Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Preggy Diary: Living with APAS and Auto-immuno Disorders

My whole world stopped when I got pregnant the fourth time. Literally stopped, because I was on bed rest most of the time and I had to refrain myself from doing anything.

In 2013, which was my third pregnancy, I discovered that I have auto repro-immuno disorders falling under low lymphocyte antibody test score (LAT) (Category 1), anti phospholipid antibody syndrome (APAS or Category 2) and Natural Killer (NK) cells (Category 5). And it was the first time that we had workup and treatment for our unborn baby. 

To address Cat 1, we had Lymphocyte Immunization Therapy (LIT), wherein I will be injected with my husband's white blood cells taken from 14 vials of his blood. We had three sessions for this. It was meant to introduce husband's DNA to my body, which is how my repro-immuno doctor explained, so that my immune system will recognize, supply nutrients and not attack our baby. I also took baby aspirin daily to avoid clotting and to address Cat 2. 

During one of my checkups, my high-risk OB or Perinatologist OB advised me to go back on my 14th week for my next ultrasound since everything's normal because I already have LIT and aspirin. But I insisted on having my utz that day since my last one was a week ago already. So she gave us an advice slip because she understands that it will give me peace of mind if I will have another utz before our one month break from checkup. In short, we had our utz outside her office inmediately after that. 

The emotion I had that day was still unforgettable because I thought we were doing it right, with the time and amount of money we spend to keep the baby. But even with LIT and aspirin, we saw our lifeless baby floating and nearly sliding down my cervix with only 9 weeks age of gestation (AOG). Pretty small for her age. I had a lot of questions that day and emotions that I had to burst out but we were still commuting back then, that's why I had to hold my tears and keep myself from breaking down until we get home. This was my third miscarriage and the most heartbreaking one.

Fast forward to 2016, we find ourselves not yet planning to have a baby, afraid to experience the same heartbreak, afraid to lose our baby once again. We thought in ourselves that for us to bear and give birth to a child successfully, we have to be financially and emotionally prepared to take more tests and treatments next time, even months ahead before we try to get pregnant. That's why even after three years, we didn't plan or pray for one.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),”
Ephesians 2:4-5 NKJV

We were faithless, I would admit. We were looking all throughout those years in what we can do and cannot do. But God is still merciful. He is gracious. Even in the midst of our incapability, our faithlessness, His saving grace once again saved us. Saved us from ourselves, saved our marriage. Because last April 2016, I found out that I was pregnant again.

“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Colossians 1:27 NKJV

The feeling I had when I saw the two lines was mixed emotions. Excitement mixed with worries and fears. At one end, I was afraid because I haven't underwent any treatments yet which was supposed to be done before pregnancy and on the other end, I was believing that God will make a miracle out of this. Even so, with the guidance of our leaders and prayer partners at church, we went and see another OB Perinatologist to handle my high-risk pregnancy while believing that God's miracle is still inside me. Christ in us is our only hope of glory.

““So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.”
Exodus 23:25-26 NKJV

One of the verses I hold on to during this journey is God's promise that He will fulfill the number of our baby's days until he or she reaches full term. Exodus 23:25-26 was shared to us by the pastor who've discipled me and my husband and I've treasured this word of promise ever since.

And true enough, even without prenatal workup or treatment, result of series of tests done on my 7th week AOG improved a lot compared to my 2013 tests! This is a miracle already because repro-immuno disorders, if not treated regularly, will worsen or for some, mutates to another category. We had our last treatment wayback in 2013 and for that to still work, we have to get pregnant again or have booster shots every 6 months. In our case, we did neither! Truly, all glory belongs to Jesus!

2013 vs 2016 results
• Cat 1 - From negative in 2013 to positive tissue crossmatch in 2016
• Cat 2 - no retest. Medication started at 7 weeks.
• Cat 5 - From 15.02 NK cells in 2013 to 12.22 NK cells level in 2016
* these results were all prior any medications or treatments!

...This same God, who delivered me from the paws of the lion and bear, will also deliver me from this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:34–37)
Exerpt from Pastor Prince's Daly Grace Inspiration: "David was conscious of what God had done for him. He knew that God was for him, loved him, favored him and would give him victory again. My friend, you can also remind yourself that the same God, who did tremendous things for you in the past, will do the same for you again."
The same God who let us pass through our first trimester with abundance of grace and favor, even with SCH at 8 weeks and spotting at 10 weeks, we are now healthily going 5 months or 20 weeks in a few days! A big miraculous leap from our past pregnancies who only reached 2 months! Truly, God is good! If you ask me how we paid for everything, starting from our daily heparin injection, fortnightly ultrasound & checkup, 5 times a day progesterone supplement, monthly intralipid infusion, prenatal milk & vitamins and at times, hospitalization - we actually don't know! But God supplied for all our needs even up to now.
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:19 NKJV

“For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.”
Psalms 5:12 NKJV

“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)”
Romans 5:17 NKJV

We truly are excited to meet this little, after a very long time of waiting!

Yours Truly,

Kikay Morena

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