This week has been busy and full of ups and downs. The ups have outnumbered the downs so we are thankful for that. We’ve actually had a lot of encouraging things happen this week. On Monday and Tuesday I had my first two IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) treatments done in the hospital. I was nervous going in because I knew it could cause severe migraines and vomiting. It was also the first time Josh and I had been back to the labor and delivery floor since Lucy died so that was hard. Actually, I was very depressed and hopeless that whole first day. No matter how much I tried to ready myself mentally and emotionally, it couldn’t have prepared me for the shock of walking down that same hall and into a room that looked identical to the one where my world fell apart. It was exactly the same. My nightmares and PTSD flashbacks over the past two years have almost all been from that room. I felt like I was literally walking into a nightmare. The poor, sweet nurse… I said, “This is so horrible!” right when I walked in and then, “Oh my gosh, is that a baby warmer? Please get that out of here!” She knew nothing of the backstory so I tried to quickly explain and apologize. She was so sorry and kind and sympathetic. Josh had to look out the window to see the view of Birmingham to make sure it wasn’t the exact same room. Thankfully it wasn’t, but it was an exact replica. That whole day I just knew my story would end with a stillborn baby. It felt like the SAME scenario all over again and I know a lot of that had to do with the setting. Here I am on day one, don’t I look thrilled?
The second day we were put in a room that was set up differently and it made such a difference. I felt more hopeful, like we were in a different scenario than the one with Lucy (which we are.) One of the perks of the IVIG was seeing the baby a lot. I got to see the baby five times on an ultrasound this week alone. Baby looked good every time, so cute and active and perfectly healthy. I didn’t have any terrible side effects from the IVIG, at least not right away. Last night as I was typing this I got a bad migraine and the pain quickly became debilitating. I’ve never experienced a headache like that ever. There’s also not much you can take for a migraine when you’re pregnant. Thankfully Josh came home from work right in time and took care of the boys while I isolated myself in my dark room. Side effects from the IVIG can hit up to three days after the treatment.
Yesterday was my 12 week appointment and ultrasound. The doctors told me that after many phone calls and some personal emails from the doctors and director of UAB hospital, our insurance company has agreed to pay for ALL of my treatments! Thank you, Lord! I really appreciate the doctors working so hard to get my treatments covered. I had to do some (respectful) pushing of my own with the doctors at my appointment since they wanted to monitor the baby every two weeks, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that. I know how quickly a baby can get anemic and develop fetal hydrops and it can definitely happen within the span of two weeks. One of the reasons the doctors gave me for less monitoring was that they wouldn’t be able to do anything for the baby if (s)he gets anemic before 18-20 weeks, so there’s no point. I have been in contact with many other ladies who have the same type of high risk pregnancies. Some of them had babies who became anemic early in the pregnancy and their doctors were able to treat them with IUTs (blood transfusions for the baby) and double treatments of IVIG. The doctor yesterday basically said my team of specialists is already kind of going outside of their comfort zone to do the treatments I requested (which I’m so thankful for) and that they won’t be doing anything further if the baby gets anemic early. If that happened, I would have to travel to Houston, TX to get the treatment I was talking about. They did agree to do weekly ultrasounds from now on, as long as I understood that if the baby starts showing signs of anemia early I will need to travel to Texas for treatment. I agreed and I feel good about the plan and the extra monitoring for my little nugget. Will you guys pray that the baby does NOT get anemic and that we won’t have to make a frantic trip to Texas? I don’t even know how we would afford it, let alone figure out childcare and time off work for Josh. It would be extremely stressful and difficult for our family.
The baby looked great on the ultrasound yesterday, so active with a strong heartbeat. The ultrasound technician checked for signs of fetal hydrops (extra fluid around the organs) and there was none! My amniotic fluid looked great, as did all of baby’s organs. Speaking of baby’s organs, we had two different people make a guess at baby’s gender this week so here they are. The first was an OB at the hospital. She did an ultrasound after an IVIG treatment to check on baby and said if she had to guess she would say it’s a BOY. She definitely thought she saw something there between the legs (and I did too.) Yesterday at the 12 week ultrasound in the office, the ultrasound technician said if she had to guess she would say it’s a GIRL! I said, “What makes you think that?” and she said, “What makes me think that? Well, I’ve been doing this for 25 years, that’s what.” She did warn me that it’s still very early and she could be wrong. She usually doesn’t like to tell parents the gender until 16 weeks. So, we know for sure that our baby is either a BOY or a GIRL. I guess we will just have to wait and see. Also, I realized today that the doctors have a different due date than what I thought, my new due date is August 5th. We previously thought it was August 2nd, but had nothing to date that off of since I wasn’t having periods before I got pregnant (from the “breastfeeding.”)
I also celebrated my birthday this week. We’ve been so focused on the baby and all of the treatments that we kind of forgot about my birthday until it was here. We didn’t have any presents or anything planned but it turned out to be a great day. The weather was warm and sunny and I didn’t have any appointments in Birmingham. It felt so good to just be able to stay home and be a mommy to my boys. I didn’t get sick until 6 pm (usually I’m sick constantly) so I was able to do normal things that I definitely took for granted and haven’t been able to do since before I got pregnant. I did the dishes, the laundry and I was even able to take a walk in our neighborhood with Josh, Asher and our puppy, Atticus. That night I cooked a hot dinner for the first time since the morning (all day) sickness hit. Liam came running over and said, “Yay, Asher look! We get to eat food and it’s hot!” Haha, poor things. Every pregnancy I’ve had has been hard on our family but this one has been extra taxing. Anyway, I had a wonderful birthday and was able to appreciate all of the daily gifts that I am given that normally would have gone unnoticed.
Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. They are working!
Here’s the bump at 12 weeks.