So here are our baby makin’ plans. We always wanted lots of babies. In the past few months we realized that it wouldn’t be easy to have more children. In fact, it could be deadly to try. It’s so strange to plan your life out and actually THINK you can control anything. What was I thinking? We just assume things will go the way we plan. Proverbs 16:9 says “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” And oh, the lesson we have learned! Anyway, back to making babies. After Lucy died we prayed a lot about what God wanted us to do. We asked Him if He even wanted us to have more children. Thank goodness it was a resounding “YES!” But how do we do that? We were originally told by several doctors that my antibodies were so strong that any more kell positive babies would die in my womb. Because each baby has a 50% chance of being kell positive, it didn’t seem wise. This has been the most devastating loss and we can’t imagine going through it again. So, we want more kids, but we couldn’t have them naturally. Here were our options: adoption, sperm donor, or IVF with PGD and surrogacy. All of the options came with a huge toll, whether financial or emotional. We prayed about it and researched each option and felt like we should go with the IVF. We met with the reproductive endocrinologist and made a commitment to do IVF with PGD and surrogacy in July. It was the most costly financially ($25,000) and least costly emotionally. The plan was to use my eggs and Josh’s sperm and make some embryos in a dish. They would use PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) and test each embryo for the kell blood type. How amazing is it that they can test an EMBRYO for a blood type? We didn’t want to discard any embryos, so the kell negative embryo(s) would be transferred back into my uterus and I would have a normal pregnancy. The kell positive embryo(s) would be transferred to my sister, Jessica, who would be our surrogate. She actually asked me if we would let her carry our baby for us. It’s the best gift anyone has ever offered me. The kell positive embryos would be safe in her womb because she doesn’t have anti-kell antibodies. Any extra embryos would be frozen to be used (by us) later.
So, we had a plan and we started getting things ready for IVF in July. We DIDN’T have $25,000. Then, towards the end of March I got a call from our high risk doctor in Birmingham, Dr. O. He is the one who performed Lucy’s blood transfusion. He was calling because he had just gotten Lucy’s autopsy results and placenta analysis back. He said her autopsy was normal, but the placenta analysis was not. It showed that I had had a fetomaternal hemorrhage which also contributed to Lucy’s death. A fetomaternal hemorrhage is a random and rare condition when something goes wrong with the placenta and the baby’s blood leaks out into the mother’s body. It’s totally unrelated to kell, BUT it causes anemia in the baby, just like kell. Lucy had two separate things making her anemic. When the doctors performed an amazing blood transfusion that should have saved her life, the new blood just leaked out into my body. Poor baby, it makes me so sad. It also gives me hope because it means her severe anemia wasn’t just caused by my antibodies alone. This means my antibodies are not quite as aggressive as they thought. Dr. O told me he thought we could try again naturally for a baby. He thinks the baby (if it’s kell positive) will have a chance at life. They don’t know how much of a chance, but it’s a chance. After that phone call we knew we had to try again. It is very risky, but so worth it. We also found out a couple months later that my sister had unexpectedly gotten pregnant so the IVF/surrogacy plan wouldn’t have worked anyway. We look back now and see God’s protection for us. We are so glad He spared us the heartache (and financial devastation) that would have taken place if we HAD pursued the IVF/surrogacy.
So, now our plans for making a baby are, simply, to make a baby the old fashioned way, and to pray. By the way, if you are one who prays, we would love for you to pray for us. Please pray that God strengthens us for this journey and protects our (future) baby. Thank you! We appreciate you.
* UPDATE- We have lost two more babies since losing Lucy. These losses are unrelated to anti-kell antibodies, since the antibodies cannot affect the baby until well into the second trimester. My doctor is hoping both miscarriages are just “flukes” and he has a lot of confidence in my fertility and ability to carry a baby at least until the antibodies start attacking. I am not so laid back about it. I think two in a row indicates that something else is going on. I’m trying a progesterone supplement and daily baby aspirin to hopefully avoid another first trimester miscarriage.
*UPDATE #2- We are now working through the adoption process and might put the trying to conceive on hold until after the adoption is complete.
*UPDATE #3– Surprise! We are pregnant (after a failed adoption) It feels good to not have to worry about baby makin plans anymore
*UPDATE #4– Nora Juliet is here, safe and sound! Right now our goal is to NOT make anymore babies (at least for a couple years.) We are open to the idea of another baby, maybe in a few years, but for now we feel complete.