“Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.”
Isaiah 25:1 NIV
I don’t know what to title this, no inspiration has hit for a cute name. I’ve used the delete button more times in these first two sentences than I normally do in several paragraphs. This is my attempt to share what our last several weeks have looked like and what I’m going through emotionally, physically & spiritually. I was told by a wise mentor and friend that there is a big difference between transparency and vulnerability. I can be transparent while sharing the healing and restoration God has already accomplished in my marriage and my family. We’ve walked through that chaos and although it’s an ongoing & intentional focus to keep Christ at the center of our lives & home, this is part of our story of REDEMPTION we are honored to share. I realized it’s so much easier to share what God has DONE because I know what the “other side” looks like. It’s hard to be vulnerable in the midst of the struggle. It’s difficult putting myself out there when my emotions are raw. However I’ve been so blessed and personally encouraged by others who aren’t afraid to share their struggle while IN the struggle, I’m challenged to do the same.
We have some really great news to share as we are expecting a sweet baby BOY in December. We are thrilled to grow our family and with my OCD I’m satisfied with the even numbers. Now we have unit #1 with our girls and unit #2 with our boys. Needless to say Chaney has been grateful for the addition of some more males in our household! We still haven’t settled on a name and that process has basically been put on hold since we aren’t agreeing on any names at this point. It is so funny how the “last” baby seems to have such finality with it. I’ve been determined to enjoy this pregnancy and not complain no matter how uncomfortable I may be. I’m so grateful to be blessed with another pregnancy. I don’t want to take a minute for granted. There are also many things are different “this time around”….Chaney’s dad passed away last year and we really miss him. It is difficult not being able to share the news of another grandson with him. He would be so stinkin’ excited. I’m sad Chaney isn’t able to share this with him & our boys won’t know their Grandad. Also the doctor who I’ve seen the last 9 years & delivered our 3 kids MOVED. Finding a new doctor is a big deal, and I’m very thankful for friends who made great recommendations.
The biggest difference is I’m considered high risk this pregnancy. 5 weeks ago, my doctor came in and shared the news that I have an antibody present that can cause extreme complications. He referred to it as a kell antibody. Huh? Well googling it doesn’t help much, other than instill fear and crying. Lots of crying. I was a total mess immediately going to worse case scenario. Sheri Mayo is fabulous and although she is in the medical field and a genius, she was aware of a blog she’d read in the past that explained anti-kell antibodies in layman’s terms (read it here ). Bethany’s story and the story of her girls Lucy & Nora has been such an encouragement to me. If it wasn’t for her willingness to share her experience I wouldn’t know what to expect or know what to ask my doctors for.
Nothing is wrong with me & nothing is wrong with my baby. The complications arise with the combination of me & my baby. Kell is an antigen that roughly 91% of the Caucasian population do not have. In most cases, the anti-kell antibodies are formed after a blood transfusion. If the body is introduced to a foreign substance it forms an antibody to fight off the foreign substance. In my case, I’ve never had a transfusion so the likely explanation was exposure through pregnancy. After blood tests we’ve determined that Chaney is indeed one of the 9% who carries the kell antigen. He is heterozygous which means with each child there is a 50/50 chance of them also being -/+. (Confused yet? I’m telling you, Bethany explains it so much better and has many useful studies linked in on her page.) Again, NOTHING is wrong with being either kell positive or kell negative. We all have very specific antigens in our blood. A more common way to relate this is Rh incompatibility. The rhoGHAM shot was developed to prevent mothers with negative blood types from sensitization through pregnancy of a child with positive antigens from developing anti-D antibodies. Unfortunately, anti-kell is so rare a shot is not available to prevent, reverse or suppress the anti-bodies. Most likely the girls were both kell negative (like me) and Michael is positive like his daddy. Sometime during my pregnancy or delivery of Michael, my body was introduced to the kell antigen and formed the anti-kell antibodies to fight off the foreign substance. This is when I became “sensitized”. So what’s the big deal right? My body is doing exactly what it was designed to do! Well…..in subsequent pregnancies it becomes a big deal if the baby is kell positive and can cause anemia by attacking the baby’s red blood cells & preventing the production of new red blood cells. This must be closely monitored as extreme anemia leads to fetal hydrops and death.
My body is supposed to protect, nurture and grow our child until he is ready and able to enter the world, but it has the potential to do the opposite. Mentally I’ve had a hard time with this part. I did have a miscarriage in the past & it was hard enough. I think I took for granted the ability to carry children without complications. I took it on myself, like something was wrong with me. Maybe I did something wrong? (I know I didn’t, I’m just sharing emotions I had). I worked through this pain because of support of other women who’ve gone through the same thing. It is more common than people talk about. I mean it’s hard to talk about. It’s really not something that is easy to share, but I was blessed by those who chose to open up to me. Our pregnancy with Michael was after the miscarriage and I was fearful for several months that we may lose him too. I wrestled through the fear and received more healing after his birth when I was truly able to grieve the loss of a baby but rejoice in the birth of our son. So much of life is that way. The depths of grief balanced by the heights of joy.
A blessing and cause for great relief is one of the world renown and leading doctors dealing with isoimmunization cases like mine is located in Houston, Texas. Ya’ll, people come see him from all over the world and he is just an 8 hour drive or quick plane ride away! Dr. Kenneth Moise comes highly recommended so we decided to make an appointment & have an amniocentesis performed which would give us a definitive answer whether our baby boy is kell negative or positive. I had this done last Friday and felt completely at ease with Dr. Moise and his staff. (It was also reassuring to meet another gal who is going through the same thing as I am. We have a closed group online that allows us to offer one another support & share information and it was an added bonus to see one of these ladies in real life.) The results came back and our boy is kell positive, like his brother and his daddy. Not exactly the news I was hoping for but it is what it is. It’s so much easier to talk about the scientific side of this & stick to the facts when sharing with others. However when I really start to think about the details, or when someone asks me “how are YOU doing with all of this?”….I lose it for a minute. I think that is a good thing though, to be honest with myself and others and release the emotions. I used to keep everything inside to be “strong” and that will wear you out real fast. I’m learning to lean on God in my weakness to receive His strength and steadfast loving-kindness.
“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
Isaiah 54:10 ESV
I’ve had weekly ultrasounds for the past 4 weeks and will continue having these throughout the pregnancy. These scans specifically measure the rate of blood flow through the middle cerebral artery. The MCAs provide a measurement letting us know if our boy is anemic. The rate of flow is measured in multiples of median (MoM) and 1 is normal 1.5 is considered very anemic. I am seeing a local maternal fetal medicine specialist (MFM) but I am only 1 of 2 women in the past FIVE years who he has seen with anti-kell antibodies. In Houston they see multiple women daily as this is their specialty. Dr. Moise recommends that I continue seeing the local MFM for weekly monitoring but plan to travel to Houston if the baby becomes anemic. We have no problem with this plan whatsoever.
I’m not sharing this so everyone will worry. I truly believe we are in the best earthly hands with Dr. Moise and his team. If baby boy becomes anemic, a procedure called an intrauterine transfusion (IUT) will be done. This allows the baby to receive blood in the umbilical cord (for immediate use) and his belly (for use over the next few weeks). I won’t go into details about this because we aren’t here yet. Hopefully we won’t need IUTs, however they are available if baby boy requires them and there is a high possibility that we will. I’m doing my best to take it a day at a time & not get too far ahead of myself, while at the same time making wise preparations. If you know me well, you know how hard this is as I’m a major planner and detail oriented. We are choosing to share through written word as it will be much easier to update family & friends as we go through the next several months. We covet your prayers, welcome your questions & need your support.
I don’t want to try and have all the right answers and make it look good. I want to be real and share how great my God is in the midst of the storm….in the middle of the chapter not knowing exactly what will be written. I feel it’s so common to put off an air that Christians have it all put together and I admit I am guilty of wanting everything to look good. But, if I’m really being vulnerable here, I feel like a hot mess right now. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the ONE who does. The answer isn’t in the outcome of my circumstance, but of course I constantly pray over the circumstance. There is nothing wrong with this, yet I know the solution isn’t merely external. My strength is in the LORD and His character. I know regardless of what happens in this world, regardless of what shakes me to my core, regardless of the heart-wrenching tragedies all around and the pain I may feel inside, God is GOOD. He is my JOY. He is SOVEREIGN. I find it easy to say God is good when my life is going the way I think it should. I find it absolutely essential believe God is good and praise His name when life is frustrating & I just want to cry.
Bethel Music- Ever Be
Your love is devoted
like a ring of solid gold
Like a vow that is tested
like a covenant of old
Your love is enduring
through the winter rain
And beyond the horizon
with mercy for today
Faithful You have been
and faithful you will be
You pledge yourself to me
and it’s why I sing
Your praise will ever be on my lips,
ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips,
ever be on my lips
I love this song. It’s been on repeat in my car and on my lips. These are just the lyrics to the first part of the song, but check it out if you haven’t heard it.
“For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”
Psalms 117:2 ESV