Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Appointment Update

Thanks everyone for your prayers!

I was quite emotional going into the appointment after trying to decide whether to check yes or no on the survey sheet they gave me as to whether or not I "have emotional concerns or need counseling." AUGH! I just put a question mark. That along with the multiple bulletin boards in the waiting room with hundreds of pictures of beautiful, healthy, smiling babies made me start to tear up.

I was able to get control of myself until I had to tell the nurse who saw us first about Felicity. It's just so hard and I don't always know how people are going to react - whether they'll be gentle or brush it off like it's nothing.

After that we spent quite of a bit of time talking with the resident doctor. She went over most everything with us and answered what questions we had before we met with the doctor. Here's the low-down:

Paul has antigen c in his chromosomes which he most likely passed to Felicity. Our blood mixed at some point (probably during her birth) and my body produced an antibody to it - meaning my body wants to fight off any red blood cells with antigen c in them. We need to determine whether the baby also carries this antigen. This will be done with an amniocentesis (a needle inserted into my uterus to withdraw amniotic fluid) on August 7th. They need to wait until I am 15 weeks along to do it.

If the baby does not carry this antigen (a 50% chance), then all will be fine and this pregnancy can proceed normally. However if the baby does carry this antigen, I will be closely followed via special ultrasounds to see if the baby is developing anemia (a 65% chance). They will do this by watching an artery in the baby's brain to see how quickly the blood is being pumped. An anemic baby's heart will have to pump blood much more quickly than a healthy baby. These ultrasounds would happen every week most likely.

Then if baby develops anemia, a cordocentesis will be done (taking blood from the umbilical cord which involves baby being sedated for the procedure) to test baby's iron level. This will determine the need for blood transfusions which could happen every 2-3 weeks or more often in the beginning. If baby is not doing well, an early induction will be considered.

It was very helpful to get the big picture and to know a little of what the future holds. The doctors were VERY nice and really answered all the questions we had. We will also see a genetic counselor on August 7 as this antibody issue could affect every baby from here on out. Elijah is not affected by this thankfully. Usually the first child in these cases is not a carrier.

Please continue to pray! While having an amniocentesis is not unusual, it does carry risks of infection and miscarriage. But by doing this we will know for sure whether or not this baby is at risk and can proceed accordingly. If you've had one, I'd be interested to hear about your experience.

We may also have the opportunity to be a part of a trial at a hospital in Milwaukee that is testing baby's blood type through mom's blood. This is routinely done in Europe but due to federal regulations and lack of studies in the US, it is not considered as conclusive as amniocentesis yet. It has great promise though because it is completely non-invasive, unlike amnios. Being a part of it could give us more information as well as help set standards for moms in the future dealing with these types of issues. We are waiting to hear more information about if from the doctor.

Thanks again for all your support! It is such an encouragement to us! Ethan often reads your comments over my shoulder and it is having an impact on him, knowing that so many care and are praying.

PAUL- please correct me in my comments if I missed anything or got any info. wrong. Love you, Babe!



Heidi said...

Praying for no antigen c for baby!

Sharleen said...

Thanks for the update, Rachel. Praying this baby does not carry the antigen!

His Mom said...

I am so glad you have a "plan" either way. And, I hope even if no antigen c for baby they will still closely monitor you for all the other issues that are bound to be close to your heart throughout this process. I am headed to see Dr C next month for monitoring and even though I have had one successful pregnancy after a 40 week loss, it doesn't make it any easier.

thinking so much about you, thanks for the great update.

my3sons said...

I have been following your blog since you lost your sweet Felicity. I wanted to let you know that I had an amnio at 36 weeks and it really wasn't that bad. I think I was more nervous and wish I hadn't worried as much. I lost sleep the day before! I would just say that it isn't as bad as it sounds. I did close my eyes while they were inserting the needle and it wasn't any more uncomfortable that having blood drawn. I kept my eyes closed until my husband said to open them! They do a guided ultrasound while inserting the needle so they know where the baby is. After the procedure, I was hooked up to the monitor for a few minutes to make sure all was ok with the baby. Then I was sent home to relax the rest of the day. I pray that the results come back ok. Katie

Tonya said...


Thanks for updating us. I was hoping and praying your appointment would go well and it sounds like it did. Praying this baby does NOT have antigen c!

How are you feeling otherwise?

Oh, and you commented the other day about wondering if Grady would have dimples like Emma Grace....I think he would. They look so much alike that when Emma Grace is sleeping, the resemblance takes my breath away.

Praying for you!

Shannon said...

I have had three amnios done...one at 30 weeks, one at 34 weeks, and one at 20 weeks (three separate pregnancies). I know they HAVE to tell you of the risks of getting one done, but it has been my personal experience (with my own amnio experience as well as hearing other experiences) that information is just to make sure you know of the potential and reduce the chances of a malpractice suit against a doctor should a patient actually experience those complications, but it RARELY actually happens. Other than feeling a little crampy with each of them, nothing bad every happened because of the amnios. Just make sure to rest LOTS for the first few days after, even a week if you feel you need to. Get someone else to take care of the housework and any children around so you can rest up.

You do feel the procedure being done, but it is more uncomfortable than painful. I know it will be difficult, but try to relax while they are doing it, it keeps the discomfort/pain to a minimum (even with a local pain killer, you still feel it a bit).

I will be praying that all will be well with this baby and that you do not have to suffer through another loss. Losing one is difficult enough, more than that is almost unbearable.

JenniK said...

Will continue praying, thanks for keeping things updated, Praying for extra peace between now and the test.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. It sounds like the doctor was very thorough in explaining everything to you. I hope all goes well and Baby #5 doesn't have the antigen.

I had an amnio and it wasn't bad at all. My husband didn't want me to have it because of the associated risks. We had some genetic testing done and the counselor was concerned about a couple of the numbers so I decided to have the amnio to know for sure. Luckily, all worked out and having the amnio gave me real piece of mind.

Sara said...

I am so glad you were able to get so many answers. It helps to get the whole pictures now be able to proceed bit by bit, day by day.

I am praying that this precious little one does not carry the antigen C. I am praying for this little baby's momma for peace, perseverance and strength.:) Please keep us posted Rachel.

I have to tell you your letter to Felicity was beautiful... how could 9 mos. have passed already. The picture is so sweet. Don't you just wonder if our babies all know each other? I love to think that they do.:)

Persuaded said...

Rachel.. thanks so much for this detailed update. I'll certainly be praying. Infact I'm heading up for my quiet time right this very instant (well, as soon as I'm done with this comment!) Consider yourself written in my prayer journal, dear♥

Anonymous said...

I greatly appreciate reading all about your appointment here on your blog. Now I know how to pray for you. What a faith walk you are on! I'm here for you anytime you need me. Much affection.

Ebe said...

It sounds like you are getting great care. What a praise.
I am continuing to pray for you and your little baby as the days pass by. We want to see that little baby crying and squirming in about 6-7 months!!

Keep us posted. We will walk this road with you.


Anonymous said...

Rachel, I have been a little behind on your blog and just read this blog. You have been and will continue to be in my prayers. Keep your eyes on God through it all. Hugs!!

Missy Schuchman