Monday, April 13, 2009

Luck of the Draw

The results are in! I'm going to die of either a heart attack or a blood clot! Choose your own adventure!

No, no, I jest. But apparently I very well could have suddenly developed either of those things if my doctor hadn't sent me get that blood work done. And I'm still at risk for them, but with the appropriate doses of baby aspirin and folic acid every day for the rest of my life, it should be a very manageable problem. In a way, you could view the fact that I've already had two miscarriages at twenty four years old as a very lucky thing. Recurrent miscarrying caused me to be sent for blood work, tests which, according to my doctor, wouldn't generally be ordered until someone has already had a blood clot or a heart problem. It's just been in the last few years that they've found the connection between these blood disorders and a heightened risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal growth retardation, and so have been recommending them for anyone who has had two or more failed pregnancies.

So that's the good news. I may have just been saved from having a random heart attack at forty years old, or dying of a blood clot or something horrible. And with any luck, I have been saved from further miscarrying. (The doctor did say that she still thinks I have progesterone level problems and that the blood disorders aren't related to that. So I still need to do Clomid and Prometrium along with the aspirin and the folic supplements.)

The bad news is, obviously, the increased risk of medical problems and the need for drugs and supplements. I'm supposed to go for a consultation with a hematologist, in fact, to "manage my risk of cardiovascular disease." I will now be considered high risk if I get pregnant again (well, more than I already was, since I'm also at risk for preterm labor.) I'll have to have a lot more office visits, blood draws and ultrasounds than in my previous pregnancies, to make sure blood clots aren't developing in the baby, the placenta or the umbilical cord. Also, she said I may have to be on Lovenox during pregnancy, which is a blood thinner that you INJECT INTO YOUR BELLY.

But. For some reason I still feel pretty relieved. Yes, miscarriage will always be a possibility for us, more so than most people. Yes, I will probably spend my entire next pregnancy trying to push down fears about stillbirth and blood clots and dangers to my baby. Yet I feel very lucky that we are learning more all the time about what can contribute to miscarriage. It feels better, to me anyways, than just a shoulder shrugging "you must have gotten unlucky" type explanation. And sure, just plain bad luck could still come into play. That is true for anyone.

But it's reassuring to know that though I have x wrong with me, we can do y and z to correct it or minimize its effects. We can do ultrasounds throughout pregnancy to check for any beginning blood clots in the placenta, cord, or the baby itself and hopefully control them before they pose much danger. I can take blood thinners to prevent blood clots in my own body. I can take supplements to up my abnormally low progesterone levels and help my pregnancies stick. I can take action, instead of just sitting around waiting and wondering if my body is going to sabotage itself again. I can do more than just hope.

Also, no matter what, there are these two.

And with all the various odds that are stacked against us, isn't that lucky?


d e v a n said...

Yes, lucky indeed to have those 2 sweeties!
I'm glad you're feeling good about everything and that you have some answers and solutions!

Jill said...

Your kids just keep getting more and more adorable.
Again, your complications suck, but at least you know about them now, right? Silver linings and all that?
My friend had to do Lovenox for what sounds like the exact same reason, but she claimed that it really wasn't that big of a deal after awhile. I would have thought shots would be a huge deal, but she says you can get used to them just like any other lovely pregnancy symptom.

Mimi said...

Your kids are adorable little angels! =)

So glad that you're getting answers and awesome medical care. I know you'll have a successful pregnancy very soon!

Jess said...

You have such great perspective. And I totally agree, better to know about the problem and be able to proactively manage it. I also have a condition that requires me to visit the doctor frequently and take medication every day for the rest of the life. But that is so much better than the alternative.

Scottish Twins said...

So lucky!

Sorry about the bad news. You sound positive though!

Mommy Daisy said...

You are already very lucky. It's great also to hear about the medical breakthroughs and positive outlook for the problems you have. I know everything will work out.

CAQuincy said...


clueless but hopeful mama said...

This post is so lovely, especially considering all the challenges you face. Every time I read about your fertility challenges I think to myself "She's so lucky to have found all this out and be starting her family young." because seriously, if you were my ancient age, all this medical hoo-hah could just be the end of your dreams for a family at all. Your precious babes are so sweet and I do hope you get your wish for another successful pregnancy. Thank God for medical science!

Anonymous said...

I would choose to call their healthy entrance into the world a blessing rather than just luck :)

desperate housewife said...

Anonymous- Lucky, blessed, fortunate... To me it's all the same, so yes, I'd agree. I just thought "isn't it lucky?" tied in better with the post title. ;)

mLou said...

My daughter just finished a VERY high risk pregnancy. She started with Tomoxaphin vs Clomid (a fairly new thing to mature eggs); did the prometrium; gest. diabetis beginning in wk 12 (2 injections a day - not too bad); positive strep B; MANY ultrasounds and ended with pre-eclampsia....gave birth last week, 5 weeks early, to a healthy 4lb 13oz girl!
Yes, many things can be managed when you know about them....a good to know early what your risks are.
Your two little ones are most definately hind-sight, you are very fortunate to have them!!

desperate housewife said...

mlou: I heard about your new granddaughter yesterday! Congratulations, I'm so happy for you guys!

Bird said...

One of the other mothers I met while Charlie was in the hospital had the clotting disorder and she carried three healthy babies to term--shots in the belly and all. She had a child in the hospital because she'd picked up an infection that had gotten in her heart--nothing related to clots! So. . . it's definitely possible!

Astarte said...

Good for you. You sound incredibly healthy, mentally, at least! I'm glad there's something you can do, too - I always feel better if I'm DOING something rather than waiting for something to happen to me.

And yes, you are lucky already. :)

Kate (aka Nose in a book) said...

Hey: thought I'd weigh in for the first time here. I have lupus and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (a clotting disorder that causes 1 in 3 miscarriages and early strokes and can also cause heart attacks or DVT) so I will be a 'high-risk' when I get pregnant (hopefully in about a year's time).

A lot of people have sympathised with me for finding out when I was young that I had serious things wrong with me. I'm actually glad to know before starting a family. Day to day, I don't feel particularly unwell (except when the lupus is flaring) but I take my baby aspirin and get regular blood tests to make sure that if anything bad does happen the docs know about it before I do. As you say, when it comes to pregnancy, there will be a team of docs on hand with scans and injections and who knows what else to make sure that it all goes as well as possible. Knowing is so much better than not knowing.

I really hope that all goes well with you. x