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!