Having Lupus And Being Pregnant
Getting pregnant and having lupus is an obstacle you feel as if you could never overcome, especially when you're told you can't or shouldn’t have kids. But I am a very firm believer in having faith. I made up my mind that I did not want a surrogate and I did not want to adopt. I wanted to experience that all for myself.
After trying for 3 years and feeling as though we could not have kids, my husband and I gave up and gave in to the idea of me not being able to carry one. Then, I decided to go see my mom for my 25th birthday.
At the time, I kept losing track of my menstrual cycle because it started to regulate. I don’t know if you have heard of a myth that your siblings' menstrual cycle follows after each other? Well, that’s exactly how my sisters' and my cycle went every month. So when I went to my mom’s, my sisters were on and I thought, well mine would come after. It did not! Two weeks passed, and it did not come. At first, I thought something must be wrong with my kidneys again because missing a cycle was one of my signs. So I decided to wait until I made it home.
I could not believe it – I was pregnant
I waited another week for my cycle to come down and it didn’t. I had this scare where I thought I would be pregnant in the past so I kept a pregnancy test handy in my dresser. It was about 4 o'clock in the morning, and I decided that I was eager to take the test. This test was at least 2 months old and silly me thought tests expire soon. As I waited for the results I was anxious. Then my eyes almost popped completely out of my head when it came back a plus. I did not believe it at all! I woke my husband out of his sleep. But he had just gotten off of work, so he completely turned over and went back to bed when I told him.
I thought that this must be false, so I went to Walmart and bought at least 8 more tests. I drank at least 2 bottles of water and took all 8 tests, and they were all positive. Suddenly, my husband came out of the room and said, “I know I was sleeping but did you just say you were pregnant?” I pulled out all 9 tests and showed him and said yes.
Getting a doctor
We quickly made a doctor's appointment where she told me I was right around 7 weeks. My husband was shocked because he was like, "I just found out she was pregnant – there is no way shes 2 months!"
When having an autoimmune disease and getting pregnant you are always going to have to see every doctor and also getting a high-risk doctor. When getting a high-risk OBGYN, you have to wait because doctors have to choose which doctors will accept you being a high-risk patient. They will try and get you in as soon as a week or so. Your first appointment will basically consist of questions such as what medications you take and what will be the best delivery for you based on your history.
My doctor was one of the best I came across. She put my feelings first and made me feel secure. She told me the risk but I really thought I couldn’t even get pregnant so for me to make it this far was amazing. She also told me I could eat anything that I want. She asked me if I had any symptoms and I didn’t. She kept me on 2 medications which were prednisone and Plaquenil and told me to monitor my blood pressure because of the risk for preeclampsia.
I did not have any symptoms of nausea or vomiting, and no lightheadedness or dizziness. The only time I felt this was when I was not eating healthy. Of course, as a first-time mother, you always have that fear if your baby will make it. But once I got past the 20-week mark, my doctor and I let go of that fear and it turned into pure happiness.
When you start to feel the baby move, you feel a new achievement and goals have been reached. You feel as if something that you thought could never happen, happened. Having that support from family becomes the most important thing. My mother and mother-in-law gave me full support. My mom would always tell me that she had 3 kids with lupus, and to keep the faith.
I have learned that even when I do feel nauseated, it was because I needed to eat and that was true. I would eat every 2 hours and sleep for as long as I needed to. I also have not really caught a flare-up while pregnant unless I'm in an environment that has sick people around me. I try to protect myself as much as possible.
Questions to ask your doctor
If you need to, don’t be afraid to ask the doctor any questions you have. Here are my questions:
- What should I eat?
- Is sex during pregnancy an option for me?
- C-section or normal delivery?
- How much rest should I get?
- Will I catch a bad flare-up?
- Will my kidneys start to fail?
- How safe is my child while I'm carrying him/her?
- What are the pros and cons of having a high-risk pregnancy?
- What will I be like after my baby is born?
- Will I get better or worse?
Now I am almost 8 months pregnant. I am experiencing pelvic pain and that’s because my baby girl likes to move and now is located head down and ready for delivery. When I saw her last ultrasound, I could have sworn she was clapping her hands. In my eyes, she is telling me that she is going to make it no matter what the circumstances are. She is strong and healthy and that’s what I wanted. I keep myself stress-free and stress environment-free. I disconnect myself from negativity and it has helped me a lot. Being pregnant is one of the most beautiful things you could experience, and I am glad I could experience it while having lupus.
Who do you turn to first for emotional support? (choose up to three)