I've been blessed enough to use a fabulous and wonderful midwife as my care provider for both of my pregnancies. Ann is spectacular and nobody can compare to her, in my opinion. My first birth (Hannah, 2010) took place at The Birthing Inn (TBI), and my second birth (Nora, 2012 took place in the comfort of my own home.
Fast forwarding to this year...
I went in for a routine physical on August 4. I had noticed some significant bruising on my extremities, some major fatigue, and some lightheadedness upon standing. The doctor wanted to check my cholesterol (as she does with everyone over 30) so she told me to come back for a fasting blood draw. I did that on Thursday, August 8 in the morning. I received a phone call after 5:30 pm from the doctor's office informing me that my platelets were at a critically low level and I needed to go to the ER and be admitted to the hospital to figure out what was going on. Cue freaking out...
While in the care of the ER doctor, I was informed that I had Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura, or ITP. Idiopathic = they have no idea what is causing the problem, Thrombocytopenia = isolated low platelets. All my other blood (white blood cells, red blood cells, etc) were at normal levels. I was admitted and put on a dose of corticosteroids and also received Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) to help boost the platelets.
Backing up a bit...
Normal platelet levels are between 145,000 and 400,000. My level when admitted: 9,000. So, after the first dose of that (and hardly any sleep that night), my platelets went up to 19,000...so, progress. That day, I got go get a needle stabbed into my hip bone for a bone marrow biopsy. In order to continue with nursing my then-9-month-old daughter, I opted to not be sedated. Yes, it hurt (more so in the following days), but it was worth it. Everything came back normal with that biopsy.
I got to stay another night in the lovely hospital and had another round of IVIg, along with continuing on the corticosteroids. I prayed the rosary that night and then again in the morning after my blood was again drawn to check my levels. Prayer works, y'all! I asked God for 100,000 platelets and He gave them to me! I met with the hematologist and she said I could go home as soon as the nurse was able to discharge me. So that was good.
I got to spend most of the weekend at home with my family, being discharged before noon on that Saturday. My parents were great enough to keep our daughters those two days/nights I was hospitalized, so my husband could be with me all the time.
I've been getting my blood drawn every week since, and just this week, was given the okay to start doing every other week. There's a lot of detail that happened between then and now, but I will save that for another day.
I am currently unable to have any more children because apparently you either don't have a menstrual cycle, or it's extremely heavy. I have none, so no babies right now. If and when I am able to have more babies, I will not be able to use the aforementioned fabulous wonderful amazing awesome midwife, because I am now considered high risk. Instead, I am stuck with a maternal-fetal medicine doctor. Don't get me wrong, there is a definite need for this kind of provider, but I just prefer the midwifery route. I am devastated that I won't be able to have Ann anymore.
Back to why I am writing this post...
I met with our birth class (from 2010) ladies and toddlers and babies today. We meet monthly, and it's wonderful that we are all friends. The house that we met at today was right next to TBI, and I took the same exit, and all the emotions came flooding and I started bawling, yes, while driving. I had all of my prenatal appointments with both girls there and Hannah was born there, and so it will always have a special place in my heart. I didn't know it would hurt that bad just driving by.
As I was leaving to go home, I started crying again, and because Mumford & Sons' album Sigh No More was spinning in my car, I cried even harder. This album was included in my birth playlist for Nora's birth, and I will always love the album, hence why I'm still listening to it almost exclusively nearly a year later. Crying down the street, crying down the freeway...
So, traffic in one lane isn't moving as fast as I would like, so I decided to get off the freeway one exit early and take the scenic route, but again, more tears, because that's the exit we took to get gas when we were bringing Hannah home from TBI. Seriously, crying more and more, it was pretty lame. I am glad I was able to write this blog post because getting this out in the open instead of bottling it up and eventually burst is what I would usually do, and it's worse.
I will leave you with photographs of my beautiful daughters:
Hannah Colleen 12.25.2010
Nora Catherine 10.29.2012
My girls, October 2013
Thanks for listening (reading). So if you see (hear) me weeping about birth and babies and weird blood disorders, you know why.