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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/20/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Mom diagnosed with gastoparesis and is now fed with 14-hour drip

Bringing a new life into the world at times comes with a very heavy price tag. For Scottish mom Charlene Johnstone, the birth of her son left her with a paralyzed stomach, and she must now take all nourishment through a 14-hour drip.

Developing gastroparesis when she fell pregnant with her son, Charlene Jonhnstone has shrunk from a healthy size 12 to a gaunt size 6 after being sick 15 times a day.

Developing gastroparesis when she fell pregnant with her son, Charlene Jonhnstone has shrunk from a healthy size 12 to a gaunt size 6 after being sick 15 times a day.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

8/20/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Mother, pregnancy, intestinal failure, stomach paralysis, gastroparesis

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Johnstone has been unable to eat solid food for four years after her pregnancy left her with a paralyzed stomach. Developing gastroparesis when she fell pregnant with her son, Hayden, now three years old has shrunk from a healthy size 12 to a gaunt size 6 after being sick 15 times a day.

"I was initially told I was suffering complications from pregnancy. I had what I thought was severe morning sickness, lasting all day every day," Johnstone says.

"It didn't go away after the first trimester, but I still thought it was pregnancy-related because I was fit and healthy before. I just thought I was unlucky.

"When I was officially diagnosed with stomach paralysis, I was told it could have been caused by the weight of the baby and the size of my miniscule bump.

"They thought I was having a small baby, so I went two weeks overdue and was induced, but when Hayden was born he was 10 pounds.

"Doctors thought he'd been sitting so internally and being so large he'd probably de-sensitized the nerve that supplies nerve function to the intestines."

Charlene was at one time fitted with a pacemaker that allowed her to eat normally for seven months, but she has since developed intestinal failure, meaning she can't empty food

"I used to love chicken fajitas and homemade soup. I enjoyed chips with cheese and doner meat with salad cream.

"But because my stomach doesn't move, I don't get the empty feeling so I don't get hunger pangs anymore, which is good."

Her pregnancy was overwhelmingly difficult. "I was in and out of hospital for the full nine months.

"I was so unwell that I found having a shower completely exhausting. I was advised to do as little as possible to allow my baby to develop."

Charlene gave birth to healthy baby boy, but her health rapidly began to deteriorate.

"Intestinal failure is the final outcome. Nothing can be done at that stage, but with help from my consultant, Doctor Matthew Priest, at Gartnavel General Hospital, I can manage the symptoms.

"My ward is so supportive and when I'm ill they help me fight to get better. They're like a second family. The ward is so busy they don't get enough praise for what they do.

"Hayden has been my wee soldier. There are times when I'm very poorly and I want to give up but then I think of what my wee granny said, 'If you ever feel like giving up, then think about why you held on so long in the first place' and that reason is Hayden," she says.



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