Sunday, February 18, 2018

Keeping Katie Part One.

Our sweet Katie girl.

There she is.

You can just barely see it in this picture, but Katie was a twin. (I can't find the other picture I had that clearly showed both.) There's another baby in there with her, but we knew from the get go that baby wasn't going to develop.

In many ways that makes it so much easier on our hearts, because we didn't ever get attached to the idea of two babies only to lose one. But it's still hard to think of "what if"and be sad for the baby that wasn't meant to be. But we still came out of this appointment very grateful that at least there was one baby in there who looked to be doing ok.

Early pregnancy definitely wasn't the same as it has been before. Maybe it's because we found out so soon and were monitored from the get go because of the fertility center...but we had some scares with my HCG at the beginning. After my first draw they told me the numbers were low and I'd need to come back in 48 hours and test again. I kept doing that for almost two weeks. The numbers would double, but they weren't very high. I knew what not having high numbers meant and I knew from my last miscarriage how that could end. So we prayed and prayed and prayed that my numbers would keep doubling. I went out and bought a bunch of the clear blue digitals and would take them every other day to ensure my numbers weren't going down and if they were, I'd know it before the doctors office could tell me. For some reason, having that control made that situation a little better. 

But my numbers kept doubling until we could finally get an ultrasound that would record her heartbeat. It was there. It was strong! The pregnancy was declared viable (!!!) and we got sent to our High Risk Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor the next week. 

The ONLY thing great about being High Risk, is that you get a bazillion ultrasounds. It soothes me SO much to know that she is constantly being watched and I get weekly or bi-weekly confirmations that she is ok. 

On one of the first visits to my MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine), we found out my Factor VII levels were insanely low but on top of that...we found out I had a blood clot right up against the placenta. That is dangerous for obvious reasons, the main one being it could go under the placenta and detach the placenta from the uterine wall and that would be fatal for the baby and because of my bleeding disorder, it could be very bad for me. 

Right by my finger is the blood clot. 

They usually treat this problem with blood thinners, only I have a bleeding disorder that already thins my blood so I can't have blood thinners of any kind. So the only solution was to do small amounts of engineered Factor VII injections--every day. 

Each one of these shots bills for around $10,000-ish. This was one months supply, which meant I had a ridiculous amount of medicine in my fridge that was worth way more than my house, like...double my house. 

Let's take a pause here and thank the good lord for insurance. My cut of that medicine was small and affordable. My insurance is INSANELY amazing about paying for anything maternity related, even infertility related. While the infertility stuff did drain our savings, it was at least something we could afford with savings and cookie money

We know we were lucky there. We were and are lucky in many places:

1. Our infertility journey lasted almost 2 years. You could minus 6 months out of that because Daniel was deployed, but I was still on and paying for medication so meh. Although two years is a long time to be trying for a baby, it's definitely not as long as many people try for a baby. 

2. We could get pregnant. That is a blessing that was still heartbreaking, because while we could get pregnant, we were having issues staying pregnant. But there are so many women who can't get pregnant at all and that creates a whole new road to have to go down.

3. We didn't have to do IVF. IVF is a big heartbreak and bank break of infertility and luckily we didn't have to go down that road. We let our fertility doctor know from the get go that it wasn't something we wanted to do (financially and emotionally). But we were grateful that we were never faced with that decision because I am sure when it's actually at your door, it's harder to not open it. 

4. We have access to affordable fertility doctors and mfm doctors so we didn't have to fly anywhere to get treatment, we didn't have to drive far either. 

5. Again, insurance!! My insurance covers up to IVF. If we had to reach the IVF part of this, it would all be out of pocket. But any other procedures like IUI's would be covered. I had two procedures done to clear my fallopian tubes and to aide in helping us get pregnant. Both were covered. Both would have been VERY pricey had they not been. All of the pills and shots were covered. I paid a small amount. My appts with my fertility doctor were all out of pocket for a long time until I hit my deductible. At $250-$500 a visit, and going sometimes twice a week, it didn't take long to drain savings. But again, it was all manageable because of the extra income I was bringing in. So if you bought cookies from me this summer, you helped make this baby possible. 

All of these blessings made our journey easier, for sure. But I'm not going to downplay it, this journey was heartbreaking in ways I couldn't fathom. More on that another time...

Back to Katie...

Because of the shots (that had to be given through a butterfly IV) I was having every day, my veins would atrophy, or blow. My body was just not fan and eventually my veins were a big old pile of NOPE. The doctors then decided to put in a PICC line to make the shots easier on my body. I was nervous because PICC lines are generally sealed with a heparin lock to prevent clotting. I can't have heparin. But the doctors all thought it wouldn't be a problem because my blood doesn't clot easily on it's own so my blood is it's only heparin lock, basically. Well, that's how it was SUPPOSED to go...

Almost immediately after I had the PICC line placed, I'd say about 30 minutes after, I felt a REALLY strong pain in my clavicle. It felt like I had been punched. They said I was okay, so we went home. Well, a few hours after I got home, my tubing all filled with blood. So we went in and they flushed it, I asked how badly it was supposed to hurt because my arm was really really hurting, especially in my clavicle. They said I was fine and we went home.

That night was INSANE. I couldn't move my arm, I was in INSANE pain. It was just not good. I toughed it out though thinking I was just being a baby and I needed to get used to it. 

Well, by nightfall that day, my tubes were both filled with blood and I couldn't move my arm hardly at all. And then something really scary happened...

I completely lost consciousness. Daniel had to call an ambulance. It was not good. A quick vein ultrasound revealed I had clots. Everywhere. I had one big one in my chest, right in my clavicle at the end of the PICC line. I also had several smaller ones in my arm and a medium size one by the insertion site. (Which explains the pain everyone was telling me was normal. Oi.) 

They admitted me right then. 

We kept trying to get ahold of my MFM during the night and they said they had and she said to take the PICC line out. They also told us that my blood doctor told me to keep the PICC line in because if the hospital took it out, the vascular center would not put one back in. At that point I didn't care, it was confirmed that the PICC line was causing the blood clots and it needed to be taken out and I didn't give a crap who took it out. 

In comes my doctor around 6 am pissed as HELL that no one called her. We were like "They said they did! They said you said to take the line out!" Then she had some words with that hospital (the ambulance took me to a different hospital that is not the one my doctor normally goes to) and came in looked at my arm and said "Well if I said to take this line out, why is it still in her arm!?" My doctor is sassy when she is mad and I love it. I felt very well protected LOL

She put orders in to have the line taken out, another vascular ultrasound AFTER the line was taken out and then I would have to have an MRI later in the day to make sure the clot didn't look like it was going to travel anywhere dangerous. My doctor took care of BUSINESS. She also had one of HER nurses (from the OTHER hospital) come do an ultrasound to check on the baby. Everything was well with the tiny human and that's when we found out that Katie was a girl. 

One of the tests I had done for the MFM included a DNA test that would determine if the baby was a boy or a girl. I had honestly forgotten about it until she just randomly said "We got your test results back and this was negative and this was negative and this was negative and oh you're having a girl and this was negative." It was hilarious to me how it was so casual. 

Daniel was home with the kids and taking Grace to school, so he wasn't there when I found out. I debated keeping it from him, but I just dangled it for awhile (only 15 minutes) but eventually couldn't keep it a secret. 

We were having a girl! 

Even though the blood clots were scary, and the blood clot in the placenta was scary--the baby was fine. She was floating along, growing and growing. 

Having that sweet moment in the hospital where we got to celebrate her and not focus on the scary? It was pretty great.

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