That led us to our decision to use donor eggs, free of chromosome issues. It also led us to an autoimmune treatment protocol involving Intralipid Infusions, Prednisone, Lovenox injections, and Metformin with repeated blood work every 4 weeks throughout the first trimester. I stopped the Intralipid Infusions at 13 weeks and stopped Prednisone at 14 weeks but will continue the Lovenox and Metformin throughout my pregnancy because I have multiple genetic factors that can cause blood clots. I thought I was finished with the blood draws when I had my last one done 5 weeks ago. However, Dr. Braverman, our Reproductive Immunologist from New York, emailed me yesterday stating he has seen some "upward trends" that he wants to "keep an eye on" and would like me to repeat his panel of blood tests at least once more, if not every 4 weeks the remainder of this pregnancy. He also said that my treatment has been effective and everything is fine right now.
At first I was a little upset, because this panel of blood tests cost $500 out of pocket every time we have it done. And I thought, well if my labs have shown that the immune treatment I had been on was being effective, why do we have to keep doing this and spending all this money. But then again, I thought to myself....I stopped the main two medications for this treatment protocol 4-5 weeks ago and we truly honestly don't have a clear answer as to why Riley was stillborn 7 years ago and it very well may have been due to untreated autoimmune issues. I started to think about how I would feel if we didn't continue to monitor my autoimmune levels and this baby ended up being stillborn too. Once I started to think "it's better to be safe than sorry," the price tag of the blood work really didn't matter. I remember how a couple weeks ago I was really anxious about stopping half of the autoimmune treatment and no longer monitoring my blood work with Dr. Braverman because of having a second trimester loss in the past. So I think it's wise to see where all my autoimmune levels are standing now that I am taking minimal medication compared to what I took throughout the first trimester.
When you've experienced as much loss as we have, it makes you cautious and determined to do everything you need to do to have a living baby and prevent another baby from dying in you. Sometimes the doctors around here may think we have gone overboard with how cautious we are being this time around, but I have also found some really good doctors who just get it. They know that, if anything, it gives us the peace of mind in being able to say "We did everything we could." I'd rather be safe than sorry any day. I could not live with myself if I didn't listen to my gut feelings one more time and had to experience one more loss because of it.
Next week I will get the blood work done that Dr. Braverman is ordering again. And the following week we have our anatomy scan for Baby M. So far everything has been progressing normally the past couple of weeks. Baby M's heart beat is easy to detect on the home doppler now and sounds like absolute music to my ears every time I hear it. We have made it to 18 weeks and some days Baby M is really active while others Baby M seems pretty lazy and chilled out. My belly has continued to grow and I find maternity pants to be so much better than trying to squeeze into my regular pants!