Saturday, January 12, 2013

Our Trip to Duke and My meltdown!

Tuesday Morning G and I got up super early and made the 2 hour and 15 minute trip to Duke.  G (country boy) was afraid that since we had to be there at 8:45 that we would hit traffic and wind up late, so we left the house at 5:30.  We stopped half way and ate Breakfast at Hardee's and arrived in the parking of the Dr.s office at 7:30am.

We were about 10 minutes from the Crab Tree Mall so we went walking in the mall before the appointment.  This is where G reminded me why I married him.  We walked through a large Mall where the only thing that was open was a McDonalds and a Bread Store and spent the entire time laughing and giggling.  Some of my favorite memories with my husband involve window shopping in Malls.

We made it back to the Dr.'s office and followed the sign in procedure they had laid out when we got in. However after everyone for the next 40 minutes got in and out before we were called it, I went tto the desk to see what was going on.  Apparently they never actually use the HIPPA-approved sign in book and had no clue why we were sitting in the waiting room.  Figures.

We met with the Dr. who once again told us the risks and laid out the 3 options: shots the whole pregnancy, combination of shots and coumadin, and coumadin the whole pregnancy. He told me nothing new.  He said that although there were a lot of risks, he would be willing to take me as a patient if we decided to get pregnant.

G and I decided that we still want to go ahead and try! I was able to schedule an appt with my obgyn to get my birth control taken care of for Thursday but when I got there I had left my wallet, insurance, ID, debit card all at work.  I had to reschedule.  I go back on the 24th.

I found it so very frustrating to get that far, to be so close to the thing I want most in the world, to mess it up because I am scatterbrained and forgetful.  I couldn't take it, I got in the car and cried.  I know 2 weeks isn't long but at that moment it felt like forever!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Will's Wish

Life has been busy, happy and chaotic over Christmas Break.  I am glad because the chaos has helped to distract me in a good way.  Life is returning to normal for this household starting tomorrow.

Will keeps talking about wanted a baby brother.  He has been praying for a brother and he has informed us on multiple occasions under no uncertain terms that if God gives him a baby sister he is moving to Nana's house. Yesterday after I tried to convince him that a baby sister wouldn't be all that bad he stood on my side and put one hand on my back and the other on my belly and patted me while chanting Brother Brother Brother Brother.  I guess he's going to have to get over it.

2013 is starting out as a year of hope and possibilities for my family.  I pray that this will be true for those of you reading this. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

A visit with the Cardiologist....

"From a professional standpoint I have to say no.  I strongly advise you to consider surrogacy."  Exactly what I expected, yet in a way the appointment has left me with hope.

The Dr told me that the course of action that he would see should I wind up pregnant would be Heparin shots (which are highly unpredictable), a High Risk OBGYN and a c-section.  He explained that the baby would be cared for he wasn't worried in the least, but that my risks would be high.  Should the unpredictable Heparin leave my blood to thin I am running the risks for clots.  A c-section would run risks of infection going straight to my heart. 

He also said that YES a pregnancy is possible and a safe pregnancy was even possible but the risks were very high.  I then told him about the pilot studies showing that low doses of coumadin decreased risks for both mother and child significantly.  He said he had read them and it looked promising but here in America aside from research institutions that there weren't any doctors with the balls to try it.  He completely earned my respect at that moment.

He went on to advise that I don't take the decision lightly and asked more about what G and I have already done.  I told him about our journey so far, meeting with a local OBGYN and scheduling an appointment with Duke.  He wants to be kept informed and asked that I call the office after we decide and meet with Duke.  He seemed very curious and definitely interested in monitoring me throughout the pregnancy if we choose to go through with it. I told him that the purpose with all the appointments to access the risks, and to find a support team.

So we continue on to the next step of our journey going to Duke to meet with the Perinatal/Maternal-Fetal Specialist. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A new reason to write....

A good friend and I were talking the other day and I mentioned that I was going to blog my experience as a way to clear my head and keep my thoughts together in one place.  She said to me that she thought it was a great idea because maybe somewhere there was someone else in my situation that could benefit from my experience.  I realized that whatever comes from this good or bad, that she is right.  Someone else maybe be able to learn from this. So I have opened this blog up for search engines and on the right hand side of the page there are a list of support groups, resources, and research that maybe someone else will find useful... I hope that as I continue on this journey that I will be able to update that list.  So to my friend, who may or may not read this.  Thank You.

***For anyone who may read this looking for the same answers I am looking for.  Please understand that the conclusions I make may not be yours.  Take your time, do the research, talk to your doctors and pray.***

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Around 48 hours...

Until we meet with the Cardiologist.  Hubby wants me to see a new Cardiologist because the man I used to see left the practice to join the ministry.  That office was always very busy but now one doctor has twice the patient load.  I have only seen this doctor once, so I don't know how this appointment will go.  I am prepared to state my case and listen to what he feels the risks are.  I am prepared to seek out a second opinion if need be.  I am nervous.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Why I am Taking the Risk

2 years after my surgery and I feel stronger than ever.  I am stronger than ever.  I signed up for a walking class at the local college once a week.  I think I did it just to prove to myself how strong I am.  We walked laps outside, 7 laps was somewhere around 1.5 miles.  7 laps meant 7 trips up a horrible hill!  The first day I didn't think I could make it.  I have never really exercised, other than an occasional attempt.  I made it!  I was the last person in, but I believe I was the most determined. At the end of the class, I went from being dead last to somewhere in the middle.  We walked about 2 miles and my time and stamina has improved.  We also did a few classes involving steps and I will say I never want to climb 10 flights of steps so quickly again.  I have pushed myself close to the limit and come out stronger as a result.  I am stronger today than I was before I had my first child.

2 years after my surgery and my heart still tells me my family is incomplete.  I finally did the research and found out that while pregnancy and with mechanical valve is considered a no-no, its not impossible.  In fact it is VERY possible to have a healthy baby.  Research has shown that women on coumadin have higher risks of miscarriage, still births, and medical deformations.  Also pregnant women with mechanical valves have increased risk of clotting and stroke.

This is why I am meeting with the Maternal Fetal Specialist.  There are several different options.  I can replace coumadin with Heparin injections and heparin does not cross the placenta. A recent pilot study has shown that low doses of coumadin may not pose a threat to an unborn child.  The Maternal Fetal Specialist will help determine my risk levels and find a plan that will reduce the risks for me and the baby.  On Heparin the biggest risk I will have is clotting after the baby.  I know its a very serious risk, but I am relying on God to bring me through, just as he did with my surgery.

I have spoken with my husband and he knows the risks but together we are ready for this journey. We are ready to complete our family.  I am hoping one day soon to share our journey with our family.  I pray that they will understand.

My Next step on the TTC journey is meeting with my Cardio and discussing my plans with him.  I do this Monday.  I expect him to be realistic with me explaining the risks, and hope that this will be educational.  I will be taking the information from him and the Maternal Fetal Specialist into consideration before I officially do anything.  I pray that the Lord will continue to lead me as he has done thus far.  I pray that regardless of the path I choose that my Cardiologist will be supportive of my choice and should I take the next step toward a baby that he will be an important member of my medical team.

Psalms 127:3-5

3Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I guess I never did cope...

9 months after my surgery I wrote about learning to cope with the idea of not having children. That was a big step for me and although I never did fully cope and move on, after ward it wasn't so hard... Here is what I wrote to myself to explain why we gave up hope. Soon I will post why we are taking the risks. At the time I wrote this I just accepted what I had been told, I never dug deep.

 Learning to Cope. 

I made a choice. It wasn't the easiest choice, and there are days I regret it. When you are a parent your job becomes to put that little life you created first until the time comes when they don't need you. I will never understand those of us who just don't get that. When faced with the toughest decision I've ever made. My Child won hands down. 

In September I had open heart surgery. I've known my whole life the surgery would come. I think a part of me knew in summer 2010 that it was getting down to the wire. I started researching the surgery, I started looking at my options. I found a great support board. When the cardiologist said he was referring me to a surgeon I looked at other people's stories. Some people waited a year or two. Some people went in right away. 

 As I researched the surgery, I also researched anything baby related. You see I was told I wouldn't have children. The Doctors always believed I would have this surgery at a much younger age. What they never told me was that I had the choice. God gave me six extra years and a beautiful child. My body though told me my time for having children was near an end. If you have ever wanted a child then you will understand. For those who haven't tried, one day you will get it. I was ready for my second child. G was ready. Timing was right. As I studied the surgery, I also studied conception. I scheduled an appointment to remove my birth control in august. I scheduled it hours after my cardiologist appointment. I just knew that this was my last year before the surgery. I hoped and prayed that it wasn't my last few months. 

When the Cardiologist told me I was being referred to Duke, I gave up. I realized that my Valve was past the point of having children. I was shocked to get in so quickly. Sept 2 I was in Duke. When the Surgeon told me to pick a date in the next 6 weeks, My heart nearly stopped. 

He asked me what type of Valve I wanted. Well G and I discussed it before hand. I had learned there were two primary types of valves. I won't spare you all the technical stuff, instead I will just say. Mechanical Valves will out live me and require that I take blood thinners the rest of my life. Tissue valves last about 10 years, but only a few months of drugs. Tissue valve meant I could still have another child, but then I would have to have a second surgery. Although the risks of open heart surgery are pretty minimal, the fears are very real. A second surgery would have increased risks. 

What my decision came down to is the Child I already have. Life is unpredictable, but I can do my best to make Life as good for him as I can. I decided that it just wasn't fair to ask my son to have to go through it again. I would rather be around for the child I have now, then to have two beautiful children and take the risks of the second surgery. 

So now nine months later. I could be here cradling a new baby. Instead I am here dreaming. I struggle daily with my decision and constantly remind myself I did the best thing for the beautiful five year old I have now. 

I hope that one day G and I will be on the same page. There are many options out there for us. But for now I feel infertile. I mourn the loss of the child that never was. I loathe the parents with beautiful children who just won't care for them. Its a bit crazy I know, but slowly the pain becomes tolerable. And one day, I will find what the Lord has in mind for me.