It is June again and it is APAS Awareness Month.
Not many would know about it but for those who do, this month reminds us of all the battles we have conquered and the battles that we are yet to face. I have been guilty lately of not doing something – anything – for this advocacy because of everything that is happening in all other parts of my life (publishing my book, building the essential oils business, doing workshops, taking care of the household and yes, performing in my 8-to-5 corporate job) sooo please bear with me.
Note: If you want to do a guest post, do drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be glad to host your story. In the meantime, let me share with you the story of Sunny (I love his name!!!)
If we lose the baby, then THANK YOU LORD for making me a home for a little angel. If we get through this then THANK YOU LORD for the gift of life.
I had goosebumps reading this quote from Sunny’s mom, Alex. Gratitude in every single step of the way. In our journey, it is often challenging to see the silver lining especially when you are currently in that place where everything just seems to crumble down on you and there seems to be no hope for tomorrow. But the stories that I hear, day in and day out (from the APAS group and from those who share their journey with me via PM) give me fuel to continue spreading these anecdotes of sunshine and rainbows in the hope of pulling out someone from a possible black hole caused by repro-immune disorders.
And so the story of Sunny —
APAS and RID, in some cases, do not come in the form of grueling miscarriages. Sometimes, they can catch you off-guard. That is why it is important to find a medical team who is versed in assessing conditions such as this so that we limit reproductive failure caused by these immune disorders. For Alex, the marker was delayed gestational age and it is amazing that her doctors were keen enough to address her condition ASAP.
Name: Alex Viriña-Opleda
RID (repro-immune disorder) Categories: CAT 2
OB: Dr. Stella Marie Jose
Immuno: Dr. Jennifer Agustin
How many pregnancies? 2
How many miscarriages? 0
Live births? 2
How did you know that you have RID?
My OB felt something was not right when at my 4th month during my 2nd pregnancy we couldn’t detect a heartbeat and my blood pressure was hitting 180/110. She ordered for an ultrasound the soonest and when we had it done, the baby was still alive but it was discovered that it was more than a week small for his age. She reviewed my pregnancy history and discussed the possibility that I might have developed APAS since she was worried about the IUGR. She then referred me to an immunologist, who immediately put me on tinzaparin and aspirin.
What did you feel when you first found out you had RID?
The explanations of the OB made me want to question everything I can possibly question. Myself, my faith, the other factors, family history (We have autoimmune diseases in the family, particularly Lupus.) and many more. I wanted to breakdown when I heard her say “your body is attacking your baby in a sense.” I wasn’t the healthiest of all people, but I have been doing all that I can to make myself be better. (I have had PCOS since 2007 and I lost an ovary in 2010.) With all the medications and doctors’ appointments through the years, I would still be diagnosed with this.
What preconception treatments did you have?
I was only addressing my PCOS then which came back after shortly after I gave birth in 2012. I personally chose to cease taking any meds and concentrate on doing water therapy, healthy eating and doing some sort of lifestyle change. OB was surprised that I actually got pregnant, even with the irregular period and PCOS.
What is the greatest challenge of having RID?
Finances and the emotional and psychological stress. The finances were something I wasn’t prepared for. But I always believe that God provides and He does and he did, in ways I never imagined. The emotional and psychological stress was getting the best of me on some days. You think of many things that could happen to you and the baby.
How long after the treatments did you get pregnant?
What were your medications during pregnancy?
Tinzaparin .35ml (for two months) and increased to .45 until giving birth
Iron and calcium
Any advice to those who are diagnosed with RID and are still trying
Keep the faith always, even if sometimes it will make you question things. Listen to what your body is telling you. – This I something I always do. The slightest pain or the littlest headaches is always something to consider. They may be telling you something already. What we have kasi is chronic. Sometimes it mimics pa how other symptoms for other illnesses are.
Please share your RID timeline
2012 – 1st Pre-GDM. Pre-hypertensive. (OB says, most probably I was developing or already had APAS already) Emergency CS due to fetal distress.
2017 – 2nd pregnancy. Diagnosed with APAS 4th month. Elective CS.
What is your greatest realization?
That it can happen to just about anyone. I never thought I would have it. I only heard of stories about it, but never did I think I would have it.
What/Who helped you through this difficult time?
My mom and my husband. Every day was preparing to wake up to the possibility of losing our baby. It was psychologically and emotionally straining. They were there to always remind me that we will always be grateful no matter what happens. If we lose the baby, then THANK YOU LORD for making me a home for a little angel. If we get through this then THANK YOU LORD for the gift of life.
It was paranoia every day. The anxiety builds up when you don’t feel the baby move or when there were bad results in the Doppler scan which was like a weekly staple. Crying became a habit.
The APAS Mommies in the group made things more bearable to accept. I was in denial that I had it. I never knew I would have friends in people I don’t get to personally meet but were people to turn to when I needed someone.
Anything else you would want to share.
There are a lot, because my battle with APAS became a way for my marriage to work (Hubby and I were reconciling when I was diagnosed), it has healed relationships for me as well. It also taught me so much about myself and about the value of sacrifice and selflessness.
It also taught me so much about myself and about the value of sacrifice and selflessness.
I am ever grateful to have been given the privilege to share Alex’s and Sunny’s story. At the beginning of our pregnancies, the only thing we can hold on to aside from gazillions of medicines that are supposed to address our condition is FAITH. For many of us, it is faith that keeps us moving forward despite the fears in our heart.
If you know anyone who has suffered from recurrent miscarriages, please share these stories. In our own little way, we hope to spread awareness of this condition to help save many yearning moms, dads, and grandparents from heartaches — but most of all, to help save little ones from our natural killer cells and antibodies.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this advocacy with me.