Monday, January 27, 2014

Platelet Problems

I am sad to say that last week got crazier as the days passed. Earlier on in my pregnancy I had posted about my platelets being somewhat low. Again, platelets help your blood to clot and therefore prevent you from bleeding too much. Well, in my 28th (ish) week they were at 116K which is just below the pregnancy normal low of 120K (normal person range is 150K-450K). So, at 36 weeks (last Thursday) I had to have them redrawn before delivery. They were down to 80K. My doctor called me himself that afternoon, and the minute I answered the phone I knew something with my labs was pretty off. I mean, usually he has his nurse call, but this time it was him. This call was legit. The scariest part was the seriousness and concern in his voice. I would have to go to labor and delivery on Friday for a full work up and a non-stress test.

What does it mean? Platelets are below 100K= no epidural. Or pretty much, no epidural. Some anesthesiologists will still do one down to 50K but there is risk. The risk is that you could bleed into your spinal canal and become paralyzed. Or, just bleed, and bleed, and since epidural medication makes your blood pressure low anyway, you can become very sick very fast, and not have enough blood volume pumping through your body. This is never good, but its especially not good when you are exerting yourself trying to give birth.

Why are the platelets low? There are several dangerous reasons, like pre-eclampsia or HELLP syndrome which can both be VERY dangerous and occur in pregnancy. I tested negative (thank God) for these things. It can also be an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus, that the pregnancy makes more noticeable. I also tested negative for this. My doctor contacted a hematologist (doctor that specializes in blood disorders) and because there is no good reason, they've named it "gestational thrombocytopenia." This is a fancy term for low platelets in pregnancy. It happens, not super common but it happens, and there is no good reason why. Apparently because your blood volume doubles this can make the number lower and platelets get destroyed more readily in pregnancy. These play factors.

So here we are. What are we going to do? It sounds like we are going to check the platelets weekly and if they fall to 50K or below, I will be induced and have this baby. The reason is, the lower they get the more the risk of bleeding. On Thursday my level was 80K, on Friday, it was 71K. I am not heading in the right direction. I am also doing NST's twice a week. "NST" stands for non-stress test and basically they hook me up to the fetal monitor and make sure that baby moves and when she moves, her heart rate increases at least 15 points above her usual rate. This shows that she is getting enough oxygen and tolerating being inside me for a while longer. So far, she has looked amazing.

I'm just sitting tight until my appointment tomorrow. Hopefully I will gain some more insight for what the plan will actually be. I am scared to give birth period. And now knowing that an epidural, which was my "safety net" may not be possible I am even more anxious. An epidural was certainly not my "plan" but it was something I really wanted waiting in the wings if I needed it.

We took a childbirth class this weekend which showed us the different methods of breathing, and also educated us on a few other options for pain relief, and it was really helpful. I feel more empowered to conquer this labor with no epidural. I realize it could mean nothing, and I could end up traumatized or with a c-section but for now I am more comfortable with not having the epidural option rather than just feeling terrified when I think of it. I have no idea what I'm in for. But, there have been many times in my life that I've had no idea what I'm in for, and I've made it through those things. Instead of being fearful I am going to validate the fear and jump over it. Instead of worrying I'm going to pray. God will get me through this. As long as the baby is OK and I don't bleed to death, we will have done well. Childbirth is pain with a purpose, and it has a time limit with a great prize at the end. I am going to try and focus on that, rather than the pain. I have waited too long for this to let it break me.

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