"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
How many times have I heard that? It's an oft-quoted verse, in church, in bible studies, in greeting cards, on t-shirt prints...
It's easy to say one believes in that verse, but to believe in it wholeheartedly even when the plan is quite unclear (or not going according to how you think it should go) is a different and very difficult matter.
I've been quiet lately. With blogging and even Facebooking.
Usually when I'm quiet for a long stretch, it only means one of two things: I'm extremely busy or I'm extremely sad.
For a while, I was extremely busy. Then I became extremely sad.
I'm happy to say I'm still busy (thank You, Lord) but no longer extremely sad.
Right now, I am waiting to miscarry for the second time.
Yup, I got pregnant again. This time planned and much anticipated.
Our first home pregnancy test was positive right away. Early morning of October 7. I was due to have my period October 6. That is how regular my period is. A big blessing, when you want to get pregnant.
We were sooo happy. I couldn't go back to sleep after doing the hpt. I was already worrying about things I should eat, things I should stop doing, etc.
I had stopped running (first major sacrifice for me) the week I was due to ovulate. Didn't want to "shake up" the embryo. Hahaha.
When we confirmed the pregnancy, I started eating. A lot. A whole lot! I wanted to make sure I was providing enough nutrients to the baby.
I would talk to the baby (in my mind) when I'd take a shower, introducing it to warm water and cold water.
I slowed down considerably with driving. I became more patient and less prone to pushing the gas pedal too much.
We had to wait two weeks before we could go for ultrasound. Useless to have one too early.
It was a looong wait and we were filled with excitement and also fear. We were hoping this wouldn't turn out blighted like the first one. We felt it wouldn't be. For us, it was impossible to have another blighted ovum. The first one was too painful to bear already. Surely this one would have to be healthy.
The day for the ultrasound finally came and we were just beside ourselves with excitement. While the sonologist was preparing, I was already imagining the nurse calling in C so he could look at our little one on the ultrasound screen.
Then it happened again. Empty. Numerous previous ultrasounds have made me aware of what to look for on the screen. I knew right away. An empty gestational sac. It felt like I was sinking into a black hole. It felt horrible in a way that the word horrible can't ever begin to describe. In my mind I was tearing up the hospital sheets and pushing equipment violently to the floor. Funny now but horrible when I had all those strong emotions.
What followed was a few more weeks of waiting. A seesaw of hoping and getting disappointed.
I was depressed and didn't want to go out of the house. I didn't want to talk to anyone who knew about the pregnancy. I just couldn't deal with it. All I knew was that I had to just take it a day at a time. That there was surely going to be a day when the pain in my heart would fade.
Our OB finally told us that we should see an immunologist. She said it's a blessing that we get pregnant when we try. And it's just that my body seems to be treating the embryo as a foreign object and is rejecting it. Sometimes I think the years I've spent trying not to get pregnant has made my body so defensive, literally.
The doctor went on to say that the chances of having a healthy pregnancy are high.
That knowledge encouraged me. I was nearing wanting to slap (I'm sorry if that is so angry but that is really how I felt. I was so frustrated and terribly sad at losing another baby!) anyone who would say "oh just try again and let's see".
I poured my grief into online research. If what I suspect is right, what I have might be antiphospholipid antibody syndrome or APAS. Seems like when the body detects the embryo, the blood thickens and supply of nutrients to the placenta is blocked. This condition doesn't allow the pregnancy to continue.
Right now I'm still bleeding and will most likely miscarry in a few days (based on the timeline of my first miscarriage).
The immunologist will be back in two weeks and we'll see her and get tested. From what I've read, if I test positive for APAS, when I get pregnant again, I will have to be given low-dose aspirin, and maybe heparin injections, everyday, for the duration of the pregnancy. The goal is to thin the blood, to allow passage of nutrients into the placenta.
In an Oxford Journal online research paper, I read that women who were given the combination of aspirin and heparin stood a better chance at completing a healthy pregnancy. 76% compared to 64% for women given only aspirin or heparin and 46% for those given only aspirin.
It feels good to get into something with some knowledge about what can happen. It's also good to know that whatever happens, if it pleases the Lord to make us parents, or if it is not part of His plan for us, God plans for what is good and best for us.
I pray for grace to accept whatever that plan is.
Oh... for those of you curious to know... I also asked what causes APAS. It's not hereditary. It's actually quite common in this generation and they suspect that it's caused by stress, the environment and the food we eat. Toxins in the air and in what we put in the plants and animals we consume.
Abangan. Or in English, keep posted. I'll certainly share this exciting new journey.