Yes, we are expecting another baby - we're hoping that this baby will join our family in January. I am 10 weeks and we were actually planning on waiting awhile longer to share this happy news, but unfortunately circumstances that have developed are creating the need for much prayer. This baby's story actually starts back in February.
Most of you know that I was pregnant back then with baby #4. I went to see my doctor at the beginning of Feb. where they took my blood and confirmed the pregnancy and so forth. Then on February 22, baby #4 (whom we named Jeremiah) went to Heaven to be with Felicity.
Shortly thereafter I received a weird letter in the mail from the University of Minnesota blood bank. It stated that my blood had tested positive for an antibody to red blood cells known as anti-c. The letter stated, "This does not indicate any problem with your personal health, but is important for future blood transfusions." It included a card that I needed to carry with me.
I didn't quite understand it all, but it didn't seem like I needed to do anything other than carry the card with me and let my doctor, Dr. M, know the next time I saw her. Dr. M actually called and left a message saying how sorry she was about my miscarriage and how she would be willing to talk with me at anytime. She never mentioned the antibody issue nor said that I should call her back. Since I was quite an emotional wreck at the time, I never returned that call.
Fast forward a couple of months to April when I received another letter from my doctor stating that she was going to be leaving my clinic in June to practice elsewhere. I felt this was confirmation that when I got pregnant again, I should go ahead and start going to a Christian, pro-life clinic where I could receive progesterone therapy if my levels were indeed low.
Then on May 24, we found out baby #5 was coming! We were thrilled and scared. Our main fears were (and are) another miscarriage or a repeat cord accident. I know I've shared before that repeat cord accidents are extremely rare, but I've since learned the opposite. In fact, there is a doctor in Louisiana who practices solely with parents of stillborn babies to prevent repeat cord accidents.
The next day I began going to the Christian, pro-life clinic for progesterone therapy as I found out that my levels were indeed low. I hadn't yet transferred my records to the new clinic as they didn't need to see me again for OB care until I was 12 weeks. Then on June 1, I got a voicemail from Dr. M saying that it was her last day at the clinic and she wanted to check in with me to make sure I was okay. Again, it was an emotional day and I just couldn't call her back. I figured I could write her a note letting her know I was okay at a later date. But then she called back two more times that day, finally stating in her message that she needed to talk to me THAT DAY about the antibody issue. So I called her back.
She told me that this antibody issue is serious in relation to pregnancy - that it can lead to anemia in the baby and that she had referred me to Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of MN. She just never really said how serious so I kind of pushed it out of my mind after briefly talking with Paul about it. I mentioned it to my midwife who started doing her own research. She called us back, told us what she had found out, and told us that we really needed to follow up on this SOON!
Well, the drama didn't end there. During all this, Maternal Fetal Medicine had called my clinic back saying they didn't want to schedule an appointment with us until both Paul and I had blood work done at our own clinic. Unfortunately, because Dr. M had now left the clinic, both the referral and the order for blood work needed to be reordered by another doctor. So I had to go to the clinic and start all over.
So I saw the first doctor with an available appointment and of course, had to tell her the whole long complicated story. Dr. B was really nice and didn't get all weirded out by my homebirth experiences- she actually had some positive things to say about homebirths. She ordered an ultrasound for me that day as they were still waiting to hear back from Maternal Fetal Medicine about what blood tests to run. She figured it would be best to make sure this pregnancy was progressing normally (aka "viable") before doing all the blood work.
I was so nervous going into the ultrasound appointment. I had to go the hospital where we found out Felicity had indeed died and being there is always stressful for me. Not to mention the last ultrasound I had there confirmed that Jeremiah was gone. Thankfully Paul was able to meet me there. The baby looked great! Heartbeat was good and we could even see some little arm buds. What a relief! The due date corresponded well with my calculations.
Over the course of the next week we both had our blood work done and found out we both have this antibody. The most likely explanation to all this is that Felicity carried this antibody and when she died, her placenta must have partially separated before birth and our blood mixed.
So now we have an appointment with Maternal Fetal Medicine this coming Tuesday, July 7th. Oddly enough it's at the same hospital where seven years to the day I was laboring to deliver Ethan into the world. (His birthday is July 8th!) I've spent a lot of time talking with my midwife who has done a ton of research for us and also much time online researching myself. I don't understand much of the medical lingo but this is the synopsis.
This antibody can cause my body to see the baby's red blood cells as foreign and destroy them, thus causing anemia. This can lead to a condition called Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus or Newborn. It can range from moderate to severe. It can cause stillbirth, heart failure due to fluid collecting in baby's body, or severe jaundice. Treatment can be as involved as intrauterine blood transfusions during pregnancy or nothing may need to be done other than careful monitoring of baby's growth. There may also be a need for an early induction before fluid collects in baby's organs.
I am assuming that this pregnancy (and all pregnancies from here on out) will be closely monitored. I am hoping to find out a lot more at our appointment on Tuesday.
We DESPERATELY want this baby! I have given this little one back to God many times so far, but I'm praying that God's will is that this baby will join our family! Please pray for a healthy little one, peace during periods of waiting, and wisdom to make wise choices.