We finally made it to Houston, Texas after a very stressful few days. I noticed on Monday that Nora had been kicking less and I had barely felt her move in the past three days. This can be a sign of extreme anemia so I called my doctor and he said the baby was probably fine but I could come in the next morning for one last MCA scan before leaving the state. This complicated things because we were supposed to leave early the next morning for Texas but we all agreed it was important to get Nora checked out. Josh and I were really worried about her because Lucy stopped kicking completely a couple weeks before she died. It was hard to pack everything up and get ready for an eight week trip wondering if Nora was dying at that very moment. Josh and I barely slept that night. Thankfully, the next morning her scan revealed that she was doing fine and her anemia level (MoM) was 1.3. They noticed that my placenta wraps up the side and partially covers the front of my uterus. Nora was under there kicking my placenta which kind of acts like a cushion and that’s why I couldnt feel her moving. I was so thankful that she was ok and I could now focus on getting to Texas safely.
We left later than we thought because of my morning appointment so we had to split the driving between two days and stay in a hotel that night. It was Asher’s fourth birthday too, so I tried my best to make it special for him and get him excited about our “Texas adventure.” We got up EARLY the next morning and drove straight to my appointment with Dr. Moise at 8:30. We were all deliriously tired but so glad to finally have Nora in safe hands.
Dr. Moise did a very thorough ultrasound, checking all of Nora’s organs and her growth and her anemia level. Everything looked great and she is measuring perfectly, weighing 10 ounces (so adorable!) I was surprised to find out that her MCA scan was actually 1.48, even though the doctors in Birmingham had said just the day before that it was 1.3. I kind of don’t think her anemia went up that fast in 24 hours and that the scan the day before was not an accurate reading. She was in a difficult position for the MCA scan that day. Dr. Moise was able to get a very clear reading (which he checked over and over again) so I trust that her level truly is 1.48. This is frighteningly close to the “anemic and needs a blood transfusion” level which is 1.5. Dr. Moise said there are other indicators of anemia that he checked for (extra amniotic fluid in the womb, slightly dilated heart, etc.) and Nora had none of them so he thinks she is holding her own right now and not in distress. His plan is for me to come back on Monday and have another scan. If her level is over 1.5, he will do an intrauterine blood transfusion on Nora the next day (Tuesday.) I will be 19 weeks, which is still very early to need a transfusion and dangerous since the baby is so small. I’ll write more on how they actually do a blood transfusion on a baby in the womb later when we know she is going to need one. They also checked my antibody titer (level) since it hasn’t been checked in weeks. Unfortunately it is back up to it’s original 1,024. When it gets to an 8 it is considered critical for the baby.
Dr. Moise and his nurses were SO kind and welcoming. They explained everything in great detail and answered all my questions. I was told that for some reason, baby girls do better than baby boys so Nora has a little bit of an advantage there. His goal is to do blood transfusions regularly until 35 weeks, then deliver a week or two after that. With each transfusion we have a 2-5% chance of losing Nora. Sometimes they can wait a week between transfusions and sometimes they can wait up to three weeks. I said I would just be thrilled to get to 26 weeks. I truly feel like I can trust them with Nora’s life, which is a huge comfort. Dr. Moise is VERY experienced with all of this and teaches people all over the world how to treat pregnancies like mine. He had to excuse himself halfway through my appointment to go give a lecture to a national audience. I finally feel like I can relax a bit with all the researching and advocating for better medical treatment for Nora. It is a great weight off my shoulders. Even though she has a huge battle ahead of her, I know there is nowhere else in the world where she would get better medical care.
We are currently staying with a family friend until we can get into the Ronald McDonald House. When we arrived at her house there were several get well cards from her neighbors and friends waiting for us and one woman even brought over a delicious dinner that night to feed us! How amazing is that? We know none of these people but they are praying for us and encouraging us so much. We can’t believe all the kindness that has been poured out on us lately during this stressful time. Thank you to all of you who support us so well even when I know you have very busy lives of your own.
Please continue to pray for our little Nora, who has a huge fight ahead of her. In fact, she is struggling hard right now as I type this and as you read this. Her little body has to work extremely hard to fight back against my antibodies that are constantly attacking her and making her anemic. I believe that all of the MANY verses in the Bible about strength and courage also apply to babies in the womb as they are just as important as those of us outside of the womb, especially to God. Please pray that God would infuse our daughter with strength and a tenacious will to fight for her life. Pray that her MCA scan on Monday shows no anemia and that she can have a little bit more time to grow before she needs a transfusion (bigger babies have safer transfusions.) Pray that she makes it to viability without any problems and that she is born alive and thriving. I will update after our appointment on Monday. Here are a few pictures from our “Texas adventure” so far: