This morning I read this post on APAS. It made me think about our own story.
I've been meaning to write about it but couldn't. Not because I was being superstitious (don't write about it, or else you might jinx it). I just didn't have the words and my emotions were always so mixed up.
First trimester I was preoccupied with several tests and treatments for taming my natural killer cells. Plus I had nausea which made eating normally very difficult. I was a cliche, tolerating only things sour.
The first trimester was our longest wait. Each week was a miracle. Each ultrasound (I had them weekly the whole first trimester and maybe every two weeks afterwards), I would really struggle. I would have the most honest conversations with God in the hospital washroom. A lot of pleading and bargaining. At times I would be demanding and angry, remembering all the losses.
The first look at the ultrasound screen was the scariest. Those times I couldn't see the screen, I would look at C's face to see what emotion he'd have.
Each time we would see (and eventually hear) the baby's heartbeat, we would cry. We were a mess. And several times, so were the doctors who performed the scans. They knew us from my previous pregnancies and it was so touching to see them so emotionally involved too.
We spent so much on the tests, the treatments and the dinner and dessert that would follow in celebration of another week.
Natural Killer Cells
Our doctors had explained to us that the treatments would really vary from person to person and there was, unfortunately, no set formula. We had to play with mixing treatments and see what would work. The fourth loss was heartbreaking because it seemed we had done all we could and the doctors couldn't explain what went wrong.
This pregnancy, we added a new test called immunophenotyping. It measures, among other things, the natural killer cell activity.
We all have natural killer cells. And they are basically good cells. They attack viruses and cancer-causing cells. But best to check wikipedia for the definition as I may be wrong. All I know is that they are good cells. Except when they overreact and attack the embryo.
My immunophenotyping results (done soon as I found out I was pregnant) revealed high NK cell activity.
The immunologist then prescribed intralipids infusion. It's a soy-based product that they administer via an IV drip and it lowers NK cell activity.
Succeeding tests showed I was responding well to the infusions. We were so thankful that I did because had I not, we would've had to shell out more than P100,000 for IVIG, the older and usual treatment for high NK cells. Intralipids infusions are P10,000 per infusion. I had to have four (or five? I cannot recall now) from the first trimester to the second.
Add to that the weekly ultrasounds, lymphocyte immune therapy and nightly heparin shots. It was a miracle we had the provisions to pay for these things! C and I both agree though that when it comes to spending on your baby, the costs just don't matter anymore. We lost track of exactly how much we spent. Although C has a budget book we could always go back to someday just to marvel at how God saw us through!
I have to stop writing for now but will publish this as a first installment. It's quite a long story so be patient with me.
Just a quick update though. We are now close to 36 weeks and our doctor said she might induce me in week 37. So excited to see this little boy. He feels a whole lot bigger now and when he wiggles, sometimes it feels like he's about to burst through.
He still loves sounds, especially loud conversations and music. And we love him so. But the Lord loves him more.
Till next update!