing!
Later that summer in July, I came down with a nasty sinus infection. Normally, I’d try to get through it on my own before going to the doctor, but I was already in pain from the pregnancy, and I had school to work on, and also had to take care of my son and home. So I took the antibiotic my aunt (my doctor) prescribed me.
Looking back now, I don’t remember how quickly the symptoms of C. diff came on. It wasn’t until there was quite a bit of blood that I realized what may be happening. I rushed into my doctor’s office and requested that I was tested for C. diff right away. Everyone assured me that I was fine, it was just my pregnancy, possibly hemorrhoids. Anyway, a few days later, my sample tested positive for C. diff, and I was put on Vancomycin.
Now, at about the same time I was on the antibiotic, my son who was plagued by ear infections ever since he was a baby had one again and was on his standard amoxicillin treatment. I actually took him off right away. I was watching for symptoms carefully, and he didn’t ever show any. Not right away at least. His birthday party was the day after my last day of Vancomycin. I informed my family of my diagnosis (most of my husband’s family where I live are medically affiliated), and only one chose not to come because she was already sick (a good choice). But even all of them were very nonchalant about the C. diff thing. My mother-in-law was battling it off and on, and by that time I knew more about it but still felt fine.
Soon after my son’s birthday, I noticed that he was not feeling well. First, I noticed he was running out of energy more easily. Then when my mother came to visit for a week, he started showing classic symptoms of C. diff. Again, everyone said, “No, it’s not that, he just has a bug, he’s too healthy and little.” I still had him tested, and three days later, it came back positive. I was fine with me having C. diff, but for my baby to have it because of me—I lost it. I fell into a deep depression for most of the end of my pregnancy.
My son was fine after a round of Flagyl. He went on with his happy life normally, but I was shoved into this dark world for what felt like forever. It didn’t help that I was pregnant and already at risk for depression. I slipped further and further into a depression. I had tummy troubles after that made me think I was relapsing all the time. I habitually retested for months after just to make sure it wasn’t back. I obsessively cleaned my bathroom with bleach because I didn’t while I had C. diff. I didn’t know bleach was needed to get rid of it (but now I do).
I was pregnant and didn’t eat hardly anything for months because I was scared it might make me sick. I ended up having low fluid, and I was induced two weeks early. I ended my pregnancy 20 pounds lighter than when I started it. My baby was perfect and healthy, but I asked for one more test the day after I gave birth. That was the last time. I’m still negative today, but I now have bowel issues that some days totally disrupt my life. I’m still healing from this awful disease. People still are surprised we got it, and what is even harder to accept is that my closest loved ones don’t get why it affected me so much. I don’t know why either. I just know it seems to devastate a lot of people quite easily.