Monday, June 13, 2005

Today's ultrasound showed a tiny but perfect beginning of a life, complete with a heartbeat of 153 beats per minute. It also showed that I'm not quite as far along as we originally guessed. Today I am seven weeks and three days. That led to an adjustment in the estimated due date. Based on the ultrasound, the due date is January 26, 2006, exactly a year since our family and friends joined us to remember Will and celebrate his short life. At first I misremembered and thought it was the anniversary of his death. I got stuck on the 26th which is tied to both his birth (10/26/2004) and his death (via the memorial service) but he actually died on Jan. 22. Regardless, it seems to be an intricately woven plot laid out before us and could be the most beautiful or the cruelest twist of fate ever. I'm leaning toward seeing the beauty--Will up there orchestrating things to mitigate our pain as we continue to face life without him.

As we've already established though, I definitely won't make it all the way to the due date. The C-section will be scheduled two to three weeks before that to avoid the chance of going into labor.

So now I'm supposed to start the heparin shots. I tried to get the prescription filled this afternoon, but after waiting more than 40 minutes I finally left Walgreens and planned to go back later. I didn't get a chance though so it will have to be tomorrow. This particular prescription seemed to flummox them on several levels. I guess it's not a common regimen, especially for long term use as I plan. Maybe they'll get used to it after a couple of refills. I hope to find out.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

On Wednesday, I saw my OB for what was originally scheduled to be an appointment to discuss some bloodwork I had back in April to test for a few different things that may have contributed to my developing HELLP Syndrome. These tests were supposed to help us know whether it was too dangerous for me to be pregnant again.

I had called the day before the appointment to let them know that we'd learned over the weekend that I am in fact already pregnant. Dr. Kennedy's cheerful greeting immediately let me know that all was fine, or at least manageable. She certainly would have been more somber if she was coming in to tell us that the tests showed continuing the pregnancy would be too dangerous to my health to consider. So the news is that everything they tested was within normal range except for anticardiolipin antibodies, which are slightly elevated. I don't know what those are, so apologies to anyone who might have come across this page while searching that particular term. Given that all the other levels were normal, this particular elevation does not indicate anything specific, she said. In fact, it would not be of concern at all except for my medical history. So she said she would recommend a daily low-dose baby aspirin and probably heparin shots during the pregnancy. That is, heparin shots that I will give myself twice a day. Yikes!

Not much time to absorb all this. This treatment is preventative, not curative. That is, if we're going to do it at all, we must start ASAP because it wouldn't help once things get going down the wrong path. So needless to say, though I am less than thrilled about nine months of twice-daily needles, I am willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that this baby is born healthy and as close to term as possible.

In addition to all this, I will be monitored closely throughout the pregnancy with more frequent scheduled appointments and nearly every ache and twinge requiring a "rule out" office visit. We will not have any repeats of last October when I was home for a week with searing abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea and we all assumed it was a lingering stomach bug, all the while I was getting sicker and sicker with HELLP. So I will be the Pregnant Hypochondriac and wear the label proudly.

The next step is an ultrasound a week from Monday to determine for certain that this is a viable pregnancy. I won't start the heparin until then. So it won't actually be nine months of twice-daily shots. I should be about eight weeks by then so it will really only be about seven and a half months left. Plus Dr. Kennedy pointed out that since I had a "classical" Cesarean section with Will, meaning I can not labor in future pregnancies, a C-section will be scheduled at 37 or 38 weeks. So there. Less than seven months of twice-daily shots. I feel Pollyanna lurking in the background and the glass will be perpetually half full.