Monday, March 21, 2011

Blogs, Babies, & Blood

Sorry I've been MIA.  I've been hosting guests from out of state, cramming crackers to ease the nausea, and of course... chasing an active toddler.

But I'm back for an update on babies and blood. I hope I don't bore you...

A few years ago, before I became pregnant with Kherington and after the miscarriages, I was diagnosed with some blood disorders by my fertility doctor.  I was told I have 2 copies of the MTHFR mutation, and a protein S deficiency.  So I was put on heparin injections while pregnant, and high doses of folic acid and a low dose aspirin every day for the rest of my life.

Well last month I finally made an appointment with a hematologist, just to speak with a specialist in the field and get some details my fertility doctor couldn't provide.  I scheduled it early this year, thinking it would be a smart thing to do before I got pregant again.  But... you know, things happen!  :-)

Most hematologists are also oncologists, or at least work in cancer centers.  So as I sat in the waiting room of South Texas Cancer Center, I found myself surrounded by elderly cancer patients, with their worried grown children holding their tissue-thin hands.  I felt guilty as a healthy woman in my prime with a thriving toddler and a new life growing inside me. I sat and silently prayed.  Giving thanks for what I have, and praying for those who need it more than I.

I felt guilty taking the doctor's time, but I also felt relieved to have answers. She reviewed my original bloodwork and ordered more.  They took a ridiculous amount of blood... from a woozy pregnant woman with a history of passing out during blood draws. They poked both arms.  Nightmares ensued.

What the hematologist found is that the MTHFR remains... it is hereditary and will never change. But she found that my fertility doctor was misled by my protein S levels.  They were normal in my original bloodwork, and normal this second time.  (even though pregnancy can make them deceptively low)  So she confidently recommended that I stop the heparin injections.  She believes my condition can be completely managed by the folic acid, and the aspirin is just a safety net. She suggested I confirm stopping the heparin with my high risk doctor.

So... while nervous, I quit the heparin.  Skip wishes I wouldn't.  But to be honest, I just feel at peace with this decision. I think it is right for us. 

And as a nice little bonus, it will save us about $7,000... just this pregnancy alone!

I see my regular OB tomorrow and have that high risk doc appt on April 5th.

NOW... back to my other baby. 

Kherington has had some irregular bloodwork over the last few months, mainly low iron levels.   Her pediatrician put her on an iron supplement and checked her levels several times.  She also went to the hospital for some in depth bloodwork.  She referred these results to a pediatric hematologist.

If I thought I felt guilty sitting among the elderly cancer patients... it was 1000 times worse taking my healthy child into a pediatric oncologist's office.  There is no place more heartbreaking.  I blame it on my hormones, but I literally squeezed Kherington against me and tried to hide tears.  Oh how we take our healthy children for granted!

Dr. Patel was wonderful. Kherington was tired and hungry and grumpy, but he had her in fits and giggles. He reviewed the blood tests and was slightly concerned that either Kherington's bone marrow wasn't working properly or that she had a genetic blood disorder affecting iron absorption and blood cell size.  I didn't breathe for a good 20 minutes.

He ordered more blood work. Luckily it was done in-office.  But unfortunately a woozy, pregnant mom holding a wiggling (freakishly strong) toddler while they poke both of her tiny arms isn't fun.

One test was run right away, and it looked good.  Dr. Patel explained everything to me like the intelligent, concerned Mom that I am.  He is now 99.9% sure that the only thing we are dealing with is low iron.  No scary causes, no further invasive tests.  We are doing another iron regimen, and will see him again in a month.

And despite my better judgment, I squeezed him for his opinion on my heparin situation.  And he agreed that I don't need it!  He believed folic acid is necessary, but that the aspirin is my saving grace.  Just hearing it again makes my life a little easier.

So that's the blood and baby update. Are you still with me?  Oh, just you, Mom?  Oh well.  You love me.


Rob and Nicole said...

So glad to hear the both of you are ok. It is amazing how much we take for granted healthy children. Abigail was on iron for 10 months, she had a positive coombs test when she was born; that was the scariest thing ever!Things happen so fast and we take so much for granted!

KrisKay said...

I love you too!! I hope that there's no more blood test in your near future!!!

Lauren Lea Warren said...

I'm with ya, and praying for you and that sweet baby girl. You guys are so strong. Way to go mom for making it through all those appointments. I know they can be so scary, but you have to stay so tough in front of Kherbear. Love the updates and the photos! Miss you guys.

praguegirl said...

Nope, I'm totally with you-to every last word. I can only imagine the feeling of being in those waiting rooms. Hooray for no more shots and to some more room in your wallet!

Paige said...

Hugs Chelsea! Praying for you and baby and K!

sissy000 said...

This Mom and Grandmom read your story word for word and appreciate the detailed information. When you (Chelsea) were just 9 1/2 months old (about), we had to keep you in the hospital for several days with a sepsis infection. It was SO SCARY for us! Thank you, God, for each of us having the opportunity to receive excellent medical care.

Drevas said...

Hi Chelsea! I somehow stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and I've really enjoyed reading it ... especially this post. I suffered two early miscarriages and was then also diagnosed with two copies of the MTHFR mutation. I was prescribed extra folic acid and baby aspirin but I've always wondered if I should also be using Heparin as well. My RE didn't think it was necessary since my homocysteine levels were normal. I'm glad to see that your doctors agree as well! I definately feel much better! :) Looking forward to following your journey throughout your second pregnancy! :)

Melissa Trost said...

Wow, I can only imagine how sad it is to see a pediatric patient in the oncologist's office. Breaks my heart and makes me count the minutes until I can hug Rylan again.
Glad you can stop the injections! I have one mutation of MTHFR and need crazy levels of folic acid so I hope if/when we have another baby it is as smooth sailing with that one as it was with Rylan - even if I have hypermesis again and a Zofran pump! Congrats again - so very exciting!!!

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