Tuesday, 21 August 2012

It Could Have Happened Again

As I was writing about my struggles with anxiety and moodiness since Frostina was born I mentioned something in passing that I realized I haven't shared here on the blog. I don't know why I haven't talked about this before. It's actually a huge revelation and something that will affect any future pregnancies I may have. I'm going to blame baby brain and sleep deprivation because it's the only thing I can think of as to why this wasn't something I shared right away.

After Frostina was born, my doctor made the statement, "Well it's a good thing she was born today." When I asked why he explained that based on the very low fluid levels and the fact that my placenta looked quite degraded, it looked to him like the same thing that happened during my first pregnancy with my son had happened again. He also said that the cord was wrapped around her neck twice so it's a good thing we had planned for a C-section.

As you can imagine, this news came as quite a shock to me. Keeping in mind that I was laying in the recovery room with my much wanted rainbow baby in my arms when I received this news, I didn't ask too many questions. This bombshell of information was a bit lost in my new baby euphoria mixed with what I'm assuming was some pretty good pain meds. So I did little but acknowledge the information and then go back to staring at the beautiful baby girl who was laying on my chest.

When my doctor came to see me the next day I had many more questions. We talked in length about it then and also at my 6 week follow up appointment. Basically it turns out that the "infection or virus of unknown origin" that the pathologist thought was the cause of my immune system attacking the placenta was in fact not a virus or infection at all.

It was my own immune system rejecting the pregnancy like a person might reject an organ that is donated.

For whatever reason, the pregnancy triggered an autoimmune response that resulted in my son's tragic death. Apparently this kind of reaction is the strongest the first time you are pregnant and he suspects that the trouble started around 31 weeks or so (based on his review of my scans). Each subsequent pregnancy will still trigger a reaction, but each time it will be less aggressive and happen later.

With Frostina all was looking completely normal at my 36 week scan. We had already planned the C-section for 37 weeks which was on a Friday. I went in on the Wednesday before (1 week after a perfectly normal scan) for some last minute checks and to sign all the consent forms. At that appointment we did a mini-scan with his small laptop and I remember him mentioning that fluid levels were a bit low but not to worry because we were already scheduled for delivery in 2 days. So I didnt' worry.

Well as it turns out, the fluid levels were even lower by Friday. This is why my doctor said that it's a good thing she was born when she was. As it turns out, she didn't grow at all that last week. She was born at 5 pounds and 6 ounces which is smaller than he was expecting. But at 37 weeks she was full term and as we all know, things turned out fine. But it's so scary to think that if I didn't have such a good doctor and receive such vigilant care, things may have turned out much differently.

If I'd had a doctor who wasn't willing to scan me as often. If I'd had a doctor who didn't agree to schedule a C-section at 37 weeks exactly. If I'd had a doctor who wanted me to go full term, or try for a VBAC, or wasn't as educated in high risk pregnancies..... I shudder to think about that.

It could have happened again,,,,,,,

I'm so grateful that it didn't. I am truly grateful for the amazing medical care I received this pregnancy. And I'd also like to think that our angel in heaven did his bit to make sure his little sister was born safe and sound.


  1. Wow. I am so glad that everything turned out okay! Your doctor sounds awesome -- that really does make a huge difference!

  2. Oh God. That made my stomach turn. Every single sentence. Simply, haunting.

    I had HELLP syndrome which they say can be like an allergic reaction to pregnancy, so I completely understand how this will haunt any further pregnancies you have. I can see that completely contributing to your anxiety levels and well being!

  3. Wow! I simply can not imagine. She's a miracle baby in so many ways.

  4. Good grief I have never heard of this. How miraculous that the planets lined up (or whatever) and Frostina was delivered safe and sound.

  5. I read a book recently by Dr Beer, who created the field of Reproductive Immunology called "Is Your Body Baby Friendly?" When you have a little more sleep ;) and are ready to plan for another pregnancy I think you will find it very interesting.

  6. Praise the lord for a healthy baby and a healthy mommy!!

  7. That's friggin' terrifying!!!! I'm so glad she's here and okay!

  8. Wow...so glad you were monitored so closely. So glad she is with you and that you now know what you are dealing with.

  9. Just found your blog and am so sorry for your loss. Also so happy for your rainbow baby.

    That is big news to swallow. I lost a son at 21 weeks, thankfully gave birth to a now 2 y.o. and just found out this week more information that it could have happened again.

    I relate so much to this post and the previous one that you reference.

    Sounds like you have a very good doc.

  10. I'm so happy that your baby girl got to go home with you. Wishing you only the best.

  11. Oh how terrifying, so glad your little girl is safely in your arms.

  12. Hi dear,

    I have been silently reading your past few posts.

    I am glad Frostina came out unscathed from the uterine conspiracy.

    Just wanted to share that this 'repeat' was for me as well. Lot of findings that were present in my older pregnancy were present in my last pregnancy too. Only thing was that we had an elective c-section, close monitoring...Figlia escaped PDA because she was not premature, and miraculously did not have the nuchal cord...otherwise, it was just the same.


  13. O.M.G. How awful. But I am so glad you got there in time and Frostina was saved.
    At my fertility clinic they did a lot of blood tests that picked up an autoimmune problem. During the first eight weeks of regnancy I had to have an injection once a week and I also had to take meds. I wonder if your problem is like that where medication could have helped?

  14. Your story gave me cold chills! So glad your little one is safely here. Thank God for good doctors that monitor their patients closely.

  15. One word...chills....ICY chills.
    Its scary to hear those words and have the realization that you were THAT close to suffering another loss renders me speechless. I'm so glad that when you first heard the words it did not affect your day. I am happy to know that frostina made her way here safely. Hugs mama-

  16. Thanks for sharing this... I had a normal pregnancy with my first till all of a sudden it wasn't with low fluid levels and my baby seemed to rapidly loose weight prior to her dying with no reason why. Perhaps this is something I need to raise with my doc.

    Knowing that your doctor has picked this up, that he was monitoring and paying attention even after the arrival of your baby is so good. I am so glad that your little frostina arrived safe :)