Statistics have not been my friend. If there is a chance that something will happen during this pregnancy, we have to take it seriously and we have to assume the worst case scenario is a possibility and prepare for it. Statistics are REALLY not my friend.
When it comes to being pregnant, I’m learning that pregnancy really isn’t for me. My body couldn’t get pregnant without help and now we have needed help staying pregnant. It is frustrating because women’s bodies are made to have children. I’m grateful that there has been such success in the science of infertility and premature births to allow me the gift of motherhood, but for some reason if there is a very small chance that something will happen, it will happen.
After my last pregnancy, my platelets began to slowly rebound after delivering my twins. My red bloods cells were a different story. I was severely anemic and would need a few pints of blood to replace all the blood I had lost and was still losing. The chance of having antibodies transferred during a blood transfusion is very low. Like one percent low. I had not one, but two antibodies passed to me.
After discovering this possible isoimmunization issue, I was set up for an appointment with a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist (MFM). During this consultation appointment, the doctor told me with everything else going on, the antibodies should be the least of my concerns. (Gee, thanks?) The doctor was very nice and had a way of explaining things that I knew was dumbed down significantly, but didn’t make me feel dumb. He was confident that he wouldn’t need to see me and recommended that my regular OB-GYN would monitor the effects of the antibodies through monthly blood tests. On the rare chance something were to happen, he would bring me back in to take care of it.
I had two monthly blood tests since this was implemented. After my first round, my doctor let me know at my next appointment that the labs looked great. I had no worries about the next month’s round and put the issue in the back of my head. Then I got a phone call from the MFM office saying that they added me to the ultrasound schedule and I would need to be prepared to come in every two weeks for Doppler ultrasounds from now until I deliver.
Considering the MFM office has never contacted me directly (they normal call my regular office and schedule through them, who in turn call me to explain what is going on and why I need to go in), I was pretty much Chris from family guy going, “Wwwwwwwuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhttttt?”
I hung up confused and debated what to do. They called me on a Monday and I happened to have an appointment on Wednesday. Do I wait and ask my doctor? Or do I call and ask what the (insert choice word here) is going on? The thought of worrying for two nights about this prompted a call and of course my doctor was off after being on call all weekend. Greeaaaaaaaat.
Fortunately I only had to wait about ten minutes before my doctor’s nurse called me back apologizing explaining that she was told by my doctor that if there were any changes on my labs to send it over to the MFM to advise. She was just as surprised as I was that they called and scheduled me so fast. She promised my doctor would call me tomorrow. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to wait long and was told that since there was a change in the labs, they needed to monitor the baby to make sure that she wasn’t severally anemic. Basically, check to make sure that my newly acquired antibodies weren’t destroying her blood cells.
The next day at my doctor’s appointment, my doctor told me that they won’t be able to tell if there is a problem unless they look. Everything could be fine, but they will need to monitor it every two weeks from now until delivery. I asked my doctor to explain the worst case scenario because if she didn’t I would go home and Google everything. She chuckled, but told me that in very rare and very extreme cases, to treat severe anemia they can give the baby a blood transfusion through her umbilical cord.
I looked at my doctor and told her I feel that with our luck, and everything that has happened in the past, we need to be prepared for the rare and most extreme case. She looked at me sadly and said, “I’m hoping that you had enough of the rare and extreme with your last pregnancy and this time we will get to the end and delivery a healthy baby. Just, until then, you are going to get sick of seeing us so much.”
Today we are 23 weeks. On Monday we have our 24 week appointment and Tuesday is our first Doppler ultrasound to check on the status of our isoimmunization issue on our baby girl. Next Saturday is my next big mental milestone of 24 weeks and viability. No one knows better than my family how premature is premature and anything early can be dangerous, but it is a relief knowing that we have gotten this far and besides a few blips in the road, our rainbow baby is healthy, active, and growing fast!